Author Interview: Finding Santa by Paul Burnham
I recently caught up with Paul Burnham, author of Finding Santa. Here is what he had to say about his latest book.
What kind of story is Finding Santa?
Paul Burnham: Robbie is only five years old when Jeff decides it’s time for his son to leave Santa Claus behind. But when a near-fatal automobile accident leaves Jeff stranded and lost, he must rely on a stranger in whom he doesn’t even believe. While Jeff frantically searches for a way back to his family, this stranger invites him to discover another way home. But now Jeff must choose between what he thought he knew and what Robbie already knows. And only one path will lead him home.
Finding Santa touches a familiar Christmas tradition, but doesn’t relegate Santa Claus to a children’s myth. This story continues through a world of magical realism and returns the reader to a real place and a real Santa Claus.
How did the cover design come about?
Paul Burnham: After I wrote this story, I didn’t know how to bring it to life. I put it away and forgot about it. Jessica Carlson had lived with us for a few months while she was an LDS missionary in Montana. A couple years later, I saw some of her linocut prints of some winter elements — a pinecone and a fir tree. She offered to make a custom print for our family, and I accepted her offer and asked if she would make a print of a traditional Saint Nicholas. Her linocut represents the Saint Nicholas, I imagined as I wrote the chapter titled Dresden.
What prompted you to write the book?
Paul Burnham: After my own son and I — and Santa Claus — delivered presents to a children’s hospital, I wondered how to explain Santa Claus to him, how to guide him through the story of Santa Claus into a real life of kindness and generosity. I wanted to tell a story that would encourage him to reach beyond himself. Finding Santa is this story. It tells of various people who have chosen to practice selflessness and generosity as a way of life. It is a tale of discovery, a transformation of story to real life, of belief to practice.
How has travel influenced your writing of this book?
Paul Burnham: When I was eighteen, I visited the upper reaches of the Amazon River. One morning, an hour before sunrise, I went down to the banks of a small tributary with two recently made friends. We found a long dugout canoe and began paddling downriver. We arrived at the Amazon River at sunrise. When we turned around to begin paddling back to our camp, the sun reflected off the tributary. The small river appeared to be on fire, as though it were brighter than the sun itself. I have included elements of this river adventure in the chapter titled Madre de Dios.
At the end of the Interview Paul Burnham shared some reviews he has imagined into existence.
“This is a remarkable tale of awakening. It whispers of something very old.”
— Frau Berchta
“We have waited one thousand years for this story to be told.”
— The Merchants of Bari
“Even I loved this story.”
Thank you, Paul for sharing this wonderful story available for Christmas in Bookstores.