A Publication of WTVP

Ambitions of Fantasy

A writer since the fifth grade, J Kirk Perry says his pending retirement and some inspiration from his wife spurred him to fulfill his lifelong dream.

by Peoria Magazine |
Author J Kirk Perry

At age 61, J Kirk Perry has shown it’s never too late to pursue your passion or try something new. Having served six years in the Army; completed an associate degree in criminal justice, a bachelor’s in administration of justice, and a juris doctorate; and wrapped up a 30-year career with the Illinois State Police, Perry recently added “published author” to his list of life accomplishments.

 Author J Kirk Perry

He recently published Melik Nightcat and the Elven Prince: The Key of Brundag—and not only is it Perry’s first book, but it’s the first of a planned trilogy. The story tells the tale of Melik Nightcat and his black cat familiar, Midnight, who are sent on a quest to recover an ancient relic with the power to control dragons.

A writer since the fifth grade, Perry says his pending retirement and some inspiration from his wife Barbie, a local artist, spurred him to fulfill his lifelong dream of writing a book. The story harkens back to his college years playing the classic fantasy tabletop game “Dungeons & Dragons.” “I’ve had a couple of readers tell me that my book was their first fantasy book and that they enjoyed it,” he says happily.

Though it has its darker moments, the tale can also be light and humorous. “I wanted to make the book feel like a real place,” he explains. “In my thirty-plus years in the State Police, I’ve found real heroes have a sense of humor to get them through the dark moments in life.”

Perry enlisted the help of local artist Jeremy Berkley, who illustrated the book cover, and Bradley graduate Chelsie Tamms of Lettering Works, who created the lettering, logo and cover layout.

So, what comes next for Melik and Midnight? “At the end of the first trilogy, Melik has some unfinished business—of which I’m already five chapters into,” Perry notes. “And good news for cat lovers—Midnight plays a much bigger role in the story!” PM

To learn more or to purchase the book, visit