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Q & A with bestselling author Nicholas Sparks prior to Oct. 4 appearance in Greenville

Q & A with bestselling author Nicholas Sparks
Q & A with bestselling author Nicholas Sparks

Prior to his Sunday appearance at Fiction Addiction in Greenville, bestselling author Nicholas Sparks sat down with Your Carolina and Livin’ Upstate to talk about his latest novel and answer questions submitted by viewers.

The socially distanced meet-and-greet will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with tickets on sale until 10 a.m. on Sunday. Each ticket includes one pre-signed book, an opportunity to speak briefly with Sparks at a 6-foot distance, and a downloadable professional photograph.

In his new book, The Return, Sparks returns to New Bern, NC as the setting for the story he describes as a soft mystery.

“The initial thought for this novel was that I wanted to write about the theme of love and mystery, and I hadn’t written a book with any kind of mystery for a long time, so I figured it would feel fresh and new again,” Sparks said.

The Return is the story of Trevor, a former Navy surgeon who was injured in Afghanistan and had to give up his career. He visits his dying grandfather in New Bern who tells Trevor things that don’t make sense. In the process of trying to determine what is going on his grandfather’s life, he meets two women – Natalie, a deputy sheriff, and a mysterious teenager named Callie.

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In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie’s secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.

“It’s a fun book and I think people will be delightfully surprised by the end,” Sparks said. “I tried to make it as different as I could from anything else that I’ve written while giving those elements that people come to expect – a Carolina setting, a really romantic love story, things like that.”

During our interview, Sparks answered several questions submitted by Your Carolina viewers:

Q:  Are you as romantic in real life as the characters in your stories?
A:  Of course. I like romantic gestures and of course, I like to receive romantic gestures, as well. Relationships in so many ways come down to the actions one takes toward the other and just this feeling of gratitude, continually reminding yourself why you fell in love with someone in the first place. If you feel this gratitude, there are moments when you’d like to do something very special. Sometimes it can be flowers, but sometimes you sit and watch a sunset, or you help clean the kitchen, or you take care of the kids. It’s defined by an action that you know the other would very much appreciate at that time.

Q:  If you had not become an author, what career path do you think you would have chosen?
A:  That’s a difficult question. I was selling pharmaceuticals prior to becoming an author. I do find that I like the creative world so perhaps I would have tried something like screen writing or play writing, something along those lines.

Q:  When you write, do you have the whole story in your head?
A:  Every author is different, and they have their own process. For me, I always know the beginning, the ending, and three, four of five major plot turning points. I know a little bit about the characters, their age, their background, whether it’s a first relationship or they’re coming off a divorce, things like that. And I know a little bit maybe about their family, whether they have children, or whether they’re close to their mother or father.

For me, to write the kind of novels that I do, which focus on internal conflict as opposed to external conflict, you have to be really clear on what you’re writing otherwise you can verge into melodrama. Once I have all those answers, it usually takes about six months to write and the days when I sit down to write, I try to put out about 2000 words.

Q:  Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
A:  The biggest commonality between all successful authors or even authors who have had novels published and maybe haven’t reached super high stratospheric levels of success, is that they all read. They read quite a bit and not just novels in their genres. They read across the spectrum. If you read a lot of different things, you learn skills that are appropriate to those little sub-genres. For instance, going back to The Return, I wanted a soft mystery. How do I unfold that mystery in a way that is compelling to the readers? I wouldn’t have known that unless I had read a lot of different mysteries.

For more information on the Nicholas Sparks In-Person Socially Distanced Meet-and-Greet and to purchase tickets, go HERE.

Fiction Addiction, 1175 Woods Crossing Road, #2, Greenville, SC 29607, (864) 675-0540, info@fiction-addiction.com.

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