Stephanie Landsem, author of The Living Water Series, 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.
How to connect with Stephanie...
Purchase: The Tomb: A Novel of Martha (The Living Water Series)
Author Interview | Stephanie Landsem
You and Writing
...I love using maps in my research. I’m very visual and maps—whether a modern arial view of the Jordan river or an ancient hand-drawn map of Jerusalem—give me a firm grounding in my setting. I couldn’t visualize my story without them.
...I just found a great map website that I could explore for hours, The David Rumsey Historic Map collection can be found here http://www.davidrumsey.com/home. Another fun map website is Old Maps Online: http://project.oldmapsonline.org/ I’d highly recommend spending some time with them as you plot and write.
Tell us a little bit about your book.
...I like to describe the Tomb, A Novel of Martha, as a surprising story of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. As I say in an introductory letter at the front of the book:
The Tomb: A Novel of Martha is not an attempt to recount the historical events that took place in Bethany two thousand years ago. Instead, it is a re-imagining of how Martha, a woman who was “anxious and worried about many things,” might have been transformed into the faith-filled woman of John 11:22, who said to Jesus—as her brother lay in his tomb—“Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”
We’ll never know Martha’s true story. Instead, I hope to bring to you her message: no matter what sins and doubts haunt our pasts, we can lay our worries and anxieties at Jesus’ feet, and he will, in return, give us “the better part.”Who is your favorite character and why?
...Like many women, I’ve always identified with Martha—the worrier, the worker—and as I suspected, she was my favorite character to write about in The Tomb. 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. We find it hard to ‘sit at the feet of Jesus’ and truly accept the better part from him.
What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...I hope that my readers can see themselves in Martha. Martha was like many women: full of doubt, worried, and haunted by her past. Jesus met her where she was—in her doubt and pain and anxiety. Through him, she was able to grow in strength and faith and finally profess her firm belief in Jesus even in the face of her brother’s death.
Favorite writing snack:
...Peanut Butter M&Ms
Book you’re reading right now:
...The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story by Jill Eileen Smith
If you could go anywhere in the world for one month (for free) where would it be and why?
...My dream trip is a month-long tour of New Zealand with my family. We are huge LOTR nerds!
Leave a comment below to enter to win a copy of The Tomb, A Novel of Martha!
(US entrants only, winner announced April 6)
_______________________Thank you so much for being on the blog today Stephanie! I love your advice about maps. I've found myself working on a little side project working on what I'd call a "light" historical and I'm searching for maps all over the place! I'll need to take a look at those links. I also love your take on Mary and Martha's story (and let's not forget Lazrus). It's the beauty of fiction to take something that was and write what could have been! And, I am 100% with you on the New Zealand choice! I myself am a huge LOTR fan so I identify there ;)