Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about her next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.
Savanna: Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Stephanie. Congratulations on today’s release, The Tomb. I can’t wait to read it! 🙂 While writing this story, did you ever uncover a piece of history that really surprised you?
Stephanie: Thank you, Savanna. I hope you love The Tomb as much as I loved writing it. I always find surprising bits of history as I research my novels. Some even make it into the book. In The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, one surprise came early on in my research. I’d always envisioned Lazarus as an older man, maybe even elderly, but as I began to read about the family in Bethany, I discovered that most scholars believe that Martha was the oldest sibling in the family, that she was most likely not yet married, and that their father was no longer alive. Suddenly, Lazarus became a much younger character in my story: A young man, just reaching adulthood when he fell ill and died, making his death even more of a heartbreak for his older sisters.
Savanna: Wow! I’d always pictured him older as well. How neat! Which of the characters in The Tomb was the hardest for you to write and who was the easiest? Can you tell us why?
Stephanie: I’ve always identified with Martha—the worrier, the worker—and as I suspected, she was easier for me to write about. I loved exploring what made her so anxious because many women have some of the same hurts and worries in their lives that they try to alleviate with busyness. The hardest character to write was Penina . . . because she can’t talk! Her dialogue took a great deal of thought and imagination but in the end I loved her character.
Savanna: In all your studying and researching for your novels, can you name a Biblical figure – besides Jesus, of course! 🙂 – who you would have liked to meet?
Stephanie: All of them! 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 almost nothing about.
Savanna: What is one of your most unforgettable moments from your writing career to date?
Stephanie: I don’t think any author ever forgets her first contract offer. When Howard Books offered to publish The Well AND wanted me to write two more books of biblical fiction, I was floating on a cloud for weeks. The next unforgettable moment came when I turned in the final edits for The Tomb . . . I couldn’t believe that I’d actually done it!
Savanna: That’s incredible! What a moment! 😉 What is one of your favorite places you’ve traveled to and what destination is still on your bucket list to visit someday?
Stephanie: A favorite place is harder to choose than my favorite book! Last summer, my family went to Scotland for a week and I loved it. The beauty, the history, and the people were all amazing. If I could move to a cottage on the tiny Isle of Skye, I’m not sure I would ever want to leave. As for where to visit, it’s such a big list I have to keep track of it on a Pinterest board. But my number one choice would be the Holy Land. I’ve done so much research and never been there, so that is on the top of my bucket list.
Savanna: Can you share with us a piece of writing advice that has made a difference in your career?
Stephanie: You can’t edit a blank page. I can’t remember who said it, but it was someone brilliant. Sometimes I think what I’m writing is so terrible I should just hold down the delete key to put the story out of its misery. Then I remember that even a bad story is a good start. Usually, when I read it the next day, it’s still terrible. But by then I can see where the story can be improved and even spot some little nuggets of gold that inspire me to keep writing.
Savanna: Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Stephanie! It’s been great to have you here and celebrate your new release with you. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Stephanie: Just that I love hearing from readers, either in email, in reviews, or through Twitter and Facebook. Without readers, we writers would have nothing to do so thank you!
In addition to the giveaway of The Tomb on your blog, I’m hosting a blog tour giveaway on my website in honor of the release of The Tomb, A Novel of Martha.
1st Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
3rd Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card
10 more winners will receive an olive wood pocket cross from the Holy Land
Stephanie has graciously offered to give away a copy of The Tomb. Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends March 24, 2015. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody! 😉
I would love to have met Mary. Hearing her emotions, thoughts, feelings on being Jesus’ mom would be priceless!
I know. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?
I agree, Kathryn. That would be incredible! Thanks for joining us for the interview. 🙂
Savanna, thanks for the great interview with Stephanie. I LOVE Biblical fiction. This sounds like an amazing series. Perfect release day with Passover coming soon.
Thanks for commenting Caryl. I love it that all three of the books point to Easter and the resurrection.
I know, Caryl, I’m excited to read this during this special season too. 😉 Hope you get to read Stephanie’s book as well. Blessings to you, friend!
Wonderful interview, Stephanie and Savanna!!
I’ve always wanted to visit the Holy Land – can’t imagine walking on the same ground as Christ – and would love to have the opportunity to talk with Mary, his mother – also.
