JACKSON TWP.: Nicholas Sparks needed little introduction Wednesday to the local students and teachers on the other side of the video conference.

“Hey, everyone, I’m Nicholas Sparks,” he said peering into the computer screen. “I’m an author, I guess. I’ve written a lot of books, had 11 movies made. I’ve been doing this a long time. I wrote my first novel when I was 19, wrote the second at 22. ‘The Notebook’ came out when I was 28 — and here I am.”

Sparks, one of the world’s best-selling authors of love stories, came to Stark County on Wednesday as the last speaker of Kent State University at Stark’s Featured Speaker Series. Besides "The Notebook," Sparks has authored 18 other New York Times No. 1 best-selling books, including "A Walk to Remember," "Safe Haven," "See Me," "The Best of Me," "The Longest Ride" and his latest novel, "Every Breath."

He's currently involved in adapting "The Notebook" for Broadway.

Ahead of his sold-out evening presentation Wednesday, Sparks answered questions via video conference from high school students from Carrollton, Louisville, North Canton, Massillon, Strasburg and Windham school districts and talked in person with local media and Kent State students.

In his answers, the easygoing Sparks inserted a few jokes — such as noting the students were not yet born when he wrote “The Notebook” in 1994. 

Here are some highlights:

On which of his novels are his favorite: “I don’t really have a favorite. Really my favorite is the one I’m working on right now and I don’t even have a title for it,” Sparks said. “That’s how it always is. The one you are working on is your favorite.”

On whether he would consider writing a children’s book: “If I could ever come up with a story that I liked as well as 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein, sure, but I haven’t come up with one yet.”

On his daily schedule: When Sparks isn’t traveling to speak with fans, he wakes as early as 4:30 a.m. and drinks his coffee and reads the newspaper. At 6 a.m., he heads to the gym for a nearly three-hour workout.

He arrives at the office around 10 a.m. and spends two to three hours writing. He then takes a quick lunch and returns to work. His workday typically ends around 4 p.m. and he goes home to relax, which could include a walk with his dogs or reading.

“By 4 p.m. most days, I’m pretty tired because I get up so early and I worked out three hours,” he said. “And, writing, it makes your brain tired.”

He said he tries to keep the same schedule seven days a week, even though he might not write every single day. By keeping that schedule, Sparks said, he typically can finish a novel in five months.

On the most romantic thing he has done for his wife: He recalled when she had returned from a long trip with the kids and he had a bubble bath with a glass of wine ready for her. He then took the kids and made dinner to give her time to unwind.

“And I wrote a lot of wonderful letters, too,” he said.

On his process to develop a character: Sparks said the most important element of a character is his or her voice — how the character sounds when he or she is talking to others and how he or she sounds in his or her own head.

“It’s a voice that brings a character to life,” he said.

On his favorite book that he’s ever read: Sparks offered three favorites: “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, “Gates of Fire” by Steven Pressfield and “The Passage” by Justin Cronin.

“They were three books that immediately upon finishing the book, my first thought was to flip it over and start reading from page one again,” Sparks said.

On whether he would consider writing a sequel to any of his novels: Sparks already has written a follow-up book to “True Believer” (“At First Sight”) and “The Notebook” (“The Wedding”). He said he could see himself revisiting Stephanie Parker in “The Choice” and following up to see what happens to Landon Carter in “A Walk to Remember.”

On overcoming writer’s block: Sparks said he’s had writer’s block that’s lasted a half-hour to one that lasted four months. He gave the following tips: Step away for a short period; move onto another project; work backward by asking yourself, “What happened before that?”; ask yourself “what if” to brainstorm possible scenarios; start two pages back from where the writer’s block began and see if those pages need to be edited or rewritten so the story can be moved forward.

On the advice he would give his younger self: “It doesn’t get any easier,” he said. “I’m on book 24 or 25 and it is just as hard as book one.” Sparks said his challenge now is to continually create original stories and characters.

On his three favorite characters: Ira Levinson in “The Longest Ride,” Colin Hancock in “See Me” and Jamie Sullivan in “A Walk to Remember.”