Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bit and Pieces of Protecting Her Child

By Debby Giusti

Writers weave bits and pieces of their lives into their books. A snippet of conversation, an act of bravery or a favorite location often find a home in the stories I write.

PROTECTING HER CHILD, the second stand-alone book in my Magnolia Medical series, came to life because Pat Rosenbach, a dear friend of mine, told me about her friend Eva. (In the photo above, Pat Rosenbach (L) stands next to me, holding a photo of Eva.)

I’m a medical technologist and diseases fascinate me so when Pat told me about Eva’s long and courageous struggle with Von Hippel-Lindau disease, I did some research and soon learned tumors—actually clusters of capillaries—appear sporadically in VHL patients. Initially, they attack various organs such as the retina or spinal cord or adrenal gland. The tumors must be surgical removed and sometimes result in debilitation, such as blindness or paralyses. While benign at the onset, once they attack the kidneys, the tumors turn malignant and can lead to death.

Throughout her lifetime, Eva had seven surgeries to remove growths in her body. Physicians at The National Institute of Health followed her and eight other members of her family who had the genetically acquired condition. Medical researchers believe that by studying VHL they will someday learn better ways to treat other cancers as well.

My friend Pat hosted a birthday party--a celebration of life party--for Eva shortly before her death. I met Eva that night, and her heroic determination inspired me to write PROTECTING HER CHILD. I hope my fictional tale will increase awareness about the disease as well as honor Eva and all of those who struggle with cancer.

On a lighter note, I set part of the story in Savannah’s beautiful historic district as well as the rural Georgia coast south of the city. Whenever in the area, my family and I always stop at the Sunbury Crab Company, a rustic waterfront restaurant in Sunbury, GA, which was the Dock House Restaurant in my book. While feasting on buckets of steamed blue crabs pulled fresh from the ocean, we watch the sun set over the low country and reflect on how good life is in Georgia. Next time you visit that neck of the woods, head to Sunbury ( for the best seafood in the South. It’s a treat you won’t forget.

If you’re a writer, post a comment and share how much of you own life experiences are reflected in your books. As a reader, do you try to separate fact from fiction in the stories you read? Leave your email address to be placed in the drawing for a copy of my current release, PROTECTING HER CHILD.

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Visit Debby online at, blog with her at and

Eva’s sister, Peggy Marshall, started as a source of information and support for those with VHL. To learn more about the work they do, contact Peggy at


Wealthy heiress Eve Townsend is close to death. But before she dies, she has to know: what happened to the daughter she gave up for adoption twenty-four years before? Did she inherit her mother’s life-threatening disease? Medical researcher Pete Worth is ready to find answers by tracking her down. And when he finally locates Meredith Lassiter, he finds her widowed, pregnant and on the run. The loan sharks who killed her husband want her dead…and Pete is the only one standing in their way.

Winner of the 2008 Daphne du Maurier Award for Inspirational Suspense, medical technologist Debby Giusti writes spine-chilling Christian fiction for Steeple Hill. PROTECTING HER CHILD, her fifth book and the second story in her Magnolia Medical series, was released in May. CHRISTMAS PERIL will feature her novella YULE DIE in December, and KILLER HEADLINE will follow in February 2010. Her first three books, NOWHERE TO HIDE, SCARED TO DEATH and MIA: MISSING IN ATLANTA are available in hardcover by Thorndike. In addition to full-length fiction, Debby has written articles for numerous magazines, including Southern Lady, Woman’s World, Our Sunday Visitor, Army and Family. For over twelve years, she served on the editorial advisory board of ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory and wrote extensively on emerging infectious diseases for that magazine. For more information about Debby and her books, visit her web site at:


Cara Putman said...

Debby, this book sounds great. I think I'm headed to WalMart to get it!

Linda said...

Adoption is the best thing to do when you don't want to care for your baby. I, however, do not think I could do it for the very reason that this book is about--searching to find the child before one dies, to see and touch him/her. Great story line.

Debby Giusti said...

HI Cara,
Thanks for stopping by! I enjoyed writing this book because of Eva and her memory.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Linda,
Adoption is wonderful. I didn't want to imply anything negative about the mother giving up her daughter. Her parents made the choice for her.

And there is a happily ever after, of course! :)

EllenToo said...

When I read a book with a disease in I sometimes look it up to see if it is a real one and if it is I can better understand what the person is going through and it makes the book more interesting to me. It doesn't take me out of the story but makes it more interesting. I had a friend with Guillain-Barre syndrome and have read several books with that disorder in it and it has made the book more understandable.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Ellen,
Guillain-Barre syndrome is amazing, isn't it? There was a doctor in the first hospital I worked at that had GB. The disease fascintated me then and still does. I've thought about it for a story but don't have all the pieces yet.

Thanks for stopping by Ellen! Always good to see your comments.

Ramona Richards said...

Debby, I wanted to comment about this over on the eHarlequin site, but I can't remember how to sign in!

I think this sounds amazing, and it's been nagging at me from the top of my TBR pile since I bought it. I think the story behind it just underlines what a terrific writer - and Christian - you are.

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks for your sweet comment. I have trouble navigating the eHarlequin site as well. Glad we can connect on the Craftie Ladies.