This Author Was Told His Series Idea Was ‘Too Smart’ for Kids – Now Book 7 Is in Stores

“The Final Spark,” the last installment of the Michael Vey series by “Christmas Box” author Richard Paul Evans, was released Tuesday. The bestselling novelist joined Glenn on radio to talk about the seventh Michael Vey book, his inspiring fans and the strange and wonderful journey to the conclusion of his story about a boy with a mysterious power.

When he first started shopping around the idea for the series, Evans was told by publishers that it was “too smart to be a kid’s book.”

“Don’t ever underestimate the youth,” Glenn remembered telling Evans as he introduced the author on Tuesday’s show. He shared his perspective on the books as a dad who has read each new installment with his son.

“Every summer we read it,” Glenn said. “He’s grown up with this now, and … it’s still as relevant to him now [in his early teens].”

“It’s by far the most complex thing I’ve ever written,” Evans said of the series, explaining how elements in the first book that he at first didn’t understand later became relevant in “The Final Spark.”

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: Twenty-nine-year-old advertising guy sits down, and he writes a book for his two daughters. He makes copies of it, and he gives it to some friends. And it starts to be passed around. And pretty soon, people are calling the bookstore saying, "How can I get a copy of this book?" They don't even know what it is. Because it was just a -- it was -- it was a Xerox copy of something that the guy had written for his daughters.

It wasn't too much longer that there were 8 million copies of that one book in print and a number one television movie of the year. It was called The Christmas Box. The author, the dad, the advertising guy was Richard Paul Evans. He sold more than 17 million books, written 26 novels. Four of his books have been made into television/movies.

In 2011, he called me and he said, "I have this idea for a seven-book series. It's called Michael Vey. And it is a story that I've just been told by publishers is too smart to be a kid's book." And I said, "Don't ever underestimate the youth." He said, "Right!"

He sent me a copy of the first book and Mercury, Inc., said, "We'll help you publish this." It's now been a best-seller. And the seventh novel is out now. It is the last, Michael Vey: The Final Spark. It comes out today. And I have not read this one. If it is like the other six, it is going to be thrilling to the end. And I'm going to be really upset that it is the last one. Richard Paul Evans, welcome.

RICHARD: Good to be here, Glenn. Thank you.

GLENN: So is this really the last one?

RICHARD: I don't know. It is for right now because I've been writing three books a year. And they offered me a million years to write the next one. I said, "I will have to write it from a psych ward." I go, "I am -- I am writing non-stop. I have no life." It's like, "I will snap."

GLENN: Yeah.

RICHARD: I go, "I'm done. I can't." So I need basically a year. I still have other contracts, finish them out. And then maybe come back.

And part of me doesn't want to do that because it's -- I love to keep something special.

GLENN: And this one was -- I mean, when you first talked to me about it, you were really, really clear that this wasn't -- this was almost downloaded to you.

RICHARD: It still is. Someone asked me how the book ends. And I go -- I look at book seven -- and there are things in book one, that if I had not put them there would not have -- book seven would not have been possible. And when I put them in the first book, I thought, "Where is this going? Why am I -- why is he growing in power? That has no point to the book."

There were some things that were happening that became completely relevant. I didn't know it until the last year.

GLENN: Why is this book downloaded like that to you?

RICHARD: Because I think there's a deeper message. I think it's a very spiritual message. It's by far the most complex thing I've ever written, even though --

GLENN: It's unbelievably -- and it's so consistent.

I mean, you've been writing this for eight years? Nine years?

RICHARD: Seven years.

GLENN: Seven years.

And I picked it up. I've only read the first chapter of this one, but it picks up right exactly where it was. I mean, the complexity of this story over seven years and seven books is really difficult.

RICHARD: Right. The French publisher said, "We want an arc for the whole thing." I said, "I have no arc. I don't know where it's going. I don't know how it ends." And it really wasn't until about nine months ago that I thought, "Oh, my goodness, really? That's what happens." I go, "This has actually followed some sacred Scripture all the way through." I go, "This is kind of amazing."

GLENN: Amazing.

RICHARD: You know, I told you at the beginning, like the names were downloaded to me. And then I realized that their initials spelled Mount Zion. That's bizarre. Right. That's just a bizarre coincidence. But I have found more coincidences like that throughout the book.

