Today we're welcoming Luke Garrison, the hero of COUNTDOWN TO DEATH, by Debby Giusti, October 2008. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
I’m not one for the limelight; in fact, most folks call me a recluse. Maybe that’s because of everything that happened ten years ago. Despite the town gossips, I created a loving home for my mentally challenged sister, Shelly, and my aunt Bett on a farm outside Sterling, Georgia.
I own a company that manufactures hunting knives my grandfather originally designed, and in my spare time, I write articles for regional hunting magazines, which was why Allison Stewart and I seemed to butt heads at first. She had so many questions about the health of the wild game in the area, and I wasn’t sure if she was trying to change our rural way of life or if she’d stumbled onto a medical problem that could adversely impact all of us.
The night we met, Bett and I had taken Shelly to her monthly doctor’s appointment in Atlanta and were returning home on the desolate two-lane road that skirts town. Thank God, I spotted the flames in the old Wallace Bed and Breakfast. Allison claims I saved her life. In retrospect, I’d say she saved mine.
2. So, during the book you met Allison Stewart. Tell us a bit about her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Allison is tenacious and determined, and once she sets her mind on getting to the bottom of a situation, there’s no stopping her. She changed my life and the way I looked at the world. At first, I wasn’t sure the change was for the better.
Everything happened so fast, and looking back, I can’t pinpoint when I fell in love with Allison. Maybe it happened that first night when I wrapped her in my arms. The fire raged around us and my only thought was for her safety. Maybe it was when she kept trying to get to the bottom of the horrific crime that had torn apart my life years earlier. Or maybe I fell in love with her when she told me she believed in me.
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
My strength lies in my determination. Things happened in the past that threw my sister’s fragile mind into upheaval. She’s been in therapy ever since. The doctors in Atlanta questioned whether she would ever improve, but I never gave up.
I know how precious life is and how important it is to protect the ones we love. Because of everything that happened, I probably hold on too tightly to those I love.
4. What scares you?
Before I met Allison I feared revealing a secret that seemed at the center of a crime that rocked our town. Allison helped me realize facing the truth would set me free.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would be more open, more accepting, and I would have trusted my inner beliefs.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
I’ve always been close to the Lord, but I turned my back on the church people in town. That was a mistake.
7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
Allison opened up doors that had been closed for years. In the end, the truth was exposed and with it came healing. The church community welcomed me back with open arms.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
“May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.” Psalms 33:22
The trauma Shelly suffered had sent her to a dark place and years of counseling couldn’t bring her back, but my constant prayer was for her healing. Holding onto hope, as the scripture verse mentions, helped me through the tough times.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
Dessert? Hmmm? Probably peach cobbler with ice cream on top. The peaches grow on the trees in our backyard. I pick the fruit, Bett makes the cobbler and Shelly helps turn the ice cream churn. Now that Allison’s part of the family, she says her job is to make sure everything gets eaten.
Debby, thank you so much for letting Luke visit with us. What an exciting story. Can't wait to read the book.