About the Author
Dennis E. Hensley is the author of more than 60 books. He holds a Ph.D. in English and is a professor of professional writing at Taylor University. Dr. Hensley served in the United States Army and was awarded six medals for service in Viet Nam. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Oxford University and at York St. John University in England and at Indiana University and Regent University and other colleges in America. He and his wife Rose have two grown married children and four grandchildren.
1-When you are not writing, what other hats do you wear?
For the past 21 years I have been a professor at Taylor University, serving as director of the professional writing concentration in the Department of Communication. I teach three writing courses each semester, serve on academic committees, attend our chapel three times per week, and do student advising. During the summers I do guest appearances at writers conferences. This summer, 2018, for example, I will be teaching at the Write to Publish Conference (Wheaton), the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, and our own Taylor University Christian Writers Conference (Aug. 3-4). I write a column for each issue of Christian Communicator magazine, I make webinar training presentations for the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, I teach an adult Sunday school class at Wallen Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, and I enjoy spending quality time with my four grandkids. My wife Rose and I have been married 46 years, and we love to travel. In recent years we have been to Scotland, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Greece, Canada, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Bermuda, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, and China.
2-Who are some of your favorite authors, and what authors inspire you?
I wrote my doctoral dissertation on American author Jack London (1876-1916) because he is my all-time most respected writer. I actually prepared a 600-page annotated version of Jack’s autobiographical novel Martin Eden, as well as a library reference book called Jack London’s Masterplots. He is a master at descriptive writings, whether talking about the Yukon, the South Seas, or even the slums of London. His plots have incredible narrative drive. The Call of the Wild has been translated into more than 80 languages and has been a best-seller every year since 1903. His novel The Sea Wolf has been made into a movie six different times.
I liked to read the early novels about banking and business by T. Davis Bunn. I enjoy all the cop novels by Jerry B. Jenkins. Dave Barry’s nonfiction books crack me up. My son is grown, but when he as in grade school years ago, he and I read Mark Twain’s novels and roared with laughter.
3-What inspired the idea for your novel The Man Who Could Transfuse Time?
Some years ago I was hired by a large circulation magazine to do a feature article about people who were born with superpowers they never asked for. I was to find out if they felt blessed or cursed. It turned out, it was some of each. The woman I talked to who had a photographic memory got all A grades in school because he remembered everything she read in her textbooks, but she was unable to forget any negative thing anyone had ever said to her or about her. A man who was ambidextrous wanted to be a pianist, but once his dad and various coaches discovered he could do everything equally well both left and right handed, he was hounded all his life to be part of baseball, basketball, and hockey teams. A woman with perfect pitch could not enjoy attending a recital or concert if even one instrument was slightly out of tune because she could hear only that imperfection (over and over). I made a note in my writer’s journal, asking myself, “If given the choice, would anyone really want a superpower?”
A year later I signed a contract to write a book on aspects of time management. While interviewing executives who were experts on setting priorities, sticking to schedules, and managing work teams, I kept hearing one refrain from each of them: “Oh, if only I could go back 30 years, knowing what I know now. Wow, would my life be radically different.” So, I made another note in my writer’s journal: “Would it be worth becoming younger in body if the mind was totally out of synch with everyone who was actually that age?”
As my subconscious was playing with both of those questions, I happened to attend a sermon one night in which the pastor talked extensively about spiritual gifts, and how each person was blessed with a different talent and ability. Well, click, all of those other elements suddenly fell into place, and I asked myself, “What if someone had a superpower that no one else had, such as transfusing time from one person to another? Would the people he touched feel cursed or blessed by his intervention? How would they then lead their lives?” I went home that night and started making notes for the novel.
A big challenge was to somehow make the story plausible. To do that, I did a lot of research on a disease called progeria, in which children age seven times faster than normal. I contacted geneticists at universities, hospitals, and research centers to find out what they were doing to try to cure this disorder. I also asked them the reverse—what causes the body to stay young and fit and healthy? I weaved this scientific information into the plot of my novel..
Additionally, I talked with numerous theologians who have theorized that the reason people are born with superpowers (ambidexterity, perfect pitch) is because Adam had superpowers before the fall from grace. The Bible says he could work in the garden, but it makes no mention of blisters, sore muscles, or sweat. It also says that all by himself, Adam came up with a name for every animal in creation. Wow, what a creative mind. Maybe some of his “super” genes arise every now and then in people yet today. So, I infused that theory into my story, too. It added credibility to what was, initially, a rather wild plot idea. Readers have bought into it.
4-What do you want your readers to take away from The Man Who Could Transfuse Time?
By presenting a tangible story that has real-life characters, elements of science and solid history, contemporary settings, and high drama, my hope is that I will help people get a better grasp of ethereal concepts, such as eternal life, being born again, and other seemingly abstract theological matters. In no way am I trying to shove religion down anyone’s throat. However, I am striving to open people’s minds to the consideration that a greater power may exist and that life has value and purpose and meaning.
5-What are your current writing “works in progress?”
In 2016 Diana Savage and I coauthored a contemporary novel titled Pseudonym (Whitaker Publishing House). She and I are half-way through writing a sequel to that book. I also am in the midst of writing a three-part series of books that are nonfiction motivational books that also have a series of short stories embedded in them, showing Jesus running a business on earth in the 21st century. The first book, Jesus in the 9 to 5, was released in 2013; its sequel, Jesus in All Four Seasons, was released in 2015; and I am now finishing book three, Jesus in the Yesterday, Today, and Forever. Additionally, I wrote a writing textbook titled, Finding Success with Your Dream Writing Projects (Bold Vison Books, 2017), and I am now finishing a companion volume to that for release later this year. And, my literary agent, Chip MacGregor, is shopping a one-year devotional book I have written. So, yes, I stay very busy as a writer. I still love it.
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