In celebration of the publication of the beautiful Sally Go Round the Stars, first-time author Claire Ranson shares her 10-year journey through rhyme and her experience of working with co-author Sarah Webb and illustrator Steve McCarthy to create this timeless collection…
As a first time author, I am thrilled beyond measure that my first book Sally Go Round the Stars, has finally made it into print in such a beautiful form. This book has been a long time labour of love for my co-editor, Sarah Webb and I, as we first came up with the idea of creating a collection of nursery rhymes about ten years ago. We gathered street rhymes, lullabies, songs and jingles from many sources, from dusty library books to the older generations of our families, but mostly from children and our own memories of the rhymes and poems that were important to us when we were children. It wasn’t possible for the book to be published at that stage, but when the O’Brien Press approached us last year to see if we would be interested in talking about a nursery rhyme book again, we leapt at the chance!
Interestingly enough, despite both having busy lives, and Sarah having published many books in the meantime, we both still had all the research that we had done, and had each added to it since the project had been shelved. Over the years, I would always jot down any new rhymes or versions that I heard and Sarah had done the same. Our only problem was in choosing which rhymes would make it into the book, as we had enough material for three or four books! The selection and editing process was very enjoyable, and although we mostly agreed on which rhymes should go into the book, at other times we were trading backwards and forwards to make sure our favourites were included. Ide, our editor at O’BP, was referee when the discussions got heated!
For a nursery rhyme book, the illustrations are, of course, all important, and we had very particular requirements for the illustrations. We were enormously lucky to get Steve as our illustrator, and I am just blown away by his fantastic illustrations. I love the quirky inventiveness of his pictures and they bring a fresh vision of the familiar rhymes.
As the book is published, it is a very exciting time, and we hope that readers, both young and old, will enjoy sharing the book as much as we enjoyed creating it.
Sally Go Round the Stars is available now from all good bookshops and www.obrien.ie priced €14.99!