Interview with Colorado author Darby Karchut!

Colorado is for writersWelcome back to the Colorado is for Writers interview series! Every other Tuesday, I talk to different Colorado-based authors about their work and their connections to this beautiful state. Today, Darby Karchut joints us here on the blog!

Darby is the author of several awesome-sounding middle-grade novels. Let’s get to know Darby better, and learn more about her books!

First things first: Colorado native or transplant?

Darby Karchut - authorAlthough I’ve lived in Colorado Springs since 1983, I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where both sets of grandparents migrated to World War II. I even went to the University of New Mexico (like most of my extended family) and earned my undergraduate degree in anthropology. But, shortly after college, I came to Colorado, fell in love with the state, then fell in love with my future husband, and am now living the Rocky Mountain dream. I do miss the cultural “richness” of New Mexico, but I am an avid runner, biker, and skier. An even exchange. And I just recently retired from teaching 7th grade social studies in a local junior high school. Go Cheyenne Mountain JH Thunderbirds!

Tell us a bit about your book(s), published and/or in progress!

Hound at the Gate coverMy latest book, The Hound at the Gate (release date is this coming January), is the third book in the Adventures of Finn MacCullen middle grade series. Based on a mix of the Celtic legends of Finn McCool and the Fey warriors known as the Tuatha Dé Danaan, my suburban fantasy is set in modern-day Colorado Springs, and features a master and apprentice duo of goblin hunters. These books are geared toward a very specific reader: the reluctant middle school/junior high boy. That said, girls love my characters and their adventures, too, and I have loads of 4th and 5th grade fans, as well.

Like Finn Finnegan and Gideon’s Spear, the first two books in the series, my stories, while loaded with action and humor, focuses on the relationship between thirteen-year-old Finn MacCullen, and his stern, but caring, master, the legendary warrior, Gideon Lir. One of my goals with these books, besides having fun researching and writing about Bronze Age Celtic myths, is to introduce a positive adult male character in Gideon Lir. He is both warrior and bard, and is becoming a father figure to orphaned Finn. And young Finn is a mirror of every 7th grade boy I have had come through my classroom.

The Stag Lord cover with blurbsI am also spreading my writing wings with my first adult urban fantasy, The Stag Lord, which will be released December 2. This book is actually a parallel series to the Finn MacCullen series, and features the local Tuatha Dé Danaan and their battle with the shapeshifter, Cernunnos.

 

 

 

 

What’s the view like from your favorite writing space?

Finn cover with blurbI have loads of favorite writing spots since I work on a laptop. I usually stand at the kitchen counter or at a tall drafting table in the corner of my office. I have found I can concentrate better when I am upright. Someday, I would love to add a shelf of some sort to my treadmill so I can walk (stroll/saunter/amble/wander/mosey) while I work.

What’s the best thing about being a writer in Colorado?

There are four things that really stand out: The quality of our public schools, the friends I’ve met through both the Rocky Mountain chapter of the SCBWI and Pikes Peak Writers. It’s pretty cool that we have so many writers in a state that is known for outdoor recreation. Because of Colorado’s world-class weather, I can get outside and refresh my brain with blue sky and warm sun almost every day, even in the winter.

Oh, I love the weather here, too. And everything else you mentioned is also pretty great! :) Thank you for joining us today, Darby!

Panel pics, and winners!

The Stars of Summer by Tara DairmanThank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway celebrating the cover reveal for The Stars of Summersequel to All Four Stars! My editor informed me just this morning that the advance copies are ready, so two lucky winners will be getting their signed copies very soon! And those winners are…

Elizabeth and Ann Buckley!

Congratulations!!

In other news, I had the privilege of participating in an absolutely fantastic panel last night at what has instantly become one of my favorite bookstores: The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY. Francine did a super job bringing in middle-graders, and my co-panelists and I spent a happy hour answering questions and giving away Halloween treats to an incredibly smart, engaged group of young readers (and plenty of terrific adults, too). Thank you SO much to everyone who came and talked to us and generally made us feel like authorly rock stars!

Here are a few pics from the event. (Full album at my Facebook author page.)

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Great signage from the bookstore.

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TWO “Four-star chef” tattoos means that this young fellow is an eight-star chef, right?

