JACKSON TWP. When New York Times Best Seller Author Nicholas Sparks’ mother told him to go write a book, he did.
Sparks was not sure when he was asked a question as to how many books he has written, he said 23, 24. He was not exactly sure what the count was when he spoke to students via video chat from area high schools including Louisville, Carrollton, Windham, Hoover, Massillon Washington, Strausburg and Streetsboro on April 17 from the Kent State at Stark Campus.
Sparks was the last speaker of the season for the popular Kent State University Stark Featured Speaker Series which is a gift to the public from the university. He took time in the afternoon to speak to the students before he spoke to a sold-out crowd in the evening.
Students had great questions for "The Notebook" author, including asking how he began writing. As a Notre Dame track and field star, Sparks continues to hold a record at the school. He was a good student but had no dreams of being an author. Injured his freshman year in college, during the summer months he was lost sitting at home while others were working out getting better than him. Due to his injury, he was restricted from running. His mom told him his problem was he was bored and to go do something, she said "Go write a book" – andhe did.
Although it was a horror story, he told the students it was terrible, the story was good and the writing was not. When asked if he would rewrite the book, he said, "No."
Sparks, a business finance major at Notre Dame, applied for law school and was not accepted. He tried several careers, selling dental products by phone, starting a manufacturing business, real estate appraisal, waiting tables and was selling pharmaceuticals when he decided he wanted something different. He began writing the story of his wife’s grandparents which became his book and movie "The Notebook." He said he used family stories as the basis for many of his books including "A Walk to Remember" which was the story of his younger sister who suffered and died from cancer. His story "Message in a Bottle" was inspired by his father’s story after the death of his mother.
During his time with students, a student asked what his favorite food was and Sparks replied with "a good marinated ribeye." He gave the student his recipe.
Although there is no charge for the speaker’s series, attendees must have tickets. The day the tickets for Sparks were offered, 400 were passed out within 15 minutes. The room used for the series was filled and there were three filled overflow rooms.
During the evening talk Sparks had the crowd engaged from beginning to end with his inspiring and humorous talk. Questions were asked at the end of the talk and one lady came to see the author as she had been a customer on his pharmaceutical route years before.
He spoke of major events in his life and said, "When it comes to love, 100 percent of all love stories end in tragedy."
Asked about his favorite quote, Sparks said he believed it had to be from his novel "A Walk to Remember", "Love is like the wind, you can’t see it, but you can feel it."
Sparks said he has a hand in the production of his books which have been made into movies. He is involved in the beginning processes and is only on the set about a third of the time of the filming.
He said deep relationships with people and doing things you like to do bring you joy.
The university will announce those speaking at the 29th Speakers Series coming up in August. Learn more about the series at https://www.kent.edu/stark/featured-speakers-series.