With popular reality shows and Alaskan cruises tempting tourists, the faraway state has become a fixation for adventure-seekers. Dani Pettrey has keyed into readers’ desires and completed her Alaskan Courage series, which tells stories of the five McKenna siblings. It is a romantic-suspense hybrid with loads of action and adventure that cuts straight to the heart.
Reef has always been the black sheep of the McKenna clan. In Sabotaged (Bethany House) he returns home to work with the search and rescue team of the legendary Iditarod. It is there he and Kirra Jacobs, who have always been opposites, are forced to collaborate. When Kirra’s uncle disappears from the race the two must work together to discover the truth:Her uncle’s daughter has been kidnapped. And the villain has disastrous and far-reaching plans. It is their job to track him down before it’s too late.
Romance is a vital component to this story as the attraction between Kirra and Reef grows. Dani admits romantic suspense is a difficult genre to write. And striking the balance between the two can be an arduous task, requiring many rewrites. “I love writing inspirational 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,” adds Dani.
When asked about her inspiration for the series, Dani says she was drawn to learn more about extreme athletes and those we pursue adventurous careers. Who are these people who put their lives at risk? “I began diving into all the extreme sports and adventure professions and the McKenna family was born.” She adds that she felt the Iditarod was the perfect setting for such a fast-paced, high-stakes book. “The McKennas’ world revolves around adventure and extremes. There’s no place on earth where you find a better combination of the two than during the Iditarod.”
Though the book is a page-turner, don’t be fooled. It still packs a punch when it comes to speaking on matters of the heart. The underpinning theme of the book is having hope amidst 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. God is faithful.”
Fans will rejoice and mourn the end of this series. But Dani hinted that readers might see the McKenna’s once more. Dani remarked, “It’s definitely a possibility.” Fans can definitely look forward to a new four-part series from Dani titled, Chesapeake Valor. The first book will release early 2016.