Nicholas Sparks Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks

An interview with Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks talks about what inspired him to write A Bend In The Road and The Rescue.

A Bend in the Road was a challenging story to conceive and a difficult story to write, though in all honesty, the reasons had more to do with events in my own life than the process of putting the words down on paper. Originally, I'd intended to start writing my new novel in January, 2000 but there were two major events that made work of any kind difficult.

First, my third son was born on January 11th; within days of that event, I learned that my younger sister, who'd been battling cancer for years, had just been given a few months to live. I live in North Carolina and my sister lives in California and I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could; I also wanted to bond with my new child and the push and pull, the wonder of life and tragedy of death, made concentration of any kind difficult. Every ninth day, I flew to California to stay with my sister for four days, and those trips continued through the end of May when she finally passed away. My sister, for those who don't know, was the inspiration for Jamie Sullivan in A Walk to Remember, and she was not only a sibling, but along with my wife and brother, my best friend as well. Her loss, along with the death of both my parents, were without a doubt the most difficult things I've been through.

Despite the travel, despite the stress and lack of sleep due to the new baby, I nonetheless did try to write. I wrote half a novel in those six months, though I realized that the story simply wasn't working. My deadline was in January which gave me six months to write an entirely new story, and my editor came down to help me conceive of something that might work.

Knowing that all of my novels have come from family events, my editor suggested we start there and because my brother-in-law was on my mind, the first character became a young widower who had to raise a child on his own. This was Miles Ryan, and from there, I was able to pin down a plot that I thought might work. The end result is A Bend in the Road, and in many ways, I think it's my best novel to date. It's both poignant and suspenseful, and I hope that those who read it will find it a story that moves them.

Inspiration for The Rescue

It's taken a while, but I've finally come to the firm understanding that no matter how long I live, I'm never going to have things figured out. My life for instance. If I stand back, chin in hand, and evaluate the things that have occurred in the first 34 years I've been around, I can't help but realize it's been one incredibly unpredictable ride. Up and down, shifting and tilting, suddenly spinning when I least expect it -- at no time have I even had the chance to sit back and enjoy the thing without worrying what may be coming with the next gyration.

It's easy to imagine that everything in my life is wonderful; that I walk down the street as rose petals fall gently from the sky. And I'll admit that I consider myself very fortunate with regard to the success I've achieved in the publishing world. But a big part of the success comes from the stories themselves, and their origins have been anything but easy. I've suffered through the loss of both my parents (my father was the inspiration for Garrett Blake, in Message in a Bottle), I've watched my younger sister struggle bravely with cancer, only to pass away in the end. (She was Jamie Sullivan, in A Walk to Remember.) I watched two wonderful people who taught me what true love was really all about die within months of each other, (Noah and Allie in The Notebook). And I have a son who provided the original inspiration for my latest novel, The Rescue.

My fourth novel was my most challenging novel to date and though I won't go into many details (since I do want you to read the story), I can say that this is a novel that closely parallels my own life over the past four years. All the feelings, all the emotions, all the dreams and fears of Denise Holton (the main female character in The Rescue) are the same as the ones that my wife and I went through at various times; the sacrifice she made for her child was the same one that my wife and I had to make as well. It was a special book to write, and hopefully, you'll find it a special book to read.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Confessions of an Innocent Man
    Confessions of an Innocent Man
    by David R. Dow
    It is circumstance that carries the wave that sweeps trendy Houston restaurateur Rafael Zhettah to ...
  • Book Jacket: Memories of the Future
    Memories of the Future
    by Siri Hustvedt
    I've never kept a journal, but my mother has written in hers for years, the annual volumes she's ...
  • Book Jacket: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
    Rajeev Balasubramanyam encapsulates the theme of Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss in its first ...
  • Book Jacket: The Workshop and the World
    The Workshop and the World
    by Robert P. Crease
    The longest glacier in France, the Mer de Glace, is losing roughly 12 feet of ice height each year. ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Affairs of the Falcóns
    by Melissa Rivero

    A beautiful, urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    When We Left Cuba
    by Chanel Cleeton

    An exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

A masterpiece of storytelling, and a 2018 Oprah's Book Club Selection.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win Ecstasy

Win copies to share with friends or your book club!

Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A B Penny A T U

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.