TJ Perkins, Baltimore's newest sensation of children's/young adult's mystery/suspense, is among us!
TJ Perkins, Chartley’s Resident Author The first thing you notice about TJ Perkins is her enthusiasm and energy. Her blond hair is pulled back simply with a beret, revealing a warm smile, a smattering of freckles on lightly tanned skin, and expressive green-hazel eyes. She talks with great enthusiasm about her new home in Chartley, her husband, her 17-year old daughter and 7-year-old son, and her three cats. But wait until she talks about her recent successes, with the publication of two childrens books within the last six months to see her face really light up. Although TJ has published short stories in magazines and written some romance stories for several on-line magazines, the publication of these childrens suspense novels is the fulfillment of her almost-lifelong ambition. She talks candidly about her inspiration for writing, including her childhood in New Windsor, Maryland. Although her farming family was poor, the century old house in which she grew up once housed servants, who resided in the attic. Unexplained sights and sounds, compounded with rumors of nineteenth century servants who died in the house, is the inspiration for her latest novel, Mystery in the Attic. “I’ve always been one to tell a good ghost story,” TJ says of her writing. But unlike Stephen King, whom she views as a “gross horror” writer, and R.L. Stine, who she deems “too unbelievable”, TJ aims for more believable stories. “I don’t talk down to my readers” she firmly vows and describes her style as “Nancy Drew, mixed with the suspense flavor of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie.” She tries to put a lesson into her stories and uses no off-color language, which she feels is the mark of a poor writer. Until three months ago, TJ had been a resident of Owings Mills, until the family found a more spacious house in Chartley. TJ reinforces what all of the long time residents of Chartley already know – the well built houses are a great value and the neighborhood is friendly and inviting. One only needs to look around her house to see her use of colors and styles in decorating to feel her creativity. But like us all, she says many of her ideas will have to wait to catch up with her pocketbook.Likewise, although she enjoys her job as an executive assistant for a successful mortgage company, she would love to have more time to pursue her writing and other interests. Unfortunately, breaking into the writing business takes time, money, and breaks, to which her twenty letters of rejection attest. The publishers of her books are small companies that cannot afford much promotion, so TJ hopes that readers who like what they see can spread the word. She promotes her books wherever she can. Her first novel, Wound Too Tight, tells the story of six boys in Maine who come across a pirate’s lost treasure and have a curse befall them. It is up to the one remaining boy to uncover the secret of an enchanted pocket watch to save the lives of his friends. It is available for ordering on-line at publishamerica.com, or toll free at 1-877-333-7422. Her second and most recent novel, Mystery in the Attic, has just been accepted by the Carroll County Children’s Fund for publication, and will be available next year 2003. All proceeds of its sale go to Carroll County.We welcome TJ and her family to Chartley and wish her good luck in her writing pursuits.