Craig Bennett Hallenstein is a psychologist, writer, and father of five, whose blog, Let’s Talk Sex, is a guide to conscious living and sustainable relationships. The Dolphin is his first work of fiction.
Craig attended Beloit College and the California School of Professional Psychology, earning a PhD in clinical psychology and prompting a study of contemporary sexuality. Writing classes followed at Chicago Dramatists and the University of Iowa. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as The Journal of Professional Psychology and The National Enquirer. Among his credits is a People Finders magazine cover story that was optioned by Dick Clark Productions for a made-for-TV movie.
When not writing, Craig manages a successful career as a business broker and restores old houses in Chicago and New Orleans. His favorite holiday is Mardi Gras. The Academy Awards claims a close second.
When did you first start writing?
I grew up in a family of journalists--my father, the day news editor for the Chicago Tribune, my mother, the managing editor of a suburban weekly. Growing up with writers, I always wrote. My first serious effort was a novel at 13. I was discouraged, however, by my mother's reaction to the lovemaking scene in chapter 16.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I was scanning the radio nine years ago when I suddenly heard: "We should burn them all in ovens and send them to hell!" I thought: Whoa, who could they be talking about? When I realized it was sex offenders, it dawned on me that sex offenders are so reviled in our culture that radio personalities could disparage them using the language of Nazi Germany and get away with it. I thought there well could be a story in that. That launched a multi-year study of issues related to sex offenders. What I learned was: 18-year-olds having consensual sex with 17-year-old girlfriends/boyfriends are being forced into a one-size-fits-all sex offender registry that fails to distinguish between them and violent sexual predators. The more I uncovered, the more I realized that sex offender registration is the most egregious civil rights violation of our generation. Then I knew I had a story.