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Words cannot express how excited I am to bring you this author interview with Matt Helmintoller! I attended church with him for about 8 years and also worked with his wife and mother-in-law for a short while, and I was so happy to learn that Matt had written a book.
We love picture books in our home and I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy and read it with my children! Please do refer to my review for more information about how our family enjoyed this beautiful Christmas picture book.
Today, I do hope that you are as thrilled as I am to learn more about Matt, his inspiration, and his goals for One December Night.
I am very excited to be sharing this book with parents, grandparents, children, and whomever else the Lord allows. This little children’s book is a Christmas story about a girl named Anna who doesn’t know what Christmas is really all about. Through a whimsical adventure she takes with Santa she discovers the true meaning of Christmas.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
What inspired me to write this book was a deep desire to help parents make a transition from Santa to Jesus, in a fun and creative way. Also, I really have a sincere hope to see more conversations about Jesus happening during the celebration of one of the greatest days in human history, the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior. In a very quiet way, this story allows children to see Santa in a whimsical kind of way, and Jesus as He is truly meant to be seen. I love the imagination of a child and I love their sincere faith and trust. Watching a kid enter into their own little world of imagination and wonder is amazing. I didn’t want to squash that by not including Santa. This book was the outcome of that goal. I am very excited about the results. At the end of the story there is a salvation prayer the child or adult can pray to receive Jesus Christ, along with a date to mark the day on which it happened.
2. Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing a book?
There were a lot of difficult things I did not expect in this whole process. Becoming an author is a lot of work. I was naive enough to think I would write a children’s book and there would be someone who wanted to publish it. God did not allow my journey to work in that way. It has been a long process of waiting and trusting. Ultimately, He laid it on my heart to partner with people to get this book out, and it has been a humbling and fulfilling process.
3. Who is your favorite author?
I can’t say that there was one author that inspired me to write this but I do have some favorite authors. I love reading stuff from Josh McDowell, Mark Driscoll, Blackaby, C.S Lewis, Andy & Charles Stanley, as well as others. The big kid in me still loves reading Dr. Seuss books, I have to admit.
4. What books have most influenced you?
The books that have greatly influenced me the most would first be God’s Word. It is my number one source. There is no other book like it! When you really understand how to read and study you become aware that this is more than a book, it’s a conversation I am having with the Lord. It’s the filter for all other reading material. I love it! Spiritual Leadership by Blackaby! Rightly dividing the word, by Larkin. There are a lot more!!!
5. What did you learn from writing this book?
In writing this book I came to understand that no matter my audience, the heart of it needed to be Christ centered. If He is not revealed, then it’s just a book! But, when you can take both worlds and Christ is still revealed in a greater way, I think you have something very special. I also learned a lot about trusting the Lord and now letting this project be defined by the validation of others. Validation is good and has its place but it’s not the most important thing. Obedience is the most important thing. And, I have tried to be obedient with the process of how to handle getting this book into the world.
6. What other projects will you be working on in the near future?
I will be working on several other book projects. I am working on more seasonal stories for children, parents, and grandparents. Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentines, and yes, maybe Halloween. I want to go where I feel Jesus would go. I feel He would have something to say about all of these holidays we celebrate as a culture. Also, I will hopefully next year in the summer begin work on a book called “A Vertical Life”. This book will be about the challenge given to us by Jesus to live with eternity in mind.
7. What are your goals for One December Night?
The goal of “One December Night” is to get it into as many hands as possible to be read before Christmas. I believe having a conversation with our children about Jesus is our greatest privilege. I pray that this will be given to families who don’t know Christ as a way to build a bridge to them coming to the Lord. I pray teachers read this to their students in elementary school. (that has already happened!) I pray that the salvation prayer at the end of the book is more than read but prayed by thousands of children and adults all over the world. This is something only God can do. But I believe He will!
Many thanks to Matt for this opportunity to get my questions answered about the book-writing process and his goals for this book, and allowing me to share them with you! If you have not purchased a copy of One December Night, it is available on Amazon for $14.02 or $3.99 for the Kindle edition.
Thanks so much for reading!
Do you have more questions for Matt? Feel free to leave them in the comments. I will pass them on, and hopefully get an answer to you before long!
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