Wait Wait…It’s Me!

wait waitIf you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that I’ve been taking a break for June. Mostly, it’s been good–I’ve been writing more, and I’ve also had the time and energy to knock some long-standing items off my to-do list.

One of those items was “try to get on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” my favorite NPR news quiz show. I’ve been listening for years, and they always say “If you want to play on air, call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT!”

So, finally, I called. I left a rambling message about being a writer and having two little kids and listening every week while I hang their cloth diapers up to dry… and lo and behold, they called me back.

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman CoverSo if you listen to the broadcast this weekend, YES, that’s me (!!) doing the listener limerick challenge. It was exactly the mix of fun and terrifying that I had always imagined. I even got to talk a little about my books ALL FOUR STARS (about the 12-year-old restaurant critic) and THE GREAT HIBERNATION (where the adults fall asleep and the kids take over the town government).

The Great HibernationCalling the number was on my to-do list, but actually being on the show? Total bucket list item–now crossed off. Also, my voicemail is about to get upgraded. 🙂 What a week.

(The only irony is that I now have to break my own social media blackout to share the news, ha!)

PS,  If you missed the show but still want to listen, never fear, it’s online, too. It’s the 6/23/18 episode featuring David Wise.

Event tomorrow in Bellevue, WA!

UBooks_logo_V.2_400x400Hey, Seattle!

Tomorrow (Thursday, 6/9) at 6 PM  I’ll be at University Book Store in Bellevue, Washington, as part of the incredible Children’s and YA Author Extravaganza! I can’t wait to team up with these other fantastic authors of middle grade, YA, and picture books to talk about writing for young people (and sign books, of course).

If you’re in the area, I’d LOVE to meet you!

More info here.

And the winner of UNDER A PAINTED SKY is…

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey LeeMelissa @Novelty Podcast!

Congrats, Melissa!

For those of you who didn’t win, I hope that you’ll consider supporting a debut author by preordering or purchasing a copy of Under a Painted Sky (it publishes one week from today), or by requesting it as a purchase in your local library system (if they don’t have it on order already!).

Thanks to all who entered, and keep an eye on this blog for upcoming giveaways, including as Krista Van Dolzer‘s brilliant debut middle-grade novel, The Sound of Life and Everything, and maybe even one or two more of my own Stars of Summer ARCs!

Giveaway: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee!

Greetings, friends! We haven’t had a giveaway around here in a while, so I’m excited to offer you a chance to win an advance copy of Stacey Lee’s incredible debut YA historical novel, Under a Painted Sky.

Stacey and I share an editor, so I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of her book a couple of months ago. I tore through this tale of adventure and friendship, and was awed by the author’s ability to bring a completely new twist to the Western genre. I couldn’t recommend it more highly. (And neither could Kirkus or Publishers Weekly, which both gave this book starred reviews!)

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey LeeA powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

Stacey’s website (with preorder links)

GIVEAWAY ALERT! You can enter to win an ARC of Under a Painted Sky by leaving a comment on this post. You can also earn up to two extra entries by posting about this giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook.(Please mention or link your follows and extra posts in your comment to get credit for them.)

Sample Tweet:
Win an ARC of ‘s riveting, multi-starred UNDER A PAINTED SKY at s blog!

Sample FB status:
Win a copy of Stacey Lee’s riveting, multi-starred debut novel, UNDER A PAINTED SKY, Tara Dairman’s blog!

I‘ll announce a winner next Tuesday, 3/10. Good luck!

 

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 DĂ­a 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!

Awesome YA debuts out today!

Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren SabelWell, friends, my incredible critique partner Lauren Sabel has her debut YA novel, Vivian Divine is Dead, coming out TODAY from Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins! Set in Hollywood and Mexico, this book follows teen starlet Vivian Divine as she goes on the run from the people who killed her mother. It’s twisty, turny, action-packed, and beautifully written–just about everything you could want in a summer book.

And you don’t have to take my word for it–Kirkus gave it a rave review!

(Though if you do want to take my word for it, here’s my own review from GoodReads.)

