Retired school principal, 76 year old Shaun Martin, is celebrating following the successful launch of his debut novel.
The official launch of ‘Crewe to Ballywatermoy’ was held at the Adair Arms Hotel on Tuesday November 15, and attracted leading local figures including Mayor Audrey Wales MBE.
Martin’s first furuore into the world of literature revolves around the consequences of World War Two in the 1940’s, following central character Malcolm Ross as he experiences huge pain at the hands of war.
The novel subsequently follows Malcom as he meets and falls in love with a woman who has suffered a similar fate.
Viewing the world through the eyes of a character inspired by local train history, we arrive in Belfast in 1946 just as Malcolm takes on the role of Chief Officer of the Northern Counties Railway.
From here we are transported via railway to various destinations around the world, as Malcolm pursues his passion and the dramatic love story unfolds.
Describing his first book launch, Martin explained: “The launch was very successful,
I’m particularly pleased as over 60 people attended - including the Mayor, the Cullybackey Historial Society, the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland, representatives from Translink and the Portrush Heritage Society.
“My two sons John and Adrian gave a fantastic audio visual presentation using highlights from my book, and afterwards my daughters Lorraine and Aurelia gave amazing speeches.
“I was very proud - it was a fantastic event. I couldn’t have asked for more.
“We were so pleased with the Adair Arms Hotel which hosted the event, as it plays a poignant role in the novel - being the setting for a momentous moment in Malcom’s life.”
Daughter Aurelia added: “We are amazingly proud of our dad.
“To have a book published at the age of 76 - although he is a young 76 - is just amazing!
“To think that this journey began three years ago when I arrived at my parent’s house and first discovered my dad clutching a collection of A4 pages stapled together and discovered he was writing a book, to now is incredible!
“Looking at the finished product with its 48 chapters and 60,000 words, it’s hard to believe there was ever a time when my dad would send me through his draft copies, asking me for my thoughts.
“Just like the book itself, the experience of publishing and promoting ‘Crewe to Ballywatermoy’ has truly been like a beautiful train journey from beginning to end.
“Seeing my beloved dad’s novel stocked in shops is just the most special feeling in the world.
“In fact, the launch was just as important to me as my own wedding day!
“It’s lovely to see something that started out so small get so big and do so well.
“Helping our dad promote his book has allowed us to give something back to our dad, especially because he can never do enough for us.
“It has been particularly special to work together with my talented sister Lorraine, who has also put a lot of hard work into this.
We’re just very, very proud of what he has achieved.”
‘Crewe to Ballywatermoy’ is available throughout Waterstones in the Fairhill Centre, Camerons in Broughshane Street and The Braid on Bridge Street in Ballymena.
It will also be available for sale at a number of local events in Ballymena and Coleraine leading up to Christmas, details of which will be posted on the Crewe to Ballywatermoy Facebook page.
“It’s so unbelievable that our beloved dad has written such a truly emotional love story - at the ripe old age of 76,” Aurelia added.
“Growing up he used to make up the most amazing bedtime stories for us. So now he’s thinking his next move will be a children’s novel - watch this space!”
To find out more, you can listen to Shaun Martin as he appears on Radio Ulster’s ‘Your Place and Mine’ with Ann Marie McAleese on Saturday, November 19 from 8am - 9am.