Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 44 · 1 year ago

44: 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, author of 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 great stuff, both for animals and those experiencing homelessness, and just a lot of great goals for the company as a whole. We're talking about writing a book providing inspiration and happiness to other people. Why Caroline was inspired to write this book her entire crew of dogs, which I'll let her say how many she has, but it just sounds like such a festive household over there. And we're getting into all of that good stuff. If you like to get in touch with good people cool things, you can do so a couple different ways. Send an email to joey at good people, cool thingscom or reach out on facebook, twitter or Instagram at GPCT podcast. On all of them you can also, if you've got a little puppet home that you want to curl up 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 getting your cuddles on, curled up some hot cocoa, and while you're doing that, sit back, relax and enjoy this conversation with caroline. For those of us 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. I live in Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania, with my husband and my son, Christopher, who just recently graduated from Virginia Tech, so and our ten Finnish lap whoms and our rescue brandy, and our...

...three birds and our guinea pigs. So we have a full house. My Day job is that I am a lawyer. I am a general counsel for a Wonderful Company in Pennsylvania and we just yeah, I had always thought and it re admired authors and when the opportunity came related to some personal issues and purchasing these dogs and them having one litter and the amazing dogs that they are. They are reindeer herders in northern European countries, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and they're just amazing dogs and everything just came together Joey, where I wanted to do this and just came to pass, made it happen. Did you have any idea that you would eventually have ten dogs or was that a surprise? I when I've worked for the Norwegian company, I went to Norway and I fell in love with a finished 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 bread and then as they reached old age and past, which is very difficult for any of your listeners or that have pets of course, and my husband said 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 we got a female and then we got a male and we went away on vacation and we had an oops moment while they were being taken care of and Lo and 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 about this, but he read everything he could possibly everywhere he could get it, on the Internet, books, everything, and he helped Kayley deliver the puppies and he didn't leave them. Never even...

...basically took his phone into the rest room to watch them on the puppy camp. So when they were four months old we moved them from what we called the the nursery, nursery to our downstairs 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 a very serious traumatic brain injury and nine days later in the hospital had a subsequent stroke. So at that point there was no way my son or I were going to let those puppies go. They were our family, they were our heart and soul and they were Steve's and and so when they did not know Steve'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 of what decisions might might be made, I brought Kaylee and then subsequently, at later time, snowy and he reacted to them, Joey, and when he reacted to them and, among other things, just devotion and faith. Frankly, I made the decision that he was strong and determined and that I was going to fight with him, and we have. He's gone through significant Rehab, been in and out of the University of Pennsylvania hospitals, which are amazing, amazing people, and Rehab that everyone who's helped them as amazing, as I mentioned in my acknowledgement, and he is walking with assistants. He still quite disabled with speech and swallowing, but he works hard every day and just that strength and determination and devotion. And he and I had talked about writing a book before he fell, after they had the puppies. That would be an amazing book, but I really hadn't focused on it. I mean we would have conversations in the evening.

What would I say? What would we 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 and my son Chris stayed and I just decided I'm going to do it, I'm going to take a chance and if nobody likes it, if it doesn't go anywhere, then it's something now, always have, and and I've been very proud of the process and the people involved. It's an incredible story and I think I think you touched on a good point there, is that you, as the author, need to enjoy the book, like you need to have that passion, that love that goes into it, and I think a lot of people, you know, have writing a book on their bucket list or something 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 you should. You should be totally okay if no one else reads that, which is not the case in here, because I think this is the whole story and theme kind of behind it is super passionate and relatable, I think for a lot of people. And I only have two dogs here, but they're just like tremendous and and yeah, it is like any time I'm in a funk or feeling down or anything like, I'll have to do is just get some 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's so 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 not a full time writer. You also have a full time job that I assume it 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 amazing team that worked with me to get this book done and support of friends and family 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 read the chapters as I was writing them and they were being edited. She asked and got pictures of the dogs of my family and did several illustrations, you know, just whatever I wanted or needed or the changes, she was just willing to do it. And the expressions on the dog's face and the expressions on the humans. And one thing that was very, very important to me that I told her was I did not want either Santa or Mrs clauses face to be shown. You see Santa's beautiful red suit, you see his flowing white beard, you see his gloves, you see Mrs Clause and a beautiful dress. They're dancing. You see Santa in the sleigh. One picture you seen with sunglasses. So we that was a collaborative discussion how Santa was going to look. But so we made them cool. But I wanted to do that because I wanted the readers, children or what I call children of any age, because we all are in some ways in our hearts, to look at that and see what they wanted to say. If they wanted to see a 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 Santa of a different race or creed or expression, then that's what they say. It's totally up to the reader and that goes along with the theme of my book. 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 individually or with a group of people, to say, what does this mean to me? What does self acceptance? What is team work? What does the most important theme of the Book and...

...of the whole Happy Lappy Company in series is love and service. How do I relate to that? How do I deal with people that are different from me? How do I handle myself and my demeanor? And all of those came together and Judith just I couldn't have asked, I told some friends, which she came up with in terms of the ultimately illustrations was exactly what I saw in my mind's eye when I saw this book. And then you have a consultant, Meloh, and he is 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 was excellent, and we hired a PR firm, Chek exacts, who is an award winning PR firm, to help with the PR. So I have been surrounded and Chris, the our new graduate, has been coordinating it all. He's had responsibility for coordinating everything, managing the finances, managing logistics. So anybody who orders through the website, Chris is tracking, you know, and I've been signing books for people and you know dedicating them to the people that they love, and so I couldn't be more proud of the team. That's spectacular and a very good reminder that you don't have to do this alone and in fact it might be more undue stress. I think, then you're you probably would 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 know about you, but I cannot draw very well. I can, I can do a PAC man stick figures, just figures of back or about the the extent of my drug cab abilities, and they're like to have an image in your mind of like, Oh, I...

...want this to look like this, but I could not make it happen, and then when you see it come to life like that, it's just so cool. So I'm very happy to hear that you're you're like what I had in my mind's eye. That's what's what's on the pages there, and obviously the title of the Book of Very lappy Christmas. We're talking about Santa being in there. Was your idea always to make the centered during or set I should say, during the holidays or we're early drafts, like, you know, in mid July or something like that. Now, it was always the first book would always be about Christmas because Finnish lap wounds, as I mentioned to you earlier, are indeed reindeer herders and they protected the Sammy people, who were the indigenous people up in the Arctic Circle, in Lapland especially, which is part of Finland, and they are actually one of the few dogs, I believe there might be two, maybe three, dogs, that are able to stay outside in the finish winters 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 of the spirit of Christmas being love and giving and what that means. So I think 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 in mid I think I was like thirteen or fourteen. We went to Norway and Sweden but not Finland, and I feel like I may be missed out on my dog watching opportunities back then. So I'll have to to get out there for a finish, although I don't know...

...finish winner. I'm I'm shivering literally saying 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 those dogs like in the in the natural habitat out there. And there are on facebook 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 actually have 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 know they are. They are wonderful, they're beautiful. There's pictures of them in the 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, believe me, they are not perfect. I think you'll take that, though, with the good that that break that every day of the lace. I just have 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 congratulations are in order because I let me make sure I have I have the correct award here, but the American book fast named you a finalist of the children's picture book softcover fiction category. Very easy, very easy to say that, and that's I mean, that's fantastic. Did you did you have any I was this in your your dreams of getting an award winning book? Did you ever imagine it would reach heights like that? How well, I saw and people said 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 people that submit their books and people are...

...on their fourth or fifth book, you know, and somebody just said go for it, just send it and if you don't get anything, so what? And so I sent it and I looked and, oh my gonness, all the amazing books that are were vying for this award or or to be a finalist, and so yesterday I knew they were announcing it and I thought, okay, you know, and usual, don't get upset, be prepared, you know, don't get your hopes up. And then when I saw the email come in that I was one of the finalists, that happy, very lappy Christmas was one of the finalists, I immediately called my son and sent an email to the team and congratulated them because, you know, this, this success and this honor is in all of their names and attributed to all of them. So I congratulate the winners. There were many different categories. All of the winners and all of the finalists, you know, and everyone who submitted all of the books were just beautiful and amazing and, you know, I just think it's a tribute 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 a book, to have children and adults reading books has is I just think I loved books. I still do as a lawyer of course I read all the time, 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 this happened to us. And I think that's a another good point of like sometimes just 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 up a 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 I feel like I lose a little of the magic that that is that comes from like turning pages and seeing what's an next instead of like tapping a screen or scrolling down or or whatever the case may be on the Internet. And so 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 and all the the tragedy and sorrow of people suffering, you know, physically and financially 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 an escape, something happy, a fantasy, something that has the real life messages, but just lets them maybe share with you, read over zoom, with their 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 through this, but at the end it's a feel good story and it took me many times, because it's so personal to me, to not cry when I read it, because there are points, but it is funny. Several of my friends. I said to them, I said I just want to know who in the family gets a little tier eyed. And I'll tell you a funny 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 I got about speaker and I said where you missed? And he goes a little. I was proud of that because I thought, well, if I could get him miss do that, I could touch people. Might have to add that 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 think are like so rewarding as an author writer,...

...just to hear how what you've written has connected with people in such a way like that. And you mentioned covid. Obviously this year unlike any other one. I've lived through it list and I know traditionally one of the ways that you can markt a book is by going out to book fairs or events or things like that and actually meeting people in person and getting to share your book with them that way. I imagine there hasn't been much of that going on this year, since everything has either 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 helping a 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 facebook and ten happy Lapp he's on instagram. Am It's through just my interactions with people, 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, at least here in Pennsylvania, a lot of schools are going virtual again. So I'm trying to do zoom readings with either schools or libraries and churches and trying to do it that way. But it's very challenging for for everybody, I mean for everybody, and also, you know, are people going to be in the Christmas spirit or you know, has all this just made it so difficult and that's just something to be dealt with. It's just it's just the way it is. So I'm hoping that. I'm looking to time. At the back of the book is the second book in the series, which will be named a happy lappy getaway, and to tell you something about that book. The MOM and dad, Kayley and COMY, or very tired after the holidays and they need a little getaway and so they don't want to take the kids and the kids don't like that. The lappies don't like that, so they want to find mom and dad and they go off with the birds to try to find mom and dad and encounter in ventures. And one is going to be there going to meet a cat...

...named Damascus who has a very serious illness, and they're going to try to figure out a way to help save him and in fact, happy Lapp he's is indeed involved in supporting this cat who is now he has one more blood test, but we believe will and pray 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 ultimate goal for the company, if it is indeed successful, is I really want to 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 a lot of shelters do not allow pets and it breaks my heart because these people will not seek shelter because they will never leave their pets. And first of all, I'm very committed. I don't want to see anyone homeless. It's just tragic. But as people are trying to get their lives together and and they 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 keeping them going is their beloved pet, and that just really touched me. So I hope that you know, I'll be able to achieve some things that I would like to achieve that are part of me. But certainly in the next book Damascus, WHO's a beautiful main coon kitten, he's going to be featured and 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, kind of down. So is that, I like, fully written, or is it just kind of like an airline for now and you okay, now it's an outline in my mind and Judeth and I are starting to talk about the illustration. So you know, probably come out spring, early summer. I'd really like to hopefully see a vaccine where,...

...you know, people can get out and 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 knows joey 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 in terms 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 the self publishing versus the traditional publishing route, because you're talking about publishing and spring or summer of next year, whereas if you were with a traditional publisher it's usually a couple of years until a book comes you know, from like you're done writing it to it's now available. So can you kind of talk about the first of all, the decision to do self publishing and sort of I feel like writers don't always being asked like what their process is like, but if 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 challenging and you're right, it can take years and you know there's certain criteria that the 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 and and I, I guess, being the Free Spirit that I am, decided that. You know, I wanted to manage that and of course there's a cost that goes with that. So you know you have to be prepared to do that and you're right, you know writing a book does not make you 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 first book. That's that's just the business part of Doinet and you have to be able to do that and and to say that, you know, that's the way it is. I'm going to do this right. I'm going to put 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 had a consultant. I couldn't have do it,...

...have done it without him. The illustrate, of course, you have to have, you know, the PR firm. They are amazing. I would never have known or met people like 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 course having Chris, you know, have that and utilize his skills has been, you know, very helpful and given me a lot of comfort because he just updates me at nights and leekness and you know, I know that he shares the vision with me and you know, and Steve saw the book, he looked at it and just got a big smile on his face. So, you know, I think that that it accomplished for him. Also on you know what I hope, as I said, he's working on speech. That's that's still been a challenge. You know, then what he would have hoped for and wanted, even though, you know, he may never, I expect will never be the same, but that doesn't mean that he can't be very 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 their issues in their lives, different sufferings, different challenges, different obstacles, and for the things that our family has gone through, my message is just stay strong, stay positive, believe in yourself, reach dream share and for me, love and service, you know, and that's that's what I believe I encountered and what I hope might, to the extent it does, that this book inspire others, because there's other people that have disabilities and that have illnesses and that have various things in their lives, and just what's inspired me is to see 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 other people out there that have disabilities that are living their best lives and that are going 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 their their best lives and their families and their friends love and support them and to me 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 the messages that you want people to take from this book. So excellent work you're just knocking off. Then the question left right here, and I I hope this this last question almost off the hook here, but I always like to end with the top three, and I hope this isn't too much of a curve ball, but I think having two dogs myself, they do lots of silly things. They're they're big goofballs, and so I'd love to hear your top three goofiest moments or like goofy things that your your dogs do. My male he pulls my female by her tail so they will be playing and of course she's like excuse me, get off me, I'm done rolling around with you. Stop Biting my fur. And so when she's had enough of him, he just decides, well, I haven't, and he goes back to the back and the and lap who's have very fluffy tails that curl up like huskies do, and he just gets that tail and he starts dragging her and she 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. COMY will jump up and he's about forty eight pounds. Yellows about thirty, and he will sit on the top of a chair, which I don't know how he 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 have a decent back on it, you know, a relaxing chair, and he sits there and he looks out the window and he barks like I am overseeing my kingdom and I am barking at my kingdom. So that is and then there's my little girl, snowy, one girl and seven boys, as the smallest, and she holds her little head up and her little tail and she prances around and any of her brothers get in her way. There she is, chasing Brooks, chasing the boys that outweigh her by numerous pounds, if not ten or plus pounds, and she's on their rare ends and they're like what is she and get her out of here. It's amazing. So those are my three things, joey, fantastic, fantastic. Can picture them all, they're so good. Well, Caroline, this was so much fun. I feel like I learned a lot. I feel motivated to get out and do 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 just want to reach out and say hello, how can they get in touch with you? Absolutely the book is on Himaz on, either through kindle or ordering the 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 that way and I look and I answer, or they can, you know, comment on the pictures or the different things. On facebook, I make sure I give everybody likes and if somebody asks me a question, either on facebook or 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 to talk to people and if they order a book and would like me to dedicate it to either them or a loved one, please reach out. I am happy to do that. Fantastic. Well,...

...everyone pick up a copy of a very lappy Christmas, because it is just, I mean hope. How could you not enjoy it? How can you not enjoy it? It's wonderful stuff, Carolyne, thank you so much. And of course we got to end with a Corny joke, and I even found a dog themed one for it. What do a dog and a cell phone have in common? I don't know. What do they? They both have collar. Id after to that, people, I like that one. I like that well. I'd like to wish you, Joey, a very happy holiday season and please stay safe and well, and same to all of your listeners. Please try to find some joy in this season.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (119)