Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Guestpost: Stephanie Landsem author of The Thief

Today I am very pleased to have Stephanie Landsem stop by for a visit with us.  She is the author of The Thief, which is book 2 in the Living Water series.  Be sure to scroll down for more stops on this tour, for reviews and a chance to win a copy of this book.  

Historical Fiction, telling the stories of Ancient Women

I never thought I’d write historical fiction. And biblical fiction didn’t even cross my mind. Aside from Anita Diamante’s Red Tent, I’d hadn’t even read any. It just goes to show . . . never say never.

I do love to read. As soon as I was able to sound out words, I buried my nose in books about life in far-off times and places—ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, Narnia and Middle Earth. So when I decided to major in history in college no one was very surprised. But writing? I never took a creative writing class. I’d never even kept a journal.

Fast forward twenty years, a marriage, a couple jobs in marketing, and four kids later. In the car one day, my oldest child, then about twelve, asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. “What could you do if you could do ANYTHING?” she said.

My answer came like a bolt of lightening out of blue sky. I’d write historical fiction. I didn’t even have to think about it. So with encouragement from my kids, my husband, and good friends, I decided to give it a go . . . even though I didn’t know what I was doing and doubted I’d be any good.

For a year, I looked for a story. I searched for a time period that grabbed me. World War II? Regency England? No. Nothing spoke to me. Then I tried for a setting. Ancient Rome? A Medieval castle? No spark.

Then, one day at church I heard the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. I’d heard it at least a hundred times but this time was different. This time I started wondering, who was this woman? Who was her family? That’s when a character, her daughter Mara, reached out and grabbed me. Mara said, “I want you to tell my story.”  And The Living Water Series was born with my first novel, The Well.

There are plenty of women mentioned in the Bible. Many of them are nameless: the Samaritan woman, the woman caught in adultery. Others, we know their names but little else: Mary Magdalene, Martha the sister of Lazarus. Who were they? Surely their daily lives were much different from ours, but what about their hopes and dreams? What about their joys? As I got to know these women in my stories, I realized we do indeed have much in common with these mysterious ancient women.

For example, in The Thief, Nissa is an outcast Jewish girl struggling to survive in Jerusalem of the first century. Her life couldn’t be more different than our own, but she is looking for what we all want: security and happiness, meaning and hope in her life. It is her story—her search for what is missing in her life—that I want to tell my readers in The Thief.

Biblical fiction isn’t an easy road. The research is extensive, the social constraints of the times limit much of what my characters can say and do, and I must take care to stay true to biblical accounts while writing a compelling story. Perhaps Regency England would have been easier. But with three books behind me—The Well, The Thief, and The Tomb (coming out in March 2015)—I know I’ve found the spark for my writing. . . telling the stories of these ancient women who have much in common with the women of today.

Stephanie writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s backpacked through Germany and Eastern Europe, studied in Salzburg, enjoyed gelato in Italy, rode a camel in Morocco, and floated in the salty Corinthian Sea. Her favorite cities are Rome, Berlin and Budapest. Her travels kindle her imagination, fuel her love of history and foreign culture, and introduce her to one-of-a-kind characters.

Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about her next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.
The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.

 Author Links

Monday, September 1
Review at Closed the Cover
Tuesday, September 2
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, September 4
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Spotlight at She is Too Fond of Books
Monday, September 8
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Review at Historical Novel Review
Tuesday, September 9
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, September 10
Interview & Giveaway at The Overweight Bookshelf
Thursday, September 11
Review at What Are You Reading?
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Friday, September 12
Spotlight at Princess of Eboli

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for having me as a guest poster, Margaret, and for sharing The Thief with your readers!