Jan Walker

Jan Walker is the author of several published books, editorial director at Plicata Press (a regional Indie press with 11 published authors to date), and retired community college teacher. She spent 18 years teaching adult felons in female and male prisons where she developed courses and wrote curriculum to meet the population’s specific needs.

Looking beyond a felon's crime to his or humanity is wonderful training for character development in both fiction and memoir. Jan draws on that in her writing. She is known for bringing characters to life, and  ...See more >


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"Walker's characters and keen observations bring the town alive, leaving readers with a deep understanding of the people and the challenges they faced during a tumultuous era."

Kirkus Reviews

BOOKS REVIEWED BY KIRKUS:

FICTION & LITERATURE
Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0984840052
Page count: 336pp

Walker’s (Romar Jones Takes a Hike, 2012, etc.) Depression-era novel offers a microcosm of small-town 1930s America.

The tale opens in November 1932 as the citizens of Burke Bay, on the banks of Washington state’s Puget Sound, prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving. Seeking work and a chance to cash in on the area’s lucrative distilleries, a dapper Farley Price arrives in his fancy automobile with his timid wife, Eleanor, and their young daughter, Hannah. They’re soon welcomed by the well-respected Helmer and Ebbe Persson, who hire Farley to harvest turkeys. But when Price’s violent drunkenness and underhanded business plans threaten the community’s stability, Burke Bay residents rally to protect Eleanor and Hannah. Several subplots add dimension to the main story, including schoolteacher Maeva Swanson’s rocky relationship with longtime beau Axel Jenson as she bucks tradition and asserts her independence. Third-generation distiller Orval Blevins, in particular, is a truly memorable character; Walker deftly reveals his story as Blevins struggles to balance his desire to continue his family’s traditional livelihood with his wife’s demands that he adjust to the post-Prohibition marketplace and devise a suitable business for their son, Theodore, to inherit. A quirky pair of bachelor brothers, Hauk and Lang Nordlund, around whom two love triangles develop, help bring the story to its resolution. The close-knit Scandinavian community of Burke Bay could be nearly any ethnic enclave facing the challenges of prolonged unemployment, economic uncertainty, and intergenerational conflict and acculturation. But Walker’s characters and keen observations bring the town alive, leaving readers with a deep understanding of the people and the challenges they faced during a tumultuous era. The author also intriguingly shows how the production and consumption of alcohol influences individual people, families and the community at large.

A solidly researched, artfully written novel that’s both entertaining and educational.

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE:

A FARM IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC SEA
Adult Literary Fiction, Pacifica Literature

“But there must be some mistake. You are a woman.” So begins American diver June Sandusky’s adventure in the Kingdom of Tonga, the last remaining Polynesian monarchy. She arrives in 1967with a six-month visa and permission from the king to establish a spiny lobster nursery in the sea. Trouble begins when the Privy Council learns June is not male, as they had believed. June was in Hawaii recovering from a failed marriage and bruised spirit when she watched a spiny lobster extruding eggs, and began pondering in-sea farming. She returns to Seattle, sells her income property and half-share in a seaplane, and sets out to fulfill a dream of making a difference in the world. For three years she lives in a palm frond fale on a remote Tongan island that has neither electricity nor running water. She struggles against the sea, the male dominated culture and the human need for love. A Farm in the South Pacific Sea is based on the adventures of the author’s cousin. It’s an uncommon love story.

ISBN: 9780982820520
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AN INMATE'S DAUGHTER
Young Adult Fiction

Jenna MacDonald, the new girl in her Tacoma, Washington middle school, jumps into the cold waters of Puget Sound to rescue a little girl. Though she is a hero to her grandparents and little brother, Jenna' mother is furious at her for drawing attention to the island prison where her dad lives.

ISBN: 9780971416192
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DANCING TO THE CONCERTINA'S TUNE REVISITED (Unpublished)
Memoir, Criminal Justice

Experience a trip inside prisons, beyond the Concertina razor wire, to meet felons who are working toward reentry through education courses in parenting, family history and patterns, social responsibility and chemical dependency awareness. Original book published 2004


PARENTING FROM A DISTANCE: YOUR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Parenting

A valuable resource for incarcerated parents who are committed to remaining involved with their children and willing to accept the responsibilities associated with parenting from a distance.

ISBN: 9780982920513
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ROMAR JONES TAKES A HIKE
Young Adult-Adult Crossover Fiction

When his 9th grade language arts teacher tells him to pay attention to the poetry assignment or take a hike, Romar opts for the hike, walks out of Roseburg Oregon High School and embarks on a journey to find his mother. He figures that shouldn’t be too hard. She’s in prison in Washington. Romar lived with his dad and Granny for thirteen years. When his dad died in an accident, Romar and his granny moved in with relatives who didn’t really want them. Granny and basketball kept Romar going for the next two years, but now Granny is dead, the basketball season is over and his uncle plans to pawn him off on other relatives. Before she died, Romar promised Granny he’d get some of her ashes to Smelt Sands Beach on the Oregon Coast. Heading there first, before hiking north to Washington, feels like his best shot. Romar Jones Takes a Hike is the sometimes sad, sometimes funny and totally satisfying story of a teenage boy finding his way to independence in a place he calls Home.

ISBN: 9780982820599
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