Dana Stabenow is an American author of science fiction, mystery/crime fiction, thriller, and historical adventure novels. She is best known for the Kate Shugak mystery. Her first book in the series, A Cold Day for Murder, won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original in 1993.
Dana Stabenow was born in Anchorage and raised by her single mother worked on a fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. Dana and her mother lived on board most of that time. That's one of the reasons why many of Stabenow's books are set in her home state and feature numerous descriptions of Alaska's weather and wildlife.
After graduating from Seldovia High School in 1969, she worked as an egg grader, bookkeeper, and expediter for Whitney-Fidalgo Seafood in Anchorage.
Dana Stabenow received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Alaska in 1973, but she didn't work in her field. After toiling for several years on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and later for British Petroleum in 1982, she decided to change her life and enrolled in UAA's MFA in the Creative Writing program, from which she graduated in 1985.
"When I left my job with BP on the North Slope, my goal was to sell a book before I ran out of savings. I would never admit, at least out loud, to the possibility of any other outcome," says Stabenow.
As a result, her first novel, Second Star, was published by Ace Science Fiction in 1990.
It was Laura Anne Gilman, her editor at Ace, who learned of the existence of the mystery novel that Dana had written, A Cold Day for Murder. After reading it, she offered Dana a three-book contract featuring Kate Shugak as the main character.
A Cold Day for Murder was released in June 1992 and won an Edgar award the following year. Kate Shugak is an Aleut who lives on a 160-acre homestead in a generic national Park in Alaska. Her roommate is a half-wolf, half-husky dog named Mutt. The series is known for its breathtaking portrayal of the Alaskan scenery and way of life, its complex characterizations, and its wry humor.
Her 2011 Kate Shugak mystery, Though Not Dead, received the 2012 Nero Award.
In 1998, Stabenow launched another mystery series featuring Alaska State Trooper Liam Campbell. The plots of the Kate Shugak and Liam Campbell Mystery series are interconnected.
Dana Stabenow is also known for her short stories. She is still serving as the President of the Alaska chapter of Sisters in Crime.
Photo credit: www.stabenow.com