Nicholas Sparks: The Man, The Myth & The Legend

Monica Pepe

photograph by Catherine Lowe

Whether he made you sob when you read Message In A Bottle, swoon throughout Dear John or helped set your expectations for love in The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks is a man I think most females can say that they have laughed with, cried with, and loved alongside. His stories tap into our psyches, nurture our dreams and steal our hearts along with millions of other readers worldwide. With over 20 books, 11 films, and a foundation focused on global education, Sparks’ talents reach far and wide, from one medium to another, while still finding time to focus on doing good along the way.

On Sunday, October 21st, I had the privilege of sitting alongside 1,500 other women (and about 5 men) at The Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston to listen to Nicholas Sparks promote his new book Every Breath. His presentation was short but his messages were memorable. When I entered the auditorium I didn’t have many presumptions about Sparks though, I’ll admit, with so many best sellers, one might assume that he may be a bit arrogant. But upon leaving, I had fully realized the depth, grace and enthusiasm that encompass Nicholas Sparks, not only as a person but as a grateful disciple to his craft.

Sparks began with the realization that the theme of his characters throughout his books has been empathy. This was a relatively new observation to Sparks but made perfect sense given that, in his personal life, he stated that his longest relationships have always been based on empathy as well. Sparks took the time to address how he taps into some of the pain that seems to be a common thread throughout his books. By having been a casualty to tragedy in his own life; losing his mother, father and sister in catastrophic and unexpected ways.

Nicholas Sparks concluded by sincerely thanking the audience for the money and time that they have invested in his books.  Most meaningful, though, was Sparks' final sentiment about his goals for his books. Nicholas Sparks’ stated that he knows that his books may be tragic, he knows that his books may be sad, but he writes to make the stories memorable. He wants his readers to be able to look back on their bookshelves and scan through their entire collection of books. When you come across his titles whether you feel happy, sad, or apathetic, he wants you to remember; remember the characters, story, and most importantly, remember the time you invested in his world.