Vivian Divine Is DeadVivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel My rating: 5 of 5 stars This novel is so impressive in so many ways that it’s hard to know where to start writing about it. I could comment on the beautiful descriptive language that the author uses to evoke both Hollywood and rural Mexico. I could talk about the dark threats that hover over Vivian from the first page, keeping the tension thick chapter after chapter. Or I could focus on Vivian herself, and her journey from spoiled starlet to determined, responsible young woman. Put all of these elements together, though, and you have one of the most evocative and original YA debuts I’ve read in quite a while. Clear some space in your schedule before reading this one; you won’t be able to put it down.

View all my reviews

Also out today are The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (small-town rumors in Texas), Essence by Lisa Ann O’Kane (adrenaline junkies in Yosemite), and The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset (a secret faerie world in Boston), all of which I’ve had the pleasure of reading in full or in part before their releases. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these books. Happy book birthday to all!

My very first author event

As I mentioned in my last post, I had the great good fortune this past weekend of participating in the first-ever Longmont Public Library Teen Author Night, which culminated the weeklong Longmont Library Festival.

It also happened to be my first-ever official author event, and the organizers were kind enough to include me even though my first book won’t be published until July. Luckily, the panel also included the fabulous local MG & YA authors Jeannie Mobley, Melanie Crowder, Jenny Goebel, and Todd Mitchell, so the panel’s attendees were not starved for wisdom and advice from actual published authors.

And oh, those attendees! The library did an absolutely incredible job bringing in teens and tweens, and there were more than 60 kids in the audience. Check out how deep that room goes!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We took questions from the audience for an hour, and it was amazing how quickly the time passed. (Left to right: Melanie, me, Todd, Jenny, Jeannie)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s my turn at the mike! What am I saying? Possibly telling the kids that I was working on my first book before some of them were born. That line got some gasps and a few laughs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Even better than the formal panel was the Q&A time after, when the teens were able to just come over and chat with us. They asked such fantastic questions, ranging from “What do you do when you have writers’ block?” to “Should I study creative writing in college if I want to be an author?” Longmont Library Teen NightOverall, it was an incredible event, and a very useful testing of the waters for me as a presenter. Special thanks to Jeannie Mobley (whose gorgeous first novel, Katerina’s Wish, you’ve heard me kvell about repeatedly on this blog) for roping me in. I hope to return to Longmont for more events in the future!

 

 

Interview with Colorado author Renee Collins!

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’m happy to welcome young adult author Renee Collins to the blog!

Renee’s debut YA novel, Relic, was published by Entangled Teen in 2013. Welcome, Renee!

First things first: Colorado native or transplant?

Renee CollinsI’m a transplant. We moved here for my husband’s job four years ago and I think we’re here to stay.






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

Relic, by Renee CollinsMy debut novel, RELIC, came out this last August with Entangled Teen. It’s a YA fantasy set in Old West Colorado. The red rock cliff near my house actually helped inspire the setting in the book. It’s a world where miners don’t dig for gold, but instead the magical relics of ancient fantasy creatures like the dragon, mermaid, and unicorn. Maggie Davis loses her family in a terrible, magic-created fire, and she has to relocate to the tough town of Burning Mesa in the hopes of finding out who’s responsible.


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

I live in Western Colorado, less than 5 miles from the Colorado National Monument. I can see the red rock cliffs from my bedroom window! The view is truly beautiful, and part of the reason we picked this area to live.

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

I love doing outdoorsy things to get my creative juices flowing. Mountain biking and hiking always helps to clear my head and stir my imagination. And there’s no better place to hike or mountain bike than Colorado, in my opinion.

I’ve heard that about the mountain biking here (though I’m too chicken to try it myself). Thanks so much, Renee–Relic sounds amazing, and like the perfect Colorado-set read!

Interview with Colorado author Emily Hainsworth!

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’m happy to welcome young adult author Emily Hainsworth to the blog!

Emily’s debut YA novel, Through to You, was published in 2012 by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins and is a totally compulsive read. Let’s get to know Emily!

First things first: Colorado native or transplant?

