Erin Krakow Sets the Mood for Two Debuts: WCTH and Blind Date Book Club

Erin Krakow has a big weekend ahead on Hallmark Channel.

On April 6, she stars with Robert Buckley in a charming movie called Blind Store Book Club. Erin stars as Meg, a woman well versed in stories and love, but when she’s asked to review a famous author’s novel, she discovers she still has much to learn.

When Calls the Heart Season 11 returns on Sunday, April 6, a season that promises new adventures and romance, especially between Elizabeth and Nathan, a love fans have been waiting to unfold for years.

We had the chance to talk with Erin this week to find out what’s ahead and what fans can expect from this extraordinary double feature.

As always, she was generous with her time and shared many insightful thoughts for her dual-premiere projects.

You have a huge weekend ahead, don’t you?

[chuckles] Yeah, I didn’t meet to look so egocentric! This is Hallmark’s plan, but it is all about Erin this weekend, isn’t it?

How do you prepare for a dual premiere weekend?

I’m finding it really tricky on social media. I am doing my best, but I’m trying to balance a little of this and a little of that.

You have fans who really want you to be there with them, which keeps you on your toes/

Well, I mean, I’m honored to be in a position to have fans who want me to be there with them, whatever that means to them.

I feel really grateful to be in this position and so happy to post my little behind-the-scenes nuggets and sneak peeks and things like that. I’ve been having a good time with it.

You have a lot of movies that people consider their go-to Hallmark movies, and I think Blind Date Book Club will be one of them.

Oh my gosh, that’s so lovely to hear. I mean, not to turn it around and ask you the questions, but I’m curious: why do you feel that way?

Well, first of all, you and Robert Buckley have really good chemistry, which makes Meg’s and Graham’s journey together feel very authentic. Just the idea; I think that we’ve lost something so precious with the disintegration of tactile things, especially bookstores.

I can remember when going to the bookstore, it would make my whole weekend — my whole week. I would just spend a day visiting independent stores and seeing what they had to offer, and they’ve mostly gone.

So watching stories about them and the potential of what they can be, I think, is just a great way to spend time.

That was beautifully put. I appreciate that. I had the best time working with Rob, so I’m glad that you enjoyed our chemistry on screen, and I happen to agree with you. I think that there is something really special and magical about diving into a real hard copy of a book.

I just found myself in an independent bookstore yesterday.

I saw we were walking past, saw a book in the window, and thought, oh, that looks interesting, and walked in and popped around, and there’s fun greeting cards and different kinds of books, and there was a kid in line asking questions, “Do you have the next book in my favorite series?”

And there’s just something really comforting about that experience, so I’m glad that it resonated for you, and I hope you’re right. I hope this does turn into the kind of movie that our viewers will come back to time and time again when they’re looking for that comfort flick.

And people are so desperate to find a connection in a wired world. I can’t believe nobody even thought about doing something like this. Maybe they have.

But this blind date with the book club is such an exciting idea for people who want to meet somebody near them without having to worry about whether they’re in another place in time. Everything has to be electronic.

You could meet somebody through your shared love or even just a general discussion of a book, and the fact that your character writes little things on it, so that book is chosen.

There’s something about Valentine’s Day cards where people used to put those into a little box, and maybe nobody signed their name, and you wondered who it was from. All that kind of stuff just really comes to light in this movie.

It’s charming and nostalgic, absolutely. And I think it’s also accessible.

This is an idea that you could bring into your community if you wanted to, or I mean, people could probably pitch the idea to an independent bookstore in their hometown. It could be a fun thing for people to start doing.

What drew you to this movie? What do you like about it? You know what I like about it, so what about you?

I liked so many things about it. It’s a real feel-good project. It kind of reminded me of that Little Shop Around the Corner, You’ve Got Mail kind of thing. I like the idea of playing someone who owns a bookstore. It had a real, cozy feel to it.

And the way we’re able to capture that coastal small-town community full of people who love to read, it’s got a really good energy about it.

Peter Benson directed Blind Date Book Club, and he is obviously such a great actor he’s been featured in so many homework projects, but he’s also directed quite a few.

