5 authors in 5 days & How They’ve Inspired Me: #1 Janette Oke

  Janette Oke is an icon in her field! I grew up LOVING to read, and as much as I’d like to say that I’m well-read, probably I’m not. I pretty much stuck to the one genre: christian historical romance. My gateway book was Janette Oke’s Roses for Mama. It was a gift from my Aunt Belinda one Christmas when I was about thirteen or so. Before that it’d been The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins all the way, baby (anyone…anyone?).  Roses for Mama was the first “grown-up” book I can remember reading, and once I did, I was hooked! And fortunately for me, I had a mother who had a whole shelf full of them. It was like finding a gold mine!

I quickly read through Janette Oke’s entire Love Comes Softly, Canadian West, and Seasons of the Heart series, as well as singles such as A Woman Named Damaris and Julia’s Last Hope… It was through these books that I realized I loved historical fiction. Contemporary fiction has its appeal, but for me, the historical element just adds that adventurous bit of flavor that I find myself seeking out again and again.

Now, that I write historical fiction, myself, I’ve had people comment, “Wow, you must love history.” …meaning, do I love learning about history in general? Um, surprisingly, not so much, but I’m getting there. For example, after reading a series about Pirates sailing the seas around Port Royal, I didn’t immediately rush over to the library to learn all I could about that time or place… But just this last year when I read Gideon’s Call by Peter Leavelle, a book set just after the Civil War in the Carolinas–near Port Royal–I was like, “What?! Port Royal’s near the U.S. coast? Or is it? I have no idea–how do I not know this?!” Since then, I’ve been wanting to go pick up a book on the history of Port Royal. I haven’t yet…but like I said–I’m getting there 🙂

My husband, on the other hand, will download podcasts on Rome and the Carthaginians just because, and will listen to them while he woodworks in his spare time. And thank God for him, because it’s comments from him that really spur me on to do the kind of research I ought to.

Eg. I read him a  chapter from my first book (pre-release, of course), and it had my character being served tea. “Woa, woa, woa,” he says. “They can’t be drinking tea.” I roll my eyes, because everyone knows the English drink tea. Then he continues, “Tea originated in China, and it hasn’t made it to England yet…oh, and Velena’s brother being in Jerusalem won’t work either because Jerusalem was closed to outsiders during that time.” What?! Who’s writing this book, him or me??? 🙂 That would be a resounding “us!” haha. Well, at least he’s a great big help and I love him to pieces for it.

So, who else out there has read Janette Oke’s books? Do you have a favorite? …and is that even possible 😉 It’s been years since I’ve read anything by her…any recommendations of her newer stuff that I should read, now? How are the co-authored books she’s written with her daughter? I regret to say I haven’t read any of those.

YouTube interview with Janette Oke. So, what do you think of her writing?


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