Ladies and gentlemen we are pleased to present to you best selling author Nicholas parks. We had the opportunity to interview Nicholas while on his book tour promoting his new book entitled, The Choice.
Seven of his 12 novels are No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, with over 50 million copies of his books in print worldwide translated into over 40 languages, including 33 million copies in North America alone. He has five film adaptations of his books, including two new ones. His last three books, Dear John, True Believer, and its sequel, At First Sight, were instant #1 bestsellers and have sold over one million hardcover copies each. All of his books, including Three Weeks With My Brother, the memoir he wrote with his brother Micah, have been New York Times and international bestsellers.
In his new book The Choice, Nicholas Sparks test the boundaries of love with the question: How far would you go to keep the hope of love alive, and the choice a husband has to make, one we hope that we will never have to make?
B2M: Nicholas, first of all, I want to thank you for allowing Books2Mention Magazine to interview you. I realize that this is a busy time for you and I just really thank you for making time for us during your book tour.
NICHOLAS: You are very welcome. It's my pleasure.
B2M: I also want to congratulate you on the release of your new book The Choice. I had the opportunity to review it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is an incredible love story that definitely left me questioning how I would have handled being in a similar situation.
NICHOLAS: Thank You. It was a novel that meant a lot to me to write. And it came out better than I hoped it would. It's always difficult to write a novel in such a way that it leaves the reader thinking about the story long afterwards. And when I first sat down to write. I remember wondering whether I would be able to do that. So, I couldn't be more pleased.
B2M: For those who have yet to read the book will you please provide the gist of the story for our readers?
NICHOLAS: Sure. The Choice is a story that had roots in a couple of different events. First, I wanted to return to a structure that I originally used in The Notebook. And that is a structure in which there are two parts in the story. You've got a series of events in the beginning and then you've got a series of events at the end. And they are somehow intertwined. That was part one. The second thing I wanted to do was, well that it had its roots in the fact that I coached track at the local high school and many of the athletes I coached come from very challenging backgrounds. So, consequently I find myself saying on a daily basis, make sure you do your homework, make sure you listen to your parents, make sure you don't cut class, because the choices you make today will have ramifications in the future. So, these two concepts kind of came together, this two-part structure and the importance of making good choices in your life into the story, The Choice. And The Choice of course like most of my novels is a love story. It is set in eastern North Carolina. It has very universal characters that could be your neighbor or your friend, or your sisters or your brothers. And would tell the story of Travis Parker who is a young man who has learned to really love life. He weight boards, he surfs, he roller blades, he plays basketball, he just enjoys outdoors and having fun. Unbeknownst to him, well a new neighbor moves in next door. She's a female, she is just graduated from PA school, physician assistant school, and of course their lives begin to intersect and The Choice describes what happens next.
B2M: The book brings up a very important issue about obtaining a living will. Do you feel that most people fail to discuss this with their loved ones because it is an uncomfortable subject?
NICHOLAS: I have no idea why people would not do such a thing. I know that my wife and I, we made wills a long time ago. We signed power of attorneys a long time ago. We signed living wills a long time ago. It was one of the first things we did once we had children. So, we were twenty five years old when we did such things and I guess maybe its easy when you're twenty five because you don't think you're ever going to get old or die. So, perhaps for some people the longer you wait the harder it gets. But, it maybe uncomfortable for some, it may slip the mind of some. And at the same time it maybe on the realm of financially for some to actually go see an attorney. So, I'm sure there are a lot of different reasons why such things are not discussed. I couldn't began to speak for someone else as to why they couldn't do it.
B2M: Having read this compelling story, I was most amazed with your ability to adequately depict the emotional turmoil that Travis experienced. Was this a difficult task to accomplish?
NICHOLAS: Yeah. It is always difficult to accomplish the location of genuine emotion it is immensely difficult not to veer into melodrama or treacle moments. It is challenging to write such scenes without cliche. There is a very fine line you have to walk between telling the story and showing the story. So, it is an amazingly difficult thing to do. It's never easy for me. It takes along time and a lot of thought and a lot of rewrites, a lot of leaning back in my chair while I am starring at the computer screen, wondering why on earth I ever became a writer because I have no idea how to do it. It's very challenging and that's one of the reasons why I was very pleased by the end.
B2M: Do you have a special ritual that allows you to tap into your creativity, thereby enhancing your ability to create interesting stories that readers can identify with?
NICHOLAS: No, I set aside time when I am in the process of coming up with a story to think about such stories. I like to sketch out ideas on my computer cause that actually goes more quickly for me than any other method. But, these are the most general of ideas. I mean, when I am sketching out an idea you could probably summarize all of my thoughts on the idea within about eight sentences. So, you are going to various patterns of these eight sentences in a thousand different ways and you're changing certain elements and then seeing if they can follow through, and how well they flow, and it just takes a bit of time. Sometimes it might take up to four months to come up with a story. Sometimes it takes four weeks. But, there's always a period for me of conscious thought and I am always weighing, not only the quality of the story, but, I am trying to do something original, something that not only I haven't done before, but, you haven't seen recently in film or television or in someone else's novels, or I'm trying to take old ideas and put new spins on them. So, it's quite literally a very conscious process for me and it's one that involves a bit of quiet time you might say.
