Tom Christopher, who lives in Butlerville, NL, is a lyricist. He collaborates with Heather Reilly, an illustrator who lives in Dildo, NL. Together they have produced a book, An Old Time Christmas, for which Tom wrote the lyrics, and Heather provided the illustrations.
Tom has been writing poetry and song lyrics for a decade. He began by writing poetry for his own enjoyment. Then, it was discovered and enjoyed by others.
He writes about real-life experiences because, he says, he wants to “touch base with the common person.” His lyrics revolve around such perennial topics as the fishery, military, family and relationships. He even addresses social issues, like drinking and driving.
A few years ago, Tom wrote a set of lyrics with a decidedly Christmas theme, “Santa Almost Missed Our Town.” His first book, with this song as its namesake, was originally one of the songs from a Christmas album by a local music group, DaNdA.
Tom’s latest book, An Old Time Christmas, was written as a poem after a taping for a Christmas special.
A father tells his son what he discovered one special night in Newfoundland back in the 1960s, when he stayed awake on Christmas Eve to learn the truth about Santa Claus.
The book is superbly illustrated by Heather Reilly, an author with a background as a music teacher.
The connection between the lyricist and the illustrator is, Tom explains, “a very happy coincidence.” Tom and his fiancee, Darlene Butler, first saw Heather at a craft fair and noticed her books. An enthusiastic, energetic and creative person, she has added immeasurably to the final product.
The cadence of Tom’s poem, along with Heather’s brilliant and colourful images of the holiday season and memories past, makes for a winning combination.
Tom is forever dreaming up ideas for new lyrics.
He says that those ideas “come from everywhere and everything. I could hear somebody say something, see a road sign. If one or two words stay with me, I will build around it. It’s similar to putting together a jigsaw puzzle; the only difference is you are using words. They all have to go in a certain place and fit together right.”
Tom firmly believes that children help to keep the magic of Christmas alive. His latest book is dedicated to “the child inside us all. As we grow older, memories of Christmas time when we were children become nearer and dearer to us. Christmas keeps the children in us all alive.”