We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. One author, four questions. Today we’re talking to Tara Dairman, author of THE DELICIOUS DOUBLE LIFE OF GLADYS GATSBY. Here we go!

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

Thanks for asking! Here’s my blurb for THE DELICIOUS DOUBLE LIFE OF GLADYS GATSBY:

Gladys Gatsby has dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic for New York’s biggest newspaper—she just didn’t expect to be assigned her first review at age 11. Now, if she wants to meet her deadline and hang on to her dream job, she’ll have to defy her fast-food-loving parents, cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy, and battle Manhattan’s meanest maitre d’.

As for cool details, I can reveal that the book also features a crème-brulée-triggered fire, troublemaking rabbits named Edward and Dennis Hopper, and a plotless Broadway show that bills itself as “the first musical ever to be based on a teen magazine.” 🙂

Gladys sign in Moshi, Tanzania

A sign I found randomly in the town in Tanzania where I finished drafting my book!

So, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

I drafted Gladys Gatsby very slowly from 2005 to 2010, squeezing in writing time between work, producing plays in festivals, and an epic round-the-world honeymoon (more on that below). Then in late 2011, I entered a contest at Miss Snark’s First Victim, where agent Ammi-Joan Paquette spotted it and requested that I query her. A couple of months later, she was my agent, and a couple of months after that (and after a nail-biting round of requested revisions) we sold Gladys to Putnam!

So, in the end, it will be nine years from when I started writing this book to its publication. But it has absolutely been worth the wait.

What do you do in your daily life outside of writing?

I teach writing to kids and I do some freelance editing. There really is no escaping the written word for me!

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

Good to eat. Not so comfy to ride.

Good to eat. Not so comfy to ride.

1) As I hinted above, I’m a veteran of a very long honeymoon—74 countries long, to be exact! Three weeks after we got married in 2009, my husband and I took off for South America, and we didn’t stop traveling for two years. We ended up visiting all of the countries in South and Central America, about half the countries in Africa, and a good swath of Asia and Eastern Europe. If you’re interested in more details, you can find our travel blog at andyandtara.com.

2) Before I turned to middle-grade fiction, I wrote plays, most of which would be totally inappropriate for a young audience. (One critic called my play PB&J “equal parts Arsenic & Old Lace and Cabin Fever with a Lorena Bobbitt slant.”) I still wonder how I’ll reconcile these two sides of my writer personality in the future, but at least Shel Silverstein and Roald Dahl have blazed that trail before me.

3) Thanks to our travels, I’ve eaten and ridden some interesting animals. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned:

-Hippos make tasty jerky.

-Ostriches are crazy fun to ride.

-One-humped camel tastes way better than two-humped (but two-humped is way more comfortable to sit on).

And finally…

-Just because you like duck and tongue does not mean you will like duck tongue!

Tara Dairman is a novelist, playwright, and recovering round-the-world honeymooner (two years, 74 countries!) who now lives in Colorado. Her debut middle-grade novel, THE DELICIOUS DOUBLE LIFE OF GLADYS GATSBY (Putnam/Penguin, Summer ’14), tells the story of an 11-year-old girl who secretly becomes a restaurant critic for New York’s biggest newspaper.


  1. Tara, I just spent half an hour reading your travel blog. Amazing. Some day, we will have to connect so I can hear all about your travels. (I’m in Denver often, so it could happen!)

    And of course, yay for Gladys Gatsby!

    • I’d love that, Amber! And sometimes even I get sucked back into reading the old blog for hours at a time…the more time passes, the more I find little surprises from the past. 🙂

  2. Wow, that’s a serious road to publication! So excited that the journey had such a happy ending; I don’t usually read MG but I’ve been excited for this one for months! And ZOMG your honeymoon sounds amazing!

  3. Tara- This sounds beyond adorable and completely up my alley! Just added to my Goodread list. Drooling over your trip- I did a solo round-the-world, but only for a year and 48 countries. I feel so inadequate. But I see your hippo jerky and raise you crocodile and kangaroo kabobs over a barbie- can’t be beat!

    • Whoa, Jennifer–solo is hard core! I don’t think I could have done it on my own. Any favorite places from your trip?

      And I had kangaroo sausage once at an Australian restaurant in NY…it was tasty! Croc I’m not sure I’d like so much, though… 🙂

  4. I love the idea of your book, and I really love your travel blog! My husband and I have done a decent amount of traveling, too (though nowhere close to how much you’ve done!) and it’s especially fun to look over the entries for places we’ve been and reminisce!

    (And yay Putnam sister!) 🙂

    • Yay Putnam, indeed! 🙂 And I agree, it’s always fun to look at someone else’s experiences in a place you’ve visited and be reminded of your own time there. Do you and your husband have any favorite destinations you recommend?

  5. That list of lessons is hilarious. And since I KNOW that the The Delicious Double Life of Gladys Gatsby is awesome and will require a sequel, I’d like to request that it includes some hippo jerky. Seventh grade field trip to Africa???

  6. “Jealous” doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings toward your extended honeymoon. What an awesome experience!

    And I’m super excited for your book. I actually remember reading your entry on MSFV and thinking it was great. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Join me at the OneFours! | tara dairman

  8. Yay for Tara and Gladys Gatsby (um, the best character name ever!)!! I’m very excited for the book to come out, and it was fun to learn more about Tara’s publication story and crazy-awesome honeymoon. I was not aware of the hippo jerky…I sense many more secrets hidden within you, Tara 🙂

  9. Your travel blog is totally droolworthy. I love to travel too but generally get the itch to go back home after three weeks max…so I can’t imagine wandering for two years! Your book sounds so fun–I remember reading your entry in one of the blog contests way back when!

  10. Jealous of your travels!! I’ve been to 4 out of 7 continents so…I guess that’s kind of cool? I can add that ‘roo tastes like venison 😉 and there’s nothing like skydiving in New Zealand. LOL. Your book has been up my alley for MONTHS (I remember it in the contest!) 🙂 Can’t wait to finally read.

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