Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 44 · 1 year ago

Spreading Holiday Cheer and Writing Books with Caroline Henrich

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Author Caroline Henrich talks about her book A Very Lappy Christmas, the impact of helping others, and gives us a peek inside her very full household.

Welcome to good people, cool things, the podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and other creatives.I'm your host, Joey held in. Today's guest is Caroline Henrick, authorof a very lappy Christmas, a story of love, adventure and teamwork,and she's also the founder of happy lappi'scom which is doing a lot of greatstuff, both for animals and those experiencing homelessness, and just a lot ofgreat goals for the company as a whole. We're talking about writing a book providinginspiration and happiness to other people. Why Caroline was inspired to write thisbook her entire crew of dogs, which I'll let her say how many shehas, but it just sounds like such a festive household over there. Andwe're getting into all of that good stuff. If you like to get in touchwith good people cool things, you can do so a couple different ways. Send an email to joey at good people, cool thingscom or reach outon facebook, twitter or Instagram at GPCT podcast. On all of them youcan also, if you've got a little puppet home that you want to curlup with, why not head over to the shop good people cool thingscomas shop. We've got all kinds of great merch like mugs, Waal Art, sweaters, hoodies, shirts, hats. Look stylish, feel cozy while you're gettingyour cuddles on, curled up some hot cocoa, and while you're doing that, sit back, relax and enjoy this conversation with caroline. For those ofus who aren't familiar with Caroline Henrik or Lapp he's give us the scoop.What are they all about? Well, my name is Caroline Henrick. Ilive in Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania, with my husband and my son, Christopher, who just recently graduated from Virginia Tech, so and our ten Finnish lap whomsand our rescue brandy, and our...

...three birds and our guinea pigs.So we have a full house. My Day job is that I am alawyer. I am a general counsel for a Wonderful Company in Pennsylvania and wejust yeah, I had always thought and it re admired authors and when theopportunity came related to some personal issues and purchasing these dogs and them having onelitter and the amazing dogs that they are. They are reindeer herders in northern Europeancountries, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and they're just amazing dogs and everythingjust came together Joey, where I wanted to do this and just cameto pass, made it happen. Did you have any idea that you wouldeventually have ten dogs or was that a surprise? I when I've worked forthe Norwegian company, I went to Norway and I fell in love with afinished lap woon named Leo, and we had already had a few rescues.We had probably three dogs at that time, a couple rescues and a pure breadand then as they reached old age and past, which is very difficultfor any of your listeners or that have pets of course, and my husbandsaid to me, let's let's see if we can get a finish Lapin.Well, they're very difficult to get in the US through breaders, but wegot a female and then we got a male and we went away on vacationand we had an oops moment while they were being taken care of and Loand behold, we had eight puppies and my husband, who was basically retired, had never whelped puppies. It's very very people have to be knowledgeable aboutthis, but he read everything he could possibly everywhere he could get it,on the Internet, books, everything, and he helped Kayley deliver the puppiesand he didn't leave them. Never even...

...basically took his phone into the restroom to watch them on the puppy camp. So when they were four months oldwe moved them from what we called the the nursery, nursery to ourdownstairs finished area and while going down the steps he fell, missed the step. We don't know what happened. He fell and then and he had avery serious traumatic brain injury and nine days later in the hospital had a subsequentstroke. So at that point there was no way my son or I weregoing to let those puppies go. They were our family, they were ourheart and soul and they were Steve's and and so when they did not knowSteve's condition, ultimately whether he would how he would recover if he would,and I had to face, you know, very real and potentially scary possibilities ofwhat decisions might might be made, I brought Kaylee and then subsequently,at later time, snowy and he reacted to them, Joey, and whenhe reacted to them and, among other things, just devotion and faith.Frankly, I made the decision that he was strong and determined and that Iwas going to fight with him, and we have. He's gone through significantRehab, been in and out of the University of Pennsylvania hospitals, which areamazing, amazing people, and Rehab that everyone who's helped them as amazing,as I mentioned in my acknowledgement, and he is walking with assistants. Hestill quite disabled with speech and swallowing, but he works hard every day andjust that strength and determination and devotion. And he and I had talked aboutwriting a book before he fell, after they had the puppies. That wouldbe an amazing book, but I really hadn't focused on it. I meanwe would have conversations in the evening.

What would I say? What wouldwe do? How publishers what we do it ourselves? But nothing definitive.And then when he fell and I saw how he reacted to those dogs andmy son Chris stayed and I just decided I'm going to do it, I'mgoing to take a chance and if nobody likes it, if it doesn't goanywhere, then it's something now, always have, and and I've been veryproud of the process and the people involved. It's an incredible story and I thinkI think you touched on a good point there, is that you,as the author, need to enjoy the book, like you need to havethat passion, that love that goes into it, and I think a lotof people, you know, have writing a book on their bucket list orsomething that they want to accomplish, and sometimes I think people are like,Oh, yeah, I'll write this and then I'll make millions of dollars,and it's like no, that's not why. You should be writing it like youshould. You should be totally okay if no one else reads that,which is not the case in here, because I think this is the wholestory and theme kind of behind it is super passionate and relatable, I thinkfor a lot of people. And I only have two dogs here, butthey're just like tremendous and and yeah, it is like any time I'm ina funk or feeling down or anything like, I'll have to do is just getsome duck cuttle and like we'll come over. They know something's wrong.They're like hey, look where you are, you feeling down and it's just it'sso amazing, just the power of timeconditional loss. It's a conditional lot. It's so wonderful. And you also touch on the thing that you're nota full time writer. You also have a full time job that I assumeit is probably keeping you pretty busy. I would I would guess it does, and that's why I am very, very fortunate that I have an amazingteam that worked with me to get this book done and support of friends andfamily who encouraged me throughout and would read...

...the chapters and read the manuscript.And to talk about that team, Joey. First to start with the illustrator,Judith Goss is an amazing woman. She and I talked, she readthe chapters as I was writing them and they were being edited. She askedand got pictures of the dogs of my family and did several illustrations, youknow, just whatever I wanted or needed or the changes, she was justwilling to do it. And the expressions on the dog's face and the expressionson the humans. And one thing that was very, very important to methat I told her was I did not want either Santa or Mrs clauses faceto be shown. You see Santa's beautiful red suit, you see his flowingwhite beard, you see his gloves, you see Mrs Clause and a beautifuldress. They're dancing. You see Santa in the sleigh. One picture youseen with sunglasses. So we that was a collaborative discussion how Santa was goingto look. But so we made them cool. But I wanted to dothat because I wanted the readers, children or what I call children of anyage, because we all are in some ways in our hearts, to lookat that and see what they wanted to say. If they wanted to seea traditional Santa Joey from pictures of books that we've seen for years or television, that's exactly what they can say. If they want to see a Santaof a different race or creed or expression, then that's what they say. It'stotally up to the reader and that goes along with the theme of mybook. I put some things in the book that were important to me,but I didn't want to say too much. I wanted the readers, either individuallyor with a group of people, to say, what does this meanto me? What does self acceptance? What is team work? What doesthe most important theme of the Book and...

...of the whole Happy Lappy Company inseries is love and service. How do I relate to that? How doI deal with people that are different from me? How do I handle myselfand my demeanor? And all of those came together and Judith just I couldn'thave asked, I told some friends, which she came up with in termsof the ultimately illustrations was exactly what I saw in my mind's eye when Isaw this book. And then you have a consultant, Meloh, and heis very, very knowledgeable. He guided me through the process, he edited, he knew the right people to contact to do the layout and the proofreading. And then we had a wonderful web designer, Robert strayden, who wasexcellent, and we hired a PR firm, Chek exacts, who is an awardwinning PR firm, to help with the PR. So I have beensurrounded and Chris, the our new graduate, has been coordinating it all. He'shad responsibility for coordinating everything, managing the finances, managing logistics. Soanybody who orders through the website, Chris is tracking, you know, andI've been signing books for people and you know dedicating them to the people thatthey love, and so I couldn't be more proud of the team. That'sspectacular and a very good reminder that you don't have to do this alone andin fact it might be more undue stress. I think, then you're you probablywould want to invite on yourself if you didn't have a supportive team there. And I I'm just in awe of illustrators in general. I don't knowabout you, but I cannot draw very well. I can, I cando a PAC man stick figures, just figures of back or about the theextent of my drug cab abilities, and they're like to have an image inyour mind of like, Oh, I...

...want this to look like this,but I could not make it happen, and then when you see it cometo life like that, it's just so cool. So I'm very happy tohear that you're you're like what I had in my mind's eye. That's what'swhat's on the pages there, and obviously the title of the Book of Verylappy Christmas. We're talking about Santa being in there. Was your idea alwaysto make the centered during or set I should say, during the holidays orwe're early drafts, like, you know, in mid July or something like that. Now, it was always the first book would always be about Christmasbecause Finnish lap wounds, as I mentioned to you earlier, are indeed reindeerherders and they protected the Sammy people, who were the indigenous people up inthe Arctic Circle, in Lapland especially, which is part of Finland, andthey are actually one of the few dogs, I believe there might be two,maybe three, dogs, that are able to stay outside in the finishwinters because they have a double coat. So they are related to Huskies,to Malmutes, to Pomeranians actually, so they are in the spits breed.So they're just really wasn't any way to do a book, in my opinion, the first one, other than to tie it to Christmas, which is, you know, a holiday that I think many people love when they're,you know, you're tied to the religious spirit or just the whole view ofthe spirit of Christmas being love and giving and what that means. So Ithink just it's an important holiday, regardless of people's religious affiliations. Yeah,absolutely, absolutely, and I was thinking back to an early family vacation inmid I think I was like thirteen or fourteen. We went to Norway andSweden but not Finland, and I feel like I may be missed out onmy dog watching opportunities back then. So I'll have to to get out therefor a finish, although I don't know...

...finish winner. I'm I'm shivering literallysaying that. Just just thinking about it right now I'm just like, oh, that sounds so called, but it'd be so cool to see see thosedogs like in the in the natural habitat out there. And there are onfacebook some people you know that have finished lap woons or Lapony and herders.There's other dogs, of course, in that spits bread, but they actuallyhave video of them hurting reindeer with people on jet skis and it's just amazing. I mean they do that because they're so fast and smart and agile,like all hurting dogs. Are All hurting dogs share that, but you knowthey are. They are wonderful, they're beautiful. There's pictures of them inthe back of the book of my dogs that were taken by a wonderful studio. But they are barkers and they are shatters. So they so, believeme, they are not perfect. I think you'll take that, though,with the good that that break that every day of the lace. I justhave very good vacuums. Do you have a do you have a vacuum recommendation? We have abyssl pet cleaner and I think a shark vacuum. So,sue, we have them both. One just constantly on. Now some congratulationsare in order because I let me make sure I have I have the correctaward here, but the American book fast named you a finalist of the children'spicture book softcover fiction category. Very easy, very easy to say that, andthat's I mean, that's fantastic. Did you did you have any Iwas this in your your dreams of getting an award winning book? Did youever imagine it would reach heights like that? How well, I saw and peoplesaid you should submit your book and I said, wait a second,I'm reading this. There's publishers, there's, you know, actors and famous peoplethat submit their books and people are...

