Not satisfied with becoming the most commercially successful of mawkish, paint-by-numbers romance novels, Nicholas Sparks also believes he’s the best.
From a 2010 interview:
“There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It’s all drama. I try to generate authentic emotional power.” …
“I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me. They were set out 2,000 years ago by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. They were called the Greek tragedies.
“Hemingway. See, they’re recommending The Garden of Eden, and I read that. It was published after he was dead. It’s a weird story about this honeymoon couple, and a third woman gets involved. Uh, it’s not my cup of tea.” Sparks pulls the one beside it off the shelf. “A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That’s what I write,” he says, putting it back. “That’s what I write.”
Cormac McCarthy? “Horrible,” he says, looking at Blood Meridian. “This is probably the most pulpy, overwrought, melodramatic cowboy vs. Indians story ever written.”
Sparks’ latest straight-to-celluloid tearjerker, “The Best of Me,” opens this weekend. I bet Aeschylus will be first in line.