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Mixing words from past and present

Professor and alumna contribute to writing book

Professor Dennis Hensley proudly stands against “the brag board,” holding “Christian Publishing 101.”

Professor Dennis Hensley proudly holds “Christian Publishing 101.” (Photograph by Ruth Flores-Orellana)

By Ethan Rice | Echo

Taylor’s professional writing program has become known nationwide, and now several university denizens have found themselves contributing to the same book.

On the second floor of Nussbaum, two boards line the walls, covered with the published works of professional writing students of all classes. It is a testament to the success of the program, which has increasingly garnered national attention, most recently with the release of “Christian Publishing 101: The Comprehensive Guide to Writing Well and Publishing Successfully.”

Compiled and edited by Ann Byle, the list of contributors includes Jerry B. Jenkins, the author of the “Left Behind” series, Andy Scheer, a former editor of “Moody Magazine,” and more. Alongside them are Taylor professor and founder of the professional writing program Dennis Hensley and program graduate Amy Green, class of 2013, who now works as a publicist and editor with Bethany House Publishing.

Hensley discussed his chapter “Write, Write, Write: Advice From a Seasoned Professional,” which was closely tied to the principles that drive his program here at Taylor. Practice is the key to every profession, he explains, and writing is no different, producing a body of diverse work and being open to ensuing criticism and advice is vital to improving as a writer.

Hensley himself continues to write profusely, with his 15th published novel releasing the week of our interview, Feb. 6. He maintains that as a professor, you have to practice what you teach.

“If I study cooking, I want to learn from a master chef, not someone reading other people’s cookbooks,” Hensley said.

Green now lives in Minnesota, ever since taking her job at Bethany House Publishing Company several years ago, working to connect companies with customers and marketing books.

Her contributions to “Christian Publishing 101” focus on how authors can connect with readers both before and after publication, as well as the process of book proposals. She outlines some of the “dream traits” a publisher looks for to make prospective authors stand out from thousands of proposals.

It was through a growing reputation of student success and connections made at writing conferences that led to such a strong Taylor presence within this major publication. Junior Theresa Hughes, a professional writing student, believes that the program’s acclaim is well-earned.

“It is one of the only ones in the country that teaches students many of the practical skills they will need in the writing world,” Hughes said.

She elaborates that it teaches not just writing, but every aspect of the process from start to finish. She hopes that the growing recognition will bring even more great writers here to Taylor in the future.

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