Nicholas Sparks is a New York Times best-selling author, a family man, philanthropist and romance guru who could pretty much make us cry in less than 30 seconds.
His collection of 18 books have sold over 80 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 45 different languages. He's responsible for some of the greats like The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Dear John and The Lucky One, which have all been adapted into successful films.
If you've never picked up a Sparks book (or if you've only ever seen the film adaptations) here are a few reasons why we love his work...
1. He makes stunning locations just as important as the characters
Nicholas lives with his family in North Carolina, which is why so many of his popular novels are set in the region. In The Notebook, Noah and Allie are constantly surrounded by beautiful lakes, lush countryside and pre-war antebellum-style house that set the tone of the book and provide the back-drop for some of the most romantic moments. The film with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams helps to bring this beautiful portion of the American South to life.
2. Age doesn't matter
In The Last Song Ronnie is just a pre-university student who ends up finding the man of her dreams, but in Sparks' latest book The Best of Me his protagonists are well into their forties with children. Usually he writes over a long period of time, so we get a chance to see how love progresses and changes as his characters age.
3. He writes about true love, soul mates and fate
We know life isn't a romance novel, but sometimes it's nice to get lost in the idea of soul mates and destiny. In The Lucky One Logan Thibault is serving in Iraq when a photo catches his eye. As he goes to pick it up a bomb goes off and he is miraculously spared, so he decides to find the woman in the picture and convince her that she's his guardian angel. If you saw the Zac Efron movie you don't need us to tell you what happens next...
4. He loves to make us cry
Who didn't cry at A Walk to Remember? Seriously...
5. He isn't afraid to tackle the bigger issues (or write a less-than-perfect ending)
If you've read or seen the movie adaptation of Dear John you know that the fairytale ending with John and Savannah isn't exactly achieved, but it's implied...and everyone loves to hope. Plus, Nicholas' book Safe Haven, which is just about to hit cinemas starring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, centres on the devastating impact of domestic abuse. Definitely one not to be missed...
Who are your favourite romance authors? Leave a comment below to be in with a chance of winning a £100 goodie bag.
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