Christopher Hogan Lay is a children’s picture book author and illustrator, born and raised in the Southern United States. Without a formal education and with limited resources he wrote and published The Twelve Laws Of Santa Claus. His intention is to create and inspire a greater dialogue between children and adults as to how to live one’s best life and become a better citizen in their community.
Thumbnail That: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned from writing “The Twelve Laws of Santa Claus?”
Christopher Hogan Lay: The most surprising thing I learned was that practically every single one of “Santa’s Laws” would apply to me on this journey of creating. From imagining how to craft the book to choosing a good attitude when life at times seemed to get in the way. Learning to love myself and be kind as to what I had perceived as my limited abilities as well as learning patience in hope that my book will find its audience. Believing that in the end, all of the ups and downs experienced will help me reach the true goal of the book. And that goal is to help bring forth peace, love, and joy into the lives of everyone but especially children. By the way, Learn is Claus Law #5.
Thumbnail That: What inspired you to write “The Twelve Laws of Santa Claus?”
Christopher Hogan Lay: I believe it was around 2010 when something began to stir inside me. My mother and father had passed by then, I was in a job which I didn’t really enjoy and also a difficult and turbulent personal relationship to boot. The world had its own problems and I was certainly aware of the partisan divide and discord that was growing in our country at that time. I wanted to help and I wanted help. Ha! So I asked God to show me some way to make a difference. Something for the children that would help them on their way to live their best lives and be better citizens than the adults that came before them. And The Twelve Laws Of Santa Claus is what came through. Later on I added questions in the back of the book to be used as conversation starters between the child and the caregiver in order to create a more meaningful connection between the two. All in all, I’ve received very positive feedback about the book and it’s intention.
Thumbnail That: When did you discover that you were a writer?
Christopher Hogan Lay: I don’t know that I am a writer. I mean, I guess I am but I’m certainly not prolific. Ha! I don’t mind the word creative but I wouldn’t call myself an artist necessarily either. Personally, I’m fine with not being defined by labels. I think it comes with age or my love of learning how to become more self aware, centered and connected to a higher power. That Walt Whitman quote that comes and goes from time to time may apply here; “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” Ha!
Thumbnail That: I see that you are pulling double duty, how are you able to write and illustrate your work?
Christopher Hogan Lay: I cannot draw or at least I’ve never before been satisfied with what I’ve been able to draw. I am, however, a Photoshop hobbyist which is what was used for the illustrations. Most of the photos in the book were taken with an iPhone. Cutting, pasting, merging and layering images is fun for me. That and learning the book design process on my own seemed kind of like working a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle. I am satisfied with what I’ve been able to create for the book and I will say this; children are extremely easy to please and do not see flaws the way we humans do as we grow older into adulthood. Children don’t do a whole lot of critiquing but just enjoy every word, picture and the entire interaction of reading a book.
Thumbnail That: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Christopher Hogan Lay: Taking care of my partner; Tommy my beagle; Jasper, and four unruly but playfully lovable cats (Emmylou, Reba, Rudy, & Ida Pearl). I love listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks more than actually reading these days. And I’ve recently pushed myself to find the joy in exercise again. Also, Tommy and I go boating and camping as often as we can. We love nature and getting outdoors.
Thumbnail That: What advice would you have for new children’s book authors?
Christopher Hogan Lay: Keep at it! Value the advice from the intended reader (kids) more so than from the professional and nonprofessional critics alike. Be kind to yourself and your work. Find the joy in what you are doing. And if I may quote Santa’s Law Twelve from the book; Believe in yourself, There’s no stopping you. Believe in your dreams, And Santa Claus too. #ClausLaws
I’d like to thank Christopher Hogan Lay for taking the time to chat with Thumbnail That. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for you.
Dont’ forget to pick up a copy of The Twelve Laws of Santa Claus on Amazon.