36 Books Blog: Allen Eskens

Each day leading up to the 2019 Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony, we’ll be featuring an exclusive interview with one of our 36 finalists. Learn more about these incredible local writers and gear up to see the winners announced live in person April 6.

Interview with Allen Eskens, author of The Shadows We Hide

Category: Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College

How does if feel to be a Minnesota Book Award finalist?

It is exciting to be a Minnesota Book Award finalist.  To be recognized within a field where there are so many excellent writers is both humbling and gratifying.

Tell us something about your finalist book that you want readers to know.

The Shadows We Hide is a sequel,  and it delves into the complex relationships  created in my debut novel, The Life We Bury.  It is a mystery, but more than that it is a story of discovery, redemption, and obstacles that must be overcome to find forgiveness.

Let us know a little bit about your writing life. What brought you to a writing career and how did you become a published author?

I come to writing as a prolific daydreamer who wanted to find a creative outlet for his daydreams. I started studying writing after law school, but I didn’t publish my first novel for 20 years. I am happy now to have closed my law practice to focus on writing. I became a published author through the arduous process of querying agents until I finally got one, who then found a home for my work.

Minnesota is often ranked highly as a state that values literature and reading. In your experience, what is it about our state that makes it such a welcoming place for writers and book creators?

To start with, Minnesota’s educational system values reading, and that carries over into a lifestyle for many.  Minnesota also has a terrific library system that promotes and encourages reading at all levels.  Add to that the support given to the arts by Minnesotans through programs such as legacy grants, and it makes Minnesota a very welcoming state – not just for local authors but for authors world wide.

What is something you are good at that few people know about?

Before I became published I did woodworking as a creative outlet, building furniture and shelves.  I found a certain zen in the process.

What do you love about libraries?

Libraries were instrumental in launching my career as a writer.  Librarians who recommend my work introduced me to new readers who would otherwise not have heard of me.  I have done countless library events and am always impressed by the hard work and diligence of the librarians in making those events successful.  I can’t express my appreciation enough. Also, libraries are at the heart of a well educated and thoughtful society. Without them, life would be much more dreary.

About Allen Eskens
Allen Eskens is the bestselling author of The Life We BuryThe Guise of AnotherThe Heavens May FallThe Deep Dark Descending, and The Shadows We Hide. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, Minnesota Book Award, Rosebud Award (Left Coast Crime), and Silver Falchion Award and has been a finalist for the Edgar® Award, Thriller Award, Anthony Award, and Audie Award. His books have been translated into 21 languages and his novel, The Life We Bury is in development for a feature film.