This week Clash of the Titles is proud to feature Stephanie Landsem, author of The Living Water biblical fiction series. She will carry you back into the times of Jesus and explore beautiful truths that resonate deeply with readers.
Let's hear from Stephanie about her books and how she handles the interesting challenge of writing about Jesus.
1.) What was your favorite part of writing The Living Water series?
Research is the part of writing I love best. I usually spend about a month just doing research before I start plotting a book. I find some of my best plot twists, characters and settings right in the pages of history. Maps and pictures of archeological finds really help me get the feel for the setting. As I craft the story, this research comes out and helps the reader become fully immersed in the story.
2) How do you balance the real person of Jesus with the other characters in your story?
I like to think of every encounter with Jesus recorded in the Bible as a stone thrown in a pond. We know the initial splash — the cure of the man born blind, or the raising of Lazarus — but I want to write about the ripples. I love to imagine how these personal encounters with Jesus moved outward in ever-widening circles to touch more people than we can even imagine. So I start with the event described in the Bible and move outward into imagination, always keeping in mind that Jesus knew exactly what ripple-effect his actions would have and they would always be for his father’s glory.
3.) What are the binding themes throughout the Well, The Thief and the Tomb and what do hope to bring to your readers in this series?
I love the gospel of John and how it shows the very personal way in which Jesus connected with the people of his time. Each of the stories in The Living Water Series begin with an encounter with Jesus from John—the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and Jesus’ relationship with Martha. Each of these encounters were intensely personal and led to deep conversion. I hope that in reading about these one-to-one meetings with Jesus, readers can imagine themselves face to face with our Lord and come to know him more deeply.
The Living Water Series are a set of intersecting stories based on personal encounters with Jesus in the gospel of John. The first book, The Well, is the story of the Samaritan woman at the well told from the point of view of her daughter, Mara. Mara, a desperate Samaritan girl, must make a dangerous journey across Galilee to find Jesus and save her dying mother. The second book focuses on Jesus ministry in Jerusalem, starting with the healing of the man born blind and continuing on to Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. It is told from the perspective of a poor Jewish girl and a Roman centurion – both of whom don’t know what to think of the so-called Messiah. The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, is—of course—about the family of Lazarus in Bethany. It focuses on Martha, her doubts and anxieties, and finally the desperate decision she must make to save her brother’s life.
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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.
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