Emily Hainsworth Transplant! But I’ve lived here longer than where I grew up (Central NY)–does that win me points?

I was drawn to Colorado by a boy. It was the mid-90s, it was an online relationship, I was a teenager and (at the time) it was scandalous. 😉 I had secretly always wanted to live in Colorado, so I took off with the first guy I met from this glorious state (I suppose the happily ever after is that he’s still stuck with me–I mean we’re happily married–more than a decade later).

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

Through to You by Emily HainsworthTHROUGH TO YOU is the story of 17-year-old Camden Pike, who has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. He’d give anything to have just one more glimpse of her. But when Cam visits the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees an apparition. Her name is Nina, and she’s a girl from a parallel world. When Cam follows her there and makes an unbelievable discovery, it’s as if all his wildest dreams have come true. But things are very different in this other world. Nina is hiding a secret, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with the truth, he’s forced to make a choice that will change his life forever.

I’m currently working on a second YA novel, TAKE THE FALL, which is a contemporary murder mystery. While there’s no sci-fi element this time, the story is similarly dark and emotional and should appeal to readers who enjoyed my first book. The title could still change, but the book should be available in 2015!

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

View From Emily's writing spaceEvery one of my books has been written (at least in part) on an old black couch in my living room. It’s one of the first pieces of furniture my husband and I ever bought, and while it isn’t terribly attractive, it’s the most comfortable place I have found to write. Of course, a couple other members of my household think it’s pretty great too (if you can’t tell from the picture, that’s our cat, Dagny, squeezed in on top of our standard poodle, Basil), so we might end up needing a bigger couch because right now it’s a little cramped for leg room.

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

The best thing about being a writer in Colorado is being able to get outside throughout the year. I know that doesn’t sound very conducive to writing, but I’m someone who needs to get out and think before putting words on a page. I’m not a big fan of freezing my butt off on the ski slopes, but I LOVE the 50-degree winter days in Denver. Those temperatures were unfathomable when I was growing up in Central New York, and they’re perfect for replenishing the writing well. If I’m stuck on a particular scene or character, I get outside where I can think better. It’s not something you can do every day throughout the winter, but the sunshine and mild temperatures are something I try never to take for granted. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I adore those 50-degree days, too! Thanks so much, Emily, and good luck with TAKE THE FALL–I’m looking forward to it!

Interview with Colorado author Melanie Crowder!

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’m happy to welcome debut middle-grade author Melanie Crowder to the blog!

Melanie is the author of Parched, a brutal and beautiful survival story published earlier in 2013 by Harcourt Children’s books. Parched is a Junior Library Guild selection and the recent recipient of a starred review from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

Melanie Crowder authorFirst things first: Colorado native or transplant?

Transplant.

I’m a west coast girl—still not sure how I ended up landlocked and living in the high desert. But I’ve fallen in love with the blue sky and the wide open spaces and those big grey mountains.

PARCHED by Melanie Crowder

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

My first book for young readers is a survival story called Parched. It released in June, and it has been so fun to see the reaction of kids and teachers and librarians and even adult readers as they discover Musa and Sarel and Nandi. No matter how long and varied your career, you only get one chance at your debut, and I’m really proud of mine.

With writers though, it’s always on to the next project, and for the past six months I’ve been completely immersed in my next book. This time, it’s a poetic historical novel for teenagers—a huge challenge, and a lot of fun!

my [snowy] writing cave

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

It depends on the season. In the summer, I write outside any chance I get. In the winter, I hunker down in my office with a whole pot of tea and a fuzzy blanket. In the in between times, I like to work on the couch, with the morning light coming in through the bay window, classical music on the TV and my dog curled up on the chair opposite me.

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

We have a real work hard, play hard mentality here. I really do work really hard, so I love that there are so many ways to get out and play in this state. I love that a mountain writing retreat is just a short drive west. And I love that if you go just another hour off the beaten path, you can unplug completely. 

Thank you so much, Melanie, and I can’t wait to read your upcoming verse novel! (Well, read it again–I got a sneak peak at an early draft, and it was amazing. Get ready, world!)