Based on the interview in the link below, it turns out that Nicholas Sparks is a bit of a douche, not that I'm overly surprised. I particularly enjoyed the writer's comments about Nights In Rodanthe, aka the worst novel Sparks has written. But "romance novel" vs. "love story" argument aside, I think we can all safely say that 100% of his books follow the same exact skeleton, and that he flips a coin at the end of each book to decide if the hero lives or dies. If that isn't formulaic, then I don't know what is. And don't forget, he thinks he's better than Shakespeare, Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy. Oh, yes, Sparks... McCarthy is the overtly melodramatic one... I forgot that when The Notebook's heroine cries about having to pick between two perfect men, it was McCarthy's The Road that was REALLY manipulating drama. Or maybe you're full of shit, and yourself.