Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Interview with Author T. Davis Bunn on Co-Authoring with Janette Oke and Their Latest Novel

Photo courtesy of Chris Kidler, Florida Today
I was recently given the chance to interview author T. Davis Bunn. I hope you enjoy this peek into the process of his writing and working relationship with author Janette Oke.

About Davis Bunn:

Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist whose audience spans reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings. He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write.

How did you and Janette Oke establish your writing relationship?
Janette had read several of my early works and liked my sense of drama. I had read a number of hers, and was just amazed at her ability to weave in the fragile and beautiful emotions of a woman’s heart. We were at the annual gathering of Christian publishers when we first talked about writing together. Six months later, we met in Canada and began work on our first book. That was fourteen years ago.

What do each of you contribute to your novels?
I always advise would-be novelists to wait until they have firmly established their voice before partnering. A good partnership holds a number of the same requirements as a good marriage. There is give and take on a multitude of levels, and a huge amount of personal growth. The risk for a new author is that they might lose sight of who they are at the fundamental creative level. Know yourself, feel clear on what you can change and what must remain uniquely yours. Then partner.

Author Janette Oke
Working with Janette has been a continuous learning process, and because of this, a great joy. She does not merely create her stories. She lives her faith, as much on the page as she does in her life. And this has been an ongoing testament to me, an invitation to grow in my own walk as well as in my stories. When I look back at our time working together, this is what first comes to mind. The issues of characters and stories and writing change with each story. But this one issue remains steadfast at the heart of our work together. We begin and end each project with prayer and Bible study. We talk about the act of service as a component of our work together. We take aim upon our Lord. And then we begin.

And we hold fast to our focus upon God. This has allowed us to look beyond the petty differences that inevitably arise during the creative process. It is much like a family bonding, as we share the creative process. So long as we maintain that vital perspective, that we work in service to the family of God, there is a remarkable ability to hold our vision upon the eternal.

Working with Janette has been a wonderful gift of freedom. Janette has a remarkable ability to capture the soft strands of emotional story. She can perceive a woman’s heart better than any author I know.

There are many times when I have sent her part of a new manuscript, and watched her insert her own scenes, and be amazed at how perfect they draw out the feminine side of the drama. And at the same time I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I could not have come up with what Janette has done. Not in a hundred million years.

What is your favorite part of the story writing process?

There are moments in each story’s creation when I just go away. I do not know how to describe it any better than that. My thought processes grow as quiet as in the most intense moments of prayer, and my hands are merely extensions of something that is beyond me. The act of creation is complete. I am merely an open window, and the flow is from somewhere beyond my puny self, through my eyes and hands, and onto the page. Time ceases to matter. The work is all. My spirit sings until the energy is depleted and the voice upon the page is reduced to a mere whisper, a solemn intonation of thanks. I walk away exhausted, and very close to the divine

Is there a story you have written that has been especially poignant for you?

Without question, The Damascus Way – the third and final book in the Acts of Faith series – is my favorite. The Damascus Way centers upon one of the most crucial components of the Book of Acts – the persecution of the early church and the miraculous confrontation between Jesus and Saul of Tarsus.

There is the beginning of signs and wonders within the growing church. The church expands at a rate that is astonishing and miraculous to everyone involved. The Judean Temple hierarchy and the Roman government grow hostile to the church. Stephen has become the first martyr.

It was a true growing experience to spend these days and weeks and months so deeply involved with the Followers of the Way.

For me, The Damascus Way is by far the richest book in the series. Other readers, especially women, have come in strong for book one or two, but Damascus for me holds the most powerful elements. Not just for this series, but for everything Janette and I have done together.

I heard a really nice thing yesterday. I happened to bump into a friend at the supermarket, and he told me how someone had stood up in the middle of the formal church service on Sunday – at a church on the other side of the county – and lifted Damascus over his head and said everyone in the church had to go out and read this book, that it was life-changing. What a huge gift.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website, blog, and interactive discussion group are at
Twitter: @davisbunn -

More about The Damascus Way
Young Julia has everything money can buy—except for acceptance by either Gentiles or Judeans in Tiberias. When she discovers the secret her beloved Greek father has kept all these years, she is devastated. Julia and her Hebrew mother are indeed less than second-class citizens. Her future is dark with clouds of uncertainty.

Jacob, Abigail's brother, is now a young man attempting to find his own place among the community of believers. Does it mean trading away the exhilaration and adventure of his current profession as a caravan guard?

Hired by Julia's father to protect a wealthy merchant's caravans on the secretive "Frankincense Trail," Jacob also reluctantly takes on the perilous responsibility of passing letters and messages between communities of believers now dispersed across the land. He is alarmed to discover that Julia, hardly more than a girl, is also a courier. Can their initial mistrust be put aside to accomplish their mission?

The Damascus Way is the finale to the best-selling Acts of Faith trilogy co-authored by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke.


  1. Great interview! I haven't read this, but it sounds fantastic. And very interesting to hear about writing partnerships and how they work...would be great to see this topic on Writer's Alley at some point.

    P.S. I've been hitting or going over my 2000 words per week goal and looking forward to summer writing time.

  2. Julia, after reader a great number of Davis and Janette's books together, they do such a great job! It was great to learn how that works for them. :)

    YAY! That is really awesome, Julia. I'm so thrilled for you!!! :D

  3. Thanks Casey for bring in us another wonderful interview!

    I'm a fan of Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn individually and co-authoring. Thanks!

  4. I was just as thrilled, Faye! Thanks for stopping by to read it today! Their books are great! :)

  5. nice interview. thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  6. Glad you enjoyed it Abi! Thanks for coming by. :)

  7. Casey -
    What an amazing experience to interview Davis! I have always admired him personally and love his books.

    I have to agree with him that "The Damascus Way" is one of his best. Have you read "The Lion of Babylon" yet? It is a captivating story about how Jesus can open Muslim hearts.

    I am impressed by your blog if you have a minute, check out mine at Blessings!


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