Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THE TOMB - Stephanie Landsem - One Free Book, Plus More

Welcome back, Stephanie. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I do see God moving in my writing life and hope each day that I’m open to his will. Right now, I’m discerning where to go next with my writing. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire me as He has been for the last few years.

Tell us a little about your family.
Absolutely. My first vocation is as a wife and mother. I’ve been married for 25 years to a wonderful man who is always supporting me whether I’m writing, volunteering, or planning a trip to somewhere amazing. I have four kids, two boys and two girls, ages 21 down to 13. They are my greatest inspiration and joy.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Mostly, I read less than I used to just because I have less time. I also read more critically, which is probably a good thing but often I wish I could just lose myself in the story like I did before I wrote books, instead of analyzing the characters, the plot, and the sentence structure.

What are you working on right now?
I’ve been looking into new historical periods and have some ideas for an upcoming novel that blends my love for the Bible with a new historical period. I hope to be able to share more soon!

What outside interests do you have?
I love to travel and am lucky that I’ve been able to see many parts of the world and have visited 4 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 cuisine 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 outside (like today, the wind chill is 26 degrees below zero), there’s no better place to be than curled up with a good book and a cat.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
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, Jerusalem, and finally the small town of Bethany where Martha, Mary, and Lazarus lived.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
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 nothing about.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I wish someone would have told me how it would take over your life! I think writing fiction—especially Christian fiction—is more than a job, it’s a vocation. It seems to get into every part of your life: your family, friends, and your work within your church. I had no idea how much my life would change with the publication of my first book.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Patience. As I wait to determine what my next step will be in writing and answer the question I get at least once a day: “What is your next book about?”, I’m learning to be patient and wait for the Lord’s timing and inspiration.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
For an author just starting out with an idea or a rough manuscript, I’d say a critique group is a great step. I don’t know what I’d do without honest, constructive feedback on my novels. Next, I’d encourage a new author to enter contests for unpublished writers such as the ACFW Genesis contest. It takes courage to hit Enter and send your writing out into the world, but it is excellent practice for when you query agents and editors. And finally, don’t forget to pray and trust in God’s plan for you. He has one. And it might not be what you expect.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, is a surprising story of the family at Bethany and the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

Please give us the first page of the book.
Hear, O children, a father’s instruction, be attentive that you may gain understanding! Proverbs 4:1
Martha clenched her teeth so tight her jaw ached. She’d kept quiet for seven days. Seven days. Now she felt like a pot left too long over the fire. If another old woman gave her a pitying glance, if one more village girl whispered behind her hand ... by the Most High, she’d boil over.

She filled a cup for Josiah, her sister’s new husband. Who would have believed it? Sirach of Bethany’s daughter—his youngest daughter!—choosing her own husband. And what a husband he was. Josiah had many good qualities. He was kind and patient and everyone knew how he loved Mary. But he was also poor and none too smart. Even his own mother admitted that he as useful as a three-legged donkey.

She took a deep breath and poured a cup of wine for Abba, careful not to spill a drop on his fine linen tunic. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair that Mary got to choose and she didn’t.

When Abba agreed to the betrothal a full year ago, the women of Bethany had gossiped for weeks. Most had concluded that Sirach was eager to be rid of Mary, his grown daughter who spent more time playing with the village children than taking care of her father’s household. But they were wrong. Abba loved Mary just as much as he loved Martha and Lazarus.

Now, at almost fifteen years, Mary was ready to start her own family with a man she adored. Martha was glad that Abba had allowed Mary her hearts desire. If only he could allow Martha hers.

If Mary can choose Josiah, can’t I have a say in my husband? But of course, she knew why.

How can readers find you on the Internet? 

Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing this new book with us.

Dear Readers, Stephanie is having a blog tour giveaway in addition to the one on this blog. 
Here is the link to that:

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Tomb -
The Tomb: A Novel of Martha (The Living Water Series) - Amazon
The Tomb: A Novel of Martha (Living Water Series Book 3) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Stephanie Landsem said...

Lena, thanks for having me on your blog and for sharing The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, with your readers.

Britney Adams said...

The Living Water Series is fantastic and I am so anxious to read this novel of Martha!! I enjoyed learning more about Stephanie and would LOVE to win a copy of The Tomb! Thank you so much for sharing this interview and giveaway.

Britney Adams, TX

Sara said...

I loved Stephanie's first two books! I enjoyed reading your interview too! Sara - Wisconsin msara(at)centurytel(dot)net

Wendy Newcomb said...

My daughter is really wanting this book, it would make her day if I could win a copy of it for her. Thank you for the chance as she's been having a really bad two weeks!

Wendy from FL

wfnren at aol dot com

Melanie Backus said...

