News & Blog

The Scariest Part: Dani Pettrey Talks About THE DEADLY SHALLOWS

This week on The Scariest Part, my guest is author Dani Pettrey, whose latest novel is The Deadly ShallowsHere is the publisher’s description:




CGIS Agent Noah Rowley is rocked to the core when several of his valued team members come under fire on his Coast Guard base. He and his remaining team race to the scene and end the attack, but not before innocent lives are lost. Furious and grief-stricken, he vows to do whatever is needed to bring the mastermind behind the attack to justice.

Stunned by the ambush, Coast Guard flight medic Brooke Kesler evacuates in a helicopter carrying the only surviving gunman. The gravely wounded man whispers mysterious information to Brooke that immediately paints a target on her back.

As Brooke and Noah race to uncover answers, emotions between them ignite. Noah struggles to protect Brooke at all costs and to conceal the secret that prevents him from becoming what he longs to be — the right man for her.

Everything is at stake as a horrifying truth emerges… The attack wasn’t the end game. It was only the beginning.

And now, let’s hear what the scariest part was for Dani Pettrey:

Coming up with the scariest part of The Deadly Shallows was easy. It was the torture scene. Even though I end the scene before the torture officially begins and I don’t pick up until after it’s concluded, what occurred is revealed throughout the story and as the author, I knew what Brooke went through. It was scary to go there — to envision and “feel” my heroine’s desperate fear in those moments. The terror of being at someone’s mercy when he possesses none. Then taken to a desolate place to be killed before she’s had a chance to truly live the life she desires. Knowing within minutes her life will be snuffed out.

She manages to escape but is hunted like a wild animal through the shallows and woods of southern North Carolina. I could feel her heart racing, sweat clinging to her skin, her clothes soaked from her initial escape into the water. The chill of the December wind rippling up her arms. My heart races in turn, goosebumps rippling up my arms, my breath grows shallow as Brooke struggles for air.

Longing for freedom, terror consumes her at the realization it may never come. She may die cold and alone in the woods, her body no doubt buried by the swampy shallows. The fear of such a death creeps up my spine, my chest tightens as I pen the words.

Brooke runs faster, stumbling through the woods, her legs wobbling beneath her, her torture wounds throbbing and burning. Her left eye is so swollen she can barely see, making the dead leaves crunching beneath her feet and clinging to the tree’s barren limbs, distorted. Every sound of an animal makes her jerk.

The noise of a car’s engine roars at the top of the steep slope. Freedom. It’s so close but the men’s footfalls pound hard behind her. Her terror grips my chest at the thought alone of enduring what Brooke did — being taken captive and forced to an extreme of physical and mental anguish she never thought she could survive. Those fears radiate in my mind. With each click of the keyboard, my muscles tense, a visceral reaction I’d never experienced while writing rakes through me.

Thankfully, Brooke makes it up the hill to freedom and safety, but she’s forever changed by what she endured. Hitting a new emotional depth in my writing I’d never experienced or ever anticipated happening, rattled me. I, too, feel changed. Living in my character’s thoughts, fears and emotions tapped into fears I didn’t know I had until I wrote the scariest part of my story.

The Deadly Shallows: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Powell’s / Bookshop

Dani Pettrey: Website / Facebook / Instagram / BookBub

Publishers Weekly and #1 Amazon bestselling author, Dani Pettrey has sold nearly 800,000 copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today). She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland.

9 responses to “The Scariest Part: Dani Pettrey Talks About THE DEADLY SHALLOWS”

  1. Lisa Hudson says:

    Dani Pettrey is one of my favorite romantic suspense writers. This illustration of “The Scariest Part” is an example of how Pettrey writes creative word pictures that make you feel as though you are a participant in the story & not just a mere reader!

  2. Debb Hackett says:

    That was intense. Loved this book. Thanks for giving us a glimpse behind the scenes.

  3. Vickie Watts says:

    Really good info, Dani! I enjoyed the entire book, but the scariest scene for me was the mass shooting one. I was glued to the book hoping for a good outcome for all of the victims.

    • Dani says:

      Hi Vickie,

      Thanks so much for sharing the scariest part of the story for you. It’s so cool how different parts of a story hit different notes with each person. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Terri Sawyer says:

    I knew authors got attached to their characters, because what they write makes me like-or not like-them too. I become emotionally invested in a book, but I didn’t let myself think about Brooke’s torture and fear. I almost drowned in the ocean and it was VERY frightening, so I don’t like to think about that. I did experience the fear while she ran away, and the relief when she escaped. These are the hallmarks of a phenomenal writer, which Dani is!! INCREDIBLE book!!! I’ve already read it twice.

    • Dani says:

      Hi Terri,

      I hit reply in the wrong place so please ignore comment #5 which dropped under yours. The ‘tension’ comment was for Debb. I’m SO sorry you nearly drown. I can’t imagine how terrifying that must have been. Thank you so much for the d lovely comment about my writing. I’m thrilled you enjoyed The Deadly Shallows. Thanks so much for taking time to stop by!

  5. Dani says:

    Thanks so for hopping by. Glad you enjoyed the tension 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *