Matthew Ryan, Supervisor, Gas Operations, poet and writer, ended 2018 by publishing a new book “Open Up And Take A Look At Grandpa Roy’s Children’s Book.” Matthew, who specializes in poetry, partnered with illustrator Roy Cherwin, a retired art director from a New York City advertising firm, to create a fun exploration of a child’s imagination.
“We wanted to combine Roy’s illustration skills with my passion for writing fun rhymes and see what the end result could be. Most of the drawings were created during a series of drawing classes specifically for children at a YMCA in Sonoma County, California.”
Q. What inspired you to write this children’s story?
A. “This is my first book and it kind of just happened without being planned. The story behind it starts with my girlfriend, Hilary, and her father. His name is Roy. He belonged to a YMCA in California. He is a retired art director and is now 93 years old. He did an art class at the YMCA for children. He would draw pictures in crayon to which children could relate. The children would follow his instructions and do their own picture. He kept the drawings he did and one day, he was showing them to someone. That person said ‘Those are really cute. You should make a book.’ He called his daughter, Hilary, and told her what the person said. Hilary told him to send the drawings because she would like to see them. She in turn showed them to me. I was looking at them and just started writing little rhymes for each picture. Roy loved the rhymes and that is how the book came to be.”
Q. How long have you been a writer?
A. “I started writing song lyrics a couple of years ago just for fun. I sent three of the songs to a guy on the internet and he put music to my lyrics. They are not professional but it’s pretty cool that I can pop in a CD and listen to something I wrote. Maybe someday I will have music put to some more of my lyrics. I probably have around 30 songs written.”
Q. How did you publish the book?
A. “The book is self-published. It was a little bit of a process but Hilary handled all of that. Roy was the illustrator, I was the writer and Hilary put it all together and got it published.”