What was it about the attic?
Eldersburg library to host discussion with T.J. Perkins
T.J. Perkins still remembers hearing mysterious footsteps in the attic of her New Windsor home as a child.
“I could be sitting in my room reading, and I would hear this echoing, clomping, walking sound like someone was walking in a big, empty room,” Perkins said.
Producing realistic sound effects for each noise she encountered, Perkins described the various sounds that would come from the attic she lived beneath. It would one day become the inspiration for her best-selling novel “Mystery of the Attic.”
The home still stands in New Windsor today, and according to Perkins, is owned by an elderly couple. Since she moved from the house many years ago, Perkins hasn’t heard of any strange occurrences in the house, although she still remembers her experiences vividly.
“I would hear walking around in the middle of the day, and I would call my mom up the steps, and she would be standing right next to me in the hallway, and I would hear it, but she would not. She still, to this day, does not believe me,” Perkins said, shaking her head. “It plagued me so much that it drove me to write the story. Of course, since I never figured out what was in the attic, I just built this huge fictional story around it.”
Among the many books she has written, “Mystery of the Attic” will be reviewed at Perkins’ author discussion Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Eldersburg library branch.
Coming from humble beginnings, Perkins said she tries to instill in children that fictional writing takes a great imagination and dedication but can sometimes come with hardship.
“When I give my talk about publishing, I try to be as positive as possible,” Perkins said. “But at the same time, I want kids to know this isn’t a piece of cake.”
In the early stages of her career, Perkins was turned down by more than 50 publishers, but she continued to write books.
For the discussion, she will bring along the original manuscript of her first novel, editing materials and a paper handout of informative Web sites for children interested in writing. She will give tips on how to begin writing, how to remain focused while writing and steps to take to get works published.
Her books will also be sold at a discounted rate but only at the discussion. Afterward, her books will be available for purchase at the library for full price.
In addition to speaking on steps to becoming an author, Perkins also will remind children that there are many other outlets for creative fiction aside from writing books.
“I try to tell kids that there is more than just writing books. There is playwriting, screen writing, poetry, reporting and how about people who design the cover?” Perkins said. “There are many channels you can take.”
Perkins is living proof of the many channels a writer can take. Presently, she has tentative projects lined up with Nickelodeon, plans for a plot-themed amusement park ride, plans for a theater production of one of her novels and options for a possible movie treatment.
At the conclusion of her discussion, the children will choose one of Perkins’ books, of which she will read a portion aloud. Finally, there will be a question-and-answer session with Perkins.
“Many teachers require their students to read some of my work from my Web site before the discussion so the kids don’t ask random questions,” Perkins said. “But some still do.”
Perkins also suggests parents become involved in their children’s interests in writing and creating fiction.
“Parents have to be involved in what their kids are involved in because it is going to do nothing but drive them forward. Kids want their parents to be proud of them and to be excited with them and for them,” Perkins said. “Let’s fuel these young minds because they could be the next R.L. Stine or J.K. Rowling.”
Laura Petersen can be reached at 410-857-3317 or laura.petersen.lcniofmd.com.