...on their fourth or fifth book,you know, and somebody just said go for it, just send it andif you don't get anything, so what? And so I sent it and Ilooked and, oh my gonness, all the amazing books that are werevying for this award or or to be a finalist, and so yesterday Iknew they were announcing it and I thought, okay, you know, and usual, don't get upset, be prepared, you know, don't get your hopesup. And then when I saw the email come in that I wasone of the finalists, that happy, very lappy Christmas was one of thefinalists, I immediately called my son and sent an email to the team andcongratulated them because, you know, this, this success and this honor is inall of their names and attributed to all of them. So I congratulatethe winners. There were many different categories. All of the winners and all ofthe finalists, you know, and everyone who submitted all of the bookswere just beautiful and amazing and, you know, I just think it's atribute to to wanting to still in this day of everything being on the Internet, which of course is great. I mean at the Internet's wonderful tool,but it's wonderful whether you use kindle or you want to actually pick up abook, to have children and adults reading books has is I just think Iloved books. I still do as a lawyer of course I read all thetime, but you know, not contracts and other other things. You know, it's nice to read something else, and so this this it was.It was a tremendous honor and I am very happy and thankful and that thishappened to us. And I think that's a another good point of like sometimesjust the physical aspect of books are almost like a relic lost in time.But I think there's still something like so comforting and rewarding of just picking upa physical book and reading it as opposed to a kindle, a Nook,whatever whatever other brands are out there that...

I'm probably missing and and you know, reading on mine like you kind of, at least to me, like Ifeel like I lose a little of the magic that that is that comesfrom like turning pages and seeing what's an next instead of like tapping a screenor scrolling down or or whatever the case may be on the Internet. Andso I'm glad there's still well, and I think Joey and this day,you know, with Covid I mean everything that our country is going through andall the the tragedy and sorrow of people suffering, you know, physically andfinancially and all the disagreements that go on in our country now that are heartbreaking. You know, my goal with Doin this was just to give people anescape, something happy, a fantasy, something that has the real life messages, but just lets them maybe share with you, read over zoom, withtheir grandchildren or their sisters or their brothers or with friends and just say,you know, this is this is the O. There's trials and tribulations throughthis, but at the end it's a feel good story and it took memany times, because it's so personal to me, to not cry when Iread it, because there are points, but it is funny. Several ofmy friends. I said to them, I said I just want to knowwho in the family gets a little tier eyed. And I'll tell you afunny story. One of one of my friends, her husband is is very, you what outdoorsmen, very rugged, and I said, you know,how did he react? And she said he was missing. And so Igot about speaker and I said where you missed? And he goes a little. I was proud of that because I thought, well, if I couldget him miss do that, I could touch people. Might have to addthat to the next the next print run is made made of recoed man misty. That's that's wonderful. Yeah, and it's stories like that that I thinkare like so rewarding as an author writer,...

...just to hear how what you've writtenhas connected with people in such a way like that. And you mentionedcovid. Obviously this year unlike any other one. I've lived through it listand I know traditionally one of the ways that you can markt a book isby going out to book fairs or events or things like that and actually meetingpeople in person and getting to share your book with them that way. Iimagine there hasn't been much of that going on this year, since everything haseither been canceled or moved to a virtual setting. So how what other ways, obviously besides appearing on fantastic podcast like this one, have you been helpinga little about your buck? Social media has been a big part of it, to be on facebook and instagram. It's happy LAPP, he's on facebookand ten happy Lapp he's on instagram. Am It's through just my interactions withpeople, because you're right, you can't go out and have book signings,you can't go out and read, you know, in classrooms now, atleast here in Pennsylvania, a lot of schools are going virtual again. SoI'm trying to do zoom readings with either schools or libraries and churches and tryingto do it that way. But it's very challenging for for everybody, Imean for everybody, and also, you know, are people going to bein the Christmas spirit or you know, has all this just made it sodifficult and that's just something to be dealt with. It's just it's just theway it is. So I'm hoping that. I'm looking to time. At theback of the book is the second book in the series, which willbe named a happy lappy getaway, and to tell you something about that book. The MOM and dad, Kayley and COMY, or very tired after theholidays and they need a little getaway and so they don't want to take thekids and the kids don't like that. The lappies don't like that, sothey want to find mom and dad and they go off with the birds totry to find mom and dad and encounter in ventures. And one is goingto be there going to meet a cat...

