Friday, July 25, 2014

Stephanie Landsem: Stepping Back Into The Biblical Days

Everyone's Story once again welcomes warmly author Stephanie Landsem. Look at Stephanie's  online reviews and you will read praises for her novels in all vital areas of storytelling: setting, plot, and characterization. In other words, in addition to Stephanie being a pleasure to work with and host, she's an author for other writers to learn from and for readers, truly an author to entertain and to make the reader think. I hope you are as thrilled as I am that she visits with us this week. Please check out Stephanie's Book Giveaway, and then the handful of questions she answers. If you have another question or would like to say hello, please leave a comment. We're both looking forward to hearing from you.


Book Giveaway:Stephanie is offering one copy of her novel THE THIEF to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, August 1st, between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

Here's a glimpse from THE THIEF: excerpt

  Questions for Stephanie:
Tell us about your mindset as a contemporary author writing historical fiction. Do you go about your day, interacting with family and friends, running errands, preparing meals or snarling at the laundry mountain, in a constant how-would-they-have-done-it centuries ago? 

I love this question because I’ve always done that. Even when I was a kid I was fascinated by how every day tasks were done centuries ago— and became even more so as I had children of my own. I remember one beautiful summer day when I had three little ones and was pregnant with my fourth. I threw in a load of clothes, put some dinner in the crockpot and turned on the dishwasher, then took them all out for a day at the park with friends. I remember thinking, “Wow. That never could have happened even 100 years ago.” On the other hand, I sometimes envy my historical characters for their slower-paced lives that seem more family oriented than what we have today.

Now a multi-published author of historical fiction set in Biblical times (with THE TOMB releasing in early 2015), how do you see your reading audience and their reading desires and interests?

I see my readers as my biggest inspiration. Their encouragement and comments on my books are what keeps me going. From what I’ve heard from them, I believe my readers want two things: a good story and to deepen their faith. First, readers love to be transported into the fictional world and imagine that they are ‘right there’ in the story. Second, they want to have new insight into their faith. I often hear that my stories inspire readers to go back to the Bible and read it with fresh eyes and new understanding. My hope with each book is to deliver both.

In hindsight, what would you advise the debut author Stephanie Landsem? And projecting ahead with what you’ve learned so far on this published author’s journey, what type of things are you on the lookout to avoid in the future?

I’d tell debut author Stephanie to take a deep breath and keep her eyes on the horizon. It’s so easy to see the mountain of tasks for each day—word count, editing, marketing—and forget to raise my eyes up and remember why I’m writing books. I want to always remember how truly blessed I am to share these stories with my readers.

Has researching your novels taught you any fascinating wonders you’d like to share?

Yes! More than I can write about here. As probably any historical novelist would tell you, the amount of research we do to make our stories accurate is far more than you ever see in our books. There is so much left in my head that when I have time, I blog about my historical research on my website in case any readers want to learn about the cool things I find that didn’t make it into the story.

Other than Jesus Himself, if you could step back into the time of your novels to interview one person for research for a novel, whom would you choose? What top 3 questions might you ask?

That is a hard question! I just finished edits on my third novel in the series, The Tomb, so I would have to say that the one person I’d most like to interview would be Lazarus. I’d love to ask him what it was like to die and how did he feel physically when he came back to life in the tomb. And then I’d like to know what he was thinking when he walked out of that tomb and saw Jesus and his sisters.

Do you have a reoccurring author’s theme in your novels?

The underlying theme of all the novels in The Living Water series is this: What does it mean to encounter Jesus, the Incarnation of God?  Whether my characters are a poor Samaritan, a desperate thief, a Roman centurion, or lifelong friends of Jesus like Martha and Lazarus, each of them faces this fundamental question. In the end, I think it’s the ultimate question that we all must ask ourselves.

For fun: if you were gifted 3 weeks to reread 3 novels, which preteen novels would you gladly pick up again?

You really do ask some brutal questions, Elaine! Hmm. I’d go with the classics that bring back great memories of reading away the summer hours when I was a kid:

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (my favorite by Louisa)

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (I know it isn’t a single novel but I’m a fast reader)

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley (I love horses and was sure I was going to be a jockey when I grew up)

Thanks for having me Elaine, it is always truly a pleasure to chat with you.

To view Stephanie's previous guest appearance on Everyone's Story, please see Illuminating History Through Fiction

Stephanie's Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Get into the mindset of Biblical fiction characters with author Stephanie Landsem. (Tweet This)

Like #BiblicalFiction? See what inspires author Stephanie Landsem. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Writing Fun: Everyone’s Story hosts Stephanie Landsem #ChristianFiction #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

Places to connect with Stephanie:


30 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 25, 2014

    I always enjoy the interviews and glimpse into the author's lives. Thanks for bringing them to us. Also, sounds like another good book.

    Ann Ellison
    abilene_nana@yahoo.com

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    1. Ann, I'm glad you enjoy my guests. I've always enjoyed the stories behind authors and what motivates their creativity, and this from both a writer's and reader's perspective.

      And of course, I always enjoy when you visit! Blessings, my friend.

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    2. Thanks for visiting Ann. For my part, I love hearing from readers!

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  2. Love this interview, Elaine & Stephanie. I particularly love Stephanie's comment about the 2 key reasons readers read her novels: a great story and to deepen their faith. They're the 2 reasons I read Christian fiction.

