Interview with Tara Dairman, Author of All Four Stars

Two days ago, I reviewed Tara Dairman’s beautifully written, fun, quick debut All Four Stars. If you haven’t added this book to your TBR list yet, get it on there! Trust me, this book is definitely worth reading. So, what inspired this foodish (this that a word? Foodish? It should be.) novel? Find out below!


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’. Descriptions taken from Goodreads.

Connect with Tara: 

Ξ Website Ξ Blog Ξ Twitter Ξ Goodreads Ξ Facebook Ξ

1) What inspired you to write ALL FOUR STARS? Can you describe it in four words?

Four words: Funny, foodie, fast-paced, and adventurous!

As for inspiration, I used to work as a magazine editor in New York,
and had several freelance writers report to me. I never met most of
them in person, or even spoke to them on the phone–all of our
interactions were via e-mail. So I started to think that, if a kid had
really great writing skills, she might be able to hoodwink me into
hiring her. And if I could be fooled, then why not the biggest
newspaper in New York City? That’s how the premise of ALL FOUR STARS
was born.

2) The growth of Gladys in this story as she makes new friends and
goes through new experiences felt very natural and real. Was it hard
to write any of the characters? Who was the easiest?

Thank you–I’m so glad that you felt that way! I would say that Gladys
and her friends were the easiest to write; I felt like I could throw
Gladys, Parm, Sandy, or Charissa into almost any situation and just
let their personalities guide their actions.

Gladys’s parents were the toughest for me; it took me several drafts
to get them right. I joke now that I know why so many middle-grade
protagonists are orphans or only have one parent, because writing two
believable adult guardians–who take good care of their kid but also
allow her enough freedom to have her own adventures–is almost
impossible. :)

3) Do you share Gladys’s love of good food?

I do! My tastes are a little less highbrow than Gladys’s are, but I
love to cook and try new restaurants and cuisines. Also, my husband
and I backpacked around the world for two years, which gave us a
chance to eat a lot of delicious foreign street food. Some of the
dishes we loved–like apam balik (Malaysian peanut pancake) and gajar
ka halwa (Indian carrot pudding)–ultimately found their way into ALL

4) What was your favorite part of writing ALL FOUR STARS?

I don’t want to give too much away, but my favorite sequence to write
was probably the one that takes place during a Broadway show. I wrote
plays for years, so it was a lot of fun for me describe (and poke a
little fun at) that world.

5) If you could switch places with any author in the world, who would
it be and why?

Wow–that’s a tough question. Assuming that I’m limited to living
writers…well, I greatly admire J.K. Rowling, not only for her
writing, but for how she has tried to use her fame and fortune to do
good in this world.

6) Is there any special goal you hope to accomplish as a writer?

I’ve already achieved so many of my goals in the past few years. I
finished writing a novel, I signed with an agent, and my book is being
published. I’m still flying high about all of these things!

7) Any new projects you’re working on that you could tell us a little bit about?
I recently wrapped up a sequel to ALL FOUR STARS, which should come out in summer 2015! I don’t want to say too much, but I can tell you that Gladys’s new adventures will include a summer camp, a new nemesis, and a seemingly-impossible reviewing assignment.

Thanks so much for having me, Eli!

So looking forward to the sequel to ALL FOUR STARS! Thanks so much to Tara Dairman for doing this interview!


Tara Dairman is the author of the middle-grade novel ALL FOUR STARS, which will be published by Putnam/Penguin in 2014. She is also a playwright and a recovering round-the-world honeymooner (2 years, 74 countries!).
Tara holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

2 thoughts on “Interview with Tara Dairman, Author of All Four Stars

  1. Pingback: Updates, and chance to win an ARC of ALL FOUR STARS! | tara dairman

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