Beyond the Book: Background information when reading A Deeper Sleep

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A Deeper Sleep

A Kate Shugak Novel

by Dana Stabenow

A Deeper Sleep by Dana Stabenow X
A Deeper Sleep by Dana Stabenow
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 272 pages

    Jan 2008, 352 pages


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Beyond the Book

This article relates to A Deeper Sleep

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Dana Stabenow was born in Anchorage, Alaska on March 27, 1952, and raised on a 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. She graduated from Seldovia High School in 1969 and put herself through college working as an egg grader, bookkeeper and expediter for Whitney-Fidalgo Seafoods in Anchorage.

She received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Alaska in 1973, after which she says that she spent "one more summer knee-deep in humpies (a type of small salmon) and blew everything I earned on a four-month backpacking trip to Europe". Where she discovered English pubs, German beer and Irish men.

On her return she found work with the Alyeska Pipeline at Galbraith Lake and later for British Petroleum at Prudhoe Bay making "obscene amounts of money". In 1982 she turned 30 and wondered what to do with the rest of her life. She enrolled in the University of Alaska's Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program and graduated in 1985 with the ambition to sell a book before she went broke. She just barely made it: Second Star was bought by Ace Science Fiction in 1990 but, according to Stabenow, "it fell with an almighty thud on the marketplace." In 1991 her editor heard that she was working on the first Kate Shugak mystery and offered her a three-book contract. It was published in 1992 and won the Edgar Award for best paperback original in 1993 (the Edgar awards, named for Edgar Allan Poe, are awarded annually by the Mystery Writers of America).

For more about Dana, visit her very comprehensive website. We particularly enjoyed rummaging through the short back-stories about each book's dedication page. This is what she says about the dedication in her first Kate Shugak novel, A Cold Day for Murder:

"For Don Stabenow, my very own personal air taxi service and pyrotechnical adviser.

Don Stabenow was my father. When I told him I was leaving a $63,000-a-year job to become a writer, he said without missing a beat, “Shit, kid, if that’s what you want, you go for it.” Never once in all the years it took to get published did he say I might be better off trying my hand at something else. When I ran low on money he installed me in his spare bedroom and wouldn’t even let me pay for groceries.

He was the best. He died in 1998, and I miss him every day."

Interesting Links


Kate Shugak Series
A Cold Day for Murder, A Fatal Thaw, Dead in the Water, A Cold-Blooded Business, Play With Fire, Blood Will Tell, Breakup, Killing Grounds, Hunter’s Moon, Midnight Come Again, The Singing of the Dead, A Fine and Bitter Snow, A Grave Denied, A Taint in the Blood, A Deeper Sleep.

Liam Campbell Series
Fire and Ice, So Sure of Death, Nothing Gold Can Stay, Better to Rest.

Star Svensdotter Series
Second Star, A Handful of Stars, Red Planet Run.

Standalone Novels
Blindfold Game
(2006).  Prepared for Rage (US: Feb 2008, UK Mar 2008).

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This "beyond the book article" relates to A Deeper Sleep. It originally ran in January 2007 and has been updated for the January 2008 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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