After more than a decade spent crafting his thoughts---and even some notes he’d strung together during his bus ride commutes---his first novel, Casino’s Gamble, is published.
Espenship, 39, is a Jacksonville Beach native. He heads the major crimes defense unit for the 4th Circuit Public Defender Matt Shirk.
He called Casino’s Gamble a piece of fact-based fiction about the challenges facing young man looking for deeper meaning in life. He likened the story to Good Will Hunting and The Blind Side.
The backdrop: Gainesville. The main character in the book developed after Espenship learned of a childhood friend’s suicide during a break from law school in the mid-1990s.
“It was a cathartic exercise,” Espenship said.
He started to jot down ideas almost immediately. Then he graduated and put the book down to start a career and a family.
After taking a job with the Public Defender’s Office six years ago, Espenship said he found a makeshift office for his writing in the Jacksonville Transportation Authority buses he used to commute downtown from the Beaches.
Writing isn’t just a hobby. Espenship said the exercises keeps him sharp to argue in front of judges and juries.
“It’s about mastering more colorful language,” he said. “If you’re always speaking legal-ease, no one understands. It’s like if a doctor got up there and used medical terms.”
Casino’s Gamble released December 21, 2010. Readers can order it for the Kindle as traditional paper copies begin to hit local bookstore shelves.
Espenship has written short stories and is now working on a second novel. His advice to fellow writers: Keep plugging away.
“You got to get up and put something on paper even if it’s utter garbage. Every now and then, there’s a seed in there,” Espenship said.
By David Hunt, Florida Times Union