I absolutely loved The Thief and cannot wait to read The Tomb. Thank you Lena for a great review and sharing this with us.

Melanie Backus, TX

Caryl Kane said...

Lena, thank you for the great interview with Stephanie. I LOVE Biblical Fiction! THE TOMB is perfect for this Passover season.

Caryl in TEXAS

Stephanie Landsem said...

Wendy, good luck in the drawing. I love sharing books with my daughters, too. Hope things look up for her.

Stephanie Landsem said...

Thanks Britney and Sara. The interviews are fun to do -- lots of great questions!

Stephanie Landsem said...

Thanks Melanie and Caryl. I always recommend The Thief for Lent and I think The Tomb is good for the whole Easter season. Glad to see biblical fiction fans!

Kim Hampton said...

I would love to win a copy! Great interview Stephanie. :)

Amanda Schwoch said...

I loved Stephanie's first two books and can't wait to read this one! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

Amanda in MN

Angela Holland said...

I live in St. Cloud, Florida and want to thank you for the chance to win this book. It looks very interesting to me. I like how Bible Fiction makes the stories seem more "real"

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book. I live in Davenport, Iowa

sm said...

I enjoy Biblical fiction and have not read one on The Tomb as yet. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Michelle Faile said...

Cannot wait to read this!!! Down here in satsuma, Alabama!

Mama Cat said...

This sounds amazing - great interview and synopsis! I would really like to see a bit of life, and death, through Martha's eyes! Many thanks for the opportunity to win!

Mary Preston said...

What a remarkable read this is going to be.

Mary P


Bonnie Roof said...

Enjoyed the interview, Stephanie and Lena - thank you!! I love biblical fiction, haven't read any of Stephanie's books and would love to read "The Tomb"!!

Bonnie Roof

Cindy W. said...

I would love to win a copy of The Tomb. Thank you for the chance.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Loraine Nunley said...

Another one for the TBR list. I have just recently begun to read fictional accounts of Biblical characters and this one sounds really interesting! Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

Loraine in TX

Patty said...

I don't read a lot of biblical fiction but that first page is very intriguing!

Patty in SC

Stephanie Landsem said...

Angela, I agree. Somehow, imagining the characters and setting makes me look at the meaning in the Bible accounts with new eyes. Thanks for commenting!

Stephanie Landsem said...

I love seeing so many excited readers from so many places -- Kentucky to Australia! Thanks for your comments.

Stephanie Landsem said...

Patty, I'm glad the first page grabbed you :) That's sometimes the hardest page to write.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in this awesome giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Anonymous said...

I and my sister love reading Biblical fiction. We'd love to read this!
J.C. -Indiana-

kam110476 said...

Hi Stephanie & Lena! Oh no! Why? Why can't Martha have a say? What an unfair place to cut off the first page! So now I have got to read the rest of this book. It sounds wonderful & I can't wait for page 2 and beyond now!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Sm said...

I have not read historical fiction about Martha and her Bethany family as yet and would love to win this book. Sm CA. Wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sheila Deeth said...

I'd love to read this! Sheila in OR

Sierra Faith said...

I am excited about this book! I own the Well but haven't gotten aroudn to reading it! hope to do it soon! :D


Danielle Hull said...

I have one book of Stephanie's in this series I'd better get to reading but would love this one, too! Danielle in Indiana

Melissa Michalek said...

My daughter is the reader in the family, but this series really has me intrigued to read a fiction book for once! Would love a copy. From Minnesota.

Melissa Michalek said...

My daughter is the reader in the family, but this series really has me intrigued to read a fiction book for once! Would love a copy. From Minnesota.

Stephanie Landsem said...

Kam, I hope you get to find out why Martha can't marry Isa :) Thanks for commenting!

Stephanie Landsem said...

Danielle and Sierra -- I'm glad you have a book from the series! Hope you enjoy them and get a chance to read The Tomb.

Stephanie Landsem said...

Good luck, Melissa!

Chris B said...

I am so ready for the reunion! Thanks for the opportunity to win and the great interview.

Anonymous said...

Would love to win a copy.

Pam Graber said...

I have not read Stephanie Landsem up to now. I like the story premise for this book. Would love to win!
Pam in Ohio

rubynreba said...

I enjoy Biblical fiction and a book about Martha sounds like one I would enjoy.
Beth from IA

Abigail Richmond said...

Enter me!


Jennifer said...

There are so many times when reading the Bible when you wish you read more of the story than what is written and to learn more of the their lives.
Jenny Tipton, Ky

Stephanie Landsem said...

Jennifer, that's exactly what got me interested in writing biblical fiction! I wanted to fill in all those gaps.

Photo Catcher said...

I would like to read this!

-Melissa M. from TN

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

I'd love to read this book!
--Barb in NJ (right near Philly!)