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The panelists take their seats! (Left to right: Rebecca Behrens, Tara Dairman, Laura Marx Fitzgerald, Lauren Magaziner, Michelle Schusterman)

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Laura is very adamant! About…something!

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Our treats did not last long. Guess which one was my contribution? :)

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Signing books, and chatting with an aspiring teen writer.

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The authors and their books.

What a night, and what a way to wrap up my latest New York adventure. Until next time!

Today!

…is my farewell post over at Emu’s Debuts. My time as a debut author is drawing to a close, so it’s time for me to move out and make room for some new hatchlings. What an extraordinary run it’s been. My farewell includes links back to some of my favorite posts over the last two years.cropped-emubanner_v11

…is my middle-grade panel at The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY! (6:30 pm) Hope to see you tonight for some tricks, treats, truth, and dares. Larchmont poster

…is the day that I belatedly reveal that Abbey is the winner of Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren Sabel! Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway of this terrific YA thriller.VIVIAN DIVINE IS DEAD by Lauren Sabel

…is your last day to enter to win a signed ARC of The Stars of Summer OR a signed hardcover of All Four StarsI will draw and announce a winner tomorrow. (Enter by leaving a comment, and earn extra entries by Tweeting and/or subscribing to my e-newsletter and saying so in the comment.)The Stars of Summer by Tara DairmanHappy Monday!

 

Come see me this Monday in Larchmont, NY!

I’m so excited to be participating in this panel on Monday with four of my VERY FAVORITE middle-grade authors!

We’re going to have a lot of fun and games, and you can start your holiday shopping early (signed books make fantastic gifts!). So I hope that if you’re in the Westchester area (or beyond–Larchmont is only 30 minutes from NYC and easily accessible by train) we will see you at The Voracious Reader!

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Sequel title & cover reveal: THE STARS OF SUMMER!

 Recipe for a delicious sequel to All Four Stars:

 Take one ambitious (and now slightly more mature) heroine…

Gladys Gatsby

Load up her lobster backpack…

lobster

Pack her off to the very last place on earth where she wants to spend the summer…

Camp Bentley

Assign her to review one of her least favorite foods…

hot dog

Wait for the stars to align…
stars

And, as Aunt Lydia would say…voila!The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman

The Stars of Summer

a sequel to All Four Stars, coming on May 5, 2015!
ISBN-13: 978-0-399-17069-0

It’s not easy being an undercover restaurant critic—especially when you’re only twelve years old!

After successfully completing her first restaurant review for the New York Standard newspaper, Gladys Gatsby is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and eating. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend Charissa Bentley delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley.

As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy; she struggles to pass her swim test, can’t keep the other campers happy while planning lunches, and cannot seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper. The worst part is she’s not able to find a moment to sneak away for her latest reviewing assignment: finding the best hot dog in New York City. But when Gladys learns that her hot dog assignment might actually be a dirty trick made up by a jealous fellow critic, she fears her reviewing career could be over forever.

This perfectly plotted sequel brings readers on a rollicking summertime adventure through New York City with all of the charm of All Four Stars—and even more foodie flavor!

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Many thanks to the Penguin Young Readers design team, and in particular to amazing cover artist Kelly Murphy, for creating this incredible cover!

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You can now preorder The Stars of Summer from the following vendors:

Powells * Barnes & Noble *  Amazon * Books-a-Million * Indigo (Canada)

And you can add The Stars of Summer to your to-read shelf on GoodReads!

Giveaway alert!

May of 2015 is a long way off…but I will have advance copies of The Stars of Summer sometime in the next few weeks. And, of course, I have copies of All Four Stars right now!

So TWO lucky commenters on this post will win their choice of either a signed hardcover of All Four Stars OR a signed ARC of The Stars of Summer.

Leave a comment on this post if you’d like to enter, and you can earn extra entries by signing up for my e-mail newsletter and by tweeting about the giveaway.

Here’s a sample tweet you can use:

Cover reveal & : Introducing THE STARS OF SUMMER, sequel to ‘s ALL FOUR STARS!

Just let me know in your comment if you’ve signed up (either now or in the past!) and/or tweeted. And feel free to share this cover far and wide. I hope you love it as much as I do!