B2M: When penning a novel are there things that you learn about yourself during the writing process?
NICHOLAS: Yeah, always. Yeah, you learn that this is the hardest thing I've ever done. I have had lot of different jobs. I've waited tables. I was a landscaper. I appraised real estate, worked for a major corporation as a pharmaceutical rep.; I've done a lot of different things. I started work at sixteen and worked all the way through college and yeah, up to twenty-six I was working minimum wage. So, I've done a lot of low-end jobs that are very physically draining and nonetheless this is far in the way the hardest thing that I ever had to do. It is, there is literally no comparison. I always find myself wondering why on earth I got into this profession, because I find it challenging.
B2M: How important is for you to write books that offer great stories and also a silver lining of hope?
NICHOLAS: Well, I think that the two go hand in hand. I think that most stories offer a ray of hope at least in some small fashion. Even tragedies, which I've been known to write, do offer a ray of hope, either in the lessons learned, or the memories left behind. I think that goes hand in hand with quality literature, or quality entertainment in general. It's just my own opinion and whether or not everyone else shares that opinion, that's okay, because it's an opinion.
B2M: Nicholas you wear many hats. You're a husband, father, brother and a talented writer. What do you aspire your legacy to be.
NICHOLAS: Oh, I have no idea. I don't really much dwell on where I want to be twenty years from now or thirty years from now, or how I want to be remembered, nor do I dwell on the past and reflect on where I came from or this and that. I just kind of live in the present and I break my days down into little segments because I also do a lot of other things. You know my wife and I founded a private school last year and it's great, it's a private high school and it's taken a lot of work over the last couple of years. We have a couple of hundreds students now and probably working our way towards four or five hundred students. So, that takes a lot of time. I coach track and field at our local public high school and that's a very successful team. My wife and I we were both former athletes. This is an area that we know and it's our goal to get these kids from very challenging backgrounds into college. So, we've sent in the last couple of years, I've only had seven seniors, because it was a very young team. Only seven in the last two years have graduated. But, five have gone off to college on track scholarships, one got an academic scholarship, and only one of the kids that we worked with decided not to go to college. What's amazing is that all of these kids were the first one in their families ever to go to college. So, this is a mission that my wife and I feel very strongly about. Something that we like to do. So, I do that as well, and I find that when you are that busy wearing all of these hats, you just try to do the best you can on a daily basis, because you're always feeling behind anyway.
B2M: Nicholas please tell us what other projects you have in the works right now?
NICHOLAS: I am outlining my next novel and ideally I'd like to start that in early November. And I'm very comfortable with the majority of the story. I'm now doing the outline primarily for the structure, what's the best way to tell a story at this point. I like to vary the structure of each of my novels. So that, the readers feel like they are reading something new, and that is a challenging thing to do. I vary the structure, I vary the characters, I vary the narrative voice and I vary the location. I try to vary everything I can in the story. So, that people really feel as if their not getting a rerun, so to speak. So, that takes a bit of time, so, I'm outlining that novel. Nights In Rodanthe, we just finished filming over the summer and I'll be heading down to Los Angeles to do some of the promotional work for that. That will be coming out this next summer. I just wrote an original screenplay that will be going out to Hollywood this week and I am very excited about that. The Choice is up for sale also this week and next we'll see how that goes. There is a few producers who are very interested in that. Dear John is getting close to beginning to film. True Believer is a little bit further behind and that may start filming sometime in the next year, year and a half. There is a strike coming soon, so it's very hard for me to estimate these times as to when they will start filming. And my wife and I are building a house. And I'm coaching track again. So, that's it.
B2M: Nicholas, it has been a pleasure speaking with you. We encourage you to continue creating stories that deliver wonderful messages of hope and a deep appreciation of what it truly means to love wholeheartedly.
NICHOLAS: Thank you.
B2M: Thanks for interviewing with Books2Mention Magazine. We look forward to speaking again with you in the near future. We wish you continued success with all of your endeavors.
NICHOLAS: Thank you very much.
Much Success To You!
The Staff @ Books2Mention Magazine
To learn more about Nicholas please visit his website at: www.NicholasSparks.com
Books by Nicholas Sparks include:
The Choice Three Weeks With My Brother
Dear John At First Sight
True Believer The Wedding
The Guardian Nights In Rodanthe
A Bend In The Road The Rescue
A Walk To Remember Message In A Bottle
Movie versions of Nicholas' books include:
Message In A Bottle
A Walk To Remember
Nights In Rodanthe (Coming Soon)
Dear John (Coming Soon)