“How would you like to join us for dinner with Nicholas Sparks?” This was the text Miguel Ramos of National Book Store sent me a month ago. Hmmm. I had never read any of his books. And I’m not really into sappy movies. “Ofcourse! How can I say no to that? Best-selling author! I love meeting successful people. Game!”
A few days later, National Book Store sends me The Notebook, A Walk to Remember and the newest one in hardbound Best of Me. I felt like I was in high school again and I needed to do a book report. Every few days Miguel would text, “How do you like the books? Do you need a box of tissues yet?” Truth is, I only got as far as half of Best of Me. I felt too guilty reading a love story while my website is going bonkers and my new projects are hanging. My state of mind is so unrelaxed and cluttered, I couldn’t allow myself to get lost in Sparks’ new novel that debuted #1 in the New York Times best seller list. Sounds like I need a vacation.
Frequently-asked questions from those who knew I had dinner with him – was he as cheesy/romantic as his male characters in the book? I wouldn’t know what he’s like with his wife. But from what I saw, he was as normal as any famous/successful person I’d met. We didn’t discuss anything specific about his creative process so I didn’t see his eyes sparkle. Does he write about his personal experiences or project his life story in his novels? He said, not really. He has a happy life. Nothing tragic. Why always in North Carolina? He needs to know about a place in order to use it as a setting. Only North Carolina has that effect on him. It’s his home. Does he have a formula? 17 books, all best sellers. Over 90 million copies sold. You think?
Lots of stories and lessons from Nicholas. We didn’t discuss any of his books in detail. No mention of any character… though I was ready to pull out what I knew of Dawson and Amanda (Best of Me). We talked about the business of writing, building a brand, knowing one’s market, having all products and platforms be synergistic and writing with the intention of turning your book into a movie.
I have to say, for someone who only slept 12 hours in the past 73 hours, he was very charming and attentive. I could see how tired he was. We had to kill time between dinner and his guest appearance in ABS-CBN’s Bandila because his hotel was in Makati and traffic on Edsa was insane. By 9pm we were done with eating and the stories, I could see he was wilting. I asked if he wanted coffee. He said, “I wish I could just close my eyes before the interview.”
I called Julius Babao and asked if Nicholas could have his own dressing room (not the communal one for guests in news programs). One of the producers phoned me back. It was arranged, but she said there was no couch. Just single seats. I know ABS-CBN dressing rooms. So I told Nic (naks!). And he said that was ok. At least he’d be in a room.
I stayed up to watch Bandila. Boy did a quick and fun interview. Then he mentioned that Nic had some single chairs lined up in a dressing room and he lay down for a nap. Walang ka-arte-arte.
All I have to say is, Wow! Can I have some of his talent and luck?
(He did say a lot of it had to do with luck…)
With the National Book Store family, Miguel Ramos, Trina Alindogan and Xandra Ramos Padilla. NBS Founder Mrs Socorro Ramos was also at dinner. The only non-NBS’er were Town & Country editor in chief Yvette Fernandez and myself. (OMG I just noticed Xandra’s LVxSofia Coppola bag. OMG.)
Today, October 28, 2011 at 5 PM at The Podium you may have the rare opportunity of meeting Nicholas Sparks!!! One of the world’s best selling authors. “The Best of Me” is now available at all National Book Store and Powerbooks branches for P549.
Mechanics for the chance to get his autograph:
1. All purchases of Nicholas Sparks’ new book “The Best of Me” from National Book Store or Powerbooks will come with a Lucky Draw Coupon. Note: The Lucky Draw Coupon is not a guaranteed Signing Pass.
2. A person may purchase as many copies as he/she wants and each purchase will come with a Lucky Draw Coupon.
3. The Lucky Draw Coupon shall entitle the bearer to one (1) attempt at a Lucky Draw on Friday, October 28, 2011 at the atrium of The Podium. Lucky Draw will start upon registration at 1:00 pm.
4. Every person who draws a marked winning stub shall be entitled to a signing pass to have one (1) book signed by Nicholas Sparks at the event.
5. There will be a minimum of six hundred fifty (650) winning stubs in the the Lucky Draw.
6. In addition, there will also be fifty (50) Early Birds. The first fifty (50) persons to arrive at the venue will be allowed to have their Lucky Draw Coupon automatically exchanged for a Signing Pass. Limit is one (1) signing pass per Early Bird.
For more information, go here. There is also a second book signing on Saturday at 1oam. Only 200 books and all hardbound.