Meet the ‘King of Christmas Fiction’ Part 2

Rhonda RobinsonBy Rhonda Robinson11 Minutes

Best-selling author Richard Paul Evans sits down with Rhonda Robinson to talk about his newest Christmas release The Noel Letters. 

RR: What is what’s going on in your life that you are most excited about right now?

Richard: I’m so glad you asked. I have 25 years ago, I started a charity called the Christmas Box House. And we are helping abused and neglected children. We have helped more than 125,000 children. And we’ve helped thousands and thousands of children who are trafficked, we do the hard part. We do aftercare. We do our best to give them a normal life, one of our side projects, if it’s a side project, it’s huge. We, we deliver Christmas to 3000 at-risk children every year.

So I love my charity. And what happened is I decided to completely reengage and to just go back in full and make it my job. And it’s exploded. I can’t believe the excitement and what’s happening and I’m having so much fun. We have a new staff who’s very excited about our potential, about what we’re doing, what happens. I have people come to me from major, major anti-trafficking charities and say, you’re much more efficient. You do much more good than these other charities they’re with, we think you should get into this. And we want to help you. So they came over with their expertise and money. And it’s been really interesting.

It’s been really interesting to jump in this. It’s very, it’s very exciting. For this new coalition, we’re building and the basis of our organization, which, people don’t believe until they actually get in it. We look for groups that are doing well. And we partner with them and help them. We just ask, “What can we do to help you?”

One man who runs this really awesome charity, who actually rescues kidnapped children. He almost didn’t believe me. It’s like, well, what’s in it for you? I said, “We’re doing good.” He goes, “Everyone’s trying to take my charity —all the time.”

I said, “I don’t want your charity. When you have the sexiest wife at home, you don’t want someone else’s wife.” I said, “Excuse the analogy, my charity, I absolutely am in love with it. I’m so in love with my charity.” I go, “How can we help you?” And they said, “Well, our surveillance car is breaking down.” I said, “Okay, well, we’ll get you a new car. And that week, we raised enough money to buy him a new car.

They’ve already brought in two traffickers, two very evil people, who are trading human lives. And he actually called me this morning, and now calls me brother. He told me no one’s ever just asked what they can do for me without wanting something. I explained, this just brings us joy. This, working with people, and doing good—this is the point I don’t need anything. I’ve been so blessed in my life. God has blessed me so abundantly. And it’s like I don’t need to take from it. It’s like, what I’m finding is, what we get to keep in life, is what we give away.

And this is, this is what I’m finding more and more. So I’m having so much fun right now with our charity. It is like every day is like Christmas. Seriously, it just is.

It started with my first book.

What happened is, the first little book I wrote I self-published-it just got bigger and bigger. Then after it hit the New York Times, as a self-published book, then publishers started offering me millions of dollars. It sold at auction for four and a quarter-million dollars. So here I come from making $30,000 a year to four and a quarter-million dollars.

And I was worried.

That sounds weird. But it’s like, what if it affects my children?

I wrote this book, I have two little girls, that I wrote this book to show my love for them. What if it ruins their lives? And so after discussing this with my wife, my wife literally said, “Let’s just give the money back.”

Well, hold on a second. But we had this discussion about what money is. And it came down to is money is power. So it’s not good or bad it’s power. Electricity can save lives, it can take lives. And so we thought, well, let’s just show our kids how to use power in a good way.

So we started reaching out to experts and charities and ask one question, what’s the most important thing we can do to help at-risk children? And that’s how the Christmas Box house was born.

We used all of our money in starting. It about bankrupted us to get it started. And you know what, as my daughter said to me, we were watching. And she’s now a bestselling author, and the other gets her doctorate, she’s an Intensive Care Nurse. And it’s like, she said, that we were watching.

They’re good, good kids. They’re good people, they have good hearts. And I’m so grateful. Because to be rich and to lose your family would be a complete waste. It would be miserable. And so I’m so grateful that we made that decision.

But the first four years of it were miserable.

Every day of starting this was unreal. And it’s nice, now it’s fun. And I mean, there are kids in there.

We have three shelters.

We have outreach outside the shelters, but our shelters are always full. It’s always good. So when someone said, “Well to do you, like, close down on the weekend?” I just looked at them, like they’re full. They’re full of children! It’s like, Oh, yeah, we just leave, they just fend for themselves.

No, it’ll be like the Lord of the Flies. We’re there all the time, 24-7 for the last 25 years. We’re always there. And right now it’s really tough because of COVID. Because these kids are coming in the crews are at severe risk. Because kids are sick or not.

The kids are a little stir crazy because part of what we do is we give them experiences. Because we’re kind of like this focal point in the community. Let’s say, the Utah Jazz basketball team, they’ll give us tickets so the kids can see their first basketball game. Or restaurants will give them free meals. Most of them have never seen a restaurant before. And so, because we can’t go out that is tough.

That’s tough on all kids.

The bigger thing that’s impactful right now is that we have fewer kids in our care right now than usual. And I would love to believe it’s because there’s less abuse.

That’s not why.

It’s because the usual reporting mechanisms, the neighbor, she sees a child being abused. The kids aren’t going out. Or they’re not going to school. They’re not going to church. They’re not being reported, not being discovered. Which means, we believe that there’s more abuse going on.

Because, I mean, these are stressful times, right? So we think there’s more abuse, but we have fewer kids.

When the pandemic does start to pull back, I think what we’re going to see as an influx. We’re going to be crowded and push beyond our means. And that’s what I think will happen.

But we’re prepared for whatever we need to do. I mean, whatever we need to do,

RR: Is there anything you would like to leave our readers with?

Richard: I hope you like my books. You know, everyone has a spiritual gift. You’re about inspiration. My books are about inspiration. I’ve sold more than 35 million copies of my books, and there’s a reason we connect together. So I hope they enjoy them. I hope they find something to take with them that improves their lives and brings them closer to God.

That makes me happy.

Order your copy of The Noel Letters (The Noel Collection) by Richard Paul Evans