His latest book, "Nights in Rodanthe," he tells The Early Show, examines how lives can be unexpectedly transformed by love and loss.
Sparks' five previous books have reached The New York Times bestseller list and one was adapted to a successful movie, thanks to support from his fans. Those same fans will probably love his latest novel just as much.
Sparks says that he is not a romance novelist. He writes love stories and, he says, there is a big difference. The author says he writes the best story that he can, which he hopes people will enjoy reading.
He believes that people connect and relate to his stories because they are about characters that are real. Sparks say the settings of his books are critical because it determines the type of character and type of story he writes. In general, he writes about Southern or small-town people for whom family and faith are central to life. These are ordinary people with some sort of internal struggle — people recognizable, even if the readers are not from a small Southern town.
"Nights in Rodanthe" tells the story of Adrienne Willis, the perfect wife and mother with a dreamily comfortable life filled with family and friends. However, she is in for a rude awakening when her husband of more than 20 years abandons her for a younger woman. Shattered and resentful, Adrienne loses herself in the mundane routine of life — and considers love something that she will never know again. Adrienne has to find a way to move on and let go of the pain and anger she feels. She has to find some way to forgive. She agrees to watch a friend's inn in Rodanthe for the weekend as a way to gain a much-needed vacation and a little money, but has no idea that her life will be forever changed.
Also in "Nights in Rodanthe," Paul Flanner has just sold his successful medical practice in Raleigh after losing a patient on the operating table. He then lost all interest in the things that meant the most to him: expensive cars, his enormous house and the thrill of work. Paul realizes that his shallow, selfish lifestyle caused his wife of 30 years to leave him after finding comfort in the arms of another man. His only other family is a son he barely knows. Paul arrives at the inn on a journey to find his soul and to think of a way to find forgiveness for his past mistakes.
To read an excerpt from Chapter One, click here.
Sparks was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on December 31, 1965. As a child, he lived in Minnesota, Los Angeles and Grand Island, Nebraska, finally settling in Fair Oaks, California, at the age of eight. He lived in Fair Oaks through high school, graduated valedictorian in 1984, and received a full track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.
After breaking the Notre Dame school record as part of a relay team in 1985 as a freshman (a record which still stands), he was injured and spent the summer recovering. During that summer, he wrote his first novel. Though it was never published, his time writing gave him a foundation upon which to start building his literary works. After school, Sparks worked a variety of jobs, including real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products by phone and started his own small manufacturing business which struggled from the beginning before his novels became successes.
Sparks says that he already has two more books under way. The first is called "The Guardian" and will hit the shelves next April. The second, which will be published next September, is called "The Wedding" and is a sequel to his huge best seller "The Notebook."