Debby Giusti interview

» Posted on May 2, 2007 in Blog | Comments Off on Debby Giusti interview

1. What made you start writing?

Hi, Margaret! Thanks for interviewing me on your blog. Writing has always been a part of my life. As a child, I wrote short stories and even penned a book when I was in third grade. The book was about seven girls that I aptly titled it, “We Are Seven.” Not very original, but I was proud of my work. When I was deciding on what to study in college, my parents encouraged me to have a profession. Since I loved science almost as much as the written word, I became a medical technologist and worked in hospital laboratories until my husband and I started our family. I published a few slice-of-life vignettes when my children were little, but as they grew, I put my writing on hold and was heavily involved in their school activities, church ministry and community volunteer projects. In the 1990s, I realized if I was ever going to give my writing dream a chance, I needed to get started. I didn’t want to be an old woman someday and regret I’d never tried to publish my work so I started freelancing for magazines and had a good bit of success. Eventually, I turned to full-length fiction.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I had my first article published in ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory in 1995 and served on their editorial advisory board for many years. I also published articles in a number of magazines and eventually worked for SOUTHERN LADY, which continues to be my favorite women’s magazine.

On August 3, 2005, Krista Stroever called to tell me that Steeple Hill wanted to publish NOWHERE TO HIDE. As you can imagine, when I got off the phone, I screamed for joy and sent up a big THANK YOU, JESUS!

3. How do you handle rejections?

Rejection is always hard. Early on, I was rejected by an agent and didn’t write for six months. Of course, that was foolish. I eventually learned most successful agents usually don’t take on an unpublished writer unless they’re sure they can sell his or her work. Stephanie Bond, a wonderful author in my Georgia Romance Writers’ chapter, always says writing is a business and the book is our product. Once I was able to see my manuscript as a product, I realized the rejections weren’t personal. The editors weren’t rejecting Debby Giusti, they were rejecting a product that needed more work.

4. Why do you write?

I’ve always prayed that my stories would one day touch readers’ hearts. Having Steeple Hill publish my books is a dream come true and a beautiful gift God has given me. On April 10th of this year, my debut novel first appeared in bookstores. Seeing it on the shelves at long last was thrilling, but the real joy came when I received a letter from a reader who said the story had touched her heart. Tears stung my eyes as I read her words. God had given me what I began praying for so long ago.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

I’d be doing more volunteer work. I can’t sit idle. There’s always a project to tackle or something new to learn.

6. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on promoting my second book, SCARED TO DEATH, which will be out in August and revolves around a transplant tourist racket. Book three just sold! MIA: MISSING IN ATLANTA is the story of a returning war hero who’s searching for his girlfriend. Just like NOWHERE TO HIDE and SCARED TO DEATH, MIA has romance, suspense and, of course, a spiritual element. Now I’m brainstorming ideas for two new books and will soon turn in the proposals to Jessica Alvarez, my fantastic editor at Steeple Hill.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

While my characters are totally fictional, I think most writers incorporate their views on life and relationships into their stories, so in that respect I guess a part of me is reflected in my books.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

NOWHERE TO HIDE is Lydia Sloan’s story. Her husband’s been murdered and the people who killed him are trying to kidnap her son. Lydia and six-year-old Tyler flee to an island off the coast of Georgia and end up running headlong into the danger they were hoping to escape. Matt Lawson is the chief of security. When Lydia seeks refuge in her aunt’s oceanfront home, she trips the security alarm, and Matt responds to the call. Seeing the frightened woman with a small boy in tow, Matt’s not sure which side of the law Lydia’s on.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Believe in yourself and in your work. So much rejection comes with writing that you have to counter the negative with a positive attitude and a determination that you will succeed. A quote from ART & FEAR, by David Bayles and Ted Orland, has stuck with me: Those who succeed have learned how not to quit. That’s so true. You have to work hard, improve your craft and technique and continue to believe. Eventually your dream will come true!

10. How important is faith in your books?

When I added a faith element, my stories came alive. I’m sure it’s because I feel strongly that a person’s relationship with the Lord impacts their relationships with others. Once I could go more deeply into my characters and explore the need for God in their lives, the need for forgiveness and acceptance, my stories took on a new richness. Faith is just one element of my characters’ personalities, yet it plays an important role in each story.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

My first two books are about God’s unconditional love and mercy. My third book is about forgiveness.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

I like all my books, but my debut novel, NOWHERE TO HIDE, will always have a place in my heart because it’s the one that first caught the editor’s eye.

13. Since you’ve recently sold your first book, tell us about “the call.”

Krista Stroever called on August 3, 2005, just three days after I had returned from the RWA Conference in Dallas. Krista and I had talked at the conference, and she told me she had passed my work up to Joan Marlow Golan, the executive editor, and was waiting to hear back from her. As you can imagine, I was on pins and needles. When I answered the phone, Krista prompted me to get paper and pencil and write down the offer she was going to make. Thank goodness I did because when I hung up and tried to tell my husband what had happened, I couldn’t remember anything Krista had said other than Steeple Hill wanted to buy my book!!!

14. What is your writing schedule like?

I write everyday. Usually, I get to the computer by mid-morning and work until late afternoon. Often, I’ll return to my office in the evening to check my email and work on promotional projects.

15. Why do you like to write romantic suspense? Do you plan to write other types of stories?

I grew up on Nancy Drew books and have always loved suspense. More than likely, I’ll stick with what I love. I hope the readers will let me know if they like my stories. They can visit my web site at and write to me at I’m currently running a Cross My Heart contest that I’d love to have everyone enter. Details are posted on my web site.