Monday, May 1, 2017

Just a quick note--

One of the best lessons that I've learned is on what John Gardner called profluence. Profluence is that sense of compulsion that a writer instills in a reader which makes the reader want to (need to) keep reading. Gardner sums it up as follows:

 Page 1, even if it’s a page of description, must raise questions, suspicions and expectations; the mind casts forward to later pages, wondering what will come about and how. It is this casting forward that draws us from paragraph to paragraph and chapter to chapter. The moment we stop caring where the story will go next, the writer has failed and we stop reading.

--  John Gardner The Art of Fiction (writing on profluence)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

THREE BOOKS -- A Great summary by TheShadesofOrange

I've been meaning to do a video blog to talk about having three books published:  
I wanted to discuss how each book is different and how readers with a particular preference may enjoy one book over another. Then low and behold, I came across this terrific video blog by TheShadesofOrange, where this brilliant young woman named Rachel did exactly that. Thank you Rachel for the great  post. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

PBS Interview

On the eve (figuratively) of the launch of my third novel
THE HEAVENS MAY FALL (October 4, 2016), I continue to bask in the glow of the success of THE LIFE WE BURY. 

Today I would like to thank Kevin Hanson and the rest of his people at KSMQ/Off 90 for the wonderful PBS piece that they put together spotlighting my adventure as a writer. I love how it turned out and it captures the spirit of what I most enjoy about being a writer.

Take a look at the interview at the link below:
 KSMQ - Off 90 interview of Allen Eskens

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A little video in honor of National Autism Month

To see the Erin Toland review that prompted this post click on the blog link below.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


As I was studying and honing my skill as a writer, I sought to come up with road markers to push my abilities and give me the confidence to take the next step. One of these markers was my Jack-and-Jill exercise.
The Jack-and-Jill exercise grew out of the fact that I write mysteries and thrillers. Mysteries and thrillers tend to rely heavily upon plot. I would sometimes read a mystery that, I felt, relied too much on plot and left out other elements of literary style. This may be a matter of taste because I gravitate toward literary mysteries like those of Tom Franklin and Dennis Lehane. So in my own work, I tried to come up with an assignment that would remind me of the importance of these other elements—even in a plot driven genre. What I came up with was my Jack-and-Jill exercise.

Basically, the Jack-and-Jill exercise is to take a nursery rhyme (like Jack and Jill) and rewrite it into a short story of some length relying on skills other than plot. Because the plot is already laid out and well known before the exercise begins, it forces me to focus on those other elements of story such as description, dialogue, pacing and character. To me, it feels like I’m working out those literary muscles that tend to atrophy when I focus too much on plot.

This exercise often comes to my thoughts as I write my novels. When I come to a place where I’m stepping from one plot point to another and I find myself struggling to write that transition, I take a step back and remember my Jack-and-Jill exercise. I change my focus away from plot and try to make the transition stand on its own merit. Over the course of writing three novels, I’ve found this exercise useful.

Monday, August 3, 2015

NEXT STEP . . . HOLLYWOOD (hopefully).

After months of knowing that this was in the works, I can finally announce that 
THE LIFE WE BURY had been optioned for development as an independent feature film! 

 Here's the official announcement: 

 Allen Eskens' debut thriller THE LIFE WE BURY, winner of the Rosebud Award for Best First Mystery, has been named a finalist for five additional awards including the prestigious Edgar Award for Best First Novel and ThrillerFest Best First Novel. It was chosen by Suspense Magazine and MysteryPeople as one of the best books of 2014, and called a "masterful debut" in a starred review by Publisher's Weekly. 

THE LIFE WE BURY is now under option to Mary Jane Skalski and Damon Lane of Next Wednesday to be developed as a feature film.

Currently producing WILSON for Fox Searchlight, Skalski's credits include the award-winning 
THE STATION AGENT (she won both the John Cassavetes and Independent Spirit Producer Award), the Oscar nominated THE VISITOR, WIN WIN, and MYSTERIOUS SKIN. Lane, who has been a manager at Zero Gravity Management as well as head of Development and Acquisitions at Capitol Films, has worked in film sales, finance and production for over 15 years. He has produced LOCKED IN and ANOMALY with Noel Clarke. He is currently packaging CHURCHILL with Studio Canal and Sierra/Affinity. THE LIFE WE BURY was published by Seventh Street Books and the option deal was handled by Mary Alice Kier and Anna Cottle of Cine/Lit Representation on behalf of Amy Cloughley of Kimberley Cameron & Associates.

Monday, July 6, 2015

My Surprising Journey to Becoming an Author

Since the release of my debut novel The Life We Bury, I’ve been so happily astonished at its warm reception. I’ve received many moving, heartfelt messages from readers who have enjoyed and been affected by the book. And it has continued to steadily find new readers everywhere—it’s been in the top 100 at Amazon in Canada for the past 100 days, for example, and starting today, The Life We Bury will be sold on the “Emerging Authors” shelves of Target stores! As exciting as it is to see your book on the shelves at Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores, seeing it in a big box mass retailer like Target is a bit surreal.

All of this has inspired me to reflect on the path I’ve taken to this point, and I made a short video to share with readers the surprising journey I’ve taken to get here. This video goes out to the wonderful readers who have written and asked me about my personal story, as well as to new and potential readers who want to learn more about the man behind the book.