    I took the former for granted but I find with many Christian readers deepening their faith from reading a novel isn't as important. So I'm greatly encouraged that Stephanie's readers are seeking it.

    I've said this a couple of times but I really must get to your novels Stephanie and am more eager having read this interview. All the very best with finalising The Tomb.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Ian. As much as you may have enjoyed Stephanie's interview--and thanks for this!--I'm always intrigued by your reflective comments that make me think…

      Why do I read Christian fiction? Because I want to see how a person so lost in the mire of life manages to cling to his or her faith, no matter what, and how this faith "rescues" them. Sounds like a Dystopian setting, huh? When you think about it, believing in God is believing in a whole new existence that replaces the way of life as we know it, however instead of the "Dystopian" setting being awful it's the extreme opposite: wonderful, and nothing short of it.

      And that's why I write Christian fiction.

      Anyone else care to share their thoughts?

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    2. Thanks, Ian. I sometimes feel like I have it a little easier as an author writing biblical fiction. It is so easy to imagine what it might have been like to meet Jesus during the time he was on Earth. How can you not be changed? But I'm always impressed with Christian fiction authors who can show a real change of heart in their characters in other time periods, especially contemporary.

      I do hope you enjoy the books, Ian. Let me know what you think of them when you finish.

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    3. I read Christian fiction for the pure joy of reading and getting lost in the world of that particular book. And I love to see how God works in the lives of the characters. This last is the reason I write Christian fiction...it's always fun seeing how God connects with my characters.

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    4. Definitely, Pat. Definitely!

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    5. BTW, I did not mean to refer to Dystopian fiction as "awful," but rather that the time periods that these stories are set in are grim and offer little hope… and that's why Dystopian Christian fiction especially rocks!

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  3. I loved the Black Stallion series! Read everyone of them. Thanks Elaine for having such interesting people on your blog!

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    1. So glad you enjoy visiting, Pat. I'm fascinated by people--what makes them be the person they are and do the things they do. I always hope that when I'm awed by a writer that another will be as well. I appreciate your feedback. And as always, look forward to your next visit.

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    2. Yay! Another fan of The Black Stallion! I was such a horsey girl, like so many. I still wish I could have a horse someday :) Thanks for stopping by Pat.

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  4. I enjoyed Stephanie's interview and am so excited about the giveaway opportunity. I would love to win a copy of THE THIEF! Thank you so much for sharing, Elaine!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Britney. Your enthusiasm sparkles and I so appreciate that. You're in the drawing. Do stop by in a while for Stephanie's reply back to you.

      Have a lovely weekend.

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    2. One of my favorite jobs is mailing off winning copies to readers and hoping to hear back from them about how they like the book. Good luck in the drawing, Britney!

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  5. Thank you, Elaine and Stephanie, for the uplifting interview. I've always loved Biblical fiction, including Christian fiction written during the first century AD. The first book I remember reading was The Robe and later, The Silver Chalice. Stephanie, I'm sad to say I haven't read any of your books, yet, but I'm hoping to read them in the near future. I do have The Well and hope to start it soon. I need to finish In the Shadow of Sinai by Carole Towriss, first. I usually read Biblical fiction at bedtime, but God has recently kept me reading John MacArthur's Topical Bible during that time slot. I might have to figure out a new schedule--LOL! Thank you for offering a copy of The Thief.
    Blessings...
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Nice to see you again, Kay. I think that's what all of us readers and writers have in common: a mountainous To-Be-Read pile. You know, I'm kind of proud of that

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    2. It sounds like your reading list is much like mine -- and will keep you busy for a long time! Let me know when you get to The Well and thank you for visiting the blog, Kay.

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  6. Please drop my name in the giveaway hat! I've heard wonderful things about this book. :) God's blessings on you both!

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  7. Aaaand, I forgot my contact info. X-P Here it is:

    writer_weaverATyahooDOTcom

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    1. Welcome, Anna. I'm glad you visited. Hope to see you again!

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    2. Good luck in the giveaway, Anna, and so glad you've heard good things about The Thief!

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  8. Love the interview! The Chronicles of Narnia definitely would be one of the series I would reread! Looking forward to hearing more about your third novel! Also thank you for the giveaway! :)
    sylvesternator AT yahoo dot com

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    1. Thanks for visiting today, Laura. And a special thanks for Google Following this blog--that means a lot to me. Do check back in a while for Stephanie's reply.

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    2. Thanks, Laura, for visiting the blog. I love Narnia so much! I hear they're making a movie about the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien -- can't wait to see that.

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  9. Stephanie, I enjoy reading about your books -- and I love the "ultimate question" you use for your premise in each! May your hard work continue to bless many, many more people.

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    1. Hi, Kathy. What lovely words to encourage a fellow author by!

      And may your own work continue to bless others as well.

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    2. Thank you so much, Kathy. It is a question everyone can ask themselves every day. Many blessings on your work as well.

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  10. Stephanie, once again, I thank you for guest appearing on Everyone's Story. I can tell many viewers either already love your books or are eager to read them. I pray that you continue to bring hours of reading pleasure to many.

    And thanks for the Giveaway of THE THIEF. The winner is:

    Anna. Yea! Congratulations, Anna. Both Stephanie and I will contact you in private emails.

    Blessings to all.

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    1. Thanks so much, Elaine, for having me. It's always such an inspiration to hear from readers and potential readers. And congrats to Anna! I'll be contacting you to send you your copy of The Thief.

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