Nicholas Sparks The Best of MeYou may know Nicholas Sparks as the man behind some of the most romantic stories in movies and literature. He has penned such titles as The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, Dear John, and The Last Song, the movie adaptations of which have done well in the box office. His stories are beloved by readers everywhere, and with each book he releases, his fanbase only continues to grow.

During his recent visit to Manila, Mr. Sparks not only promoted The Best of Me, his 17th novel, which is currently number one on the New York Times' bestseller list, but he also talked about why his stories are always so sad.

Nicholas Sparks's writing career began in 1985, when he penned The Passing. The book was never published, but five years later, he co-wrote a book with Olympic gold medal winner Billy Mills, and it was this title that pushed him to continue his literary endeavors. Two years after completing the book with Billy Mills, he finished The Notebook--arguably the novel he is most famous for--and the rest is bestseller history.

His newest book, The Best of Me, is the story of two people who loved each other passionately when they were in high school. They meet again when they are both middle-aged and after their lives have taken wildly divergent paths, but with neither of them forgetting the love they once shared. Nicholas Sparks says that this novel is about "love and choices. This is about love and the decisions we make, the consequences that we live with."

During the launch of The Best of Me, Nicholas Sparks talked about how even he still struggles with writer's block. He said that he experiences it "every day" and with every novel that he writes. He said that, to get over it, what he does is stop and then go back to the point at which words flowed effortlessly and go off in another writing direction. Each writer has a different technique to get over writer's block, he shared, but this method is the one that has worked for him.

When asked about why his novels always end up being so sad, Nicholas simply said, "Every genre has a purpose. The thriller is meant to thrill, a horror novel is supposed to scare you, a romance novel is a romantic fantasy." He adds, "The purpose of that genre (romance) is to move the reader through all the emotions of life; that's what I'm supposed to do [as a writer of romance novels]. If I eliminate one of the major emotions of life, you'll close [the book] because it doesn't feel real to you." Nicholas goes on to say, "All love stories, by definition, have to end in tragedy." It's a theme that is present in all of his work, and Nicholas adds that he sees no reason why he should not include it in his novels.

Nicholas Sparks' three-day stay in Manila was meant to promote The Best of Me, his latest novel, which is now available in National Bookstore.

(Photos courtesy of National Bookstore)

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