I love biblical fiction, haven’t read any of Stephanie’s books, and would love to read “The Tomb”!!
I’d love to go to the Holy Land, too. I’m trying to talk my husband into it for our next big trip 🙂
I can’t imagine it either, Bonnie! I’m sure it would be an unforgettable experience. Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s great to have you with us. Hope you get to read this book soon! 😉
I’ve always wanted to meet Mary Magdalene – she is one of the more interesting women in the New Testament, to me, at least. I couldn’t identify with Mary, the mother of Jesus, since she was so faithfully obedient – wish I could! Would enjoy reading this book; history and real characters meeting fiction is still a great combination.
Yes, Mary Magdalene would be fascinating to talk to. Good luck in the giveaway!
Hi Jeanie! Yes, what an incredible conversation that would be too! Thanks for joining us. Good luck in the giveaway.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful review and giveaway! I loved The Thief and have been eagerly awaiting the release of The Tomb!
I’m glad you loved The Thief. It may be my favorite of the series.
So glad you enjoyed it, Britney. Good luck to you and happy reading!!
As my household’s resident cynic, I’d love to meet my kindred spirit, Thomas the Apostle!
Thomas would be awesome to write about. Maybe in another series . . .
Yes, he would be another fascinating one, Barb! Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!
Wow, Stephanie has been to so many places. I’m almost jealous ;o) This book is definitely going on my TBR list. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!
I have been to lots of places, but over the course of many many years 🙂 I hope I’m not getting too old to travel.
Isn’t it fun how reading wonderful books can take us to many wonderful places? We get to “travel” no matter what. 😉 Thanks for visiting, Loraine!
The review was wonderful and I thank you for the opportunity in the giveaway. I would have wanted to meet Mary. Her strength, her courage and her love saw her through a time that I cannot imagine.
When anyone asks me what book made the biggest impression on me, I always say, The Thief. What an amazing book! I cannot wait to read The Tomb.
Wow. Thanks Melanie.
Thanks for sharing, Melanie. Hope you get to read and enjoy The Tomb soon as well! Good luck and have a great day!
Can’t wait to read this! Definately would like to eat Mary, the mother of Jesus!
Hi Michelle! We’re glad you could stop by. Good luck in the giveaway too! 😉
Great Interview with Stephanie. I think I would have liked to have met Esther.
Oh, there are so many… it’s hard for me to choose! Think how incredible it would be to talk to Esther. Wow! We’re glad you could join us, Becky. Thanks for reading.
Esther! She was such an amazing woman!
Yes. And a friend of mine has a new book about Esther coming out next year from Howard Books. Watch for it!
I couldn’t agree with you more! 😉 Good luck in the giveaway.
interesting book info
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to add the book to your list. 😉
I would have liked to meet Mary, Jesus’s mother!
Mary is a popular lady. 😉 It’s great to have you here, Sierra. Good luck in the giveaway.
I agree with Stephanie, would be so neat to be able to talk to Mary the mother of Jesus. What stories she could tell!
Welcome, Patty! Thanks for reading the interview and commenting. Good luck to you!
I think my daughter would really enjoy this book, thank you for the chance to win it for her.
wfnren at aol dot com
I hope you win. I loved sharing these stories with my daughters.
That would so great to share it with your daughter, Wendy! 😉 Good luck to you both!
Your books look amazing! They are now on my to read list! 🙂 And I would love to meet Dorcas and Esther! They remain 2 of my favorite Bible characters! 🙂
Great choices, Amelia. 🙂 Thanks for joining us for the interview. Happy Reading!
I first read that and thought of my husband. 😉 His name is Andrew, too! 🙂 The Andrew of the Bible has always intrigued me as well, MS Barb. Thanks for joining us. Good luck!
I would love to meet Lazarus after he was raised from the dead. The Bible doesn’t tell us about his experience. Various songwriters have shared their imaginings of what happened, but I wonder what really took place or if Lazarus was even able to recall that time.
GREAT point, Edward. I’d love to talk to Lazarus as well. 🙂 Thanks so much for joining us for the interview. Good luck and have a great week!
I can’t wait to read this book! Besides Jesus, the Biblical person I would most want to meet is Mary, mother of Jesus.
We’re glad you could join us, Kim. Good luck in the drawing. 😉
I’m so excited to read this book! Stephanie really makes the Bible characters come alive, while helping us think of them in new ways and strengthening our own faith as well. The Thief was absolutely amazing!
