Friday, May 18, 2012

Bookshelf Friday - and a writing question:)

Do you mind if I start with my question? Because it's been burning on my mind since reading this book.

See, I was incredibly excited to begin Submerged, until I began it. Slowly I noticed similarities between her main characters and mine. It was as if you’d picked up my two main characters and dropped them into her story. Now, I know all about recurring themes, especially in Inspirational Fiction, but we’re talking a few details that may make a reader stop and go, “hmmm…did she copy her?”

So, fellow writers, have you ever encountered this? My manuscript is done, it’s been through two critique groups now and is polished, sitting ready for the fall ACFW conference. The main plot, setting, and other characters all are very different (case in point, mine's not a Thriller/Suspense)…but how many similarities are too many similarities, especially when we’re talking story detail? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Okay, now for my thoughts on this book:

Dani Pettrey’s debut novel?...Quite simply, it rocks. You can tell she is a gifted writer, and she’s poured every ounce of that gift into Submerged. If you’ve ever read Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series and loved it, you’re going to love this.

Dani’s characters come alive and you will so enjoy meeting them. The McKenna family is close-knit and loving, sucking me right into the middle of them. I confess, I’ve long enjoyed series that center around family (how they interact, watch out for one another, and all have their unique quirks) so this book was right up my alley. Yet Dani didn’t simply craft one great family, she gave us a host of characters with depth. Some you’ll love, some…well, not so much. A few of them even take center stage in this book, but the main characters are definitely Chase McKenna and Bailey Craig.

The suspense facet is woven in well, not too heavy handed, but enough to keep you turning pages. And the relationships that begin to build will keep you coming back. I for one cannot wait to see what happens in her next book—which she has left a great set-up for.

Take a look at the back cover blurb:

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a small town. She's returned to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash and is determined not to stay even an hour more than necessary. But then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can handle the deep-sea dives and helping the police recover evidence. He can even handle the fact that a murderer has settled in his town and doesn't appear to be moving on. But dealing with the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart, but she is not the same girl who left Yancey. He let her down, but he's not the same guy she left behind. Can they move beyond the hurts of their pasts and find a future together?

This book will definitely find a permanent home on my shelf, and if you’re looking to beef up your summer reading list (only a few weeks till June!!!), this would make a great addition.

Happy Friday!


  1. Oooh, this book sounds so good. It's definitely in my TBR pile...for sure. :)

    I've had times when I've thought my plot sounded eerily similar to someone else's. But the thing is, two writers could take the exact same hook or idea, even a full plot, and their books still wouldn't be the same. No one else can write your story the way you can. So, I think you're safe. :)

  2. I'm with Melissa, Susan. :-)

    There's nothing new under the sun. It's all in the way you show the story and how you bring your characters to life.

    Two more books to read before I can kick back with SUBMERGED. After this review, I can hardly wait!! Have a great weekend, Susan!

  3. Thanks ladies. I'm okay with the themes being the same, I agree, we're all pointing back to God so they'll be some recurring stuff:) But it was smaller details, you know, the things that are supposed to make our stories unique...yeah, that's what got me!

    I truly appreciate your input, the both of you. I'll take a deep breath and keep going:)

  4. I agree completely with Melissa and Dora!

    Submerged sounds like an awesome book -- thanks for the thoughtful review. :)