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February 10, 2012

Sparks charms during ULM visit

Renowned author Nicholas Sparks visited the University of Louisiana at Monroe Feb. 2 as part of its Lyceum Series. Sparks spent the day meeting and greeting ULM students, faculty, staff, and area residents.

Throughout his daylong visit at ULM, Sparks regaled numerous groups with heartfelt stories and anecdotes that helped shape his life and career.

Not knowing where his writing would take him, Sparks worked numerous jobs, including working as a pharmaceutical salesman while still maintaining his passion to write during downtime.

"I didn't know if I could do it, I was 19 and gave it a whirl one day," Sparks said during his Master Class session with ULM students. "Really good ideas are tough."

Sparks went on to enlighten students on the processes of publishing, agents, and filmmaking while also giving them insight into the personal writing process that he has used for each of his novels noting that the ending of each novel is most important.

"If I can't pull off the ending, there is no reason to write the rest," said Sparks.

Along with a captivating ending, some of the things Sparks finds the most important when writing his novels are originality, conflict and universal appeal. Knowing how challenging it is to keep readers happy, Sparks retains these values while also keeping things simple.

"Less is often more," Sparks claimed. "I have an infinite amount of ideas but only a few that are memorable and meaningful."

Sparks also spoke to students about his personal inspirations and why he decided to become a writer, admitting that it took some time for him to realize that dream. He had written two novels, which were never published, but he made a conscious effort to continue writing.

"I didn't make the final decision to become a writer until after 'The Notebook' was published," said Sparks.

After the publishing and subsequent film release of 'The Notebook,' Sparks' life took an amazing turn and he became the best-selling, box office draw that is known worldwide.

Sparks is currently working on his newest novel; the film adaptation of "The Lucky One" will be released in April 2012.

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