Nicholas Sparks… The Real Story!

This past Saturday at The West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston West Virginia, I patiently waited for Nicholas Sparks to parade in and sit down at the signing table they had prepared for him, which by the way, was right beside booth number 608, Lucky Press… and me.

When the time came for Nicholas to give his speech, there still had been no sign of him so Jerry and I made our way up the escalator to the coliseum. Yes, the coliseum! It seems that the anticipated crowd had driven the event to a larger area.

The crowd was no disappointment to the well known author. There were at least a few thousand fans there to hear his speech. Promptly at 2:30, a gentleman steps up to the podium and addresses the crowd. He introduces himself as the grand poo-pa of the Charleston Civic Center, and states, “Because of the tremendous turn out of fans, Mr. Sparks will not be signing at the designated location (right beside of Lucky Press’ booth… and me) but will be signing here on the basketball court.”

He asked for all to be patient, and then continued. “After Mr. Sparks speaks he will sign copies of his latest novel, “Safe Haven”. There probably won’t be time to sign everyone’s copy but Mr. Sparks will stay as long as he can.”

Sorry Kim, I didn’t make it to the cut-off to get your copy signed. Standing just across the basketball court, I did however get some pretty good photos of “Nick” (that’s what he calls himself).

I found “Nick” to be a very interesting fellow. He began by telling us that he would talk a bit about himself and then answer questions. “Nick” said that we could ask any thing, that he’d been questioned about everything possible… and to just get it out of the way, he simply said, “boxers!” So now you know what type underwear he prefers.

Nicholas Sparks faced some challenges as he began his writing career. He really wanted to be an Olympic star but a sports injury made that dream impossible. He still however holds athletic records at his high school and college. Becoming very depressed after his injury, his mother got tired of him moping around and basically told him to get up off his butt and do something else. What would that something else be? He had no idea. Then his mother said, “Why don’t you write a book.” Being an avid reader “Nick” thought, “Yes I’ll write a book.”

So over the summer he did. He described his first work with two words. “It stunk.” Then weeks turned into years and the dream of publishing a novel faded. He married, had kids, and his wife made him, “get a job”, as he put it. “Nick” became a pharmaceutical salesman. Then one day he realized he didn’t have a dream. Where was the passion he once had to become an Olympic Gold Medalist or a famous author?

So he made a deal with himself. He would keep his day job, but also write. He was going to compose three novels and if one of them didn’t make it then he’d know it just wasn’t meant to be. Those three novels were, “The Notebook”, “Message in a Bottle”, and “A Walk to Remember”.

“Nick” had a rather long story to tell about each novel, so to make a long story short, the first was written about his wife’s grandparents, the second about his mother dying and his father’s years of grief, then just as happiness was in sight for him, he dies. Number three was about his little sister who was dying.

Yes, I like many, thinks he writes the saddest stories. He addressed that issue also. He told of a time when he was confronted by one of his fans. “Nick” simply said this to the woman when asked, “Why did you let him die just when he was going to be happy?” “Nick” answered the lady, “Because that’s the way it really happened.”

Thanks “Nick” for the memories.

I hold a new respect for Nicholas Sparks. He writes the truth. Even though life isn’t always pretty and doesn’t always have a happy ending, he writes it anyway. I can really relate to that. For all who have read my novel, “Guardian Spirit”, you know what I mean. Even though I think it ends really well, there is much sadness noted throughout the pages.

To encourage all writers, Nicholas Sparks sent out 25 query letters to agents concerning his first novel, “The Notebook”. In just three days he got a call from a New York agent. He didn’t recognize the name as one to whom he’d queried, so he asked, how she had gotten his query letter. The agent answered, “ The woman you sent the query to died, and I’m addressing all her mail.” Talk about divine intervention!

Then only three days later, she called back and said a big publishing company was very interested in his novel. Then a few days after that “Nick” was offered one million dollars for the rights to “The Notebook.” Only a few days later the movie rights were sold.

So, you tell me, luck or divine intervention? If it’s meant to be… then it will be!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Depression quotes August 4, 2011 at 8:34 am

Good post! This is the kind of information that should be distributed on the online community. I would like to read more of this.
My blog is on Depression symptoms.

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