Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged,Shattered, Stranded, and Silenced, and new release, Sabotaged. Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award, among others. You can find her online at www.danipettrey.com
SS: Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a wife, mom, grandma, and the author of the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series. I feel blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things I love—the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. My husband and I reside in Maryland, where we enjoy time with our two daughters, son-in-law, and super adorable grandson.
SS: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
I have always loved daydreaming and making up stories. I dabbled with creative writing growing up, but set it aside. 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.
SS: What are some of the challenges you face as a writer? Are there aspects of your life that are hard for family and friends to understand? What are they?
SS: How do you create characters? Are they based on people you know?
I’m not a plotter or a planner. I let a story premise percolate in my mind and the characters tend to come along with it, or at least a very loose sketch of them. It isn’t until I complete my first (very messy) draft that I feel I know my characters.
There are parts of people I know in a number of my characters. For example, my hubby is the inspiration for one of the McKenna brothers, but only the inspiration. Once the story starts the characters take on a life of their own.
SS: Tell us about your current release.
Finally Returned Home, Reef McKeena
Finds His Beloved Alaska Facing Its Greatest Threat
Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska's arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.
Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing: Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life--but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.
SS: Where did you get the idea for this book?
I was inspired by the Iditarod sled dog race. It’s such a grueling test of determination and endurance. I really wanted to have the McKennas’ experience the Last Great Race before the series wrapped up.
SS: Tell us about your main character.
Reef McKenna has always been the black sheep of the family, but he’s ready to make amends and he’s found the perfect lady to start over with. The only problem? She’s known him since kindergarten. Convincing someone you’ve changed takes a lot more than words. Fortunately, being paired together in the adventure of a lifetime, Reef gets to show Kirra what he’s really made of.
SS: Is there a spiritual message in your book? If so, what is it?
The theme for Sabotaged is hope in the midst of brokenness. God is able to bring healing and hope despite the worst of circumstances. It doesn’t happen overnight most times, but if we trust Him and wait on Him, He is faithful to bring healing—to turn our mourning into dancing. It doesn’t mean that all our questions will be answered, but we can hold tight to the promise that He will provide the grace we need to get through, even if it’s simply the grace to make it through day by day. God is faithful.
SS: What are you working on now?
I’m working on the first book in my new romantic suspense series—Chesapeake Valor. It is set in my neck of the woods and I’m so excited to share this gorgeous part of the country with readers, along with a brand new cast of characters!
SS: Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
I’m extremely klutzy—not exaggerating.
I love European history.
I took archery lessons.
SS: Favorite TV shows?
Forever, Fringe and Scorpion.
SS: Anything special you eat or drink while you’re writing?
Coffee and chocolate. There’s no other way to write J
SS: How do you celebrate after completing a book?
My family and I typically go out for a nice meal, or my hubby surprises me with a present. He’s so thoughtful.
SS: Where can readers find you on the Internet?
I love connecting with readers and I hope they’ll find me on my social media sites.
SS: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Thanks so much for all the amazing support! I truly treasure each email, FB message, timeline post and letter I receive. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to spend some time with me. I appreciate it! Have a great day.
If you'd like to win a copy of Dani's book, Sabotaged, leave a comment, along with your contact information. We'll pick a winner next week!