I am really pleased to welcome my good friend Claire Saxby to the blog today. Claire is here on the first stop of her blog tour to promote her beautiful new picture book, There Was an Old Sailor, which was released on February 1.
Welcome Claire, and congratulations on the release of There Was an Old Sailor.
1. Has it been a long time from the birth of this concept until its release?
Yes, it has. 🙂 It always seems a long time, no matter what time it takes, but ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ has taken a lo-o-o-o-n-ng time. From the initial idea it’s been eight years! I actually had the manuscript in a form I was happy with in less than a year, but finding someone who shared my vision for this story took longer. I gave up trying at one stage and decided it was enough that the story was successful as a workshop prompt and an oral tale. But then Walker began an Australian publishing list and I sent it out one more time. The stars
lined up. Walker said ‘yes’ and Cassandra Allen said ‘yes’ and here we are. ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ is setting sail!
2. There Was an Old Sailor is a new take on an old rhyme. Was it hard working with a pre-existing story? Why did you choose to do it?
Working within a frame adds an extra dimension of challenge to a story. It’s one of the reasons most of my poetry is free verse. But it’s such a great rhyme/nonsense story, I really wanted to try. There were times
where I wanted to break free of the structure but the Old Sailor kept calling me back. In other ways the structure helped me. I knew the ‘shape’ of the story and the rhythm I needed to reproduce. Why did I
choose it? I loved the sound of it, the non-sense of it. And I loved the challenge of seeing if I could do it. Bit like gymnastics for the writing brain, all that bending and stretching.
3. This is a book just begging to be read aloud, with kids quickly able to join in. Have you trialled it with kids yet – and what has been their response?
Yes, I’ve taken the story into classrooms. Children respond really well to it, soon joining in the responses. By the end, they’re all chanting along with me. They love the Old Sailor and the crazy things he eats. When I was reading ‘There Was an Old Lady’ to my children, I didn’t ever like the fact that she dies at the end. So my Old Sailor lives to eat another day. Who knows where he’ll turn up next!
4. So, why a blog tour?
I can travel anywhere this way. I can get to local bookstores and local libraries, but a blog tour lets me visit all around the country, starting with Western Australia. Visiting blogs lets me answer questions that I certainly wouldn’t have thought to ask, and to bring to life the story behind the story. And I get to drop in on friends!
5. What else are you and your publisher doing to promote the book?
There’s a book celebration in Castlemaine on 13 February at Stoneman’s Bookstore, a book reading at Enchanted by Books in Williamstown on 20 Feb, and a launch at Sun Bookshop on 27 Feb. More bookreadings are being finalised and I’m hoping to do some tripping around a bit later in the
year. Walker Books are making sure ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ is available in as many bookstores as possible, and in some cases there’ll be a plush bath-able fish available with the book. Can’t ask for more
Thanks for dropping by, Claire. Good luck with rest of your tour.
Thanks for having me to visit.
You can follow Claire’s tour by visiting the following sites:
Monday 8 February: Sally Murphy’s Writing for Children (you’re here!)
Tues 9 February: Dee White’s Tuesday Writing Tips
Wed 10 February: Dale Harcombe’s Read and Write with Dale
Thurs 11 February: Robyn Opie’s Writing Children’s books
Fri 12 February: Lorraine Marwood’s Words into Writing
Sat 13 February: Mabel Kaplan’s Tales I Tell
Sun 14 February: Sandy Fussell’s Stories are Light
There Was An Old Sailor can be pruchased online or in any good bookstore.