Jeff Stookey

Author of "Medicine for the Blues" trilogy


Medicine for the Blues is a work of LGBT historical fiction that explores the complexities of gender and sexuality through the historical lens of the early 1920s. Jazz was becoming popular, Freud was all the rage, social mores were shifting, the Ku Klux Klan was growing in influence, liquor was illegal, and women had just gotten the vote. Based on extensive period research, this trilogy tells a touching love story set against the dramatic backdrop of this influential era.

“In this gay historical novel I want to encourage understanding and acceptance by asking readers to shift their frame of reference. Society and history are not static, they are constantly changing.”  —Jeff Stookey


As a young doctor, Carl Holman has experienced the horrors of World War I and the death of his lover, a fellow officer. Back home after the war, he befriends a young jazz musician who he hopes will become a companion he can share his life with. But this is Oregon: the Ku Klux Klan is gaining influence, homosexual acts are illegal, and such a relationship will jeopardize Carl’s promising medical career. Musician Jimmy Harper has his own dreams for the future and his own obstacles to overcome before he will allow himself to accept Carl’s love. More than a gay love story, Acquaintance is a deep dive into gay and lesbian history based on extensive period research of the 1920s.

This is Book 1 of Medicine for the Blues trilogy. Available Fall 2017.

Chicago Blues

Book 2: Chicago Blues follows Jimmy Harper to Chicago where he seeks fame and fortune, only to become entangled with an unusual array of underworld characters. Available Spring 2018.

Dangerous Medicine

Book 3: Dangerous Medicine follows Carl Holman’s struggles to navigate his medical career in Portland, while facing social and personal obstacles from the KKK, society, and other dangers. Available Fall 2018.

From Our Readers:

Reading Acquaintance is like discovering the journal of a long-lost relative. This well-researched novel gives the reader a believable and realistic picture of gay and lesbian life in Portland in the 1920s. Filled with period detail, Carl’s fictional memoir is a love story I devoutly wish were true. Linda Anne Hoag

Marriage and Family Therapist

Fiction makes the reality of the 1920s far more vivid than a historical text ever could. Eugenicists in Oregon were calling for sterilization of perverts along with other undesirables, and the Ku Klux Klan had infiltrated every level of the community, secretly ready to strike against anything that didn’t seem 100% normal and American. It wasn’t an auspicious time for two young Portland men to fall in love with each other. Robin Will

President of the Gay & Lesbian Archive of the Pacific Northwest

I did read your [first] chapter [on the website] and found it a very revealing depiction of the times and fantastic character portrayal. Interesting that in some ways Portland has come so far, and then in another way, not so much. Beth Ann Fischberg

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Jeff Stookey

Jeff Stookey


Exploring the lives of Carl Holman and Jimmy Harper, I had to learn to see through eyes that were not familiar with a post-Stonewall world. These characters were figuring out homosexuality, just as I had, growing up in a small town in rural Washington State.
I studied literature, history, and cinema at Occidental College, and then got a BFA in Theater from Fort Wright College. In 1992 I retrained in medical lab work and later in medical coding, and I worked for many years with pathologists, trauma surgeons, and emergency room reports. This medical background led to the creation of Carl Holman MD, while a deep dive into gay history and Oregon’s past shaped much of the rest of the trilogy. A novel writing class at The Attic Institute, A Haven for Writers, and a year with a creative writing group helped me bring this story out of the closet.

I have lived in Portland, Oregon, for many years with my longtime partner, Ken, and our unruly garden. Acquaintance is my first novel and Book 1 of Medicine for the Blues.

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