By Richard Paul Evans
GLENN: Richard Paul Evans is the king of Christmas. He had originally wrote The Christmas Box with more than 8 million copies in print now. Showoff. Twelve consecutive New York Times best sellers. He has a new book out called The Christmas List and he's a good friend of mine. Richard, how are you?
EVANS: I'm great. Thank you, Glenn.
GLENN: You know, the first time I think that we ever met each other, you were on my set at CNN and you told me about Tourette's, that you have Tourette's and you said that you have an uncontrollable desire to spit in my face.
EVANS: Well, not you particularly.
GLENN: But any, you said any celebrity.
EVANS: Any celebrity, yeah.
GLENN: You know what's weird is without Tourette’s, there are millions of people now that have an uncontrollable desire to spit in my face. Isn't that weird?
EVANS: You, my friend, are shaking up the world. I love it.
GLENN: Richard, the last time that we were together, you came to the office, I don't know, about a month ago and we were talking about the need for heroes and being able to teach our children the truth about who they are, et cetera, et cetera. And you have a new book out called The Christmas List and I wanted to have you on today because it's out hang on just a second. Your book's not competing against my book, is it?
EVANS: It's out today.
GLENN: But is it competing against mine?
EVANS: Well, I'm fiction; you're nonfiction.
EVANS: By the way, my daughter walked out and she goes, he's really good looking, isn't he?
GLENN: It's a curse it's a cross I bear, it really is. Anyway that's disturbing. So Richard, The Christmas List is the best book that you have written and it is well, tell the story.
EVANS: It's the story of a man named James Kier. He is a successful businessman who lost his soul. He is divorcing his wife who is dying of pancreatic cancer. His only son won't talk to him. In fact, his last words were you should be dying, not mom. In the course of his success, someone dies who has the same name as him and the newspaper gets it wrong and they print his obituary and he soon sees what everyone thinks of him. If you go on you know, you see how people go on the Internet now. It's the bathroom stall of media. People just write horrendous things. He sees all this hateful stuff about him and but he soon realizes that some of these people writing hateful things are his best friends. Only one person stands up for him and it's his wife, the woman he's betrayed. He decides he wants to change his legacy. So he asks his secretary to make a list of the people he's harmed. He's delighted when there's only five people on the list and the secretary just says, "If you want people who are harmed, I'll bring in the file cabinet. These are just the finalists. These are the people who would keep me up at night." So the book is about this man going after trying to fix these five lives that he's destroyed.
GLENN: You know, you have taken the money from your book. I love the story of The Christmas Box. You actually wrote that for your daughter, your family, and didn't expect it. It was just passed around for a long time and finally a bookstore called you, right? You had just Xeroxed it, if I'm not mistaken.
EVANS: Kinko's copy center, yeah.
GLENN: And then a bookstore called you and said who's your publisher; we're getting so many requests for your book. And you're like, what book?
EVANS: Yeah. No publisher.
GLENN: Right. Then your wife was in the hospital, if I'm not mistaken when, was it Simon and Schuster?
GLENN: When Simon and Schuster came to you and offered you all kinds of money, millions of dollars to print it. Like I said, it's eight million in print now. And your wife, when you told your wife that, you know, there was a possibility of big money coming, what did she say?
EVANS: She said well, actually it was when we had the check. Our first check was our first bill was $4 million. She said let's give the money back. She was really nervous about how it would affect our family and she said, we're fine, we have a great life, we're fine. And, of course, I'm not as good as her. I was like, hold on, honey.
GLENN: So luckily somebody came to their senses on that one.
EVANS: Hold on. But that's when we decided my number one job is not being an author. It's being a father. And, you know, if I lost my family and gain the whole world, what good would that do me. And so I decided, Karen and I sat down and I was like, let's help other children who don't have that advantage. So we started to build shelters for abused children. That's how The Christmas Box house started.
GLENN: And you seem to be a guy on a mission. I mean, this story in this Christmas list, you are releasing it. Here we are so far ahead of Christmas, you are releasing it now. Does it have anything to do with today's world? I mean, are you releasing it now and did you feel really motivated to do this because of what we're going through now in the world and in our country?
EVANS: Absolutely. My last book that you were so gracious to make your book of the month, Grace, last year was a very hard to read book in a sense that it was a very saddening.
GLENN: It was so good.
EVANS: Thank you. I wanted to write something that would uplift people right now but I also wanted them to really look at their lives and say, am I living the life, are there people I need to forgive or I need to ask their forgiveness. I wanted to write something that would have a real personal impact. And so when I wrote this book, it just, Glenn, it just felt really special to me. When I first handed it out, I always assume no one will like my books. I just, I run scared, I guess. And when I first handed it out, the people who read it, my secretary came back. She goes, oh, my gosh, Rick, this is better than The Christmas Box. This is your best book ever. She had already given it to her mother, her mother had given it to her aunt. She had tried to order ten copies. It's like, I saw this kind of viralness that The Christmas Box did. We wanted to get it out in time to see if maybe this could be one of those books that could spread throughout the world again.
GLENN: Well, I think you've done it again and it is just a fantastic book and a fantastic message and one that is so appropriate for today's world. It is called The Christmas List. You know, Jimmy Stewart's movie "It's a Wonderful Life" was released in the summer. Christmas doesn't, Christmas shouldn't come one time of the year or one day of the year. It's not too early to be looking at your own life. It is really the spirit of what I've been talking about for a while now on find out what you believe, find out who you are, find out. Secure your own self here. Batten down the hatches. A storm is coming. And the only way you can really truly batten down the hatches and be ready for this storm is to do some inventory work and find out who you really are and apologize, make amends and then forgive yourself. And The Christmas List will help you do it. Richard Paul Evans, it is available in bookstores everywhere. Richard, good to talk to you as always, sir.
EVANS: Thank you so much. It's always a pleasure.
GLENN: You bet. Bye bye.