Sheffield author takes a step back in time for first fiction novel

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Twin children growing up in a Medieval English village are the heroes of a story recently penned by Marty Pullin of Sheffield.

The novel, Ghosts in the Churchyard, isn't Pullin's first venture into book-writing. Last year, he published Life in the Country, a non-fiction work which illustrates through photos and text what rural life in the Sheffield area was like at the turn of the 20th century.

The shift from non-fiction to fiction seemed like a natural progression, particularly since Pullin has already done extensive research about life in Medieval times. As part of his work as director of the Sheffield Museum, he also visits area schoolchildren while disguised as a Medieval peasant.

"I've always wanted to write historical fiction," Pullin explained. The time seemed right when the school curriculum changed last year, placing a deeper focus on peasants and farming in Medieval times as part of the history course for Grade 4 students.

Pullin jumped into the book project eagerly and although he found it challenging to shift gears to fiction writing, his knowledge of farming and rural history helped make the transition easier.

"Learning how to write for children was a challenge," he said.

Students in last year's Grade 4 class at Beverly Central Central School helped the project along by test-reading one of the book's early chapters. Their feedback, along with the suggestions of other students who did test-reads, convinced Pullin to write the book in a first-person, rather than third person, narrative.

To augment the research he had already done, Pullin traveled to England early this year and visited the village of Tintinhull in Somerset. His ancestors hail from there and some of his cousins still reside in the village.

The author visited the county archives, the local library and church to pick up details about the culture and lifestyles of peasants during the 13th century. He also interviewed older residents of the community and his uncle, Charles Pullen, about local culture, some of which has been passed on through the ages.

Pullin also took several photos of the village's Medieval church and the surrounding landscape. These served as a guide for the many illustrations throughout the book drawn by John Richer, who grew up near the village of Sheffield.

Besides providing a good overview of rural life in Medieval times, Ghosts in the Churchyard provides interesting bits of information about religious beliefs, the supernatural, and the justice system of the era. There are references to witches, spells, wraiths and ghosts, all of which add to the appeal of the story.

The novel centers around twins, William and Emily, both blessed with special powers and eager to learn more about them as they begin to develop. The twins and their friends are drawn into solving a crime that threatens to destroy their village and put their father, the village constable, into a precarious position. The story reaches its climax when monks and farmhands join together and, with the help of the children, ward off a band of thieves and recover the stolen property of the villagers.

While the book is geared to children aged eight and up, Pullin said many adults have read it and "quite enjoyed it." Besides presenting a good story, it provides information on rural heritage and farming that is also of interest to adult readers. "It's not exclusively for children," the author stressed.

The novel is Book One of the Tintinhull Twins series. Pullin, a history and English graduate of the University of Guelph, plans to write more, but will take a year off while marketing his new book.

It is currently available for $9.99 at the Sheffield Museum, Settlers Supplies in Sheffield, Pickwick Books in Waterdown, Bryan Prince Bookseller in Hamilton, Chapman Books in Dundas, Different Drummer Books in Burlington and Book Express in Cambridge. Some of the books have been sold as class sets to schools in various communities throughout Southern Ontario, including Brampton, Richmond Hill, Kitchener, Brantford and Hamilton. Two copies are in the library at Dr. John Seaton School in Sheffield. Plans are under way to introduce the book to other markets throughout North America and Britain.

Sheffield author takes a step back in time for first fiction novel

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Twin children growing up in a Medieval English village are the heroes of a story recently penned by Marty Pullin of Sheffield.

The novel, Ghosts in the Churchyard, isn't Pullin's first venture into book-writing. Last year, he published Life in the Country, a non-fiction work which illustrates through photos and text what rural life in the Sheffield area was like at the turn of the 20th century.

The shift from non-fiction to fiction seemed like a natural progression, particularly since Pullin has already done extensive research about life in Medieval times. As part of his work as director of the Sheffield Museum, he also visits area schoolchildren while disguised as a Medieval peasant.

"I've always wanted to write historical fiction," Pullin explained. The time seemed right when the school curriculum changed last year, placing a deeper focus on peasants and farming in Medieval times as part of the history course for Grade 4 students.

Pullin jumped into the book project eagerly and although he found it challenging to shift gears to fiction writing, his knowledge of farming and rural history helped make the transition easier.

"Learning how to write for children was a challenge," he said.

Students in last year's Grade 4 class at Beverly Central Central School helped the project along by test-reading one of the book's early chapters. Their feedback, along with the suggestions of other students who did test-reads, convinced Pullin to write the book in a first-person, rather than third person, narrative.

To augment the research he had already done, Pullin traveled to England early this year and visited the village of Tintinhull in Somerset. His ancestors hail from there and some of his cousins still reside in the village.

The author visited the county archives, the local library and church to pick up details about the culture and lifestyles of peasants during the 13th century. He also interviewed older residents of the community and his uncle, Charles Pullen, about local culture, some of which has been passed on through the ages.

