Local attorney writes children’s books and more
Edmond author Chris Griswold started in law but became a passionate advocate for helping others through complex challenges with his books, including the children’s Tommy the Turtle series.
Griswold’s legal career started similarly to most young law school graduates. He grew up in north Texas, completed his undergraduate program at Texas Tech, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Law. He then studied, took, and passed the bar exam in both Oklahoma and Texas.
Out of college, he returned to north Texas and started his career with Pier One Imports as a corporate attorney focusing on real estate. After a few years, he moved to JC Penney as an in-house real estate lawyer.
In 2007, just before the recession, Griswold moved back to Oklahoma to be closer to his dad who was battling colon color. Soon after, he had his first child and started his own law practice. Despite the significant life changes and difficult economic circumstances, Griswold’s business exploded.
“I was picked up by great people here in Oklahoma City to be their real estate attorney, like Aubrey McClendon,” said Griswold. “I never really campaigned, but I started doing a newsletter because I was starting to do some great work with some of these great people.”
His newsletter now garners more than 30,000 subscribers and grew into columns in local papers like The Journal Record, The Oklahoman, and OKC Biz.
“Between getting my first few clients and starting to do a newsletter, I put 60 newspaper articles in the newspaper,” said Griswold. “Then UCO asked me to teach. I’m an adjunct professor at UCO in their real estate program.”
Not only does he now serve as a professor, but since his return to Edmond, he has published eight books, including four children’s books in his series about Tommy the Turtle.
“I didn’t set out to do this and this and that. I was just a real head-down lawyer for a long time, and the past five or six years, things have started to grow from that,” said Griswold.
Tommy the Turtle
Even though writing was never his intended career, Griswold is not surprised it became his path.
“My parents were school teachers,” said Griswold. “I guess if you’re the son of a career English teacher with 50 plus uninterrupted years of teaching service, you’re going to probably write a book.”
He wrote his first book, Teddy’s New Life, at 19 while at Texas Tech. He was inspired by the children his father worked with as a teacher at a school for the deaf and blind.
“It’s kind of a tear-jerker, and people have really, really loved it,” said Griswold. “It’s written for our kids who are disabled. I think that is an overlooked segment of kids in the American audience, so I tried to address it.”
From there, he wanted to create a more extensive children’s series discussing various life challenges they might face, like bullies, troubled times at home, depression, and more. He first published Tommy the Turtle: Meets Troy in May 2021, launching the Tommy the Turtle series into existence.
The stories follow kids who are troubled that go to a pond to talk to Tommy, a 150-year-old wise turtle, about whatever problem they are facing.
“I did the first three Tommy books, of which there are five now, all in birth order after my own children about common issues that kids face,” said Griswold. “The first one was when the turtle meets Troy, and they talk about Troy’s difficulty handling his parents’ impending divorce.”
The second and third books are also named after his children, Mackenzie and Vance. They cover self-esteem issues and bullies, with Tommy the Turtle giving them helpful advice and a listening ear.
Griswold plans to continue the series with even more relevant challenges children face, like forgiving others, having humility, and understanding peer pressure.
In addition to publishing his children’s books, Griswold has also authored books about law, poetry, and motivational topics. With his years of business and commercial real estate law, he thought it only made sense to write about legal issues.
“I’d already done the work, to be honest, between the notes I’d written, the talks I give, and the newspaper articles,” said Griswold. “My mom was always on top of me, ‘Chris, you need to write a book about all these newsletters you’ve written and in your body of experience.’ I did, so thank you, mom.”
He published Common Laws for Uncommon People in October 2021, intended to help people understand basic legal matters, lessening the time they might spend researching the law or paying a lawyer to explain it to them.
“Hopefully, I’ve done something that contributes to people who are not lawyers but want to be able to figure something out without having to call a lawyer and pay a lawyer,” said Griswold.
He also recently wrote a motivational book called P.S. We Can, which includes short life lessons and takeaways from famous stories, historic parables, and principles of physics, math, art, and more.
Griswold plans to continue writing about Tommy the Turtle, legal help, motivational stories, poetry, and more topics in the future. You can learn more about his published works on his website.
Ultimately, he wishes his books—and his personal experiences—can bring hope to others despite the type of challenges they might be facing.
“This body of work, it’s helping lay people figure out their problems, whether as the higher attorney or through the lens of my kids’ own experiences in life,” said Griswold. “I wrote out of my own places and in my own life to help other people.”
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About Tim Priebe
Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of T&S Online Marketing. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.
Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.