GLENN: And you think that this book is -- I mean, it is -- my son -- I don't think my son has enjoyed a series -- I don't even think Percy Jackson made it through all of them and liked them through the end. And this has been seven years. And every summer, we read it. And love it every single time. It's a tradition with us.

And I don't think there's another book series that he has made it all the way through that he has liked all the way through. Because he grew -- you know, seven years. That's half his life. And he's grown up with this now. And it's still as relevant to him now -- you know, you think -- you're 13 years old, okay -- it's not. It's not. You know, and he's reading -- he's reading everything.

He was reading I.T. for the love of Pete. But he loves it. And he loves the messages in it. And it's pretty remarkable what's happening with the -- the youth that are reading it.

RICHARD: I -- that's absolutely true. I had a young woman -- you remember our first book signing, they were like mostly adults. They looked like my adult book signings with a few kids.

My -- we just did the launch party for Michael Vey. We had between 4 and 5,000 kids come to it. So -- but a few weeks ago, I received a letter from a young women in Paris.

And she said, Mr. Evans, you probably have been wondering where I've been. And I said to my assistant, "Who is this?"

He said, "Oh, she writes about every week." And she says, "I'm not doing well. I'm in the hospital. I tried to kill myself." She said, "I have one friend in this world, and it's Michael Vey. And he gives me the strength to go on. Thank you."

And I said, "Let's get her immediately." And I told her that Michael loves her. I love her. And that just how Michael has to face the Elgen and his Dr. Hatches, you will too. But you're going to do okay. And just hang in there. This is a hard time of life.

And I think that's why I have so many youth who have disabilities, who have struggles. Even at my book signing, one group came. And I just -- I held one young woman. She kept crying. She said, "My father died during the second book." She goes, "Michael Vey has been there with me the whole time through it." She goes, "I don't know what to do now that the seventh book is out." So the book means -- to me, it's a very spiritual book in a sense that -- I mean, it's here to heal and help kids.

GLENN: Tell the story. For anybody who hasn't read it, tell the story.

JEFFY: Michael is a 15-year-old boy with Tourette's Syndrome, who discovers he has electricity in his body. And he can shock people, basically. But he doesn't know what this is about and why he has this power. He learns that he's one of 17 kids who were an accident, who kind of an MRI machine. And that there's a group trying to find them because they realize that they can create a better race than what's on this earth right now. And that's what this is about.

STU: There were a lot more than 17 kids that were accidents in this world. You know that. There were a lot of crazy things that have happened, just to be clear.

(laughter)

GLENN: You -- you have Tourette's. Your son has Tourette's.

RICHARD: Yes.

GLENN: But this is not -- what's interesting about this is I think there's -- every kid is in this book, no matter if you were the outcast or you were the popular one. You were the bully or you were bullied. Every kid is in this book.

And I think that is the secret of this, is they -- everybody -- every kid who reads it, sees themselves. Finds themself in that character. Or you knew that character growing up.

RICHARD: I agree. You know what's been interesting about this, Glenn, is that the publishing world has largely ignored it. Remember we were sitting here and the book was number one on the New York Times. And the Wall Street Journal did a story on the next big YA book, and it didn't even mention Michael Vey. It was not only number one, it was six times higher than the book next to it. Even today, it's like, I had a book signing with 5,000 people --

GLENN: Why is that?

RICHARD: I don't know. I don't know.

I've been attacked by having a male hero, as if it's a bad thing. Boys need heroes right now. It's really bad.

GLENN: Big time. You know what I compare this to is the Flash series that is now on television, where it's -- it's a boy hero. He's -- he's a great role model. Loves his parents. Has all of these great things going for him. And I think it's what people want. But I don't think that's what the media wants. I don't think they -- they don't want that. They don't want something that, you know, a boy who loves his mother and treats his mother with respect and treats others with respect and does the right thing. And, yes, he is the hero of the story. And while there are other girls around that also are heroines in the story, you know, they're separate and distinct. And they all have their own thing. I don't think that's what -- I don't think that's what -- that's what the people want. I don't think that's what culture is saying is acceptable.

RICHARD: That's exactly right. That's true.

We -- we see it -- when they came out with Maze Runner, and it was a young boy series. And it was one of the few YA books that made money in the movies. And it's like, well, big surprise. It's like, well, boys like this. They want to read. And the girls will read -- now, there are some very, very strong girl characters. Taylor is just as strong --

GLENN: Yeah, really strong.

