Award-winning Carpe Diem, Illinois is the first book in the Leo Townsend Series

For decades, the small town of Carpe Diem, Illinois has quietly unschooled its children, eschewing tests and classrooms for real-life experiences. Now, long-smoldering political feuds and deep personal secrets threaten to explode. More

Reviews for the Leo Townsend series

Carpe Diem, IL –

“Great storytelling by a brilliant author. I opened the novel and did not put Carpe Diem, Illinois down until I was finished.

Kristin Oakley is a gifted storyteller and writer. I was lost in the story, living in Carpe Diem, and turning pages as fast as I could. Wow! I look forward to reading her second book. Her books deserve a large audience . . . and I can see Carpe Diem, Illinois as a movie.”

Nick Chiarkas, author of the critically-acclaimed novel WeepersNick Chiarkas

Carpe Diem, IL 

“Great read. I love a good mystery, but I love a great story more! This is an intelligent, well-written story that had me finding moments all day to get back to the book. The characters are well defined; you cheer for the good guys & gals and boo the enemies! Learned lots about unschooling as well.

The methods of delivering information from newsreporting to the voices of the young folks, masterfully done. Can’t wait for the next Leo Townsend story.”

Mary Helen Conroy

God on Mayhem Street

“Kristin Oakley nailed it again! . . . If her second book is any indication of things to come, we’ve found our next best-selling author. In God on Mayhem Street . . . the characters speak to us so clearly that they become friends.

This is one riveting book that I began at 7 p.m. and finally read the last page at 4 a.m. Yes – it’s that good – stay up all night reading good.”

Linda Thompson, Host of The Authors Show

Linda Thompson

Tables and book cases in a large glass-enclosed room with a beautiful view

The University for the Writing Arts

Last weekend my daughter Jessica and I explored the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). Jessica is pursuing a degree in costume design and UNCSA, a university devoted entirely to the performing arts, is one of her top choices.

As we toured the UNCSA facilities, we passed students painting murals, practicing dance moves, sewing garments, and creating wigs. The entire school buzzed with energy. It was contagious. A Disneyland for theatre geeks. The last time I’d seen this much excitement and energy from creative people was at UW-Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies’ Writer’s Institute. It got me thinking.

What if there were a university for writing?

Cover of Project Hail Mary

What Makes a Great Book – Project Hail Mary

It’s taken me years, but now I finally realize that a lot, if not all of writing, is about sharing human vulnerability. Take this newsletter for example. When I recommend books or movies to watch, I get some feedback. But when I share my struggles with querying agents or rewriting pages, I hear from many more of you. It’s this connection with our struggles, failures, and triumphs that people want more than anything.

And so it is with characters.

Audiobooks Adventure Party!

Award-winning author Kristin A. Oakley and American Players Theatre Actor Robert R. Doyle will discuss turning Carpe Diem, Illinois and God on Mayhem Street into audiobooks at Mystery to Me Bookstore on Friday, May 17th, 2019 from 7-9 p.m.

God on Mayhem Street cover

God on Mayhem Street is a Finalist!

Announcing my second novel, God on Mayhem Street, is a finalist in the Winning Writers North Street Book Prize!