Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author who enjoys living through the thrilling, nail-biting suspense that is experienced by her characters. Now readers can experience it too, because Dani’s debut novel, Submerged, was released on May 1.

A fan of traveling, dark chocolate, and little cottages on remote stretches of the beach, Dani, along with her husband and their two teenage daughters, resides in Maryland.

You seem to love adventure! What sparked your decision to journey down the adventurous path of writing?

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.

Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?

My illness was really scary and difficult, but God brought a lot of blessings out of it, including renewing my love of writing and the desire to pursue it professionally.

How does your faith play into your work?

It 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.

Let’s talk about your new book, Submerged (May 1, 2012, Bethany House). Please tell us about it.

Submerged is the first in my Alaskan Courage series.

A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers. One single clue.

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey, Alaska, again. She has a past, and a reputation–and Yancey’s a town that doesn’t forget. She’s returned only to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash, but then dark evidence emerges and Bailey’s own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can face dangerous rescue dives. He can face the fear a murderer may be threatening his town. But facing the reality of Bailey’s reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart… but doesn’t seem to be the same girl who left Yancey ten years ago. And he’s not the same guy she left behind.

Racing against the clock and a rising body count, Bailey and Cole must move beyond the hurts of their pasts to work together until the truth of what is hidden in the depths finally surfaces.

Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?

That true fulfillment and wholeness can be found only in Christ.

God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?

God showed me that even when we are forgiven, sometimes we let our past sins weigh us down. Instead of embracing the new creation we are in Him, we let the past hinder our future, and it keeps us from fully experiencing what God has planned for us.

As a debut author, what’s your best piece of advice to writers—young or older—who are just starting out?

Keep writing. It sounds trite, but it’s very easy to become discouraged. Writing can be a solitary endeavor and there are many obstacles along the path to publication, but if God has laid the love of story on your heart (no matter your age) then write for Him. You just may be amazed what He does with it. : )

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Dark chocolate is my go-to treat whether I’m celebrating or in a funk. My absolute favorite dark chocolate dessert is Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé. It’s a Belgian chocolate soufflé drizzled with raspberry coulis and accompanied by vanilla bean ice cream. It is out of this world.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

My daughter laughed hysterically at this because I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I did play the flute growing up and dabbled with the guitar. Although, I have terrible flashbacks of having to practice over and over with a metronome ticking rhythmically in the background.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

Something with a fun melody like Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison or Bubbly by Colbie Caillat.

Are you a major or a minor chord?


In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

The little girl trying to walk in high heels. It’s exactly why I try to never wear high heels, though it’s a hilarious sight to see when I do. Just ask my husband.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

We have two dogs—a black Lab who thinks he’s a lap dog and a Miniature Dachshund who thinks she’s a lion.

Thanks, Dani. It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour this week!

Thanks so much for having me! It’s been a pleasure.

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For more information about Dani, visit her website at www.DaniPettrey.com.

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