Reading Challenge: Meet Janet Friesner, a Read Along Star

A Read Along With StarDid you miss me last week?

I’m at the very end of A Family of Strangers, which is due at my publisher’s in just a bit more than a week. So I’ve been extra busy. On top of that? The day after my book is due, I’m heading to Europe and even a bit of Africa to places I’ve never been. While I probably won’t have internet access for most of November, I’ll still be sharing some of my favorite blogs from the first few years of Southern Exposure. And when I return? I’ll share photos–Spain, Morocco, Canary Islands and Portugal.

As you can imagine, I can hardly wait.

Now for the fun part.

Today, I have the most special treat. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing author Diane Chamberlain here. Today Janet Friesner, one of our Read Along stars, agreed to let me interview her. For those of you who don’t know about Read Along with Emilie Richards? We’re a Facebook group, low key and friendly, who share what we’re reading, reading dilemmas, favorite authors and books, and if we happen to be doing a reading challenge, mine or anyone else’s, we share that, too. Come join us if you’re in the mood to relax and chat.

Janet, has impressed all of us. She’s an avid reader, often resorting to books she’s read and loved because she runs out of new books quickly. We are in awe of her reading schedule, especially since she’s given us fabulous recommendations.

I didn’t want you to miss getting to know her, so today, I’ll let Janet tell you all about herself and answer a few questions I asked that relate to the Read Along With Emilie Richards Reading Challenge.

And now, welcome Janet.

Here’s a bit about Janet’s life.

Janet was born during the Depression in St. Paul, Minnesota, eight-seven years ago, and the youngest of seven children. She credits her mother for feeding nine every night around the dinner table and being a magnificent cook to boot.

Janet fell in love with reading at 14 when her mom bought a set of encyclopedias. With them came six books by Lloyd C. Douglas and six by Faith Baldwin. From that point on, she was hooked. While she began nurse’s training after high school, she married ten months later and had two children before she was 21. While she was home with little children in the fifties, she joined the Doubleday Book Club where she met lots of wonderful authors. Leon Uris, Judith Michael, Herman Wouk, and many others. She read Exodus ten times.

Janet had so many interesting jobs: linotype operator at a book firm, a transistor factory, bank teller, new accounts person and a sojourn at the Anchorage Daily News. She and her family moved twenty-three times, from Alaska to Florida and in between. She lives in Florida now with her daughter, and says they aren’t able to get out a lot, so that gives her a lot of time to read. But she does go to her family reunion and the last one had 102 people in attendance. Now that’s family.

And I couldn’t resist adding this. Janet shares her books with her 91 year old sister in Wisconsin. The power of reading to bring people together, right?

Now, Janet?

The Interview:

You’re participating in the Reading Challenge on this blog. How many of the categories have you finished, and do you have a favorite book of the ones you’ve chosen for the Challenge?

I have yet to read something by a local author but I do plan on reading James Patterson’s book he wrote with Clinton. I have done everything else except a couple of things I will probably never do. Reading a travelogue, or a non-fiction how to book. I thought I would not read time travel but I understand Diane Chamberlain’s new book, which downloaded on my Nook this morning, will take care of that. I also participated in the Alphabet challenge and only missed the letter Q. I am on my third year of the Goodreads challenge. Last year I read 160 books and so far this year I am on book 145.

2–What one character in any book you’ve ever read would you most like to live next door to so you could become friends?

I would love to live near the ladies in Wendy Wax’s Ten Beach Road series. They are all much younger than me but I think they would let me in. Love to sit with them and watch the sun go down over the gulf and even though I have never tasted a margarita, I guess I could try one, and join them in saying one good thing about the day. 

3–I know you like to reread certain books. Can you tell us how you choose and what your favorite “rereads” are?

I reread books that made me feel good. Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series, love series, and any book by Jodi Thomas, Sharon Sala’s Blessings, GA series. Have reread your Prospect Street. I just feel like some of them are like a security blanket, if that makes sense.

4-What makes a character a hero or heroine in your opinion? What must he or she do to win your respect and confidence in them?

Never gave this much thought but the one person who will always be my hero is Ari in Leon Uris’ Exodus. Of course I read it the first time when I was in my 20s.

5-Pretend you’re snowbound in a mountain cabin for a week. The library has agreed to fly over and drop three books on your doorstep so you’ll have something good to read while you wait for snow to melt. You can choose any three books, books you’ve already read, books you haven’t, or a combination. What will you choose?

Now this is truly a difficult question to answer. I am such a fan of so many authors. Love David Baldacci, Lee Child, John Connelly, and John Grisham besides all of my ladies like Emilie Richards, Wendy Way, Jodi Thomas, Sharon Sala, Sheila Roberts, Debbie Macomber, Sandra Brown, and I could go on and on. Only three. I guess it would have to be something by David Baldacci, Wendy Wax, and maybe even Prospect Street.

Many thanks to Janet for taking the time to answer my questions and introduce herself. How many of us were members of the Doubleday Book Club or others like it that introduced us to authors we loved? I hope Janet’s post brought back some great memories–and authors–for you, too.


  1. Joni on October 22, 2018 at 6:14 am

    Me me!! Oh I was a member of Double Day couldn’t wait to get my order! I used to have a friend at the library that would let me read books before they even catalogued them when she left I started buying my own! I used to love Judith Michael books!
    Diane Chamberlain wasn’t usually on of their book selections I had to search to find her books!

  2. Kim B. on October 22, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Love the interview! Janet’s reading prowess is inspirational. Nice to get to know a little more about her.

  3. Denise Almazar on October 22, 2018 at 9:10 am

    How fun it was to learn a little more about Janet! Thank you Emilie! Janet really is an inspiration!

  4. Barbara Cecka on October 22, 2018 at 10:45 am

    As St Paul Mn gal myself this was interesting to know @lcinstudio

  5. Nits Voleski on October 22, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    I’ve admired Janet’s reading prowess since joining our group on FB.
    I wish I could get into re-reading certain books. There seems to be too many new ones to go back and re-read. I loved “Exodus” and also Uris’ “Trinity”. I just may have to re-read those two again.

  6. Nancy Lepri on October 22, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    What a great interview! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  7. Trish McNeil on October 22, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Janet’s reading list is impressive. I’m wondering if she’s read Dona Ball’s Ladybug Farm series and what did she think? I love Wendy Wax’s Beach Road booka and would recommend Ladybug Farm ladies as a fairly comparable series.

    • Emilie Richards on October 22, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      I’ll ask her. Janet always appreciates suggestions.

  8. Pam Reed on October 23, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Wonderful story – so glad you did this with her Emilie! I have downloaded several of her suggestions and have never been disappointed!!

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