Authors Name: T.J. Perkins
Best Known Works: Four Little Witches
Top Writing Tip: Write what you like to read and stick with it. If you like mystery - write mystery. If you like fantasy - write fantasy. You should always stick with what you know. Then decide if you like writing in first person, 3rd person or narrator. Once you choose, write in that 'voice' until you're a master at it.
Hi T.J., thanks for taking the time to talk to us!
When and why did you begin writing?
I got into storytelling when I was a kid. Friends loved to hear them and kept asking for more. I learned to type on a manual typewriter and continued writing short stories as I grew up. It wasn’t until after I became a mom that my children and their friends became my new inspirations for my YA mysteries and earliest fun short stories.
When did you realize that you were Pagan?
I’ve been Wicca for the past 10 years. When I figured it out it was sort of an ah-ha moment. I was seeking a new Path and realized that, being a country girl, I was pretty much doing the same thing during the holidays and seasons that Pagans did. At that point, everything just fell into place. I’ve never been happier.
What are the main life experiences that have led to this book?
I have been writing for 15 years. I have published eight YA mysteries published by GumShoe Press, a five book fantasy series for teens, published by Silver Leaf Books, and now Four Little Witches, a picture book published by Schiffer Publishing, that teaches about the elements for Pagan/Wiccan/Heathen children ages 0-6. I also have gotten several short stories published through many anthologies. I love archery, fencing, martial arts, gardening (especially flowers and herbs). I like to hike and find a place away from people to meditate and connect with the elements. When I write I do so while my cat, Lealu, supervises.
How did the topic of your book come to you?
I felt driven to teach after my Dedication and Initiation. During that time, it was discovered that I had a deep connection with the elements. I have incorporated that in my fantasy series and now in Four Little Witches. The idea of Four Little Witches came to me in meditation – so I know the Goddess was guiding me.
Tell us a bit about your story, key characters, and plot.
I’ve been told by many that this book is a first of its kind, as there aren’t any teaching books for young Pagan children. Each little witch represents an element. There are colors, the quarters and all sorts of subtle representations for each of the elements. When disaster strikes they work together to heal the earth and make everything better again.
Do you plan your stories before you begin?
I do a rough outline, then create character outlines, and then I draw out an action timeline. These are only guidelines – I don’t always stick with it, I leave room to go off in other directions as I write.
How long does it take you to write a book, are you a fast writer or a slow writer?
It really depends on the book. If it’s a picture book, two weeks to one month. If it’s a novel, over a year because I work 2 jobs and my time and energy is limited.
Do you socialize with other writers or are you a solitary author?
I’m solitary. Though I’m always asked by new authors for suggestions on how to help them be successful, which I happily provide. I mingle more at all of the conventions I attend: Far Point, Shore Leave, Ravencon, Chessiecon, Marscon and Balticon.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?
Ireland. What a magickal, mystical, historical place. So much life and whimsical energy to connect to.
How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?
Reviews are an amazing thing! And yes, I read them and pass them on to my publishers so they can use them for marketing/promoting.
What are your future plans for writing?
I’d like to keep writing teaching picture books for young Pagan children, but I am also writing a new high fantasy trilogy for adults, which also contains a ton of Celtic/Germanic Pagan/Wiccan representations.
Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process. We wish you the best of luck with your picture books and your novels!