At some point in life, everyone questions their purpose — even a little lump of clay. At least, that’s what occurs in the sweet children’s book, A Lump of Clay, by Dr. Bobby Holliday. Holliday, a voiceover artist who is the official voice match for Angelina Jolie, wrote the book about Manasseh and how he takes some clay to create a masterpiece for King Herod — and goes on to learn why he (and all of us) were created in the first place. We spoke to Holliday (who has a PhD in psychology) about writing the book and her belief in bigger things.
Why did you decide to write A Lump of Clay?
Three years ago, I had the idea for the book. It stayed with me, and I started and stopped, but it wouldn’t go away. It was just something I needed to write. I had never written a book before, but it was a big challenge. I knew that I wanted it to be a book that can be saved.
The story just came to me, and in fact, the second book is already written. It all happened at the same time. I left the ending open, and then the characters would meet up with the characters from and get together for the third and fourth books.
I really just enjoyed the writing and the characters. The difficulty was trying to set it up so that the characters would come alive. As a voiceover person, I kept envisioning how they would sound and look.
How was the process of getting the book published?
I was told so many times, this is not what you want to do. It’s the most expensive and difficult part, the printing of it. So I thought I had to start off big, because I didn’t know any better. It was problem after problem and hurdle after hurdle.
Like Manasseh, you also had your own experience with a lump of clay.
The first time I made pottery, I did it on a potter’s wheel and I had no idea what I was doing. I took a great big lump of clay and made it into a pot. I think the bottom might have had six inches of clay! [laughs] There was no hole for the water to go through. I put glaze on this, and I thought, “Wow I made this.” I dragged it around with me for a long time. One day I was thinking about it and the story just came to me. As with God, when things won’t go away, you can’t ignore them, so you have to act on them.
What are your plans post A Lump of Clay?
I want to donate the profits to do something to help kids. I have horses, and I was doing my dissertation on equine therapy for autistic kids. Interaction is something I would like to call attention to and so I would like to start a 501 c3 for the kids and the horses, too. I also just did a CD with Rodger Bumpass who plays Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants. It was my directorial debut in voiceover and it was such a blast.
What do you want readers to get from the book?
The main theme is humility. There is a teacher’s guide which is downloadable, and it’s free. It asks kids questions about bullying and then you can take it out of personal realm, like, if you were the lump of clay, how would you react? We try to start the communication. The lump of clay had to go through a lot of things because it changes you. You ask, “Why is this happening?” but then you can see why, and you learn from it. You don’t know what the end is going to be but it can be great — you just have to hang in there.