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Authors, Novels & National Parks: Researching Gettysburg by Dani Pettrey

Researching Gettysburg

Cold Shot, the first novel in my new Chesapeake Valor series, is primarily set at Gettysburg National Park. To prepare for writing Griffin and Finley’s story, I booked a private tour with a certified guide for a day at Gettysburg.

Gettyburg Canon[2]Living only an hour and half away, my family and I have been to Gettysburg numerous times. Especially since my husband is a huge Civil War buff and Joshua Chamberlain fan. If you’re unfamiliar with Chamberlain be sure to look him and the Battle for Little Round Top up—it’s an enthralling look at a battle that shaped the Civil War and exemplified the character of a fascinating and honorable man.
However, I wanted more than just our self-guided tours we’d taken in the past provided. I wanted to talk with someone who really knew Gettysburg, so we hired a Licensed Battlefield Guide named Tom.

Gettysburgbff3517236200deb5b47372154a65642Tom met us at the Visitors’ Center to discuss what we were interested in learning about.  I explained the research I was most interested in for my story—Little Round Top, the Park Rangers, Joshua Chamberlain—and we set off on our journey. Tom was a walking encyclopedia of Gettysburg knowledge. We learned more during our day-long visit with him than we had in all the years we’d been visiting the hallowed grounds.

Gettyburg MD InfantryIn Cold Shot a modern body is found by Park Ranger Griffin McCray. When I started picking out where I wanted the remains to be buried, I have to admit, it may have freaked Tom out a little bit. Thankfully, he was a good sport and even let Mike take pictures of me by the spot.

Gettyburg Mass Grave SiteHe also shared some artifacts from the battle. So amazing! If you’re ever in the area, or even if you’re not, you really should make it to Gettysburg one day. The town is quaint and lovely, but the battlefield is a vivid and powerful reminder of a war which nearly tore our country in two. As you drive past the well-preserved houses and local farms, you can’t help but feel you’ve stepped back in time.

Gettyburg Holding Shrapnel

Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.


Winner: Roxanne C.

Dani has graciously agreed to offer a copy of Cold Shot for this giveaway.

Click here to enter. 

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Open to U.S. (print or ebook) and international (ebook only) entries.

Cold-Shot-Book-Cover-1In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet–until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern–a young social justice lawyer missing since spring–and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.


DANIDOUBLERead my review of Cold Shot (Chesapeake Valor Book 1).

Add it to your goodreads list.

Purchase a copy on amazon.





stilllifereviewRead my review of Still Life.

Add it to your goodreads list.

Purchase a copy on amazon.



13 thoughts on “Authors, Novels & National Parks: Researching Gettysburg by Dani Pettrey

  1. I’ve never visited Gettysburg, but I’d love to go. It sounds so fascinating, and I love hearing more about the history of our country and our national parks.


  2. I live about 40 minutes north of Gettysburg, and our family loves it there as well! (And I also set one of my books there.) We mostly roam the battlefield on our own, although we did take a ghost tour, by bus, with a former licensed guide. There’s always more to learn and see there – in town and on the battlefield.


  3. Visited the battlefield several years ago and have done quite a bit of Civil War research while doing family genealogy. What an interesting background for a book!


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