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Friday, April 10, 2015

Author Interview - Stephanie Landsem

Anne: Our interview today is with Stephanie Landsem, multipublished author. Her most recent group of books is the Living Water Series, including The Well, The Thief, and The Tomb. If you'd like to read my reviews of any of them, click on the name of the book. If you click on the name of the series, it will take you to the Amazon buy page for the entire series; if you click on her name, it will take you to her website.

So, Stephanie, what inspired The Tomb?

Stephanie: I've always loved the story of Lazarus because of the utter joy that I think Martha and Mary must have felt as they saw their beloved brother raised from the dead after mourning for him for 4 days. I feel like it's a small glimpse of what we will feel when we enter heaven and are able to see our loved ones that went before us. As I wrote The Tomb, I couldn't wait to get to the moment when Lazarus awoke within his tomb and realized that he was alive again, and the moment that Martha and Mary saw him emerge into the light.

Anne: Tell us a little about The Living Water Series.

Stephanie: The Living Water Series explores encounters with Jesus in the gospel of John. The Well centers on the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well, The Thief begins as Jesus heals the man born blind in Jerusalem, and The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, is about Jesus's relationship with the family of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus in Bethany. I knew when I began The Living Water Series that I wanted the last book to focus on the most amazing miracle Jesus performed before his crucifixion: the raising of Lazarus. The three siblings in this story, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus – are fascinating characters in themselves and I couldn't wait to explore their lives and feelings.

Anne: How do you choose your settings for each book?

Stephanie: In The Living Water Series, I think the settings chose me! The characters are what initially drew me in, and the settings came later as I researched Samaria for The Well, Jerusalem for The Thief, and finally the small town of Bethany where Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived for The Tomb, A Novel of Martha.

Anne: Which of the characters in The Tomb was the hardest for you to write and who was the easiest? Can you tell us why?

Stephanie: I’ve always identified with Martha, the worrier, the worker. And as I suspected, she was easier for me to write about. I loved exploring what made her so anxious because many women have some of the same hurts and worries in their lives that they try to alleviate with busyness. The hardest character to write was Penina . . . because she can’t talk! Her dialogue took a great deal of thought and imagination, but in the end I loved her character.

Anne: What outside interests do you have?

Stephanie: I love to travel. I'm lucky that I’ve been able to see many parts of the world and have visited four continents. I’d love to go to Australia before my kids are too busy to travel with us. I love to cook, especially new ethnic cuisines from places where I’ve traveled. When I can’t go to new places, I like to be outside hiking, taking walks, or even snowshoeing during our long Minnesota winters. When it’s too cold, my favorite place to be is inside, reading a good book with a cat in my lap.

Anne: If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?

Stephanie: If I had to choose I would say Mary, the mother of Jesus. She knew him best and I would never tire of hearing her stories of her son’s childhood and early years, something we know little about.

Anne: What is next on your publishing horizon?

Stephanie: Writing the Living Water Series was very much like running a spiritual and emotional marathon. I've had some time to recover and catch my breath and now I'm thinking about what I want to do next. Biblical fiction holds a special place in my heart, but I'm also ready to explore other time periods. Right now, I'm brainstorming a story about the parable of the prodigal son—this time a daughter—set in the glamorous world of 1930s Hollywood. I'll let you know if I end up writing it!

Thanks for having me on your blog, Anne. 

Ways to connect with Stephanie Landsem:!/stephlandsem

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