I had heard only good things about him, so I was really excited to get to work with him as a director, and he did not disappoint. He’s such a warm-hearted guy, and he created a really positive set for everyone.

There was a lot of freedom for play, and that’s a good thing because I happened to be starring opposite a very playful actor, Rob Buckley, who is just such a dream co-star. He is truly so delightful on and off-screen. He’s such a funny guy, so silly. Always incredibly prepared.

I don’t think he went up on a line once. He is a true pro, and I knew he’d be a lot of fun because I worked with Brendan Penny last year on the Wedding Cottage.

Brendan and Robert are close friends from their Chesapeake Shores days, and Brendan just had great things to say about him, so I was thrilled to get to work with him, and overall, it was just a wonderful experience.

I didn’t realize it was Peter Benson, the Hallmark actor, who was directing this. He has been in so many things. It’s nice to know that he can create something so lovely from all of his experience doing this.

And he really is a wonderful, thoughtful, smart director who really cares a lot. I mean, it was important to him to elevate each scene and make it pretty and work with this crew to create an incredibly visually stunning movie as well.

I mean, some of the shots we started in Gibson, BC, which I believe is where they shot Beachcombers many years ago, and it is so stunning. We got a lot of our wide shots of “Nantucket” while we were there, and it’s just beautiful. And the way they created the bookshop is so charming.

It’s a kind of set where you just kind of want to hang out. You want to find a little cozy nook and pick up a book, read, and hang out. It was a great set. He created a really good vibe, and I’m excited to work with him again.

Once upon a time, it was my dream to have a bookstore like that.

Oh, you would’ve loved it. You would’ve loved this set.

Yes. I think the set is exactly the kind of place that I would’ve wanted to create.

That’s very sweet. If you still have that dream, go get it.

I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I like the idea. So I’ll watch it in the movies instead.

There you go. Live vicariously.

Okay. And then, of course, when Calls the Heart is coming, every time I see the promo, I think of Scott Fitzgerald’s Bernice Bobs Her Hair. What’s it like to finally be free of the wig?

Oh my gosh. Well, we’ve had so many different versions of fake hair over the years, one of which was a really bad wig. But it’s great. I’m really excited about this new chapter in Elizabeth’s life for many reasons.

But it was really fun to get to do something so bold and visual. It’s a visual medium, so I’m glad that we could do something that adventurous. I hope our viewers like it.

We say it’s adventurous, and yet Fiona has that hair.

I think when I said adventurous, I meant more like for Elizabeth; it was an adventurous move because she had the long hair for so many years. It was just a bold move for her. Even though many women of that time period had already made the move to rock a bob, this was kind of an exciting, adventurous move for Elizabeth.

It seems like every season is the season of change in Hope Valley. What year are we in now, and what exciting things are coming to Hope Valley?

Well, we are in, I believe, 1921, so we’re into the ’20s. Lots of innovation is happening.  New fun hair, new fun fashion. We’re seeing more ankles. [laughs] Actually, I have to think about what kind of shoes I’m wearing, things like that.

So there’s this sort of external change of the world and what was appropriate in that time period. And then there’s the more internal character-driven change and story change.

It does feel like there’s a big shift happening this year as we try to deliver every year. But this year, in particular, we are open to infinite possibilities in Hope Valley.

So we know that Lucas lives and settles into his role as governor because that has been released in promo materials, and he’s had a lot of significant changes in a very short time. What can we expect that will do to him as a character?

Lucas may have the most emotional, exciting, intense, and intriguing storyline of any character in Season 11. He has so much happening in his world as governor, recovering from this injury, the mystery that goes along with it, and his attempts to create change and really deliver as governor.

There’s just so much going on. He has something come up from his past that threatens all that in some ways. It’s an intense season for Lucas, and that’s not to say he doesn’t have some really lovely heartwarming moments as well because those are there.

And seeing Elizabeth and Lucas reunite and find their footing together in this new chapter of their dynamic is really tender and respectful, I think. But outside of that, when it comes to his professional life, man, he’s just got a lot on his plate. It’s a big season for Lucas.

