Then, one very incredible morning, I went out to the kitchen table and began to write just a few sentences when I understood for the first time that this story was about the pain my mother felt over losing a child. I felt that I was not in the room alone. My sister Sue died when I was 2 years old. I said out loud, “Sue, you gave me this story for Mom.”
At this point, I knew I needed to share my story with more than just my two daughters. So, I went out to a local Kinko’s copy center, and I made up 20 copies. I came back and I gave the first copy to my wife, Keri. I said, “Honey, just read the first three pages. If you don’t like the book, you don’t have to read it.” She started to read, and around midnight I noticed that there were tears streaming down her cheeks. She fell over on the couch and she began to cry. When she gained her composure, she said, “Rick, where did you get that story?” And then I told her about that morning. She said, “It makes me want to be a better mother.”
I also gave the book to my mother and brothers and that was it. I felt very successful. I had set out to make two copies; I now had 20 in print. But the next day, I received a phone call from one of my brothers. He said, “Your book has changed my life.” The next day I received a similar phone call and the next day and the next day, and three weeks later a woman called and said, “Mr. Evans, I want to tell you what your story means to me.” I asked, “Who are you?” She gave me her name and I said, “Where did you get my book?” She said, from so and so. And I asked, “Who’s that?” And I realized the book had been passed beyond my realm of family and friends.
A few weeks later, in February, I received a phone call from a local bookstore. The clerk had been going down the Salt Lake City white pages, calling all the R. Evans. By the time she got to me, she just said, “Hello, Mr. Evans. Did you write a Christmas story?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “Oh good! Where do we order it?” And I said, “You can’t order it, it’s never been published.” And she was quiet for a moment, then said, “But we’ve had 10 orders for that book this week. Maybe you should publish this book.” And I thought, maybe I should.