RICHARD: Just as strong as Michael. He takes counsel from her. This isn't a gender war. These are people trying to get along. And like you said, I remember a school teacher saying to me, Michael loves his mother. She was, like, freaked out. Like, he loves his mother. He says so.

It's like, well, yeah, most boys do love their mother. This is reality. So I think Michael Vey has this truth to it that resonates with kids. It's also just -- I hear from -- I hear every single day, multiple letters every day for the last seven years saying, you got my kid to read.

I mean, I hear it every single day. It's like, this is the only book or only series my kid has ever read, especially the reluctant male readers. One school teacher said, in 18 years, it's the first time every student in the class finished the assignment. One boy took his grade from an F to an A-minus because he practically memorized Michael Vey. I said, well, because you have to give them books they like to read. I was a reluctant reader.

GLENN: Yeah, so was I.

RICHARD: I didn't read till I found The Hobbit. The Hobbit changed my world. I realized that reading actually could be fun. And the Hobbit is a very intelligent book, right?

GLENN: Yeah.

RICHARD: And I pick it up. It's like, there's no pictures in here. Why would I want to read this? The next thing I know, it's like, I want to be --

GLENN: For me -- for me it was Sherlock Holmes. And I think -- and I think this happens with -- with -- with Michael Vey. I read Sherlock Holmes. I was probably 18. Maybe 19 years old. I hated reading. Found that book. And I read it, I think, two or three times. Because I was like, no other book could be this -- I mean, this is really good. Right?

And so you just read it over and over again, until you get sick of it. And you're like, I wonder if there's something else. And then once you go down that rabbit hole -- Raphe hated to read. He told me -- he must have been six. Right around this time. Never going to -- I don't like to read, Dad. I don't like to read books. I don't.

Now, Tania and I feel like the worst parent in the world, because we're always saying, "You say that to him. I'm not going to say that to him." Put the book down. Go out and do something. Go play a video game. Put the book down. Go put the book down.

And I think Michael Vey had a lot to do with that. The book comes out today. If you have not read the series, this is the last in the series. Does it have a satisfying ending?

RICHARD: Yes. It has a very powerful ending.

STU: Does it have a Death Star in it?

RICHARD: No. And no Tyrannosaurus Rex. But I read the last page to my assistant, and she broke down crying. And she goes, my friends. My friends -- you'll love -- you'll love the ending. The big question is, where is Michael Vey? It will shock you, no pun intended, when you find out what's really going on. There's so many reveals. You'll feel like, "Wow. After seven years, I finally get it."

GLENN: Is there a TV show coming?

RICHARD: It looks like. At the launch party, we had Hollywood executives there.

GLENN: Excellent.

RICHARD: And the crowd was crazy.

GLENN: Excellent. Excellent. This will be a great TV show. It is a great series. Michael Vey: The Final Spark. If you haven't started, start from the beginning. You will not regret it. And you can read it with your kids. It is a fantastic series.

(music)

STU: Michael Vey: The Final Spark is the seventh book in the Michael Vey series. You can buy all of them. He didn't take the other ones off the market. So you can catch up whenever you want. We'll tweet the link @worldofStu on Twitter.

Critical Race Theory: A special brand of evil

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Part of what makes it hard for us to challenge the left is that their beliefs are complicated. We don't mean complicated in a positive way. They aren't complicated the way love is complicated. They're complicated because there's no good explanation for them, no basis in reality.

The left cannot pull their heads out of the clouds. They are stuck on romantic ideas, abstract ideas, universal ideas. They talk in theories. They see the world through ideologies. They cannot divorce themselves from their own academic fixations. And — contrary to what they believe and how they act — it's not because leftists are smarter than the rest of us. And studies have repeatedly shown that leftists are the least happy people in the country. Marx was no different. The Communist Manifesto talks about how the rise of cities "rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life."

Studies have repeatedly shown that leftists are the least happy people in the country.

Instead of admitting that they're pathological hypocrites, they tell us that we're dumb and tell us to educate ourselves. Okay, so we educate ourselves; we return with a coherent argument. Then they say, "Well, you can't actually understand what you just said unless you understand the work of this other obscure Marxist writer. So educate yourselves more."

It's basically the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, the idea that when you point out a flaw in someone's argument, they say, "Well, that's a bad example."

After a while, it becomes obvious that there is no final destination for their bread-crumb trail. Everything they say is based on something that somebody else said, which is based on something somebody else said.

