LeAnne Hardy: Welcome, Stephanie. First tell us a little about yourself and your personal faith.
Stephanie Landsem: I love to write fiction, but my first vocation is as a wife and mother to four kids. I was fortunate to be raised in a very faithful family, my mom raised Catholic and my dad a convert. They were both prayerful and devoted to serving others. I always consider myself blessed to have them as my examples of Christian family and marriage. Even with such great examples, I found myself drifting in my faith in my twenties and it wasn’t until my husband and I had our first child that I started to really question what I believed and wanted to truly make my faith my own. What followed was several years of digging into scriptures, prayer, and study that brought me what I consider a type of conversion, a real commitment to Jesus and my Catholic faith. So as I pass on my love for Jesus and my faith to my children, I can also thank them for being the reason that I found it for myself.
LH: That’s wonderful. I think a lot of people get serious about their faith when they are trying to answer the questions of little ones. How do you see your writing as ministry?
SL: I believe that everything we do can and should be a ministry. I can’t say I ever planned on writing faith-based fiction. It was a gift and therefore I can only give the Holy Spirit the credit for everything good that has come from it. Sometimes, as with all ministry, it can be frustrating and there are days when I wonder if my words are reaching anyone. But I try to say, “Jesus, I trust in you.” I know that he can take my small efforts and magnify them for his own plan, my job is just to do my best with what I’ve been given.
LH: What was it like to work with other authors in such close cooperation in Walk in Her Sandals?
SL: Writing Walk In Her Sandals was truly one of those times in my life that I was amazed at the work of the Holy Spirit. I’d met a few of the other contributors to the book: Kelly Wahlquist, Pat Gohn, and Laura Sobiech (who is a dear friend of mine for the past 20 years). The rest I briefly chatted with over the phone or via email. Although we spoke in general terms of what we were going to write about, we all worked separately and then turned in our parts to Kelly, the editor. She couldn’t believe how perfectly our separate parts worked together as a whole with hardly any editing required at all. It was certainly the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst. And the best part was that we did it all in less than six weeks!
LH: What have been the greatest challenges for you as a Catholic writer in the world of Christian fiction?
SL: To tell you the truth, I haven’t run into much conflict as a Catholic. My previous novels, as you know, are biblical fiction set in the time of Jesus. I remain strictly true to what is written in scripture and so it is easy to stay within areas of agreement among all Christians. In the process, I’ve come to realize that how much Catholics and Protestants have in common is far greater that that on which we disagree. I may be a minority as a Catholic within the Christian fiction world, but I’ve rarely felt anything other than welcome and friendship from everyone I’ve met.
LH: You are so right that what we have in common is greater than the places where we disagree. Where do you see potential for better Catholic/Protestant cooperation in this world of Secular Humanism?
LH: Thank you, Stephanie. If we are both focusing on Jesus, that will draw us closer together.
Stephanie is currently working on a Prodigal Daughter book set in 1930s Hollywood instead of first-century Palestine. Can't wait to read it! You can find Stephanie’s published books on Amazon or ask for them at your local Christian bookstore.