Bestselling author Janette Oke is celebrated for her significant contribution to the Christian book industry.  Her novels have sold more than 30 million copies, and she is the recipient of the ECPA President’s Award, the CBA Life Impact Award, the Gold Medallion, and the Christy Award.  Her novel When Calls the Heart, which introduces Elizabeth Thatcher and Wynn Delaney, was the basis for a Hallmark Channel film and television series of the same name.  Janette and her husband, Edward, live in Alberta, Canada.

Laurel Oke Logan, daughter of Edward and Janette Oke, is the author of Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie, as well as the novel Dana’s Valley, which she co-wrote with her mom, and several others.  Laurel and her husband have six children, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren.  They live near Indianapolis, Indiana.

Where Courage Calls and Where Trust Lies, coauthored by this mother/daughter team, tell even more of the Thatcher family’s story.  

How did you come up with the idea for Where Trust Lies?

Since the books were intended to somewhat relate to the TV series, though we weren't yet certain what would happen next on the show, we decided to step out of their story line and not compete with it.  So we took Beth and her family on a journey over the summer with the intention of bringing her back to Coal Valley again later.  We liked the idea of seeing her two worlds – the security of a prosperous family set against the hardships she’d already faced among the working class miners who had become her new family in Where Courage Calls.

What do you hope readers take away from Where Trust Lies?

We explored how important it is to be careful with our associations and specifically regarding who we trust.  It’s a dangerous world no matter where you live and trust needs to be earned, but there always has to be a balance so we don’t live in bondage to fear.  We thought that Beth’s travels with this group of women provided an interesting way to compare and contrast these opposing ideas.

In growing up, what were three important values you learned that stuck with you and shaped your life?

Janette: My mother had a strong faith.  As a family we lived through some tough days: the Depression of the 30’s which brought struggle to support the family and resulted in a move to a new area, WWII when we listened to the daily news with a great deal of concern and sometimes fear for community boys overseas, family loss, and some difficult adjustments – but through it all my mother’s faith held firm.  I saw that God was trustworthy.

 Even though times could get tough, I knew my family loved me.  I was corrected and disciplined – but my dad made it easy for me to understand that discipline and love were compatible.  I also felt the love of the extended family.  Grandparents, aunts and uncles all let me know they loved me.  Of course it was special to have a number of sisters and one brother, plus dozens of cousins, who accepted me as the person I was.

 I also learned compassion.  Because I was blessed, it was easy for me to realize that many people in my world had difficult circumstances.  Anyone and everyone was welcomed to our home.  Mom cared for children of neighbors from time to time.  She fed anyone who came to our door.  Dad was quick to offer a hand where needed.  Even as kids we were sent to the homes of neighbors to help for short periods of time.  And that was all local.  Our church taught us of many people in the world who went through great suffering and poverty. We learned to care.

 Laurel: I’d say I learned to find joy in the simple things – not what’s expensive and trendy.  I wish we could get back to that sense a little more today.  It’s so much easier to tell your kids ‘no’ when you’re all aware that you can’t afford the things they want.  But it’s a much different kind of ‘no’ when they see you could make the purchase if you chose – you just don’t feel it’s in their best interest to indulge every want – especially when so many around have the latest gadget or the latest fashion and you don’t plan to follow suit.  I sure hope I've been able to pass that along to my own kids.
 I also learned the importance of relationships and family – still maintaining contact with that large family base.  I love times of just gathering around the table to play cards or some other kind of game.  It was one of my favorite things as a child and it still is today.  And I guess also the value of serving.  I grew up serving at church regularly and I still love being involved with kids and teaching them about Jesus.

What keeps you sane in the middle of craziness? Hope in the middle of stress and Life’s storms?    

 Janette: A visit with family or a friend.  Quiet music – inspirational or classical.  A few minutes alone to re-sort my thinking.  A walk in the woods.

 Laurel: I think just remembering what I’m grateful for – that the family is healthy and well settled, even when they’re not close by – that God is in control even when things seem out-of-control.

What three things are you most thankful for in life?

Janette and Laurel
 Janette: Setting aside the three big things: faith, family and friends, I would move to three homey things.  My ‘corner’ in my home.  I rest and relax there.  It is where I have my daily devotions, pick up a bit of handwork, just enjoy the motion of the rocking chair, look out across the miles to the Rocky Mountains, reenergize for the tasks ahead.

 A soft, warm, familiar bed.  So many nights when I tuck in I think of all the people in our world who sleep on the streets, in poor or cold conditions, in refugee camps or prisons and I thank God for the blessing of my bed.  It can get cold in Alberta and I love to know I have a place of warmth.

A relaxing, hot bath where I can soak away all of the aches and strains of the day.
Laurel: I’d probably answer differently every time I was asked this question, depending on my mood, but I’m grateful for the people in my life, for my pets and for nature.

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? When will it be out?

