Writer to be at New Bern Target at 8 a.m. Tuesday

Published: Monday, September 16, 2013 at 09:48 AM.

“It’s a story of two distinct couples — Ira and Ruth — and there is this love story that spans decades,” Sparks said. “I think an ending that surprises the reader is the best kind of ending for any particular story. It’s important because that makes for a very memorable story.”

Luke is a bull rider, living on a ranch in King. He meets Sophia, a sorority girl at Wake Forest University.

They are two people with a polarity of characteristics.

Sparks’ inspiration for Luke, and the rodeo and life on a ranch, was based on his brother-in-law, Bob.

“My sister, she’s deceased. She passed away 13 years ago. She was married to a guy named Bob. Bob lives on a ranch,” Sparks said. “The ranch in ‘The Longest Ride’ is that ranch, right to the pumpkins, the Christmas trees, the number of cattle right down to the horse named Horse, and his dog was named Dog.

“Sophia, like most of the female characters I have created, she is inspired by my wife in many ways — intelligence, humor, kindness, loyalty, generosity,” he said.

On the other side, there is Ira Levinson, who, while faced with adversity, can’t help but recall his memories of his late wife Ruth, who had a passion for artwork.

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