Dreams Become Reality: Coleytown Middle School Teacher Publishes Historical Fiction Novel

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Amina Abdul-Kareem, Staff Writer

After years of critiquing the written works of students, the tables have turned for Paul Ferrante, a Language Arts teacher at Coleytown Middle School: Now his work will be the one critiqued.

Ferrante has written and published “Last Ghost at Gettysburg,” which will be released on March 25. The novel, Ferrante said, is about three teenagers and their attempt to stop a deadly ghost that has returned in 2010 to terrorize nightly visitors at the Gettysburg National Battlefield Park.

Having some experience writing novels since high school, Ferrante decided to start writing this book during the summer of 2010. Some of Ferrante’s former students recall him mentioning that, one day, he hoped to publish a book.

“I always knew he was going to write a book,” said Erica Hefnawy ’15, a former student of Ferrante. “I remember him talking about how he wanted to and that he had really good ideas that could definitely be portrayed as a book.”

Lexy Iannacone ’15, also a former student of Ferrante, echoed Hefnawy’s thoughts: “I cannot be more excited to read it, and I couldn’t be happier that he was my teacher,” she said. “He taught me so much about the technique of writing and the pros and cons to writing an excellent piece of literature.”

In concert with his long history of writing, Ferrante’s love for history also fueled his inspiration to write a book specifically about the Civil War. He’s visited Gettysburg and other battlefields several times.

However, Ferrante said, this isn’t your typical historical fiction novel.

“My story involves three pretty realistic teens from 2010 who have to learn their history under pretty stressful circumstances while trying to solve a murder mystery,” he said. “And did I mention there’s a love interest?”

Ferrante added that throughout the writing process, one of his goals was to portray the three teenagers as believably as possible.

“I have a desire to present the age-level people whom I work with everyday in a realistic light,” Ferrante said. “I was also inspired by the many adult fiction authors we’ve had come to Coleytown Middle School over the years. I figured I could write something as good as this person if I put my mind to it.”

The book, he said, has already been used in his classroom. Last year, Ferrante took a passage from his book when teaching the citation process to his students and changed the author’s last name, in an attempt to receive honest feedback from the students.

“Someone asked if this was a real book that they could buy somewhere,” he said. “And I thought, ‘I might be onto something here!’ I won’t actually teach the book, though I hope some read it as a summer or outside reading fiction book.”

The book is currently in its final proof state.

“I’m very proud and nervous at the same time. I’m proud because although I’ve been writing baseball history for various magazines for over 20 years, this is the realization of a lifelong dream—to actually see my name on a book,” Ferrante said.

But, as might be expected with any major life event, Ferrante said he has some trepidation.

“I’m nervous as well. Will people like it? Will it get good reviews? Will it sell? That’s all down the road,” he said.

Ferrante said he’s working on a book-signing appearance at Gettysburg itself prior to the 150th anniversary celebration of the battle this July. He’ll be having a book-signing at HobbyTown USA of Fairfield on April 27 and will also be speaking at the Westport Public Library on May 15.

To read more about Ferrante and “Last Ghost at Gettysburg,” check out www.paulferranteauthor.com and “like” T.J. Jackson Mysteries on Facebook.