We’re planning a third book in this series which we expect to be out early next year.  Beth will be back in Coal Valley – but she finds that it’s grown quickly and is quite a different place than she left.  And she’ll be back with Jarrick, hoping to take another step forward in their relationship.

What fascinates you about the time period you wrote about?

Mom and Dad,Me with my kids: Adam, Anna and Jackie with her husband Daniel white water rafting
We chose to set our books in the “Roaring Twenties” so that we could be faithful to the timeline of Janette’s Canadian West series.  (Elizabeth’s younger brother, Matthew, had fought in WWI – so we continued shortly after that with her namesake niece).
The 1920’s was a time of great change in a short span of years.  Being squeezed in between WWI and the Great Depression added to this but there were many other factors as well.  What had been known and accepted in society, as well as in the family, was suddenly being redefined.  People were exposed to a much larger world – a rapidly changing world – and women – both young and older – were leaving the solidity of the home and going into the work force.  Children were given an expanded role early in life and thus pushed to grow up and independent more quickly.  In a short period of time roles, rules and reasoning took a different path.  And it was such an exciting time in many ways, with significant changes from the period before it – dress, culture, music, travel, technology – it was an era of “newness” that was pretty incredible.  And that makes it so interesting in the way it kind of mirrors what we see going on again now.

QUESTION for JANETTE: I had watched an interview you did with Michael Landon Jr. In it he mentioned you creating a new series that he could make movies from? You told him that you were retired. He mentioned a co-writer. You thought of your daughter Laurel. How did you all come up with the new series? What new characters did you create in the new series?

Yes, I had retired and didn't want the full responsibility of another book.  When I was approached by Michael, I thought of Laurel.  She was already a published author, and now that she was no longer homeschooling, had time and interest to get back into writing.  I knew that we would partner much better than trying to find someone else to write with.  As far as the story-line, Michael had acquainted us with some of the lead characters in his movie and we filled the rest in as we worked through our story.  Molly and Frank were ours; Pastor Philip and the Grants too.  Some of the town’s women were from their cast of characters and some were added for our purposes.  So in this second book we also drew from the movie and filled in more with new interactions and back-story. 

QUESTION for LAUREL: How did you respond when you mother asked you to co-write a new series with her? How did you all begin the process? What did you want to achieve?

 I was quite surprised when Mom called me to ask if I was interested – and of course I said ‘yes!’  For me it was a perfect opportunity to work with her – and have more reasons to travel to see her and talk over the phone.  And I enjoyed a chance to see her writing process.  I've loved it.

We started by brainstorming together, and then working through an outline.  Then we dove into writing and passed the manuscript back and forth for editing.  It was a lot of work – maybe more work in some ways to do it cooperatively, but I enjoyed it.

 I hoped that it would be a story that would “fit” with her previous works and leave her readership feeling as if it were comfortable and familiar – what they've come to expect and love.
Whole Family White Water Rafting

A friend of yours has a time machine and they will let you use if for a while. Where would you go and what would you do?

 Janette: I have not been intrigued with going back in time.  I look back at my growing up years and feel blessed.  They were difficult years for my parents because of the big challenge of caring for a family with little means, but we as children, did not catch that sense of need or concern.  I love the years I spent growing up.  So I really don’t look back with longing, wishing I could have experienced another world.  Every generation seems to have challenges to face and the world has always contained some ‘ugly.’  I think I could have enjoyed historical England – so long as I was one of the upper class.  Perhaps a minister’s daughter in a quiet town or village.  Sort of one of Austin’s settings.  Preferably by the sea.

 Laurel: I’d love to see creation unfold!  The Bible really doesn't flesh that out much for us – even though the description is positively elegant - but I’d just love to see it for myself.

What was your favorite show on T.V. when you were growing up? Why is it your favorite? If you didn't watch TV what were your favorite books?

 Janette: When I was young we didn't have TV.  We listened to radio and spent hours as a family in the evenings sharing the entertainment together.  I remember “Fibber McGee and Molly” – a comedy, “The Lone Ranger” – a western, and LUX radio theater which carried a variety show.

We also read books.  Lots of books.  Mom read to us and Dad would willingly read to us in the little time that he had as a farmer.  Our teacher in school read us many books.  When I could read on my own I continued to read stories for young readers.  As a teen I read all I could find concerning the early days of the pioneers - mostly known as Westerns, though the opening of the Canadian West was quite different than the cowboy and Indian stories I read from American writers.

Laurel: I grew up on the Brady Bunch and Star Trek.  I also loved “H. R. Puff ‘n’ Stuff.”  Does anyone remember that show?  As far as favorite books, I read “The Hobbit” and “Swiss Family Robinson” over and over.