...named Damascus who has a very seriousillness, and they're going to try to figure out a way to help savehim and in fact, happy Lapp he's is indeed involved in supporting this catwho is now he has one more blood test, but we believe will andpray or hope will be disease for a. So that's one of my goals,be at through rescues or contributing to help sick animals, or my ultimategoal for the company, if it is indeed successful, is I really wantto help people that are experience seeing homelessness that want to keep their pets,because I've talked to several people in the last few years that have and alot of shelters do not allow pets and it breaks my heart because these peoplewill not seek shelter because they will never leave their pets. And first ofall, I'm very committed. I don't want to see anyone homeless. It'sjust tragic. But as people are trying to get their lives together and andthey said to me that both gentlemen that I spoke with, reese not,will not right before Covid, said that the only thing in their minds keepingthem going is their beloved pet, and that just really touched me. SoI hope that you know, I'll be able to achieve some things that Iwould like to achieve that are part of me. But certainly in the nextbook Damascus, WHO's a beautiful main coon kitten, he's going to be featuredand he's gonna he's gonna encounter the labbies. So is that one also fairly?I mean it sounds like you have a at least the plot, kindof down. So is that, I like, fully written, or isit just kind of like an airline for now and you okay, now it'san outline in my mind and Judeth and I are starting to talk about theillustration. So you know, probably come out spring, early summer. I'dreally like to hopefully see a vaccine where,...

...you know, people can get outand about and not focus quite as much on the only virus you know, and can enjoy life a little bit more. Although you know who knowsjoey is. You know, vaccine may not be a panacea. Right,we're hearing that. So I'm not going to let that completely control it,but you know, I'd like to see things progress a little bit longer interms of towards that end and get the booked out around that time frame.You've kind of touched on this a little bit with your team of like theself publishing versus the traditional publishing route, because you're talking about publishing and springor summer of next year, whereas if you were with a traditional publisher it'susually a couple of years until a book comes you know, from like you'redone writing it to it's now available. So can you kind of talk aboutthe first of all, the decision to do self publishing and sort of Ifeel like writers don't always being asked like what their process is like, butif you could kind of walk us through the process of self pushing a butt? Well, I know for publishing, you know it's very competitive and challengingand you're right, it can take years and you know there's certain criteria thatthe publishing houses have, and I understand that they're they're in a business,but you know there's the issue of also, you know, control and decisionmaking andand I, I guess, being the Free Spirit that I am,decided that. You know, I wanted to manage that and of course there'sa cost that goes with that. So you know you have to be preparedto do that and you're right, you know writing a book does not makeyou a millionaire. They're very few JK rollings in this world, you know, and and that's okay. You know, certainly there's an investment in a firstbook. That's that's just the business part of Doinet and you have tobe able to do that and and to say that, you know, that'sthe way it is. I'm going to do this right. I'm going toput the money in. People don't have to do everything I did right.I mean, there's a lot of different ways to do it. I hada consultant. I couldn't have do it,...

...have done it without him. Theillustrate, of course, you have to have, you know, thePR firm. They are amazing. I would never have known or met peoplelike you that could you help get the word out myself. You know,the website. We're not website designers, so you have to have that.But you know, people have been very cost conscious with us and of coursehaving Chris, you know, have that and utilize his skills has been,you know, very helpful and given me a lot of comfort because he justupdates me at nights and leekness and you know, I know that he sharesthe vision with me and you know, and Steve saw the book, helooked at it and just got a big smile on his face. So,you know, I think that that it accomplished for him. Also on youknow what I hope, as I said, he's working on speech. That's that'sstill been a challenge. You know, then what he would have hoped forand wanted, even though, you know, he may never, Iexpect will never be the same, but that doesn't mean that he can't bevery productive and positive, and that's one of the things I've learned through this. Is Is my message is. You know, people have all of theirissues in their lives, different sufferings, different challenges, different obstacles, andfor the things that our family has gone through, my message is just staystrong, stay positive, believe in yourself, reach dream share and for me,love and service, you know, and that's that's what I believe Iencountered and what I hope might, to the extent it does, that thisbook inspire others, because there's other people that have disabilities and that have illnessesand that have various things in their lives, and just what's inspired me is tosee Steve Continue to fight and drive...

