Friday, April 30, 2021

In A Far-Off Land, by Guest Blogger Stephanie Landsem



Debby Giusti here! 

It's my honor to welcome today's guest, the talented Stephanie Landsem.  I met Stephanie at an ACFW Conference some years ago where she introduced me to her good friend Frank Peretti! Having coffee in the hotel Starbuck's with Frank and Stephanie was the highlight of the conference, and Stephanie and I have stayed connected ever since. 

Stephanie is no stranger to Seekerville. She's blogged with us before and shared insight into her Biblical fiction. Today we're learning how she made the switch to the Depression Era in her new story from Tyndale, In A Far-Off Land, releasing on May 4th.

Stephanie promises to stop by often to answer questions and provide information about her writing journey. Also, she's donating one of her books so be sure to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a copy of  In A Far-Off Land!

And now, here's Stephanie...

When I first began this amazing journey of writing books, I knew I wanted to write historical fiction, but I had no idea what time period to focus on. I loved them all. Ancient to Regency to World War II. It wasn’t until one Sunday when I heard a sermon about the Woman at the Well that I had that light bulb moment every author knows, and I said – that’s a story I want to write! That moment resulted—after years of writing and a few minor miracles—in the Living Water Series. 

So how did I go from writing about biblical women transformed by encounters with Jesus to writing about the Great Depression and Old Hollywood? It’s not as far a stretch as it seems.

God knows how his people learn and how they think. He made us, after all. And so Jesus told stories to his followers. We call them parables. One of the most well-known and beloved of his parables is that of the Merciful Father, also known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In Luke’s gospel, when Jesus told this particular parable, he was talking to tax collectors and sinners, but also to Pharisees and teachers of the law. He started out with a story they all knew the ending to—a story of a bad son who took his father’s money, squandered it in a sinful life, and came to a bad end. But Jesus turned this familiar story upside down! In his version, the terrible son who merited punishment was instead welcomed home by an overjoyed father, forgiven, and given a feast. 

That’s not how it was supposed to turn out! 

And that’s when I knew I wanted to write this story of mercy and forgiveness. 

But how to write it? 

It was about that time that my husband and I took a short trip to California and visited the familiar tourist attraction of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This is so where many classic film celebrities are immortalized in brass stars that line the sidewalk. And it was there, that I had the light bulb moment that every author loves.

The far-off land in which my prodigal daughter runs must be to that glittering promise of fame and fortune that was Hollywood in the 1930s, when sound and color were turning pretty girls to glamorous stars overnight. 

And that famine that hits the land must be the Great Depression, plunging her into a deprivation so severe that she must decide if she can return to her father and ask his forgiveness, or continue to wallow in the mess she’s made of her life.

 

And so, the jump from biblical fiction to A Far-Off Land was not as far as it looks. The parable of the Merciful Father is so beloved and enduring because it transcends time and history. Jesus knew that. I hope that my readers will, when they close the pages on Mina’s story, consider the Father and the idea of his radical love and mercy in their own lives--just like Jesus asked of his followers two thousand years ago.

Debby again! The coffee's brewed and tea is available so pour a cup of your favorite beverage as we chat with Stephanie! Blueberry muffins and biscuits, hot from the oven, are on the breakfast bar, along with fresh fruit. Enjoy! And remember to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for In A Far-Off Land!


Bio: Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she's explored ruins, castles, and cathedrals on four continents and has met fascinating characters who sometimes find their way into her fiction. Stephanie is just as happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four adult children, two cats, and a dog. When she's not reading, researching, or writing, she's avoiding housework and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.
Author’s Links: Website | Facebook |Twitter | Instagram


In A Far-Off Land

By Stephanie Landsem

A story about the price of fame, the truth sacrificed on its altar, and the love that brings a prodigal daughter home.

As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don’t pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she’s caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she’s about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she wakes up next to a dead film star and is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit.

Only two unwilling men—Oscar, a Mexican gardener in danger of deportation, and Max, a too-handsome agent battling his own demons—can help Mina escape corrupt police on the take and the studio big shots trying to frame her. But even her quick thinking and grit can't protect her from herself. Alone, penniless, and carrying a shameful secret, Mina faces the consequences of the heartbreaking choices that brought her to ruin . . . and just might bring her back to where she belongs.

Order HERE!



47 comments:

  1. Hi Debby and Stephanie,

    I enjoyed reading this post. The prodigal son is one of my favorite parables.

    Please enter me in the drawing for In a Far-Off Land, I'd love to read it.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth Ann! I never tire of reading this parable and always find something new in it to contemplate! Best of luck in the drawing!

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    2. Hi Ruth Ann! Thanks for being with us today. The Prodigal Son is so rich. Just as Stephanie mentioned for her own life, the Lord always reveals something new whenever I reflect on that scripture story. I'm sure you'll enjoy how Stephanie used the Prodigal Son parable in her upcoming release. In A Far-Off Land is a must-read, for sure!

      You're in the drawing!

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  2. I have my raspberry almond coffee and I enjoyed reading how this story came about. I have it on my wish list. Thank you Debby and Stephanie for sharing. Have a blessed weekend.

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    1. Lucy, I've just poured a second cup of coffee and am reaching for a muffin! Thanks for stopping by today. I know you'll enjoy Stephanie's story. She's an amazing author and a wonderful person!

      Prayers for your sweet mother...and for you and your family!

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    2. Thanks Lucy and Debby! You're making me hungry. I'm getting my second cup of coffee and thinking about breakfast. Thanks for the comment and have a lovely weekend.

