Share one journalist's thoughts and opinions as she spends a few hours chatting with mystery author TJ Perkins about her life, her writing, and her new mystery series.
Gettysburg Times November 19, 2003 Melissa R. Richter is a Gettysburg Times correspondent.A young journalist walked, in a bit of frenzy for fear of tardiness, into a jovially Ruby Tuesday on a Wednesday evening, hours into the twilight. When one first meets TJ Perkins, you are immediately enthralled by her sheer enthusiasm and love for a hobby in which she has woven quite a talent, working diligently as she crafts it into the finest of tools.TJ Perkins, a children’s book author and local, has a five star rating, with the newfound success of her book “Mystery of the Attic.” Melissa, the 13 year old main character, moves into a 19th century farmhouse, in which she finds haunted by two different ghosts. With a bit of help from her step sister they delve deep into the mystery, working to solve an unsolvable crime, but there are many evil attempts, trying to prevent these two sleuths from uncovering the truth. “It’s a race against time and a battle of wits to see which will prevail-the living or the dead.”Having begun the art of writing at the mere age of 14, on an electric typewriter, a gift from her Grandmother, inspired by the suspenseful novels of Nancy Drew, the aspiring young woman would begin to write. She would tape a picture from a magazine to a piece of paper, slide it into the typewriter, and write away, well into the night. Then, in her early thirties, when she received her first word processor she wrote 4 books the first year, and 3 short stories.As she takes care of her children, helps her husband, works, and worries about cleaning the house, she also finds time to work on a mystery series, with the two main characters Kim and Kelly. Kim and Kelly are African American teenagers, with parents of the upper middle class, who stumble upon crimes such as stolen jewels and paintings, along with a possible murder. This fact alone brings me to the reason why she wrote this in that specific way. She wanted to give minorities, and African American girls, a strong and positive outlook. TJ Perkins wants to set the stage for a new role and someone who everyone can look up to and admire. People will be pleased to know that she has completed the first four books of the series. Now we are left in suspense waiting for them!She promotes her book through book fairs, signings, and family. TJ Perkins' father and cousins passed out flyers whole heartedly. Her Aunt, who owns Honda Acres, a book store outside of Littlestown, held a book signing, which was met with an overflowing out pour of fans and a sellout of her books. I hear a tale of one reading, at the Haunted Barn, where over 500 people came to hear the story, gathering around on hay bales, attention sought and focused on this woman, as they became engrossed by the words, given away to the moment. Nov. 15, she graced our town with a visit, as this author was found signing books for many eager children, at Fireside Books, as they celebrated their 1st anniversary. Many congratulations.As the conversation winds down she speaks of wishes, hopes, and a mixture of dreams to one day have her books carried in every bookstore across the United States, and making a break for Europe. There is not any violence or bad language within her written pages, she just leaves us with a classical suspense and mystery novel from the past, which all of us should enjoy from 8 years old to the ripened age of 88.As this journalist walks away I can picture a younger TJ Perkins dressed in her pajamas, telling the spookiest of stories, as everyone’s face changes into a mask of fright, as she began entertaining at a young age, telling shocking tales on the night of a slumber party. I thank this great writer for her time and as I look to the night sky, I wish upon a shooting star, that all of her dreams are brought creatively to life, and many children as they first begin to read, will forever remember her spell binding tales.