Q&A With Stephanie Landsem

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Q&A With Stephanie Landsem 

Stephanie Landsem is The Bestselling author of Historical Fiction. Her upcoming novel “Code Name Edelweiss” is coming out in March of this year.  Anyone reading this Q&A should pre-order it as Stephanie will be offering a preorder incentive. Here is the link going in depth


Q: Can you tell us a little bit about “Code Name Edelweiss”? 

A: Code Name Edelweiss is based on a true story, unknown until recent years: How a lone Jewish lawyer and a handful of amateur spies discovered and foiled Adolf Hitler’s plan to take over Hollywood.

When Liesl Weiss goes undercover at the Friends of New Germany, she finds herself in the middle of a dark conspiracy. Nazi agents are secretly plotting to take over Hollywood to spread Hitler’s propaganda in America. When Liesl’s double life as an agent costs her a friendship with her Jewish neighbor and threatens her family, she is faced with an impossible choice: to fight the evil growing in her own community or protect those she loves most. 


Q: Where did you get the research to write “Code Name Edelweiss?”

A: As I was researching my previous novel, In A Far-Off Land, I came across a book titled Hitler in Los Angeles, by Steven J. Ross. At first, I didn’t believe it.  Nazis in Hollywood in the early 1930s? Plots to take over the film industry and assassinate prominent Jewish actors and directors? It sounded too outlandish to be true. But it was.

After reading Ross’s book, a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, I looked into the research and found even more information in the archives of California State University Northridge, which houses boxes of Leon Lewis’s records and correspondence. Much of that research went into Code Name Edelweiss. Another important source I used in writing about MGM Studio and everyday life in 1930s Los Angeles came from the Federal Writers Project publication: Los Angeles in the 1930s. And of course, I found historic details from newspapers articles, magazines and maps from the time period.

Q: What fascinates you about writing historical fiction? When in your life did you realize that writing was what you were called to do?

A: I’ve always been a voracious reader, and my dad nurtured my love of historical fiction by passing down his copies of James Michener’s and Colleen McCullough’s iconic works when I was in my teens and twenties. After that, I was hooked — I even majored in history in college. But I didn’t consider writing fiction until after my four kids were all in school. When I gave it a try, I felt like an imposter. With encouragement from my family, I kept at it and through a series of miracles, was contracted by Simon & Schuster for my biblical fiction, The Living Water Series. I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy when it comes to writing – I write slowly and have long periods between each of my books. But I do believe this what I am called to do and work at improving with each page! 


Q: What would you tell someone who wants to write historical fiction on how to write a great historical fiction novel?

A: I would encourage anyone who loves history and story and wants to see their book in print to do the hardest part of a novel – get started! Ask yourself what time period or historical event is most fascinating to you, because you are going to spend a lot of time living there. Find your characters and fall in love with them because they will be with you forever. Then let those two important elements – the history and the characters – tell their story.


Q: What would you tell new writers who deal with negative feedback from trolls online, negative reviews, and family and friends who aren’t supportive of their dream to write?

A: I have been fortunate enough not to have much experience with negativity, but I know it’s out there. In the case of trolls and negative reviews, ignoring them is the only response. Getting into an online scuffle always looks bad for an author. It’s tough for those who don’t have supportive family and friends, but there are a lot of online writers’ groups who are enthusiastic and supportive – find the people who will lift you up and encourage you, then do the same for them. 

Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels? 

A: I’d love to see my novels on the big screen but so far it hasn’t happened. Maybe some day!


Q: Can you reveal any details about any new novel or novels you are writing? 

A: As I mentioned, I’m a slow writer. I’ve spent the last few months contemplating my next novel. I have my setting and characters, but the story is still somewhat of a mystery — so I’m keeping mum for now. Check back with me after the release of Code Name Edelweiss in March and maybe I’ll be able to answer that question!