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opens in theaters on Friday, it will mark the 11th feature film adapted from a novel by Nicholas Sparks, the global phenomenon whose love stories have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.
My second son Ryan was diagnosed as severely autistic. TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.
I can’t tell you how many doctors we saw trying to figure out this diagnosis—it was very challenging.
So I think for most people, this is part and parcel of life. I would like to think I’m the kind of person who tends to be more romantic than not. I open doors, I send flowers, I don’t forget anniversaries, I remember things, Valentine’s Day… What assumptions do you think readers make about you that aren’t true? I do various aerobic work, I do a lot of weights, sparring, Taekwondo-type stuff. Oh, my next novel, the one I’m working on—and I very seldom tell anybody—but what I can say, look: It’s gonna be a love story, it’s gonna be set in North Carolina, and it’s gonna have some characters that I think you’re really gonna like, flawed and all.
At the same time, it’s often moments like those that make you question things. I would say that they might not know that I exercise as much as I do.
And so to me it just reflects the truth—in fact, to me it reflects the truth so much more than anything with a serial killer. I know they’re out there, but I’ve actually never met one, whereas I know so many people who are dealing with a mother with cancer, or a brother who is ill, or a sister who had a mastectomy. I like the fact that when he’s writing, he never loses sight of the fact that he’s telling a story that’s meant to engage the readers. If you go in and you put out this false sense of who you are, what’s the point? A lot of people think of writers as kind of artsy or introverted, and many of them are.