Nicholas Sparks, the novelist, screenwriter and producer of The Notebook, is at it again with a new film base on his novel The Best Of Me, a love story that chronicles the relationship of Amanda (Michelle Monaghan) and Dawson (James Mardsen), high school sweethearts who reunite after he gets out of prison.

Sparks believes that The Best Of Me speaks to a universal experience. “I just think the 40’s are a very interesting decade,” Sparks told uInterview in an exclusive video interview. “The 40s is like this period where you’re shifting from one to the other. At the same time, I think that brings with it all sorts of great questions. The ‘what if’ questions of life, because often you find yourself, ‘How did I get here.’ and you realize it’s the choices you’ve made, but it feels like you’ve been carried along by a river.”

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Q: What inspired you to write ‘The Best Of Me’? - Uinterview

You know, in the end I just think the 40’s are a very interesting decade. It’s a decade in which you reach this point where - if you’re in your 20’s and 30’s you think all your dreams can still come true. In your 50’s, 60’s and 70’s well, maybe you’ve given up on some of them right, because they haven’t. But the 40s is like this period where you’re shifting from one to the other. At the same time, I think that brings with it all sorts of great questions. The ‘what if’ questions of life, because often you find yourself, how did I get here, and you realize it’s the choices you’ve made but it feels like you’ve been carried along by a river. I wanted to write a novel that really explores this idea. It’s about a couple, Amanda and Dawson, they fall in love when they’re young. Well twenty years go by and they’ve led different lives since then, they’ve changed as people and yet they come back together and realize they still have feelings for each other. It kind of begs the question, what if I make a different decision? What if I uproot my life now? What are the consequences? Is it something I should do? I think these are great questions to explore because I think they are just part and parcel with human nature.

Q: What makes James Marsden a great leading man for your movies? - Uinterview

Sparks: I think a couple of things. First off, his career is varied. He’s done everything from comedy, to science fiction, to drama, to as you said he was in The Notebook, a previous film of mine. So he’s got this great resume of being able to do a lot of different things. When we brought him in he was able to use all of that experience to really show an amazing depth of emotion and breadth. He can really put off a lot of different emotions. It was fun to work with him again. He’s a great guy, he’s always fun to talk to and he worked so hard on the film. It was a thrill.

Q: What makes a great love story? - Uinterview

Authenticity, I think that’s the big thing. You want to evoke genuine emotion too. You don’t want to manipulate. You don’t want it to feel hackneyed or anything. You really want to be swept along with the emotions of the character whether it’s in a novel, a play or whether it’s a film. If you are effectively moved and you fall in love with the characters and you fall in love with the idea of them falling in love, no matter how it ends, then, that’s the story that resonates with me for a long time.

Q: Paul Walker was originally cast in this movie. Did you get to meet his before his death? - Uinterview

I did not. That was tragic and of course prayers and thoughts still go out to his family.