Seasonal resident publishes first book of short stories
By Angelica Ingram
Nov. 8, 2016
Janet Trull has been immersed in small town life for as long as she can remember. Her father owned the hardware store in the small town of Dunnville where she grew up and she has been a seasonal resident of Haliburton County since she was young. The experiences she had growing up in small towns are what shaped her life and first book, Hot Town and other stories.
The collection of short stories is being classified as fictional, but Trull will be the first to tell you there is some resemblance to real life characters and places behind every tale.
The author says some might be able to recognize themselves in the stories, and one particular Haliburton location is undeniable.
“I’ll be interested to see if people recognize settings, characters, conversations,” she said.
Focusing on a small town theme, most of the stories have a familiar feel to them, said Trull.
“Dunnville is very much a rural farm community,” she said. “I find that the small towns are interesting because they have that tension between inevitable change and the longing for things the way they used to be.”
Trull says whether talking about her hometown or Haliburton, there is an underlying trend of resistance to social changes, which are not always good changes.
In the introduction to the book, Hot Town and other stories is described as a book about “small town people who are loyal and resilient, with histories steeped in both tradition and subversion. They tolerate disappointment well, while a betrayal is never forgotten. Memory is the foundation of the small town, accurate or not. And memory runs deeper than the abandoned gravel pit north of the tracks.”
The author delves into this attempt at understanding change and the shift in the world around them. Trull believes small towns do have a generous spirit about them and become inclusive.
“My personal writing is more the way I try to understand the world,” she said. “I think in the short stories it’s my way of examining different characters and how they interact.”
Trull believes short stories are on the rise in popularity due to people’s shortening attention spans and how interesting they can be.
A retired teacher, Trull, 61, has spent much of her career devoted to literacy as well as writing.
Married with three children and two grandchildren, Trull is a columnist for the Haliburton County Echo and has been writing for many decades, often inspired by contests. In 2013, she won the CBC Canada Writes Challenge and has been published in many newspapers and literary publications.
“I kind of like having assignments. Oftentimes I would write as a response to a contest in a newspaper ... then I started getting literary magazines.”
Trull says that although she would often find success with her writing, not many people would read them.
“The funny thing is, because I don’t hang out in a literary circle of friends, nobody would really read my stories,” she jokes. “My own mother hates my stories, because they don’t have happy endings.”
The short story genre is one where there are not often happy endings or resolutions, as the stories merely represent snippets of a larger tale.
“It’s just meant to be a snapshot of somebody’s life, often it does leave you hanging,” said Trull.
She points to early influences such as Lucy Maud Montgomery, who published short stories and created well known heroine Anne of Green Gables.
The wheels for a book began turning about a year ago when Trull was connected to At Bay Press, based out of Winnipeg.
Trull sent the publisher 30 of her stories, 18 of which were included in the book. The book is slated to be released on Dec. 1 and can be pre-ordered online at Amazon.
The author said the book will also be available at the launch and in independent bookstores.
Trull will be hosting a book launch for Hot Town and other stories in Haliburton on Dec. 3 at Rails End Gallery from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.