Thanks, Sara. That is always what I hope to do 🙂
Thanks for sharing, Sara. We’re glad you stopped by. Hope you get to read The Tomb soon.
I am studying Peter right now and would really like to meet him. : ) Great interview! I have just started the Well and have the Thief so would love a copy of the Tomb to finish the series. I honestly have only read a bit about Mary from Mad Mary (she separates our the Mary’s) by Liz Curtis Higgs . . . so powerful. Thanks!!!
I’ll have to check that book out Chris. Thanks!
Yes, I’ve always thought Peter would be one I’d really like to meet and talk with. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the interview. Hope you get the chance to complete your collection of Stephanie’s books, Chris! 😉
I would have liked to have been there with them all! But most of all to see and walk by Jesus must have been wonderful! Look how many miracles I would have witnessed with my own eyes!
You’re so right, Brenda. I’m speechless just at the thought of imagining seeing Jesus while He walked this earth. Nothing could be more wonderful!! 🙂
It would be nice to meet Mary.
Your book looks good.
Thanks. Good luck in the drawing!
Welcome, Virginia! Hope you get to read Stephanie’s book soon. Good luck to you!
Thanks, Stephanie, for taking the extra time to chat with us here in the comments. I know you’re extremely busy with your release and it means a lot to us. Have a blessed day!
Like Stephanie, I love Scotland but the day I visited the Isle of Skye was stormy so I could not see it’s beauty very well!
Oh, I would LOVE to see Scotland someday… rainy or sunny! 😉 Glad you stopped by, Joan! Good luck in the drawing.
Thanks for the nice giveaway. I would like to meet Queen Esther from the Bible.
Yes, me too, Steph! 🙂 Thanks for joining us!
Thank you for the interview. I love meeting new to me writers. Scotland is absolutely beautiful. My family visited in the fall a few years ago and loved it. Don’t you just love their red wooly cows?
Ah, you’re so lucky, Lori! I bet it was beautiful there in the fall. 😉 Glad to hear you enjoyed the interview. Good luck in the drawing!
Im loving The Thief! Would Live The Tomb as well…Thank you!
Oh wonderful, Lisa! Hope you get to read The Tomb real soon. Have a great day!
I would love to read this book!
You came to the right place, Rachel! 😉 Good luck in the giveaway! We’re glad you stopped by.
I find it difficult to just choose one. We will be “meeting & greeting” them throughout all eternity. Woohoo!
Your words made me smile, Linda! So glad you could join us!
I really enjoy reading biblical fiction. I would have enjoyed meeting Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist
Elizabeth name means “God’s promise” or “God is generous” and this woman must have been highly respected. For one thing, she was the wife of a Zechariah, a member of the priesthood at Jerusalem. Elizabeth was related to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and may have been first cousins, which would have made John the Baptist and Jesus second cousins. Jesus said of John that “among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist” (Matt 11:11). We can surmise that Zechariah and Elizabeth taught John the Baptist from an early age the ways of God from the Old Testament. That she was barren before conceiving John, echo many other famous women of the Bible who were in similar situations and without God’s intervention, may have remained childless. In the beginning of Luke’s gospel, we see that Elizabeth was descended from a long line of Jewish priests. When an angel of the Lord told Zechariah that his wife would conceive, he did not believe and was thus struck dumb but Elizabeth had no trouble believing. This seems to indicate that her trust in the Lord was greater than that of her husband, Zechariah.
Hi Deanne, thanks so much for sharing with us. You point out a great woman of God in Elizabeth. She would have been another incredible person of the faith to talk to. 🙂 I’m so glad you visited us.
I too would choose Mary the blessed mother to meet. But I look forward to reading this spin on other people during Jesus’s time. What a “novel idea” this series is. It’s been inspiring my 12yo dd to write a book of her own.
That is wonderful, Melissa! I hope you and your daughter will both be blessed by this story and your own writing as well. Your comments made me smile. Have a great week!
Hello Savanna. Thanks for this give-away. I love the fiction Bible stories. And can always use gift cards. Hoping to be a winner. GOD bless.
Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <
Hi Maxie! Great to see you here. Yes, gift cards and books make FUN giveaways, don’t they? 😉 Good luck and have a blessed week!