Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Before we begin, we have exciting news! You can come back on Friday for a chance to win a copy of Stephanie's latest release. Think, summer reading.

And now, this is what Stephanie wanted to share. . . 

I didn’t start out wanting to write historical fiction. In high school and my first year of college, I loved science and knew—just knew—that was what I wanted to study.   Then, I took my first history class. I left that classroom like a love-struck teenager. 

I took another, just for fun, and by my sophomore year, I knew I couldn’t deny my true love anymore. I called my dad and told him I wanted to change my major to history. 

Dad, a man of few words, didn’t say what I knew he was thinking. What kind of job can a history major get? No, what he said was, “Do you love it?” And I answered, “Yes, I really love it.” After a long silence, in which I’m sure he was wondering if I’d be moving back in with him and Mom in three years, he said. “Then do it. Worry about the rest as it comes.”

And so I gleefully changed my major from Chemistry to History and paged through the course catalog, trying to decide between classes on the early Russian Empire, ancient Greece, or medieval Europe. So many choices, and only three years to cram them all in.

With my debut historical fiction, The Well, releasing in June, I find myself amazed that I can sit down every day and do what I love the best.  And whether I’m plotting, writing a rough draft, or fine-tuning a manuscript, whenever I get stuck or can’t seem to get something just right, I go back to my true love—history—and always end up inspired.

When I’m looking for a story idea, writing a synopsis, or outlining a plot, I remind myself that the story is in the history. My imagination might supply the details, the dialogue, and most of the characters, but the real story is already there, just waiting to be discovered in historical texts, scholarly works, and—in the case of The Well—the pages of the Bible. 

Time and again, I’ve discovered that actual events are more riveting than anything I can pull from my imagination. Much of the story in The Well came from scholarly commentary on the Bible and my research into Samaritan history.

Rough Draft
When I’m writing the rough draft and find myself with a lackluster chapter, I go back to my research.  Invariably, I find something fascinating that I can work into the story: a new setting or a historic tidbit that can move the story foreword and immerse the reader in the setting. 

While writing The Well, I went back to the Bible and my documents on Samaritan history and came away with new details that made the story shine.

Sometimes editing can get tough. I get bogged down in the details, frustrated, and know I’m too close to my material to see the flaws. That’s when I start looking at pictures. Photos of ancient ruins, paintings, and pictures of artifacts re-invigorate my sluggish brain and get me back on track.

For The Well, I started a Pinterest board of the many photos that I found in my research, and often went back to them for inspiration.

Whenever I get stuck in writing—and it happens pretty often—I always turn back to history and, so far, my true love has always come through.

Stephanie Landsem 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.

1 comment :

  1. I really enjoyed read this about Stephanie. I hope at some time I can win and read this book. I will be back on FRI. and try to win. Thanks!
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com


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