Nicholas Sparks is one of those authors whose books have been a large part of my life, and my personal library. A few months back my long-time friend Janessa asked me if I would want to come visit her and see Nicholas Sparks speak in Omaha.

The answer was, “obviously!”

On April 3rd the day finally came. After a day of hanging out, and catching up, Janessa and I went for Mexican food and margaritas to prepare. We made our way to Baxter Arena (an hour early) and eagerly found our seats to try to get the best view of one of our favorite authors.

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The event was described as, “His lecture, titled “An Evening with Nicholas Sparks,” will take the audience deeper into the sleepy towns and poignant relationships that ignite the pages of his romantic page turners, weaving in Sparks’ own personal story of hard work, rejection, anxiety and triumph for inspiring authors—and romantics—everywhere.” — UNO Omaha

Nicholas Sparks began by talking about his background, his childhood, his love of track & field, and informed us writing was not a part of his plan.

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My favorite part of the lecture was when the audience got to learn where the inspiration for some of Sparks’ novels came from. The Notebook was a story based on his wife’s grandparents. Message in a Bottle was inspired by Sparks’ dad. A Walk To Remember was inspired by Sparks’ little sister.

I was so moved to learn that the story of Jamie and Landon was based in reality. Sparks finished the novel, and sent it to his baby sister to read. She never did. She told him she didn’t want to know how it ended, she died shortly after.

Sparks possessed such a positive disposition while on stage. This is an impressive feat when you’ve learned Sparks lost both of his parents and his younger sister by then time he was 32 years old, all pretty tragically.

Seeing an author I have spent hours with between the pages speak made me feel so inspired to write, and take it more seriously. I can write what I know. I can write something totally garbage as long as I finish it and know that’s the best starting point. It’s just important to write. Period.

As fans know Sparks’ books are set in North Carolina. This week I am flying out to Raleigh for a wedding. Coincidence? Probably. But, ya know. Keep a look out for my North Carolinian whirlwind romance.


 

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