Dani Pettrey joins us today to talk about her new book, Shattered. She is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling debut novel Submerged and latest release Shattered.
She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.
Dani has offered two books in her giveaway. She is offering both Submerged and Shattered! Here is how this is going to work. I will choose a winner from the comments below. (Please leave a comment for Dani with your email address.) If the winner already has Submerged, then he/she will receive Shattered and I will choose another winner for Submerged.
Dani, I am extremely thrilled to have you join us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Northern Virginia and then spent my high school and college years in New Mexico where I met my husband. After marrying, we relocated back to the east coast and have been here ever since. We have two amazing daughters, which I’ve homeschooled since my oldest was in kindergarten—she’s now a sophomore in college. We enjoy spending time outdoors and feel really blessed to live so close to both the mountains and the sea.
It’s great meeting a fellow author and homeschooling mom! And I’m envious of your location near the ocean. When did you first begin writing?
I have always loved daydreaming and making up stories. I dabbled with creative writing growing up, but set it aside when I got married and started a family. It wasn’t until after the birth of my youngest daughter and a bout with a serious illness, that I really felt God stirring me to start writing again.
Why do you write?
I write because I love the power of story and it is a passion that God has placed within me. I couldn’t not write. Yes, I know that was a double negative, but it’s true. I would be lost without writing. I truly believe it’s what God created me to do in addition to being a wife and a mother.
I totally understand the double negative. I feel the same way! Tell us about the journey to getting published.
When I first began, I spent a lot of time simply reading novels, seeing how they worked, analyzing why I fell in love with certain characters and not others. I attended writing conferences, joined a writer’s group and devoted regular time to writing.
I was also blessed with an amazing mentor who really shepherded me in the craft and writing life. I wrote for a number of years, entered contests and applied the feedback I received. A couple years ago, I attended the ACFW conference. I approached my editor after his Spotlight Session and he was gracious enough to ask to see the first three chapters. A few weeks later, I got a request for the full. A few weeks after that he told me they were going to present it for contract. The day I got ‘the call’ was amazing. I had received my share of rejections, so getting the ‘go ahead’ on a story I loved so dearly was pure joy.
Your journey is like the journeys of many others I have interviewed and much like my own. The common theme I hear is “perseverance”. Writers must press on even through the rejections and perfect the craft. Where do you get ideas for your books?
Most of my ideas stem from something that I find fascinating or intriguing. For example, the idea behind my Alaskan Courage series all started with a movie my family and I watched about cave divers. It got me thinking about what type of person would pursue such a dangerous job for a living. I find extreme athletes and people who pursue adventurous careers simply fascinating. I began diving (no pun intended) into all the extreme sports and adventure professions and the McKenna family was born.
Awesome! If you could interview any character in one of your books what might that character say? Why?
Bailey Craig, the heroine of my debut novel Submerged, has highjacked my blog a few times. You can hop on over there if you’d like to see what she had to say just prior to Submerged’s release:
Thank you for those links. What are your favorite themes to write about?
Redemption, grace, forgiveness, hope and the wholeness we find in Christ alone.
As a former homeschooling mom, I know how hard it can be to squeeze in writing time while you’re homeschooling. What creative ways have you found to meet your deadlines and stay on top of schooling at the same time?
Last minute panic and lots of coffee 🙂
Oh, yes, I remember those days! Does your faith affect your writing? How so?
My faith plays a great role, but I’d like to think in a natural way. Just as my love of adventure permeates the stories I write, so does my faith. My relationship with Jesus is part of every facet of my life; it’s only natural to be part of the stories I tell.
Do you have a favorite scripture? If so, why is it your favorite?
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
I love it because it explains why death is so hard for us to deal with. It is because God has set eternity into our hearts. We know He has created us for more than this life, this world.
Beautiful! Now for a little fun, are there special foods in any of your books? If so, are these recipes you’ve tried? Any favorites?
Yes. Each book so far has featured some special recipes which I share with readers on my website via my Book Club Packets. As far as a favorite…it’s a tie between Moose Madness Extreme and Moose Tracks Milkshakes.
Shattered is the second book in my Alaskan Courage series.
Piper McKenna couldn’t be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed–but despite the evidence, Reef swears he’s innocent. And Piper believes him.
Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he’s also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon’s career.
With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada’s rugged backcountry–and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
The inspiration behind Shattered was two-fold. The idea for the mystery came from a passing comment a friend of mine made about her son, but I can’t go into detail about that without giving away too much 🙂 The idea for the backdrop of the Midnight Sun Tournament was inspired by my love for Winter X Games. My family and I have followed X Games for the years. We particularly enjoy the Winter games as my daughter loves snowboarding. Our favorite athlete is Kelly Clark. A two-time Olympic medalist, Kelly has dominated X Games the past three years, taking home Gold. She’s an amazing athlete, a Christian, and a philanthropist. I thought it would be fun and intriguing to write about two adventure athletes and show a glimpse into their adrenaline-filled world.
You really have quite a creative mind! What are you working on right now?
I’m wrapping up edits on Stranded, which will be out this fall. Here’s a sneak peek:
When her friend vanishes from a cruise ship, reporter Darcy St. James isn’t satisfied with their explanation that she simply left her job of her own accord. Something isn’t lining up, and Darcy believes the only way to find the truth is to put herself in Abby’s position.
Within days, Darcy learns her friend wasn’t the only person to disappear mysteriously. Last summer, a woman vanished under almost identical circumstances.
Gage McKenna has taken a summer-long stint leading adventure excursions for the passengers of various cruise lines that dock for a few days of sightseeing. He’s surprised to find Darcy working aboard one of the ships, investigating a troubling report.
Something sinister is going on, and the deeper they dig, the more Gage fears they’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg.
Your books all sound so exciting! Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us about Shattered and especially about your calling as a writer. Where can readers find you or your books?
I love connecting with readers and hope you’ll drop by my website or Facebook Page and leave a note.
Don’t forget to leave a comment below for Dani for a chance to win a book!