Danni Pettrey grew up canoeing, scuba diving, wind surfing, and sailing. After she married, she added rock climbing and family hikes. “From the time our daughters were little, we put them in a carrier and took them hiking, and we’ve already taken our 10-week-old grandson hiking with us.” So it’s not surprising that her bestselling Alaskan Courage series (Bethany House) features the five adventure-loving McKenna siblings, who own a company that leads rock-climbing expeditions and air tours of the Alaska wilderness. The series has produced multimonth CBA bestsellers, and Submerged was both a 2013 Christy Award and Christian Book of the Year finalist. Each book in the series focuses on a different extreme sport and sibling. In the fourth book, Silenced, it’s free climbing and middle child Kayden McKenna, whose climbing route brings her literally face-to-face with a dead climber. Is it an accident or something more sinister?
Pettrey began writing 10 years ago, “on the side,” while raising and homeschooling her daughters. “I started out playing with story ideas and writing short stories, and I’d written two manuscripts before writing what became the Alaskan Courage series.” Her initial inspiration came from a very un-Alaskan source—a movie about cave diving. “I snorkel, but cave diving is really extreme. I thought, how great it would be to write a series about a family who pursues adventure.” She sold the first book when she was 38, after meeting her now editor at an American Christian Fiction Writers conference.
With the final book in the Alaskan Courage series almost finished, Pet trey is looking ahead to beginning work on a new series of four books set in the Chesapeake Bay area. “They’ll still be romantic suspense, but this time adventure will be a hobby, not a profession.” She hopes that her stories of the McKenna family will inspire readers “to step out and try new adventures of their own, whether it be attending a cooking class, taking up knitting, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, or giving scuba diving a try. Life is so full of possibilities, and I hope the way the McKenna’s live will encourage them to try new things and dream big.”
Pet trey will be signing copies of Silenced today, 1–1:30 p.m., at Table 9 in the Autographing Area.