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  3. Stephanie, I write and read mostly historicals. I like the challenges the H and h have to overcome. I do a lot of Oregon Trail and on the Trail, my heroine couldn't just run out to the pharmacy and have a prescription filled, or run out to consult a lawyer when she suspects someone of cheating her. And she couldn't get pregnant out of wedlock without severe consequences. I love the social and physical challenges they had to face. On the flip side, all the things they had to overcome, from expectations to physical stuff like brush fires, is inspiring to me. God brought them through and He will bring me through too.
    Love anything about Old Hollywood, especially during the Depression. The dialogue! Those Art Deco sets!
    Please enter me in the drawing.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Hi Kathy,
      You'll love Stephanie's story! Isn't her cover amazing? It really screams, "This is a story you won't want to put down!"

      Congrats on your own historical writing, KB! So proud of you and what you've accomplished.

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    2. Isn't it interesting to think about how women, especially, managed the day-to-day in the past? They had to be so strong a self-sufficient. Good luck on your writing and I hope you enjoy In A Far-Off Land and Mina's story.

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    3. So true, Stephanie, about women of old! Pregnancy, childbirth, losing little ones to diseases, handling farm work, baking bread, stretching the little that families had in those days. Amazing women, for sure!

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  4. This books looks delicious. Reading the author’s thinking behind the premise is fascinating.

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    1. Dalyn, it's always exciting to know a little backstory about the books we love to read. So glad you could be with us on Seekerville today! You're in the drawing!

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    2. I love looking back at that time when the story was just a little kernal of an idea and God grew it into a whole book!

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    3. I'm always amazed how the Lord works through his authors. Writing is a spiritual journey, IMHO!

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  5. Stephanie, we're thrilled you could blog with us today! Have you started plotting your next story? If so, will it be set in the depression? Or will you return to Biblical times? Or perhaps something entirely new?

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    1. Thank you for having me, Debby. It's always a pleasure to visit with you and the Seekerville crew. I am actually working on another book for Tyndale that I should have ready to turn in by the end of summer. It is again set in the 1930s, and explores the beginnings of fascism in Los Angeles well before the start of WWII. It's based on a true story of a Jewish lawyer who saw the threat of Hitler long before the rest of us. He set up his own spy network of Christian women and men to stop the Nazi groups that were already forming in Los Angeles. It's fascinating!

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    2. Oh, Stephanie! You've hooked me. I'll be eagerly awaiting that new story. Love the concept, and I want to learn more about what happened to connect LA with Nazi Germany!

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    3. It's a tough book to write so I'll need lots of prayers to get it done by August!

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  6. Interesting post, Stephanie. I love to hear how someone's story idea came about. This book looks so good. Please put me in the drawing.

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    1. Isn't Stephanie wonderful! And generous with a book giveaway. You're in the drawing, dear friend!

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    2. I hope you get a chance to read it! Thanks for stopping by the blog.

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  7. Hi Stephanie! Thank you so much for sharing on Seekerville today - I love this line so much: "The parable of the Merciful Father is so beloved and enduring because it transcends time and history." Amen & Amen. Looking forward to reading In A Far-Off Land!

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    1. Hi Carrie! I thought you would enjoy Stephanie's blog today. What's not to like, right!

      If you haven't read Stephanie before, you're in for a treat! And another author to love!

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    2. It is a timeless story and my favorite parable of mercy :)

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    1. Yowza! Historical fiction is my all-time favorite genre, especially when the novels have a greater meaning.

      Plus, I like the cover of In a Far-Off Land more and more every time I see it.

      (And please pardon me for submitting my comment twice. I wasn't sure if I did it right!)

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    2. I love historical fiction too. It's always been my favorite to read and to write. And the cover!! I love to look at it.

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    3. Hi Nadine! So glad you could stop by today! I agree about the cover!!! Oh my gosh, it's amazing. Congrats to the Tyndale Art Department!

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  9. Welcome back to Seekerville, Stephanie. In a Far-Off Land sounds very intriguing. That era is so captivating. I need to check this out.

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    1. Mindy, I agree about the Depression Era and Hollywood. Such great backdrops for Stephanie's story!

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    2. Thank you, Mindy! There are quite a few books coming out set in the 30s. It's such an interesting time.

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  10. This looks so interesting! Also the cover is beautiful!

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    1. Hi Angeline! We're all in love with the cover!!! :)

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    2. I'll pass your compliment on to the Tyndale team. They did a great job!

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  11. Stephanie, congratulations! What a beautiful book, and what an intriguing era to set a story!

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    1. Hi Erica! Stephanie is an amazing writer, and I know you'll LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her story!

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    2. Thanks, Erica. It was so fun to research :)

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  12. What an interesting era to use the prodigal parable. Sounds interesting!

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    1. I hope you get a chance to read it, Lee-Ann!

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    2. Hi Lee-Ann! So glad you could stop by! Doesn't Stephanie's book look wonderful!

      You're in the drawing!

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  13. Wow, this sounds like such a cool and interesting story. I love the insight into how it came together for you and your cover is so lovely and intriguing.

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    1. Winnie, isn't the cover lovely! And the story is intriguing, as you mentioned.

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    2. Thank you, Winnie! I hope you get a chance to read it.

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  14. I've always loved the Parable of the Prodigal Don and I always enjoy when an author offers their own interpretation of Biblical accounts. Thanks for sharing with us today.

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    1. Connie, thanks for being with us on Seekerville!

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    2. THanks for coming by the blog,Connie!

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