And I know that Rosemary and Bill are going to be investigating the case of who shot Lucas. That brings up all kinds of fun possibilities. What kind of hijinks and peril can we expect from their partnership?

High jinks and peril? [laughs] Rosemary and Bill are not two characters that you would think of when you think perfect pairing, but they end up creating this really funny buddy cop kind of thing. It’s just full of surprises.

And I think Bill may not want to accept Rosemary’s hope in the beginning, but she just has a way about her, and she just weasels her way right in, doesn’t she?

She does.

So they end up working together all season, and it’s just such a delight to see their characters together because we haven’t had the opportunity to see them work together in this capacity before. So that change is just a really fun one. I think people are really going to enjoy their dynamic together.

I think that’s one of my favorite things about long-running shows. People you’d never expect to have longer arcs together, have them, and you just create magic. It’s just been kind of sitting there waiting to pop.

Well, I hope people enjoy the magic that we’ve got in store for them in Season 11. There’s an awful lot of that.

You’ve been saying that Elizabeth and Nathan’s relationship will be a slow burn. But from the looks on their faces and the promos, that slow burn’s going to torch the whole town if they wait too long.

So how do you be respectful of Elizabeth’s past with Lucas and still ignite what’s between her and Nathan without dragging it on too long?

Well, Elizabeth already burnt down a teacherage in Season 1. I don’t think she wants to start any more fires in Hope Valley. [laughs] When I say it’s a slow burn, I think that’s really for a couple of reasons.

One, there is a desire to be respectful of the fact that Elizabeth just came out of this or not just, mean it was at this point, I believe it’s a few months ago, in the story world, but she’s just come out of this engagement and this very loving relationship. That was a very real love story Elizabeth and Lucas had.

So it would almost cheapen both her relationship with Lucas and her potential relationship with Nathan if we were to just dive right in.

We accept that there have been some growing pains and grieving or moving on, whatever that looks like for each character during that time that they are apart between seasons.

But also, when we come back and we’re back in real-time, we just want to be respectful of that and honor the relationship that they had. In addition to that, there’s this feeling of uncertainty between Elizabeth and Nathan, where Elizabeth obviously knows Nathan does have feelings for her.

He confessed his love in When Calls the Heart Season 8, I believe it was. But she can’t be sure that he still has feelings for her.

Of course, she can!

Well, I mean, I see your point, but the kind of fears and uncertainties and insecurities that can come up in a situation like that, right?


Yeah. And I think for Nathan, I mean, he thinks he’s picking up on a vibe. There were even moments toward the end of When Calls the Heart Season 10 where you’d see that he’d kind of walk away from a conversation with Elizabeth, or she’d walk away from him, and we’d hold on Nathan’s face.

It was almost this expression of “Was that just a moment? What was that? What’s going on here?” So I think there’s still a bit of that for him where he’s wondering, “Okay, sure, she’s single now, but does that mean she’s now interested?”

Anyway, the point is we do a bit of a dance until there is an explosion, a declaration of feelings. And I don’t know if we burn the town down yet.

I bet you’re going to come close.

Well, we wanted to give the fans something hot, so hopefully, we deliver.

For those who have been waiting for Elizabeth and Nathan, this is going to be such an exciting season to watch what they thought had already happened once happen for real. It’s like the slow burn has already been happening in viewers’ minds. They get to live out their dreams.

Yeah, that’s a good point. And you’re right; there are plenty of steamy looks and moments between them, but there are so many things that come up. They’re parents. They want to approach this with caution, respect, and care. So this grown-up love story is going to be a slow burn, but it’s still fiery.

My last question for you is, what would you say is the tone for Season 11? The promos use the word bold, but the details focus on children and family and togetherness.

The tone of Season 11, gosh, I have such a hard time wrapping it up into one neat little thing. But I would say that discovery is a big one for every character. Self-discovery, discovering secrets behind a mystery, discovering the potential for romance; there’s a lot of discovery.

Then there’s a lot of commitment or recommitment to new ideas, people, and career paths. So, discovery and commitment. But that doesn’t sound very sexy. So I’m also going to throw in the word romance because I think that’s important.

***This interview has been edited for clarity and content***

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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