T.M. Murphy (the writer) on left, and Mark Penta (the illustrator) on right.
Friends since childhood, the creators of the Totally Weird Activity Books grew up summers together on Cape Cod. Like most kids, they spent their youth swimming at the beach, riding bikes, playing sports, and seeing every 1980's movie imaginable. What made them stand out, however, was their individual talents for writing and drawing. Terrible at math and science, they excelled at their creative passions, often teaming up to record funny stories on cassette tapes. Ted (TM) would spin tales about the strange "characters" from their neighborhood, and Mark would draw pictures to accompany them. As adults, they collaborated on Ted's popular Belltown Mystery YA novels, with Mark illustrating the covers. Eventually, having achieved individual book publishing success, they decided to team up to create their own kids series. Mark drew a strange character and asked Ted to invent a story about him. More characters were created as they swapped ideas back and forth. They purposely ended each character's story with a cliffhanger, so that kids could finish writing it themselves. Inspiring kids to create became their way of "giving back" the joy they felt as creative kids. That's how the Totally Weird Activity Books were born!
T.M. Murphy is the author of the Belltown Mystery Series and Saving Santa's Seals. Murphy has been featured in 101 Highly Successful Novelists, and chosen by Cape Cod Life Magazine as "One of the 400 Cape Cod People Who Brighten Our Lives". He spends his winters touring schools and his summers teaching young writers at The Writer's Shack in his hometown of Falmouth, Massachusetts. Visit www.facebook.com/TheJustWriteItClass.
Mark Penta is a freelance illustrator and Hartford Art School graduate. His work has been published by Dell Magazines, Andrews McMeel, and featured on the Belltown Mystery book covers. He is the author/illustrator of several picture books, including Cape Cod Invasion! which was named a "Must-have product" by Cape Cod Life Magazine. He has taught drawing lessons to all ages, both privately and at schools like R.I.S.D. He also runs a fun and successful drawing service at private parties and corporate events. Visit MarkPenta.com