It took two decades, but Allen Eskens has added a second job — writer — to his career as an attorney. Eskens, a trial lawyer, released his first book, the mystery "The Life We Bury," on Oct. 14. He has been studying creative writing at the University of Iowa Workshop, at the The Loft in Minneapolis, and at Minnesota State University, Mankato, for the past 20 years as he dreamed of publishing his first book.
Eskens has been touring his home state promoting his debut novel.
Despite his profession of 20 years, Eskens said he didn't want to start his literary career with a court drama.
"I decided with my first novel, I didn't want to write a legal thriller. I didn't want my protagonist to be an attorney," said Eskens, who lives in Mankato.
"The Life We Bury" tells the story of Joe Talbert, a college student who, for a class assignment, visits a nursing home. There, he visits with a convicted murderer in his final days. The talk propels Talbert to look into the man's past, which does not make some people happy.
It took Eskens a year to write the book, though the path to publication leads back even longer than that.
"It's been a 20-year journey," he said. "It was something that I worked hard to do. I worked hard to develop my abilities and hone my skills, so that when the time came I would feel that I was ready."
Eskens is currently working on his second book. He hopes to publish four books by 2017. While the next book won't be a sequel, it will include one secondary character from his debut, attorney Max Rooper.
"Being an attorney didn't play a lot in this novel, but it may in future novels," he said.