Monday musings: J.L. Oakley’s writing year ahead


By J.L. Oakley

Aloha! Klahowya! God dag!! BestSelling Reads wants to know what my literary plans are for the coming year. I am a writer of historical fiction and mystery novellas set in Hawaii. I just launched my latest Lei Crime Kindle World novella, Hilina Pali—which has history in it—so first, I have to clear out all the research off my desk and put things away. Then I can get back to my WIP, The Quisling Factor, set in postwar Norway. It’s the sequel to The Jossing Affair.

I went to Norway last September to talk to experts on the Resistance and the war crime trials of a true monster, Henry Oliver Rinnan. I plan to concentrate on Quisling Factor for the year, but I’m easily distracted. Here’s why.

An exhibit of a German soldier and regalia from the World War II occupation of Norway at the Trondheim Resistance museum in Norway.

My first novel, Tree Soldier, is set in the Pacific northwest at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in 1935. The CCCs, one of the great programs of the Great Depression, has become more than a topic I researched for the novel. I was selected as a Washington Humanities speaker on the topic and spent two years going around Washington State talking about CCCs. This spring I will be again fully concentrating on the CCC history, as a year-long effort to get a CCC worker statue for Mount Baker National Forest has been approved. On April 28, I’ll be giving a talk along with a fellow historian at an indie bookstore about the statue project, but I’ve already been out in the classroom talking about the CCCs.

The Glacier Ranger Station in Glacier, WA, built by the CCCs in 1939.

This past Thursday, I did a poetry project with 4th graders. The CCC boys published poetry in their camp newspaper, The Bulldozer. Some of it is quite good. I’m making the connection between their poems published in 1934–35 with poetry kids can write in the classroom today.

On June 16th, the statue will be dedicated. From now to then, I’ll be writing text for a wayside sign that will go by the statue. I’m also in charge of organizing the party in conjunction with the National Forest District.

CCC worker statue

Other plans for 2018? April 12-15th, I’ll be at a writer’s retreat in the mountains and at the end of that month, I’ll be attending the Chanticleer Author Conference. (It’s a great conference on marketing. My latest novel, Mist-chi-mas is shortlisted in two prize categories) I’ll be doing a book club visit between that and a book talk at the library in May.

Early June takes me to a book to film conference in Spokane, WA. I pitched The Jossing Affair to this conference, Connecting Writers with Hollywood, last year. I hoping to be signed sometime in the near future.

Summer will be lazy, but in the fall, I plan to attend the CCC Legacy conference in Portland, Oregon. Projects on Mount Hood will be highlighted. I’ve always wanted to see that mountain.


Janet Oakley

I write every day, no matter what form. If I’m lucky, I’ll have Quisling Factor done in the next twelve months. Or not. Writing life is good!

writes award-winning historical fiction that spans the mid-19th century to WW II. Her books have been recognized with a 2013 Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award, the 2013 Chanticleer Grand Prize, the 2014 First Place Chaucer Award, 2015 WILLA Silver Award and the 2016 Goethe Grand Prise.

When not writing, Janet demonstrates 19th century folkways, including churning some pretty mean butter.

In addition to historical fiction, J.L. has also written four mystery novellas set in the Hawaiian Islands, part of Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World. Her most recent historical novel, Mist-chi-mas: A Novel Of Captivity, launched in September 2017.

 Get to know more about Janet on her:

And follow her on Twitter @JlOakley13.

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