Best-selling author Dani Pettrey combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. Her novels have been lauded by the likes of Publishers Weekly, RT Book Reviews, and USA Today. Her latest release is Deadly Isle, originally published as part of the 3-in-1 collection The Cost of Betrayal (Bethany House): Cut off from any help from the mainland, will Tennyson Kent and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on revenge before they become the next victims? In this interview, Dani identifies the inspiration for the story, reveals her goals when writing it, and outlines the challenges of writing stories that balance faith, romance, and suspense…
What inspired the story in Deadly Isle?
I was extremely curious about the work Maryland’s National Resource Police do. It’s the only agency of its kind in the United States. The fascinating Chesapeake Bay Smith Island grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. It’s an island steeped in its old English heritage and culture. It’s only reachable by boat or ferry (and only then during the ‘season’). The residents still speak with the original settlers’ dialect.
What were your goals writing it?
To share the beauty of Maryland’s historic and gorgeous Chesapeake Bay, the history of our islands, and to introduce readers to Tennyson Kent and Callen Frost—two characters who grabbed hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go.
What are the challenges (or benefits) of writing “romances” as a Christian author?
I think showing the beautiful nuances of romance from a Christian mindset and delving into the glorious, pure love God created for us to enjoy as we fall in love and proceed in a way that keeps God first and as a couple grows in step with God’s plan and purposes for a man and a woman as they move into and experience marriage as He created it.
Your novel has elements of faith, romance, and suspense. Which of those elements was hardest for you to write? Which was the easiest?
I think the romance element is always the hardest as it takes the most focus to find the right balance and to show the full texture and nuances men and women deal with, the conflicts and obstacles they overcome, and the sacrificial way they step forward into a relationship in an unconditional way. All for the glory of God according to His will and purpose for marriage.
What do you want readers to take away after reading Deadly Isle?
A story that lingers in their mind long after they turn the last page.
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