What three things would you rather not live without (besides your family)?
Mom, Dad with my daughter and grand-baby
Janette: my senses.  Sight – I would miss the faces and smiles of those I love, the beauty of the world around me, being able to feel comfortable and independent in my world.  Hearing – there is so much to hear in our world.  Laughter – especially of children.  Music – that either soothes or energizes.  Chatter, whether in person or by phone.  I love the chirp of contented chickadees as they visit the bird feeder, the nostalgic call of a flock of geese homeward bound after a winter spent in the South.  The sound of a train whistle in the distance echoing on the evening air.  A rippling, clear mountain stream.  One could go on and on.  To keep this from being an essay, I will only mention taste, smell, and touch – but each one is special and adds so much to one’s life experiences.

I wouldn't like to give up emotions either.  Though not all emotions give one a happy feeling, they all add dimensions to life.  Emotions make you know you’re alive, involved.  I think they also help us to understand God.  He made mankind in his image and the Bible describes many of the emotions that God feels and responds to.  Emotions also connect us to other people and help us to know and understand them better.  Without emotions, life would be one long, even, and rather boring journey.

 And health – without a measure of health one would not be able to be involved and appreciative of the many things of life.  As one ages one realizes more and more how blessed one is to be able to ‘think’ and ‘do.’  Brain health is perhaps even more important than body health and I grieve for those traveling through our world in a difficult or tormented mental state.  One should thank God daily for health, both personally and for those you love.

Laurel: if I’m answering practically, I’d say my Bible, clean running water and air conditioning.  I could get by on the first two, but I really like air conditioning!  I’m pretty grateful for that modern luxury.

Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite?

Janette: nature sounds - I like the ocean, bubbling stream, the cry of a loon across a lake, babies laughing.

Laurel: a cooing baby (like my sweet grandson Peter), and ocean waves

We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life; that as a given what part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through? Causes you to pray the most?

Janette: for me at this stage it’s toward the end of the day because by then I’m tired, or a busy day with the pressures of much to do.

Laurel: when I’m alone and all of my family is busy elsewhere.  I much prefer a noisy house.

Nora: THANKS for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your new series. I'm Thrilled at the opportunity to interview you both., Thanks for the fun pictures you've shared with us. Bethany House is giving away 10 copies of the second book in the new series Where Trust Lies.

To ENTER THE DRAWING go to TBCN  Scroll down the front page until you get to the book cover for Where Trust Lies. CLICK on the link ABOVE the cover. You'll have to JOIN Bethany Publishers page to participate. (Click the upper right hand of page to JOIN) Answer one of the authors questions to enter drawing.


Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
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Book Fun Magazine 


  1. Nora
    This is a wonderful interview. Thanks to you, Janette and Laura for taking the time to do this.

    1. I was so excited to have this opportunity and THRILLED to share it with everyone!! THANKS for stopping by Shirley

  2. Awesome review my favorite author. Look forward to any books by them.

    1. THANKS for stopping by. I was THRILLED to be able to interview both authors!

  3. Very nice. Love Janette Oke because I know I am going to get wholesome Christian entertainment. I get so tired of all of the junk that is out there.

    1. THANKS for stopping by Mary. I'm glad to hear about how you feel about Christian Fiction and Entertainment!! I agree with you. I think this is why the movie series and T.V. show is so popular with folks!

  4. Hi Nora. Thanks for this review of Janette Oke and Laurel. I have loved her for years. I have loved her books. also for years. Especially Love Comes Softly. Wonderful. I think we are about the same age for I remember the same things about my life. And, she is right on with the important things in our lives. I sure would love to win this book of hers. Thanks for a chance. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    1. I didn't read the Love Comes Softly book but saw the movie. LOVED IT!! I agree with you on the important things of life. You still have time to ENTER the DRAWING for this book. You'll have to go to THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK You'll have to JOIN it's FREE and Easy. CLICK on the like ABOVE the Book Cover. Click that. JOIN the Bethany House Group and answer one of the questions the authors came up with. MORE BOOK FUN AHEAD!! Last day to enter is Feb 28th

  5. I enjoyed reading this post.Janette Oke is one of my favorite authors.I am in the process right now on trying to collect all her books.I love her books.Thanks for sharing.

  6. Fun interview. I think I've read all of Janette's books. Her Gown of Spanish Lace remains my favorite book. I'd love to read this new one.

    One of the high points of my writing career was meeting Janette at the ACFW conference the year she was there to receive an award.

    1. Thanks for sharing Vickie. It must have been so much fun to meet Janette Oke!! I'm so glad you got to have that moment! I appreciate you stopping by!

  7. Looking forward to new books. Will share with others.

    1. This is a brand new series they are going to make into TV series. I've seen the first one of these. I'm looking forward to reading the books too!

  8. Thelma Chastain Goolsby Nora, this is a great interview! You have such "revealing" questions! Enjoyed all of their answers. Tried to leave you a comment, but no luck!! Leaving this comment on FB for you!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Thelma. I appreciate you leaving this comment on my Facebook page. I copied it here for you!! YOU ARE A BLESSING!

  9. Would love to win .Thank you for the offer .Blessings DanaGirl

  10. This is awesome.

  11. This is awesome.