The first time I blogged – in fact the first time I ever posted a comment on a blog – was in April 2007, when Marilyn invited me to be a guest on the Writing Playground. I had so much fun chatting with everyone online. Huntsville, Alabama, is one of my favorite cities, and the HOD writers are the best.
Now it’s October 1st, 2008 . . . the first day of the month when COUNTDOWN TO DEATH, the first book in my new Magnolia Medical series, will be released. With all those firsts, it seems the perfect time to return to the Playground. Thanks, Marilyn for inviting me back.
How did five people from a small Georgia town contract a rare, deadly disease? Medical researcher Allison Stewart has to work against the clock to find out. Yet before she can ask one question, someone tries to kill her. A handsome recluse who is shrouded in suspicion saves her.
Many believe Luke Garrison is guilty of a decade-old murder—a murder with ties to Allison’s case. Allison dares to work closely with Luke. But is she setting herself up to become victim number six?
I have a plaque in my room that reads: Everything happens for a reason, just believe. Looking back over my life brings home the truth of those words.
Growing up, my mother always said a woman needed a profession so, although I loved both science and English, I pursued a B.S. degree in Medical Technology. After graduation, I worked in the clinical laboratory until the birth of my first child when I turned in my test tubes and became a stay-at-home mom.
When Baby One and Baby Two were little, I published a few magazine articles, but as they grew and when Baby Three appeared, I put my writing on hold. “I’ll get to it when I have more time,” I kept telling myself.
Fast forward to when my eldest was heading for college. I decided to go back to the laboratory and worked part-time at a local hospital. I had started writing again and submitted short articles to area newspapers and medical magazines about what our lab was doing to improve the health and well being of our patients. My co-workers liked seeing their names in print, and I enjoyed having a byline. Before long, an editor from ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory -- a slick publication for management-level laboratorians -- called to ask if I’d be interested in writing for them.
“Write what you know,” the experts say, so my first piece, titled “Flexing the Clock,” spotlighted the folks I worked with, many of whom had schedules tailor-made to fit their personal needs. One of the male techs pulled two 18-hour shifts on weekends so he could be Mr. Mom to his kids during the week. Other folks had schedules that dovetailed with a second job or family commitments.
Shortly after that first article ran, I queried ADVANCE about a story on the summer Olympics. My hometown, Atlanta, Georgia, was hosting the games, and I did a piece on how the medical community was gearing up for the influx of tourists who would need medical care. “Go for the Gold,” was the cover story that August.
While interviewing the city’s leading healthcare professionals, I learned their concerns about the infectious diseases foreign travelers could bring to the U.S. “Emerging Infectious Diseases” ran the month prior to the Olympics and established the direction of future medical articles I wrote, such as “The Rash of Latex Allergies” and “What’s Bugging the United States.”
I served on the magazine’s editorial board for over twelve years and was able to attend numerous scientific conferences. Although I didn’t know it then, the research and the contacts I made were laying the groundwork for the fictional tales I now write.
During that time, I also penned articles for women’s magazines and worked for a number of years for SOUTHERN LADY, a Birmingham publication. Eventually I realized my heart’s desire was to write full-length fiction. Success didn’t come easily, but looking back I can see how so many of what seemed like detours along my road to publication were actually important steps preparing me for my work today.
SCARED TO DEATH, my second Love Inspired Suspense, was a medical story and won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Inspirational Suspense this year. In addition, it’s a Maggie Award of Excellence finalist. Hopefully, that means readers will like COUNTDOWN TO DEATH as well. I just submitted PROTECTING HER CHILD, book two in the series, which will be out in May 2009, and am now working on book three.
My publisher assured me COUNTDOWN TO DEATH would be on the shelves by October 14th. Look for it in your favorite bookstore or order it online through my website: http://www.debbygiusti.com/. I love to hear from readers so email me and let me know if you enjoy the story.
Can I share some more good news? I recently learned Karen Wiesner referenced my work in her latest how-to book, FROM FIRST DRAFT TO FINISHED NOVEL (Writer's Digest Books, 978-1-58297-551-1). The index published online lists SCARED TO DEATH, by Debby Giusti, between J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, and Kate Jacobs, author of THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB. Not bad company! Of course, I’m thrilled.
The Moonlight and Magnolia’s Conference will be this weekend in Atlanta. I’ll be giving a workshop, BE PREPARED, along with Missy Tippens, and signing at the Book Fair on Saturday. If you’re at the conference, be sure to say hello!
Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite series and why? Do you reach for a book in a series before a stand-alone? What do you look for in a series?
Happy writing!!! Happy reading!!!
Wishing you abundant blessings,
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P.S. Debbie is giving away a copy of COUNTDOWN TO DEATH. Post in the comments tail to qualify to win her latest book. She has some appointments this morning but will be here in the afternoon to play.