While love is at the center of all my novels, I have many sources of inspiration. In my newest novel, The Wish, you’ll meet Maggie Dawes, a travel photographer inspired by my own love of traveling the world. She first meets Bryce Trickett when they’re teenagers, but as decades pass and settings change, we see how their love story sets them on a course they never could have imagined. Three of my other novels that focus on teenage love stories are A Walk to Remember, The Last Song, and The Best of Me. Here’s my inspiration for those novels, on sale at BAM! now:
A WALK TO REMEMBER: I wish every book poured out of me as easily as this one. When my agent went away on her honeymoon, I was struggling with a novel that I ultimately never completed. When she returned after 3 weeks, I had written an entirely new book! I don’t think anyone – especially my foreign publishers – expected this sweet little love story to become a bestseller, but it’s ended up being one of my most successful novels. And who can resist the movie version, starring Mandy Moore?
THE LAST SONG: I wrote a screenplay version of this story first, as a vehicle for Miley Cyrus who was looking to transition from a child star to adult actress. But the novel I subsequently wrote ended up being much more complex and elaborate than the film version ... which makes sense, since a movie only lasts 2 hours. The relationship between a father and daughter is one that I would end up revisiting many years later in TWO BY TWO, but in this instance Steve’s struggle to connect with his sullen teenage daughter ended up taking a poignant turn that even I had a hard time writing.
THE BEST OF ME: I was taken with the idea of a man who defies his family heritage – we are so often told that environment and upbringing determines the kind of person you turn out to be, but what of the outlier who defies the cards he has been dealt? That character is Dawson – and yet, despite his extraordinary character and all of his efforts to escape his circumstances, tragedy claims his chance at happiness. When the book opens, Dawson is now in his 40s, and trying to reckon with the course that his life took ... a relatable moment for many people, and one that I identified with strongly.
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