Stephanie 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. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and was a finalist for the ACFW Genesis contest in 2011. She then received a 3-book contract with Howard Books a few months following that.
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Author Interview | Stephanie Landsem
You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...The answer to both questions is: my kids. When my youngest daughter went into kindergarten, my oldest girl said, “Mom, what do YOU want to do?” I told her that I’d always wanted to write historical fiction, but I didn’t even know how to begin. She said, “Just figure it out, like you’re always telling us to do.” And she was right. It took many years, and I’m still figuring it out every day. And I’d say the kids keep me writing. They are a great encouragement and my biggest fans.
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...I’m currently working on the second book in The Living Water Series, titled The Thief. Like The Well, I wanted to write about an encounter with Jesus, told from the viewpoint of a fictional character. The Thief is about a Roman centurion looking for peace and a prickly Jewish woman hiding a dangerous secret. An encounter with Jesus at the pool of Siloam, where Jesus gives a blind man his sight, changes both their lives.
Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I’d say my favorite character in The Thief is a Roman centurion named Longinus. We meet him in The Well, and he is pretty unlikeable. It was a challenge to develop his character and turn him into someone we grow to love by the end of this book.
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I find great inspiration in the Bible, of course. So much is left out that it just begs me to fill in the blanks, and that’s where my imagination comes in. Many of my characters are drawn from people I’ve met in my travels, and some from my friends. I have a huge family, so I enjoy writing about the ups and downs of familial relationships.
When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...My greatest wish would be for my readers to gain an authentic perspective of what it would have been like to live in Biblical times: to see the places Jesus walked, taste the food he might have eaten, and meet the people of his time. I’d love to help readers look at the familiar Bible stories with new eyes.
What is one thing you like to do to relax when you aren’t writing?
...I enjoy cooking, which is a good thing since I have four kids at home and three of them are teenagers! I love to try new recipes and my current favorite is Middle Eastern flavors. Lamb, couscous, feta, hummus, and olives are staples at my house this summer.
Thinking of Fathers Day, is there a story you’d like to share with the readers about your father?
...My dad is pretty awesome. For example, when I was in college, I called him and told him I wanted to change my major from chemistry to history. Dad, a man of few words, didn’t say what I knew he was thinking. What kind of job can a history major get? No, what he said was, “Do you love it?” And I answered, “Yes, I really love it.” After a long silence, in which I’m sure he was wondering if I’d be moving back in with him and Mom in three years, he said. “Then do it. Worry about the rest as it comes.” I’ve always been grateful to him for that.
What is one thing you are looking forward to for the Summer?
...I have one child finishing her first year of college and so I’m looking forward to the whole family being together again for a few months. Teenagers are busy, but we’ll have plenty of family time: going to church together, meals, movies, and plenty of time outside after a long Minnesota winter.
______________________Thank you so much for this great interview Stephanie and congratulations on your first release - The Well June 4th. I love that your kids were the influence it took to get you (and keep you) writing! How wonderful! I also love what you said about our dad. My dad is the same way - always supportive and encouraged me major in Music and Youth Ministry even though the obvious question was What job will you get? Can't wait to hear more about your future writing and thanks for being my guest!