At First Sight is part 2 of his previous book, True Believer, which introduced readers to Lexie Darnell of Boone Creek, NC and Jeremy Marsh of New York City. Of course, they fell in love. True Believer had an epilogue of 45 pages, which the editor said was too long and detracted from the linearity of the book. So, Sparks wrote a new book which extended and completed his original concept of the story.
"Skeptical by nature" Jeremy is a freelance writer who exposes "Frauds, hoaxes, and forgeries." He came originally to North Carolina to investigate mysterious lights in a graveyard. He has no idea how these lights will frame the story he tells us. And, these lights will come poignantly into play again. Whether it is the Brown Mountain Lights in Western North Carolina or the Maco Light in the swamps of Southeastern NC (Joe Baldwin has still not found his head in 150 years of looking.), this state is fertile ground for the unexplained. Yet, Jeremy, the ultimate skeptic, is about to leave the city he loves and move to a small town to marry a woman he hardly knows, as his best friend repeatedly points out to him.
The story is certainly not Literature, but it is a story which fits its niche, which has been true of Sparks' work since his first novel, At First Sight. No one will argue that it is a work of great literary merit, but it is a well-told story which subtly latches onto one's emotions. And, it fits what his audience is looking for. Judging by the hundreds of devotees who turned out for a recent book event in Cary, North Carolina, that audience is 95% female and predominantly white with a smattering of Asians, African-Americans, and Hispanics. They encompass all ages.
Sparks is a writer who knows his audience and caters to them in a positive manner. Dressed in jeans, a polo shirt, and black weejuns, this Minnesota-born Californian fits right in with his audience and the people of his new hometown of New Bern, NC. A former track star at Notre Dame, he has donated $700,000 to the local high school and built a top of the line track, where he volunteers his time as an assistant coach. Just recently, he helped bring Karjuan Williams, the best high school 800 meter runner in the country, and his family to New Bern. They had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. He genuinely feels for people.