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Interview with Stephanie Dagg Author of Heads Above Water

We know from reading her website Blog in France that she has a very busy life with three kids, gites, lakes, lamas, chickens and pigs to look after at her home in Creuse. so how Stephanie Dagg finds time to write a book and then answer silly questions is beyond us. So when Steph agreed to be interviewed by The Good Life France about her book Heads above water we tried very hard not to make the questions too silly!

What prompted your move to France?

We have always loved France, and apart from our honeymoon in Dorset, spent every single holiday in France with an ever increasing number of kids and amount of stuff to go with the bikes, fishing gear and model planes we always took. Suddenly the time was right to move. Chris faced redundancy, our eldest was about to start his Junior Cert course, our middle one secondary school and our youngest primary school, so it was truly a now or never moment. We decided we’d regret it if we didn’t give living in France a go.

Many people dream of telling their boss to stuff the job followed by a move to France to renovate a hovel with not much money – what’s your advice to them?

Prepare well. Make sure you have enough funds to get you through at least a couple of years. Look into French rules and regulations before you move over. Have back up plans.

What’s better about life in France than Ireland or the UK for you?

We left the UK in 1992 so have no idea what life is like there any more. Ireland is a friendly, beautiful country but had become incredibly expensive. France has got pricier since we moved here but you still get a much higher standard of living for less money. Also, France is a go ahead country, very pro-Europe and with a great education system so it offers a good future for the kids.

Biggest difference between your French neighbours and your former Irish neighbours?

We only have one neighbour within a 2km radius and we don’t see a great deal of him! However, we know quite a few families fairly close by so I guess they count as neighbours. They’re there if you need them. We probably had more to do with our Irish neighbours since our kids were friends with their kids. There aren’t that many youngsters around in our part of Creuse.

Do you prefer vin rouge or vin blanc?

Rouge, definitely! I generally pick out a bottle of the the cheapest French red in the supermarket and that sees Chris and I through most of the week. Kind of pathetic but cheap! [Ed: we don’t think its cheap or pathetic – we thinks Steph’s gone native!]

When you’re writing do you have an odd little habits to help you through the process?

On Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, I take my computer along to the kids’ judo classes. I plug in my MP3, open my laptop and spend a happy hour or so in electronic heaven typing madly away.

If Stephen Spielberg reads this interview and wants to make a film out of your book – what actress do you think should play you?

I’d be very flattered if Scarlett Johansson got the job!

When Stephen Spielberg’s film “Heads above Water” comes out, how do you think your neighbours will react?

I hope it will give them a good laugh. I’d like it to inspire people everywhere to go for it and change their lives, if that’s what they secretly want to do.

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