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Dana Stabenow: More Cozy Than Hardboiled

Bestselling author Dana Stabenow discusses her latest mystery novel, Spoils of the Dead, and why it leans more toward the cozy side.

Dana Stabenow, born in Alaska and raised on a 75-foot fish tender, is the author of the award-winning, bestselling Kate Shugak series. The first book in the series, A Cold Day for Murder, received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Dana Stabenow

In this post, Stabenow discusses her latest mystery novel, Spoils of the Dead, why it leans more toward the cozy side, and more!

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Name: Dana Stabenow
Literary agent: Baror International
Title: Spoils of the Dead
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Release date: February 4, 2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Elevator pitch for the book: Alaskan State Trooper Liam Campbell investigates the death of a young archaeologist, murdered at their own dig site. What the archaeologist claimed to have unearthed has Alaska natives, real estate developers, and oil and gas companies up in arms. Campbell will have to find the killer before the situation spirals out of control.
Previous titles: 22 Kate Shugak novels, four Liam Campbell novels, three Star Svensdotter novels, two Eye of Isis novels, one historical trilogy, two thrillers, one collection of short stories, and one collection of Alaska magazine travel columns.

Spoils of the Dead by Dana Stabenow

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What prompted you to write this book?

I wrote a crossover novel between the Kate Shugak series and the Liam Campbell series a few years ago. I enjoyed the return visit with the Liam Campbell characters and I wanted to see what they were up to now.

(How to Write a Mystery Novel)

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? 

About eight months from idea to final. The setting and plot didn’t change from the outline but the characters sure did. It’s always wonderful when your characters begin speaking in their own tongues.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

I have a hybrid business model that incorporates independent publishing with traditional publishing, and an agent that is slowly but steadily getting me into overseas markets. Every one of the latter is always a welcome surprise. Ahoj, Prague!

(The Differences Between a Crime Novel, Mystery Novel and Thriller Novel)

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book? 

Somehow, I managed all unknowing to write something more cozy than hardboiled. I don’t think I could bear to stare reality too directly in the face this year.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope the book transports them in their imaginations to Chungasqak Bay, Alaska, and I hope they love the characters of Bluejay, Sybilla, and especially Ms. Petroff as much as I do.

Stabenow_2:4

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Write every day. Even if it’s only one sentence a day, it will be one more sentence than you had the day before.

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