When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing purely as an experiment. A few years ago, I started wondering if I had the ability to write a novel and, after procrastinating for quite a while, I finally sat down and started typing. Once I got into the flow of things, I discovered that the process was enjoyable and rewarding. Having my first novel, Resolve, receive so much positive feedback made me want to write more stories.
How long does it take you to write a book?
That’s a question with two different answers. Amazingly, it only took me three months to complete the first draft of Resolve. However, now I have a daughter so I find it much more difficult to find time to write. Instead of writing most of a chapter in a day, I might write a few paragraphs before it’s time to go play outside or take a trip to the zoo. As the father of a young child, it takes me two or three times longer these days to write a novel, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I have a “real” job, so most of my writing is done after my daughter goes to sleep. I’ve had to learn to be extremely flexible with my writing schedule since 2-year-old children do not seem to have an appreciation for the complexities of the creative process. They tend to want lots of attention and occasionally some food and water. Yeah… they are needy little suckers.
How many crime novels have you written?
I’ve written three thus far. Resolve was my first and Measure Twice is scheduled to be released later this year. The third novel is set for 2015 and I’ve completed two-thirds of a fourth book.
Which is your favourite and why?
Even with all of the attention that has been given to Resolve, I think Measure Twice speaks to me in a stronger way. It’s a story of loss and redemption wrapped in a fast-paced thriller.
I’m a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, so I draw a lot of ideas from my training and experience. Sometimes I’ll build off something I’ve seen or heard and see if I can work it into a work of fiction.
Who is your favourite character from your own work and why?
The protagonist in Resolve is a man named Cyprus Keller. He owns a dog named Sigmund. I like Sigmund and Sigmund likes everybody.
Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why?
That’s an easy one. It’s Philip Marlowe from the works of Raymond Chandler. With him you get to write about liquor, women, money, and murder and be a complete smartass along the way.
If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why?
The crime has been largely forgotten, but in 1876 there was an attempt to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln from a cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. The would be grave-robbers were part of a counterfeiting ring and had aspirations of taking the body holding it for ransom – part of which would be a pardon for an imprisoned engraver named Benjamin Boyd. The attempt was foiled in part by a U.S. Secret Service operative named Patrick D. Tyrrell who had previously led the eight-month manhunt that resulted in Boyd’s imprisonment.
It would be amazing to walk in the shoes of Tyrrell and be tied to such an odd, yet amazing event.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a mystery that I’ve titled Bolt Action Remedy. It involves the murder of a wealthy businessman who is gunned down on his own property by someone who can ski and shoot with great skill. The major problem is, the victim’s property bumps up against a biathlon training camp where everybody can ski and shoot.
J.J. HENSLEY is a former police officer and Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service who has drawn upon his experiences in law enforcement to write stories full of suspense and insight. Hensley graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Administration of Justice and has a M.S. degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia Southern University. The author is currently a training supervisor with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and lives with his beautiful wife, daughter, and two dogs near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Hensley’s novel Resolve was named one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2013 by Suspense Magazine and was named a finalist for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers organization.
He is a member of the International Thriller Writers.
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Measure Twice – Coming Soon!