Friday, February 12, 2016

SWEET HOME ALASKA by Carole Estby Dagg / Blog Tour: Author Guest Post

Hello and welcome to today's stop in the SWEET HOME ALASKA blog tour, hosted by Penguin. I am so thrilled to have author Carole Estby Dagg on the blog today to talk about her newest release. First, here's a little bit about SWEET HOME ALASKA.


By: Carole Estby Dagg
Published by: Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin)
Released on: February 2nd, 2016
Purchase it from Amazon | B&N
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It’s 1934 and the Great Depression is hitting the Johnson family quite hard in Wisconsin. Terpsichore, “Trip”, is doing her best to provide for her family after her father loses his job at the mill. With her whole town turning to relief, President Roosevelt has provided them with an option—to become settlers of a New Deal Colony in Palmer, Alaska. Trip tries to make the best of her new living situation by channeling her idol, Laura Ingalls Wilder to embark on this grand adventure. Pro: No homework for kids who have to plant crops with their families. Con: No libraries or radios to entertain each other with after a hard day’s work. Pro: Making a new stake in virtually untouched land. Con: Scarlet fever epidemics. As they face the hardships of turning tents into barns, can Terpsichore and the other two hundred families find their place in the new colony? 

Sweet Home Alaska will also include an author’s note, and recipes from foods the settlers consumed at the time. Based on actual events, Dagg’s warm and inviting words will spark a desire to learn more about this untapped period in history.


5 must-have items you’d need to survive Trip’s world in Sweet Home Alaska.

I’ll assume that, like Terpsichore, I will start with a tent, wood stove, access to an outhouse and water pump, so basic shelter will be taken care of. I’ll also assume I came north from Wisconsin with my own warm coat, leggings, hat, boots, and mittens. 

1. Mosquito netting. I’m allergic to mosquito bites, and Alaskan mosquitoes are legend. Even the pioneers from northern Great Lakes area (which also has big mosquitoes) wore what they dubbed the Matanuska veil, a broad-brimmed hat with netting draped over it, and wore long-sleeved shirts and tucked the pant legs of their overalls into the tops of their stockings to minimize possible target areas for biting bugs. Besides, I might think of other uses for netting besides protecting me from mosquitoes.

(Associated Press photo; notice netting on boy on far left;)

My next concern would be food, and that will take up three of my next must-haves:

2. Since I don’t eat meat, that rules out moose, deer, and bear as food sources. Instead, I will need a bag of assorted seeds and berry bush starts to grow my own food.  With long summer days in Alaska , I could grow giant pumpkins and cabbages and carrots and potatoes and runner beans. Even some kale; it’s not my favorite but I know it’s good for you.  

I do eat fish, though, so maybe I could use a triple layer of my mosquito netting (item number one) and rig up a net.  But to preserve the fish I’ll need item number three.

3. A canning kettle so I could enjoy my beans, low-bush cranberries, and salmon throughout the winter. I know a lot of ways to cook salmon, from salmon burgers to salmon quiche, salmon chowder, and salmon and rice casserole. I also know a lot of ways to cook pumpkin, and I shared some of them with Terpsichore. I could also use the canning kettle to heat water and wash clothes…and myself.

4. Dutch oven, like a deep cast-iron frying pan with a lid. You can use it atop or inside a wood stove. With a Dutch oven, you can make everything from soup to biscuits once you figure out how to use a wood stove. I can use a wood stove for soup, but I never mastered bread in a woodstove oven.

5. Box of books. Like my character Terpsichore, I get nervous when the stack of books beside my bed grows too small. We moved once or twice a year, and one of the first things we did in a new town was get library cards. My best friends were the characters in books who could follow me wherever I went. Like Terpsichore, I would have to work out a way to share books – that’s the librarian in me.

If I could have one more wish, it would credit at the company store so I could order whatever else I needed from the Sears catalog.

Praise for the Sweet Home Alaska

“If Laura Ingalls Wilder had lived in Alaska, she might have written this novel… Trip's a beautifully realized heroine. Cozy, charming, and old fashioned, but in a good way; fine for curling up and reading under the covers—in Alaska or elsewhere.”   Kirkuk Reviews


Carole Estby Dagg was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and has lived in Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia. She has degrees in sociology, library science, and accounting. She spends most of her time writing and reading, but her real-life adventures include tiptoeing through King Tut's tomb, sandboarding the dunes of western Australia, riding a camel among the Great Pyramids, paddling with Manta rays in Moorea, and smelling the penguins in the Falkland Islands. She is married with two children, two grandchildren. Her son lives in Palmer Alaska, and that is what inspired her to write this story.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~