When I wrote my first novel, The Christmas Box, I never imagined it would become an international bestseller. It was a story for my two (then) little girls. But as I wrote, I realized that it was also for my mother -- to ease her pain over losing a child. My mother was my staunchest supporter and my biggest fan. A receptionist at a doctor's office, she would sell my book (sometimes by the case!) to patients in the waiting room. When The Christmas Box hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, no one, including me, was more excited than my mother.
I lost my mother on Valentine's Day of 2006. After weeks of struggling with my grief, I decided I would write a story for her. As she loved Christmas, I chose to write a Christmas novel, my first since The Christmas Box.
Finding Noel is about how people come into our lives for a reason. It is a love story about Macy and Mark, two young people from different worlds.
I'm sorry that this Christmas, for the first time since I became a writer, I won't be able to present my mother with a copy of my book. I think she would have enjoyed reading it. But, then again, I'm not certain that she hasn't.
As you read Finding Noel, I hope that you enjoy the journey and feel the same powerful emotions I felt as the story came to me.
On the night that Mark Smart has decided will be his last, his car dies in a blizzard. He enters a closing coffee shop and finds Macy Wood, who literally offers him a shoulder to cry on. The two forge a deep friendship, and after three weeks, Mark proposes marriage. She declines, but waitress Joette, who has taken care of Macy since she was 13, orchestrates a reunion as Mark tries to smooth over the rifts dividing what remains of his family. Mark's stepfather's advice "sometimes it's the fight that makes a thing worth having" serves as the defining aphorism of Evans's yuletide offering. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Simon & Schuster
October 02, 2006
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Excerpt from Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans
When I was a boy, my mother told me that everyone comes into our lives for a reason. I'm not sure if I believe that's true. The thought of God weaving millions of lives together into a grand human tapestry seems a bit fatalistic to me. Still, as I look back at my life, there seem to be times when such divinity is apparent. None is more obvious to me than that winter evening when I met a beautiful young woman named Macy and there ensued the extraordinary chain of events that encounter set in place.
Of course such a theory carried to the extreme would mean that God sabotaged my car that night because, had my car's timing belt not broken at that precise moment, this story never would have happened. But it did, and my life was forever changed. Perhaps my mother was right. If God can align the planets, maybe He can do the same to our lives.
My story began at a time when it was dangerously close to ending -- a wintry November evening, eleven days after my mother died. My mother was killed in a car accident. There were three other people with her in the car, and everyone but my mother walked away unharmed. I was close to my mother, and the day I learned she died was the worst day of my life.
Even before her death my life was in shambles. I had left my home in Huntsville, Alabama, nine months earlier and come to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah on an engineering scholarship. I had never been out West, and all I knew of Utah (other than that it had the only out-of-state school willing to give me a scholarship) was that it was a long way from Huntsville, with a few mountain ranges in between. This suited me because I wanted to put as many miles between my father and me as I could.
Actually, I never really called Stuart Smart "Father." He had always been "Stu" to me, and I considered his full name an oxymoron. He was an auto mechanic with an eighth-grade education, grease under his fingernails, and a disdain for all things he didn't understand -- which included English grammar and me.
His dream was for me to one day take over the family business -- Smart Auto Repair -- and every Saturday after I turned ten, he'd drag me down to the garage and put me to work. While my friends were hanging around the Tastee-Freez or hunting grasshoppers with BB guns, I spent my childhood changing tires and air filters.