Special to the Journal
Thomas (Tom) Allen, a professor at Central Texas College for 25 years, will be available to sign copies of his novel, “Jenny Kissed Me!” at Hastings in Killeen on June 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Allen was a Philosophy Professor at Central Texas College from 1986 to 2011. His classes, The History and Philosophy of the Old and New Testament and World Religions, were popular electives during his tenure at the college, drawing students from all around the Central Texas area.
Allen began writing his first novel shortly before he retired. It came about quite by accident.
In 1998, while he and his wife Elaine were traveling one day, she casually mentioned the name of a work associate named Ginny. That elicited an impromptu reciting by Allen of the nineteenth century romantic poem, “Jenny Kissed Me.” Inspired by his wife’s response, as soon as they arrived at home he wrote down a brief story line based on the poem.
However, due to his work at the college, along with his ministry at the Copperas Cove Church of Christ, the desire to write a book was put on hold—then mostly forgotten.
More than a decade later, several events brought it back to memory. The resulting work fulfilled a desire by the author to pen an old-fashioned love story based on the concept of Eros from C. S. Lewis’ book, “The Four Loves” and also to give insight into the biblical view of romantic love as portrayed in the Song of Solomon.
The early years of “Jenny Kissed Me!,” largely autobiographical, are set in the late 1950s and early 1960s in the author’s hometown of San Marcos.
The main characters, Jonathan and his secret love, Jenny, are classmates, but the romance never quite connects during their school years. Though they go their separate ways on graduation day, Jonathan takes with him that one special moment he can never forget—Jenny’s kiss in the library their senior year. Four decades later and five thousand miles away, they meet as strangers in Italy where they are rewarded one of life’s rarest gifts—the opportunity for a second chance.
Allen hosted a book signing in his hometown in February with articles appearing in the San Marcos Daily Record, The Hayes Free Press and the Lockhart Post Register. His novel, which is featured on Artist First Radio, was selected as Book of the Month for three months and is available at Hastings, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle.
The author lives on a working ranch in Lampasas County with his wife of 49 years.