Debby Giusti is a medical technologist who loves working with test tubes and petri dishes almost as much as she loves to write. Her recent novel Amish Safe House (Love Inspired Suspense) is the second book in the Amish Witness Protection Series: After Julia Bradford’s son witnesses a gang shooting, hiding in witness protection on Abraham King’s Amish farm is the only hope the Englischer and her children have. In this interview, Debby explains the challenges of balancing romance and danger in a story set among the Amish…
Debby, what can you tell us about Amish Safe House? What inspired the story?
Placing characters in Witness Protection has always been a favorite scenario for suspense authors to use. Naturally, when my editor asked if I would be interested in taking part in a new Love Inspired Suspense continuity involving characters hidden within Amish communities, I eagerly jumped on board.
Amish Safe House is the second story in the series and features single-mom Julia Bradford and her two children. When Julia’s teenage son witnesses an inner-city gang killing, she and her children need protection from the street thugs who have them in their crosshairs.
Abraham King left law enforcement after his wife and young daughter were murdered and returned to his peaceful, albeit lonely, Amish roots riddled with guilt. Now three years later, a friend working as a U.S. Marshal asks Abraham to provide refuge for an Englisch family in the Witness Security Program. Abraham agrees, never suspecting the “family” consists of a down-on-her-luck mom and two fatherless kids who tug at his heart.
How does this fit into the larger Amish Witness Protection series?
Each story in the series involves characters who witness crimes and must enter the WITSEC program for their own safety. U.S. Marshal Jonathan Mast and two of his associates have an overarching role in the series, creating new identities for all the witnesses.
Placing them in various Amish communities provides cover and safe haven, but inevitably danger looms, and in each exciting climax, the heroes and heroines must fight for their lives and triumph over evil forces before they declare their love and live happily ever after.
What are the challenges of balancing all these different elements? It’s suspense, it’s romance, it’s Amish…
As you mentioned, there are a lot of threads to draw from as I write. Each element–romance, suspense, faith–must be woven together into a seamless story that, hopefully, will engage readers and keep them turning the pages. That challenge is what I enjoy most.
As the story develops, the dangers and obstacles become real to me, and like my characters, I often have to outsmart my antagonists to ensure the hero and heroine find true love. Equally important is their ability to ask God’s forgiveness for mistakes they’ve made in the past and to accept the Lord into their hearts. Only then can they live life to the full.
What do you hope readers take away after reading Amish Safe House?
Bad things happen to good people, and my heroes and heroines have to battle strong antagonists and opposing forces that form the external conflict in each of my stories. They also have to come to terms with their own internal conflict–a wound or mistake they’ve made in the past along with the guilt they carry that weighs heavily on their hearts. They believe God isn’t interested in them and in their problems when in reality they’ve closed the door and shut the Lord out of their lives.
Amish Safe House follows that same premise. At the end of the story, Julia and Abraham see past mistakes through the Lord’s tender gaze of merciful forgiveness.
Christ’s love is limitless and unconditional. I hope my stories drive home that truth to any reader who has been hurt or feels abandoned by God.
How does your faith impact how you approach storytelling?
My writing is not only my passion but also my ministry. I pray as I write, asking the Lord to provide the words and the inspiration. I also pray that the work of my hands—my writing—will bear good fruit.
For each book, I create flawed characters who feel unworthy of God’s love at the onset. As the story progresses and danger closes in, they often have nowhere to turn except to the Lord. Once they call out to Him, they find the wherewithal to risk everything for a greater good as well as for the one they love.
In this age, so many people seem to be broken or wounded and unable to live authentic lives. I pray for my readers and ask the Lord to free them from anything that holds them back from accepting God’s love. My goal is to write stories that reflect my faith in God and His abundant mercy and love for all of us.
Visit Debby Giusti’s author page:
Amish Safe House
Amish Witness Protection #2
Love Inspired Suspense