By Richard Paul Evans
GLENN: Okay. I'm looking at USA Today. This is A Christmas Blizzard, The Christmas Secret, The Christmas List, The Christmas Promise, The Christmas Cookie. I mean, I'm just looking at all the and you know who we have to blame? Richard Paul Evans. Because I believe
PAT: You started this, didn't you?
GLENN: Come on.
PAT: Was it The Christmas Box that started all of this?
EVANS: Yeah, The Christmas Box. The next is going to be The Christmas Sweater Box.
GLENN: Wait a minute. Now we're thinking. Now we're thinking. You have The Christmas List out which is number 4 on the holiday gift guide books. This is USA Today. The Christmas List is out. It is a great, great book. It is modern day A Christmas Carol. So wait a minute. No, it wasn't him. A Christmas Carol.
EVANS: That's right.
PAT: But it wasn't The Christmas Carol. It was A Christmas Carol.
EVANS: I own "The."
GLENN: Yeah. You own "The." It's starts with The Christmas.
EVANS: The Christmas.
GLENN: It's you.
PAT: I wrote The Christmas Lint. It's about what accrues in your belly button after you wear The Christmas Sweater.
PAT: And then you put the lint in the box, in The Christmas Box. So that's it hasn't done real well.
EVANS: There were two parodies of The Christmas Box right after. The Christmas Pox was one of them.
GLENN: That's very good, that's very good. Seriously, weren't you the guy really that kind of started the Christmas, the little Christmas Gift book kind of thing?
EVANS: The Christmas Box was such a phenomenon, we sold eight million copies. And then what happened, the year after The Christmas Box hit number one, it was selling at levels we hadn't seen until Harry Potter. And so the next year the New York Times reported it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas Box because there were hundreds of imitations. And my wife would walk through the stores and say, oh, look, there's your book. And she was like, oh, no, it's one that looks just like your book.
GLENN: You know what's amazing is they do it all the time. I mean, how many vampires books are there now.
GLENN: Because Stephenie Meyer did Twilight which, by the way, I can't no self respecting I had to turn my man card in about 15 minutes into that movie. I mean, I just
PAT: You went to the New Moon thing?
GLENN: I went with my wife. I went to the New Moon thing. And if the guys take their shirts off and stand around and talk anymore, I'm just going to I mean, I looked at him, we went with our wives and I looked at a friend of mine and we were sitting next to each other and I went, dear heavens, let's turn them. And he went, the man card? Yes, turn it in. Who do we turn it in to right now? But that's the same thing that is happening.
Now, you took the book The Christmas List, you took a new approach to scrooge.
EVANS: Yep, what really happened was last year my book Grace which was your book of the month was
GLENN: I loved that book.
EVANS: Very heavy topic dealing with child abuse and it did extremely well.
GLENN: Hang on just a second. If you haven't met Grace, is that last year?
EVANS: It was last year.
GLENN: If you haven't read Grace, it is such a good book. I saw and I don't mean to relate to the story per se. I saw myself as the central character just because of the way, it was the way we used to think, it was the way our life used to be, it was the settings that we all remember. I mean, you painted that time period and that boy's life so well, it was like me. Different story obviously but it was, it just, just fantastic. There are few books that come out and you don't remember the words. You see the pictures that you had in your head. And Grace was one of those books for me. Anyway
EVANS: It was that way with me, too. It was very autobiographical, really describing my childhood and some of the struggles we had. But after, like a woman in Texas said to me, she said, loved the book, loved Grace; I was depressed for three days.
EVANS: I said, well, that wasn't really the point. And I thought, so after I got home for the holidays, I went and watched The Christmas Carol with my family, and I said it always makes me so happy. I want to write something that makes my readers feel that way. And so I went back to write The Christmas List, which is about a modern real estate developer, he's lost his way, he's divorcing his wife who's dying, his only son won't speak to him. And then in the course of this the newspaper makes a mistake and runs his obituary. He reads his obituary, he doesn't like what people have to say, what they are writing about him on the Internet. And after a few more things happen, he decides he wants to change his legacy.
GLENN: So basically because if the, at least the movie version and I don't think I've ever actually read The Christmas Carol, or, I'm sorry, A Christmas Carol, I don't think I've ever read that. But I know the movie version pretty much ends with him standing at the grave and seeing his tombstone. So you just took and started with that moment of revelation.
EVANS: Exactly. And so as he goes back and he goes back to visit, he has a secretary create a list of people he's harmed. He's delighted that there's only five names on the list, until she explains these are the finalists, these are the people whose lives you've completely decimated. So he goes back to try to make right, try to see if he can fix things, and it's not quite as easy as saying I'm sorry.
GLENN: Do you, when you write your books, do you write them with the hope of doing good? Or the, "I'm just looking to tell a good story," or is it a combination of both?
EVANS: Well, I think I come from a central belief system. I'm very optimistic about humans and I believe in hope. So I think all my books are a book about hope and they are also on some level about that God does indeed love us. So when you come from that background, then anything I write is going to show that. But most important is to write an entertaining story because if you don't read it, then you haven't done any good.
GLENN: What was the book you wrote about the healer with Tourette's?
EVANS: The Gift.
GLENN: Another great book. You have 14 novels, more than 13 million copies of books in print. I saw today that you received the Washington Times Humanitarian of the Century award. I mean, over Mother Teresa? I mean, I don't I mean, I don't mean to, you know, put you out on the spot here, but out of 100 years, you're the guy?
EVANS: No, there were a few of us.
GLENN: Oh. So it was like The Christmas List, they are like, these are the five. Okay, who else was on the please tell me Mother Teresa made that cut.
EVANS: I honestly don't know. I just remember going to this meeting with a bunch of congressmen and senators and listening to a very long talk.
GLENN: You were the humanitarian of the century because you went and you listened to these guys talk. Nobody else would do it. I did it out of the kindness of my heart, I listened to it. And you also, volunteers of America National Empathy Award for your work helping abused children. I know you have taken a ton of the money that you have made from these stories and you have truly affected lives, and you do it with just great, great words and great stories. You are a fantastic storyteller. And as always, good to have you on the program.
EVANS: Thank you so much, Glenn.
GLENN: You bet. The name of the book is The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans. I notice that somehow or another Richard has made sure that The Christmas Sweater is not on that list from USA Today.
EVANS: Nothing to do with it.
GLENN: Which it doesn't make any sense because I think he owns it. It is The Christmas Sweater, not A Christmas Sweater.
All right. Richard Paul Evans. The name of the book is... The Christmas List, available everywhere.