Take critical race theory. We're sure you've noticed by now that it is not evidence-based — at all. It is not, as academics say, a quantitative method. It doesn't use objective facts and data to arrive at conclusions. Probably because most of those conclusions don't have any basis in reality.

Critical race theory is based on feelings. These feelings are based on theories that are also based on feelings.

We wanted to trace the history of critical race theory back to the point where its special brand of evil began. What allowed it to become the toxic, racist monster that it is today?

Later, we'll tell you about some of the snobs who created critical theory, which laid the groundwork for CRT. But if you follow the bread-crumb trail from their ideas, you wind up with Marxism.

For years, the staff has devoted a lot of time to researching Marxism. We have read a lot of Marx and Marxist writing. It's part of our promise to you to be as informed as possible, so that you know where to go for answers; so that you know what to say when your back is up against the wall. What happens when we take the bread-crumb trail back farther, past Marxism? What is it based on?

This is the point where Marxism became Marxism and not just extra-angry socialism.

It's actually based on the work of one of the most important philosophers in human history, a 19th-century German philosopher named Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

This is the point where Marxism became Marxism and not just extra-angry socialism. And, as you'll see in just a bit, if we look at Hegel's actual ideas, it's obvious that Marx completely misrepresented them in order to confirm his own fantasies.

So, in a way, that's where the bread-crumb trail ends: With Marx's misrepresentation of an incredibly important, incredibly useful philosophy, a philosophy that's actually pretty conservative.

We've heard a lot about critical race theory lately, and for good reason: It's a racist ideology designed to corrupt our children and undermine our American values. But most of what we see are the results of a process that has been underway for decades. And that's not something the mainstream media, the Democrat Party, and even teachers unions want you to know. They're doing everything in their power to try and convince you that it's no big deal. They want to sweep everything under the rug and keep you in the dark. To fight it, we need to understand what fuels it.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck exposes the deep-seated Marxist origins of CRT and debunks the claims that it's just a harmless term for a school of legal scholarship. Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer joins to argue why we must ban critical race theory from our schools if we want to save a very divided nation.

Watch the full "Glenn TV" episode below:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck blasted the Democrats — and anyone else on the left — who have been so eager to open our southern U.S. border for the past several months, but also willing to turn a blind eye to the Cuban people in need of help today.

"While we are welcoming people from any country, all over the world, without any kind of information, and setting them into our country, putting them on American planes paid for by American taxpayers," Glenn began. "And our Coast Guard Cutters are turning these [Cuban] people away. Shame on you! Shame on you!"

Glenn said that he's "sick and tired" of hearing about "brave" leftist activists like Colin Kaepernick, who protest the America flag while wearing Che Guevara and Fidel Castro t-shirts. Meanwhile, the Cuban people are risking their lives by taking to the sea to escape their oppressive regime and come to America.

"Anybody who glorifies Che doesn't know their ass from their elbow. You can't call them a human rights activist. You're protesting the American flag, because you so deeply believe in the right to be free? And yet, you wear a Che T-shirt?" Glenn said.

Glenn went on to argue that, even though the left has "bastardized" the meaning of our country, he still believes America is the best nation on Earth. In fact, he'd give up his citizenship "in a heartbeat" if another country could prove to be better, more noble, and more free. But no other nation exists like ours, he said, which is why it's so imperative we fight for freedom here, in Cuba, and around the world.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn explain:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

There's a new "reality" spreading, and the mere act of questioning it has become incredibly dangerous, Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Abigail Shrier told Glenn on the most recent episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast."

Shrier's book, "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters," exposes the radical gender activism that — like critical race theory — has overtaken our children's schools and culture. But even worse, she warned, it could end your parental rights for good.

Shrier made it clear she is by no means "anti-trans," but simply speaking up against the extremes of this new "reality" has made her enemy No. 1 to many activists. Her book has been bashed so hard by the Left that Target has stopped selling it twice, Amazon once banned ads for it, and the American Booksellers Association even called sending it to others "a serious, violent incident."

In the clip below, Shrier explained why she believes "there may be no hope for the public school system."

"You have teachers behaving like activists across the country who have no interest in actually teaching. They believe their job is to remake your child," she asserted. "We're seeing so much evidence of that, I think it's fair to say that it may be too deeply rooted in the ideology being taught in public school. I'm not sure that the public school system is redeemable at this point."

Watch the video clip below for more or find the full podcast with Abigail Shrier here:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.