And so to me it just reflects the truth—in fact, to me it reflects the truth so much more than anything with a serial killer. I know they’re out there, but I’ve actually never met one, whereas I know so many people who are dealing with a mother with cancer, or a brother who is ill, or a sister who had a mastectomy. Do you think that’s a reason readers are drawn to your stories? I like the fact that when he’s writing, he never loses sight of the fact that he’s telling a story that’s meant to engage the readers. I would like to think I’m the kind of person who tends to be more romantic than not. I open doors, I send flowers, I don’t forget anniversaries, I remember things, Valentine’s Day… What assumptions do you think readers make about you that aren’t true? I do various aerobic work, I do a lot of weights, sparring, Taekwondo-type stuff. Oh, my next novel, the one I’m working on—and I very seldom tell anybody—but what I can say, look: It’s gonna be a love story, it’s gonna be set in North Carolina, and it’s gonna have some characters that I think you’re really gonna like, flawed and all.

speed dating virginia tech - Dating your husband after divorce

TIME: So many of your books have a medical element, and this one does, too. Sparks: In the end I think it reflects reality, right?

Even in the course of my own life, I was 23 years old and my mom was in a [fatal] horseback riding accident, and those last few hours were spent in the hospital. When Cathy and I were married, she had a miscarriage.

opens in theaters on Friday, it will mark the 11th feature film adapted from a novel by Nicholas Sparks, the global phenomenon whose love stories have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.

TIME caught up with the novelist ahead of the film’s release to talk about his dramas, Stephen King and his dating life post-divorce.

Is it a huge struggle to engage your wife in conversation?

Does it seem like she’s become nothing more than an empty shell?

In my sense it kind of does fall into Einstein; the more I study the universe, the more I shake my head and say, “I don’t know how all these random elements come together without some guiding influence.” That’s my own perspective, you might call it “Intelligent Design.” For me, that resonates with the most sense.

in America today, and they’ve been rising constantly for the past 30 years.

Meanwhile you have this show about somebody who’s got time to just sit in the backyard, put on some music with his dog and throw the ball, and you’re like, “I want that life! I hadn’t seen it in a while and I ended up watching it, I guess last week. I watched and said, “Wow, that really holds up well!

” The characters in I was raised Catholic, so of course, I believe in something greater out there.

This means that there are more men than ever wondering whether their wives are planning on leaving, or if their marriage is standing on its last leg.