Monday, February 24, 2014

Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France by Stephanie Dagg (France Tour)

Heads Above Water:
Staying Afloat in France

Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France is the story of our first couple of years as expats in France. And yes, there are lots of books about living in France out there already. But a lot of these are the short-term adventures of single people or retired couples or tourists. Moving abroad for good with a family and without a pension is a whole new ball game. That’s what makes Heads Above Water different. It’s about us, a family with three children, who stick the hardships out and make things start to work. It’s about actually making a living in a new country and dealing with the sort of rules and regulations that only the French could think of. It’s realistic, honest and gritty – but also fun, lively and very entertaining, and, I hope, ultimately inspiring.
 [provided by the author]

 Release date: November 10, 2012
at Smashwords
ISBN-13: 978-1301646401
  75,000 words
What a really interesting and fun book!  I once moved 30 kilometers away and thought that was a challenge.  Moving from one country to another, I can't imagine, especially with 3 kids and a dog.  Add to that a different language, way of life and customs, oh my!  Stephanie Dagg has written a wonderful book that had me shaking my head, cringing in places, wrapping myself up in a warm blanket in front of the fire, laughing out loud and ready to give her the 'women of the year' award.  There were a couple times that (I thought) it got bogged down with too many details (paper for back to school) and other times I wanted to know more (what did you do with all those treasures that were found in the farmhouse?).  Pictures would have been nice, but I realize that with an ebook they most likely wouldn't have done the place justice.
All in all,  I really enjoyed this book, I found it very entertaining, informative, amusing and educational.  And now I am now off to check out the authors website.
Purchase ebook on Smashwords | |
and all other Amazon sites.
You can access the author’s numerous children and other books
on this same Smashwords page and on her Amazon page.
Stephanie Dagg I’m Stephanie Dagg, married to Chris for 27 years and mum to Benj (22), Caiti (19) and Ruadhri (12). We live on a 75 acre farm in rural Creuse with llamas, alpacas, pigs, sheep, poultry and three lakes full of carp. We run a fishery and gite, and also a llama trekking business. We moved here in 2006 from Ireland, where we’d lived for 15 years. Before that we lived in England. You can follow our French adventures at

I’m an English graduate (Somerville College, Oxford) and Publishing Studies postgraduate (Stirling). I began a career in publishing in 1985 as a desk editor with Hodder and Stoughton, then I deviated from the path to become a sales rep for a couple of years for some academic presses and then an accountant. This is what meeting and marrying a guy who has a job in Newcastle does for you! Anyway, in 1992 I got back on track by becoming a freelance editor and indexer, working from home part-time around the kids. The same year we moved to Ireland.

I began to write stories for Benj, and then Caiti, and I won second prize in a contest in a magazine with one of my tales. That prompted me to begin contacting publishers. I got plenty of rejections but finally hit the right place at the right time with Mentor Press and O’Brien Press in Ireland in 1998. For the next eight years I wrote prolifically and spent many happy hours visiting schools and libraries to do workshops with kids.
Then we moved to France and I stopped writing for a while due to sheer exhaustion! Renovating a 200 year old farm that is falling apart takes a lot of effort, and so does running two businesses (running a holiday cottage and fishing lakes, and freelance editing). Life is interesting and full of challenges and we’re so glad we took the plunge and moved to France.

I have Twitter accounts @llamamum @bookeditorsteph and facebook


Monday, February 24
Review + Guest-Post + Giveaway
at Mommasez…
Tuesday, February 25
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, February 26
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway
at Words And Peace
Thursday, February 27
Review at An Accidental Blog
Friday, February 28
Review at Booksie’s Blog
Interview + Giveaway at The French Village Diaries


  1. Thank you so very much for hosting me today, and I'll take note of your thoughtful and constructive comments as I write the sequel.
    I think moving any distance, however short, is stressful. We moved from one of the two farmhouses here at Les Fragnes into the other one, and that was almost as bad as moving countries!
    Regarding all those treasures, we still haven't done anything with them, apart from look at them from time to time... One day I'll work out what to do!

  2. thanks for your honest review, and so glad you could dialog about it with the author. waiting for the sequel now! Emma