Q&A with Dani Pettrey, local author of "Alaskan Courage" book series

Dani Pettrey is the Harford County-based author of the "Alaskan Courage" book series.
Dani Pettrey is the Harford County-based author of the "Alaskan Courage" book series.(Photo courtesy of Dani Pettrey)

Dani Pettrey is a Harford county-based author of best-selling inspirational romantic suspense. The first four books in Dani's "Alaskan Courage" series have won numerous Christian fiction awards. Each book revolves around a member of Alaska's McKenna family and offers a generous helping of danger and intrigue. "Stranded," the third book in the series, recently received a Daphne du Maurier Award. Catching up with Pettrey, we hear about her writing adventures and her plans for future stories.

Have you always written contemporary romantic suspense?
No. I love the Regency period and Jane Austen, so I started out writing historical romance. But I found that wasn’t my voice. I actually took about a year off and spent time in prayer about it. You know, “Where does God want me? What sort of stories should I be telling?” 
How did you shift to writing romantic adventures?
I’ve always loved adventure stories — “Indiana Jones,” “Romancing the Stone.” I decided that’s what I was going to write — something I really loved. I read romantic suspense, and I read adventure, but I didn’t see a lot of books that combined the two. 
How many of the adventures in the “Alaskan Courage” series have you actually done?
I’ve done white-water rafting, rock climbing, skiing, kayaking — I’ve done most of them. I did scuba diving lessons but decided that wasn’t for me. I also do a lot of research. For rescue diving, I spoke to the president of the National Association of Rescue Divers. 
Do you see yourself doing a different type of story someday?
I love happy endings, and I love a good mystery, so I can’t see myself doing a different genre. But I am starting a new series. 
Where is the new series set?
In the Chesapeake Bay area, which I’m really excited about! My husband’s from Baltimore, and I’m from Northern Virginia, and we’ve been in Harford County for 17 years. Learning about other places is wonderful, but I love this area. There are so many unique things here that people know nothing about it. It will be fun to introduce readers to it.
What are your long-term goals
as a writer?
My goal has been to write the stories God laid on my heart and tell them to the best of my ability. From that point on, I pray they reach where God wants them to go. I feel as long as I have a great relationship with my publisher, and I’m able to write stories I love and that readers are still enjoying, then I’m extremely blessed.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Read widely and write regularly. You’ll learn as you write.