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Heartfelt author Nicholas Sparks celebrates movie opening, community, volunteerism

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NEW BERN, NC (WWAY) -- Our corner of the world is the setting for many of best-selling author Nicholas Sparks' romance novels. His newest book-turned-movie 'The Lucky One' hit theaters Friday, and Sparks held a special screening of the film in his hometown of New Bern.

"The process of being in love and falling in love is one of the major emotions of life no matter how it happens,” Sparks said. “So I try to write about that because I want to write stories that have depth and meaning and that make people remember them."

The majority of Nicholas Sparks' novels about love and life are set right here in Eastern NC. Hundreds of fans came out to his Celebrity Family Weekend to celebrate the books and the author.

"I cry in every one of his books, I'm laughing, I'm crying, and people are looking at me like, what is that girl doing,” 17-year-old Allie Gerlache said. “I'm laughing, I'm crying at all of his stories. It just gives me hope that I am going to find someone like that."

Along with fans, celebrities, including actors and athletes like NFL Quarterback Drew Brees, also came out to celebrate with Sparks.

"I'm really honored to be out here celebrating all these great causes and especially to get to see this film,” Wizards of Waverly Place star Jake Austin said as he walked the red carpet. “I'm a fan personally of his books and his movies, so I wanted to see how this one was different."

While the red carpet was rolled out for the celebrities, the writer of romance says the real star this weekend in volunteerism. Proceeds from the event are going to help the Nicholas Sparks Foundation for education, Paws for a Cause and Hope for the Warrior.

One of the wounded warriors says he's read the majority of Sparks’ books.

"The romance, it just gets me into the books,” injured Marine Mathew Heroy said. “So I just keep reading and reading them."

Sparks said real-life love and romance aren't always easy, but he's got some advice.

"Pick someone that you're in sync with on the really big things in life,” Sparks said. “Pick someone that wants to make you happy and you want to make them happy."

The City of New Bern has now named April 20 ‘Nicholas Sparks Community Volunteerism Day’ in recognition of all Sparks has done for the community.

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