The book can be sent to a mailing address in the USA or Canada. I’ll announce a winner one week from today, on 10/21.

Three new reviews for ALL FOUR STARS!

ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman coverHello, friends!

I’m so pleased to share excerpts from a few new trade reviews for All Four Stars.

First off, the Children’s Literature and Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association (IRA) has named All Four Stars one of its “Groundbreaking Reading Choices for Fall”! Their review says: “Absolutely delicious storytelling! This is a delightful novel full of lively characters, beautiful language, humor, and creativity.” (full review here)

All Four Stars has also received a very nice review from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (BCCB). They say: “Dairman . . .  writes with sympathy and humor. Kids who appreciate an underdog—and those who watch the Food Network religiously—will appreciate Gladys’s journey.”

And finally, Library Media Connection has this to say about All Four Stars:  “This debut novel dishes up a descriptive story that will appeal to middle school girls. If some of the situations seem improbable, the reader will happily exercise a suspension of disbelief. Like comfort food, this story is homey and goes down easily.”

Many thanks to all those who took the time to review! And to everyone who’s been reading All Four Stars.  :)

Next week, I’ll be revealing the title and cover for the sequel right here on this blog (and even earlier to my newsletter subscribers). I’m so excited to bring you the next part of Gladys’s story.

In the meantime, make sure you enter to win a copy of Vivian Divine is Dead by my fellow Colorado writer Lauren Sabel!

Interview with Colorado author Lauren Sabel (and giveaway of VIVIAN DIVINE IS DEAD)!

Colorado is for writersWelcome back to the Colorado is for Writers interview series! Every other Tuesday, I talk to different Colorado-based authors about their work and their connections to this beautiful state. Today, I am so thrilled to have my very good friend and critique partner Lauren Sabel on the blog, and to be giving away a copy of her book!

Lauren’s debut young adult novel, Vivian Divine is Dead, is a thriller set in Hollywood and Mexico, and it’s received terrific reviews. As School Library Journal says, “The writing shines in the scenes of a richly described Día de los Muertos celebration, and Vivian’s journey through rural Mexico will keep readers in suspense as the heroine faces danger at every turn.”

I love this book and couldn’t agree more. Let’s get to know Lauren and find out what’s coming next from her!

First things first: Colorado native or transplant?

Native.

VIVIAN DIVINE IS DEAD by Lauren SabelTell us a bit about your book(s), published and/or in progress!

Vivian Divine is Dead was published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in June 2014. It’s about a young movie star who receives a death threat and has to flee to Mexico to save her life. Of course, when she’s in Mexico, she finds out all sorts of things about herself and her dead mother that she never imagined.

My second book is titled Out of My Mind. It’s about a teenage psychic who works undercover for the government. It will come out in late 2015, also with Katherine Tegen Books.

[Tara's note: I've been lucky enough to beta-read Out of My Mind. It. Is. Amazing!]

What’s the view like from your favorite writing space?

This is the inside of my head.

Inside Lauren's head

What’s the best thing about being a writer in Colorado?

Trees in ColoradoI love Colorado. I love everything about it: the friendly people, the blue skies, the amazing mountains, the crisp change of seasons, the blankets of snow and cozy fireplaces, the smell of the air in the fall, the sound of aspen leaves tinkling in the wind, the feeling of standing on a mountain and seeing forever and still looking inside of yourself.

Ah, yes, the aspens. There is nothing quite like them! Thank you for joining us today, Lauren.

GIVEAWAY ALERT! You can enter to win a hardcover copy of Vivian Divine is Dead by leaving a comment on this post! You can also earn up to FOUR extra entries by posting about this giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook and by following Lauren in those places. (Please mention or link your follows and extra posts in your comment to get credit for them.)

Follow Lauren on Twitter at @laurensabel.

Like Lauren on Facebook.

Sample Tweet:
Win a copy of ‘s VIVIAN DIVINE IS DEAD at ‘s blog!  

Sample FB status:
Win a copy of Lauren Sabel’s young adult debut VIVIAN DIVINE IS DEAD at Tara Dairman‘s blog!  

I‘ll announce a winner this Friday, 10/10. Good luck!