Meet Janette Oke
Though she yearned to be a published author, serious writing efforts were put aside until her children were entering their teens. When asked how she found time for writing, she said, "You make time, but my family comes first . . . I don't see myself as a professional writer, but as a wife and mother who writes." Her priority for her writing is just as clear. "My writing is not so much what Janette Oke says, but how God uses it when it's read." Godly lessons are the hallmark, the "take-away value," of Oke's writing.
When Bethany House published Janette's Oke's first novel, a prairie love story called Love Comes Softly, in 1979, no one knew if it would sell. Christian fiction, to say nothing of Christian romance fiction, was almost unheard of at the time. That first book has been followed by 36 others, totaling sales of over 14 million copies. Drums of Change, published in 1996, is listed by Publisher's Weekly as the highest selling religious paperback in the over 100,000-copy category for that year. In 1992, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association presented her with their President's Award, "for her contribution to Christian writing and leadership in creating Christian fiction, as well as the outstanding achievement of selling more than ten million copies [as of 1992] of her books."
Oke never intended that her stories would be written in series, but readers wanted more and more of the lives of her Love Comes Softly characters. The series concluded 10 years and eight books later with Love Finds a Home. In 1997, The Tender Years, the first title in the new Prairie Legacy Series, brought the same characters back to her public. Her books Beyond the Gathering Storm and When Tomorrow Comes are a continuation of The Canadian West series which feature Wynn and Elizabeth's children, Henry and Christine. She has partnered with T. Davis Bunn to write the Song of Acadia series as well as Return to Harmony, which has sold over 200,000 copies, and Another Homecoming, which sold 125,000 copies in three weeks. In addition to her adult novels, she has also written twelve children's books. Recent projects include the Seasons of the Heart and Janette Oke Classics for Girls series, the latter of which are keepsake editions of 6 of her novels from the Women of the West series.
Female and male readers of all ages write to her in appreciation. One man declared, "I learned more about being a good husband by reading Loves Comes Softly than any other book." Janette Oke orders her own life according to faith and family priorities, and continues to reflect those values in her writing and to her readers.
When asked what she hopes to accomplish through her writing, Janette replies, "My hope is that my books, which I do not regard as "romance novels" but as slices of life, will show readers that a personal faith in God and the fellowship of family and selected friends will bring harmony and inner peace to their lives. If my books touch lives, answer individual's questions, or lifts readers to a higher plane, then I will feel that they have accomplished what God has asked me to do."
Information partly from www.janetteoke.com. Updated June 2003.