...and try to succeed and you know, it just amazes me, and he's not the only one. There's otherpeople out there that have disabilities that are living their best lives and that aregoing on and that, you know, if they don't speak, that's okay. They communicate through another means if they you know, they still live theirtheir best lives and their families and their friends love and support them and tome that could just that's just amazing, just amazing. Yeah, absolutely,and you even you've been kind of answered my next question, which was themessages that you want people to take from this book. So excellent work you'rejust knocking off. Then the question left right here, and I I hopethis this last question almost off the hook here, but I always like toend with the top three, and I hope this isn't too much of acurve ball, but I think having two dogs myself, they do lots ofsilly things. They're they're big goofballs, and so I'd love to hear yourtop three goofiest moments or like goofy things that your your dogs do. Mymale he pulls my female by her tail so they will be playing and ofcourse she's like excuse me, get off me, I'm done rolling around withyou. Stop Biting my fur. And so when she's had enough of him, he just decides, well, I haven't, and he goes back tothe back and the and lap who's have very fluffy tails that curl up likehuskies do, and he just gets that tail and he starts dragging her andshe looks at us like will you get him off? So that's number one. And comby also, and so does his son y'allow do this. COMYwill jump up and he's about forty eight pounds. Yellows about thirty, andhe will sit on the top of a chair, which I don't know howhe gets himself up there, because that's pretty decent sized dog to sit on. Not An arm chair, but you...

...know, like a chair that havea decent back on it, you know, a relaxing chair, and he sitsthere and he looks out the window and he barks like I am overseeingmy kingdom and I am barking at my kingdom. So that is and thenthere's my little girl, snowy, one girl and seven boys, as thesmallest, and she holds her little head up and her little tail and sheprances around and any of her brothers get in her way. There she is, chasing Brooks, chasing the boys that outweigh her by numerous pounds, ifnot ten or plus pounds, and she's on their rare ends and they're likewhat is she and get her out of here. It's amazing. So thoseare my three things, joey, fantastic, fantastic. Can picture them all,they're so good. Well, Caroline, this was so much fun. Ifeel like I learned a lot. I feel motivated to get out anddo some stuff now after this. If people also want to get that inspiration, that motivation, want to pick up a copy of the book or justwant to reach out and say hello, how can they get in touch withyou? Absolutely the book is on Himaz on, either through kindle or orderingthe book itself. They can also go to happy lappy'scom which is our website. They can see additional pictures of the dog. We have a gallery,kind of a growing up gallery, and they can reach out to me thatway and I look and I answer, or they can, you know,comment on the pictures or the different things. On facebook, I make sure Igive everybody likes and if somebody asks me a question, either on facebookor getting through the website, I try to make sure I answer everybody.So I would encourage them to reach out to me. I would love totalk to people and if they order a book and would like me to dedicateit to either them or a loved one, please reach out. I am happyto do that. Fantastic. Well,...

...everyone pick up a copy of avery lappy Christmas, because it is just, I mean hope. Howcould you not enjoy it? How can you not enjoy it? It's wonderfulstuff, Carolyne, thank you so much. And of course we got to endwith a Corny joke, and I even found a dog themed one forit. What do a dog and a cell phone have in common? Idon't know. What do they? They both have collar. Id after tothat, people, I like that one. I like that well. I'd liketo wish you, Joey, a very happy holiday season and please staysafe and well, and same to all of your listeners. Please try tofind some joy in this season.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (98)