Stranded, Alaskan Courage Series #3Stranded, Alaskan Courage Series #3
Dani Pettrey
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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.

Alaskan Courage Series


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Dani PettreyDani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. 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.

Favorite Bible Verse: Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV) 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.

Read Dani Pettrey's Writers Corner Article Interview with Dani Pettrey


Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a homeschooling mom and author. My husband and I live in Maryland with our two daughters, a Black Lab who thinks he’s a lap dog and a miniature dachshund who thinks she’s a lion.

How did you get started writing Christian fiction?

I started writing a number of years ago after a bout with a serious illness. While recuperating, I read a lot and God used the time to bring back my love of story.

What was the reason for setting the series in Alaska?

I wanted a setting that worked well for a wide range of adventures—mountains, sea, and everything in between. Alaska is an amazing state, full of nearly endless possibilities. I also love how rugged and untamed the Alaskan wilderness is. There is an inherent risk of danger if you aren’t properly prepared and that works really well with suspense 

Have you taken a cruise?

Yes. My family and I took a Mediterranean cruise a couple summers ago. It wasn’t the same location, but being on the cruise ship is what inspired my idea for Stranded’s story line.

What made you choose to write suspense and intrigue?

I write romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things I love--the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one's faith and plenty of romance.

How prevalent is drug trafficking throughout the cruise lines?

The answer you get depends on whom you ask, but it seems to be fairly wide spread, particularly on the Caribbean cruises.

How prevalent is sex trafficking from the cruise lines?

I am not aware of any proven cases of sex trafficking via cruise lines. However, women do go missing from cruise ships. A great resource for information on crime aboard cruise ships is International Cruise Victims. They have a wealth of helpful articles and frightening statistics.

Will there be any more books that involve the McKenna family that we’ve grown fond of?

Absolutely. I’m pleased to announce there will be two more books in the series—one for each member of the McKenna family. Silenced will be out in May 2014.

What inspired your interest in writing the Alaskan Courage Series?

I watched a movie about cave divers and it got me thinking 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 into all the extreme sports and adventure professions and the McKenna family was born.


How did you come up with the concept for the Shattered?

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 two 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.

How much of the Shattered is factual?

Without giving too much of the story away, there are aspects that are factual, but I definitely let my imagination run wild with them.

How closely is Shattered based on your life experiences?

Only that my family and I really enjoy watching adventure competitions, and we enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.

How long did Shattered take you to complete?

About ten months.

Do you have a favorite character in the Alaskan Courage series? Why?

I’m asked this a lot and my answer usually varies. Right now, I’d say Bailey Craig simply because we share a similar past and we’ve both found freedom in Christ, thankfully.

How much research did Shattered take?

A lot. I found myself researching Alaska, Russian history, cave diving, adventure companies, search and rescue teams, and the list goes on. Fortunately, I absolutely love research. The hardest part for me is stopping so I can write the book.

What was the most interesting tidbit that you learned while writing Shattered?

There were so many fascinating things I learned while researching for Shattered—the amazing courage of dive rescue volunteers, the vast and beautiful landscape of Alaska, but I think what I found most interesting was Russia’s connection to Alaska. I had no idea how long Russia had a claim to Alaska, the depth of their involvement there and the amount of cultural heritage that is still present.

What are some of the challenges that you face as an author?

The biggest challenge I find is trying to balance everything--homeschooling my daughter, taking care of my family, maintaining close friendships, writing, researching and marketing. It’s definitely hard to juggle it all and my deepest prayer is for guidance on how to best balance everything God has so kindly entrusted me with.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

The writing. There’s nothing like sitting down and getting lost in a story.

What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in-between?)


I typically have the story premise in mind and then I sit down and start writing.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Absolutely. I had no idea my secondary couple in Submerged—Piper and Landon—were going to make an appearance or that the second book would be theirs.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?

Silenced will be out May 2014, with the last book in the Alaskan Courage series to follow in Spring 2015.

What message would you like your readers to take from  Stranded?

I never start out with a message in mind. I always wait to see what it is after the story is written. In Stranded I would say the message is hope. Hope that God can heal our hurts. Hope that He will give us a future. Hope that He has our times in His hands.

What is your greatest achievement?

I consider it more of a blessing than an achievement, but I would have to say homeschooling my daughters. I joyfully still have one at home, but my eldest is a junior in college this year and it was such a tremendous blessing to be able to homeschool her since kindergarten.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To write the stories God lays on my heart and to honor and glorify Him in all I do.

What do you do to get away from it all?

One of three things: go to the beach, go for a hike, or curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee, some dark chocolate and a really good book.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would just like to thank my readers for being the most amazing, supportive, and encouraging readers in the world. I deeply appreciate your notes of encouragement and your love for the McKenna family.



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