Pullin also took several photos of the village's Medieval church and the surrounding landscape. These served as a guide for the many illustrations throughout the book drawn by John Richer, who grew up near the village of Sheffield.

Besides providing a good overview of rural life in Medieval times, Ghosts in the Churchyard provides interesting bits of information about religious beliefs, the supernatural, and the justice system of the era. There are references to witches, spells, wraiths and ghosts, all of which add to the appeal of the story.

The novel centers around twins, William and Emily, both blessed with special powers and eager to learn more about them as they begin to develop. The twins and their friends are drawn into solving a crime that threatens to destroy their village and put their father, the village constable, into a precarious position. The story reaches its climax when monks and farmhands join together and, with the help of the children, ward off a band of thieves and recover the stolen property of the villagers.

While the book is geared to children aged eight and up, Pullin said many adults have read it and "quite enjoyed it." Besides presenting a good story, it provides information on rural heritage and farming that is also of interest to adult readers. "It's not exclusively for children," the author stressed.

The novel is Book One of the Tintinhull Twins series. Pullin, a history and English graduate of the University of Guelph, plans to write more, but will take a year off while marketing his new book.

It is currently available for $9.99 at the Sheffield Museum, Settlers Supplies in Sheffield, Pickwick Books in Waterdown, Bryan Prince Bookseller in Hamilton, Chapman Books in Dundas, Different Drummer Books in Burlington and Book Express in Cambridge. Some of the books have been sold as class sets to schools in various communities throughout Southern Ontario, including Brampton, Richmond Hill, Kitchener, Brantford and Hamilton. Two copies are in the library at Dr. John Seaton School in Sheffield. Plans are under way to introduce the book to other markets throughout North America and Britain.

Sheffield author takes a step back in time for first fiction novel

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Twin children growing up in a Medieval English village are the heroes of a story recently penned by Marty Pullin of Sheffield.

The novel, Ghosts in the Churchyard, isn't Pullin's first venture into book-writing. Last year, he published Life in the Country, a non-fiction work which illustrates through photos and text what rural life in the Sheffield area was like at the turn of the 20th century.

The shift from non-fiction to fiction seemed like a natural progression, particularly since Pullin has already done extensive research about life in Medieval times. As part of his work as director of the Sheffield Museum, he also visits area schoolchildren while disguised as a Medieval peasant.

"I've always wanted to write historical fiction," Pullin explained. The time seemed right when the school curriculum changed last year, placing a deeper focus on peasants and farming in Medieval times as part of the history course for Grade 4 students.

Pullin jumped into the book project eagerly and although he found it challenging to shift gears to fiction writing, his knowledge of farming and rural history helped make the transition easier.

"Learning how to write for children was a challenge," he said.

Students in last year's Grade 4 class at Beverly Central Central School helped the project along by test-reading one of the book's early chapters. Their feedback, along with the suggestions of other students who did test-reads, convinced Pullin to write the book in a first-person, rather than third person, narrative.

To augment the research he had already done, Pullin traveled to England early this year and visited the village of Tintinhull in Somerset. His ancestors hail from there and some of his cousins still reside in the village.

The author visited the county archives, the local library and church to pick up details about the culture and lifestyles of peasants during the 13th century. He also interviewed older residents of the community and his uncle, Charles Pullen, about local culture, some of which has been passed on through the ages.

Pullin also took several photos of the village's Medieval church and the surrounding landscape. These served as a guide for the many illustrations throughout the book drawn by John Richer, who grew up near the village of Sheffield.

Besides providing a good overview of rural life in Medieval times, Ghosts in the Churchyard provides interesting bits of information about religious beliefs, the supernatural, and the justice system of the era. There are references to witches, spells, wraiths and ghosts, all of which add to the appeal of the story.

The novel centers around twins, William and Emily, both blessed with special powers and eager to learn more about them as they begin to develop. The twins and their friends are drawn into solving a crime that threatens to destroy their village and put their father, the village constable, into a precarious position. The story reaches its climax when monks and farmhands join together and, with the help of the children, ward off a band of thieves and recover the stolen property of the villagers.

While the book is geared to children aged eight and up, Pullin said many adults have read it and "quite enjoyed it." Besides presenting a good story, it provides information on rural heritage and farming that is also of interest to adult readers. "It's not exclusively for children," the author stressed.

The novel is Book One of the Tintinhull Twins series. Pullin, a history and English graduate of the University of Guelph, plans to write more, but will take a year off while marketing his new book.

It is currently available for $9.99 at the Sheffield Museum, Settlers Supplies in Sheffield, Pickwick Books in Waterdown, Bryan Prince Bookseller in Hamilton, Chapman Books in Dundas, Different Drummer Books in Burlington and Book Express in Cambridge. Some of the books have been sold as class sets to schools in various communities throughout Southern Ontario, including Brampton, Richmond Hill, Kitchener, Brantford and Hamilton. Two copies are in the library at Dr. John Seaton School in Sheffield. Plans are under way to introduce the book to other markets throughout North America and Britain.