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Ask Anything: 10 questions with Author Nicholas Sparks

Posted December 2, 2008
Updated December 9, 2008

Which, if any, of your novels would you like to live out? – Taylor Coggins, Garner

True Believer, primarily because it had a happy ending and included the magic of falling in love.

Who is your favorite author? – Ed Breeden, Lillington

Stephen King. He's the finest American writer of the last 25 years.

Mr. Sparks, you write such romantic, touching love stories. Are you a romantic in your personal life? – Elona, Cary

I suppose you'd have to ask my wife, and in interviews she's had, she's always said yes. Of course, I was sitting beside her at the time. I will say that we have a wonderful relationship and she appreciates romantic gestures, both of which make me want to do them.

Who is your favorite character in your books so far and why? – Elizabeth Thompson, Sanford

Landon Carter. I liked the way he matured in the novel.

Which book was the most difficult to write and why? – Carrie Ann, Louisburg

The Guardian was far and away the most challenging to write. It's difficult to write a thriller, and at the same time, a love story. Love stories are internal-conflict-driven novels, while thrillers are external-conflict-driven novels, and in this instance, the love story had to take priority.

The challenge, I suppose, can be summed up like this: How do you keep the reader more interested in two people falling in love, when you've also inserted a crazy stalker just outside the window. Naturally, the reader is interested in the latter. But I had to keep them interested in the former. That's why falling in love generally doesn't "feel real" when they're inserted into thrillers.

Do you try to be active and involved when one of your books is chosen to be made into a movie? Or are you more open to letting the director and writer have their own vision? – Kyla Marks, Raleigh

I'm involved in the evaluation of the screenplay, and generally, I visit the set once or twice. Aside from the premiere, that's it.

I love that your books are set in places that I have been or can easily relate to. Are any of your characters or stories based on actual events or real people? If not, how do you come up with your story lines? – EB, Mebane

Yes. Some have characters inspired by people I know (The Choice, A Bend in the Road), others by events (A Walk to Remember, The Notebook). I come up with story lines by thinking and asking myself "what if?" type questions. At some point, I know I have a story.

I have always loved to write stories, especially romance, but I have never tried to publish anything. What advice could you give me on getting something published? – Laura Hamilton, Ramseur

Go to my Web site, nicholassparks.com, and go to the Writer's Corner. I have tons of advice there.

Since fiction writing is a creative endeavor and assuming you've experienced "writer's block," do you have ways of getting your creative juices flowing again? – Kelly Paris, Cary

Writer's block, to me, means that sub-consciously, I realize I've made a recent error, either in character or plot. So I back-track and instead of writing, I edit until I get into the flow again.

First, let me say that I (along with majority of my female friends) LOVE your books ... now if only our husbands would read them too!! I have read that they are beginning to film "Dear John" and was wondering, out of all of your books, which one would you most like to see turned into a movie (if it hasn't happened yet)? And, are there any books (of yours) that you feel are best left as novels? Thank you for your reply! – Amanda Gilliam, Garner

I'd like The Rescue made into a film. I think it would be a good one. As for a novel that might be best left as a novel ... probably, The Wedding. It was a sequel to The Notebook (novel), not a sequel to The Notebook (film). In the film, Noah dies, so it simply wouldn't work, since Noah is a major character in The Wedding.

ask anything - dmi

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  • edith wharton Dec 16, 4:48 p.m.

    One of the askers had a question about writing - specifically, writing romance - that he didn't really answer. The best thing for any aspiring romance author to do is to join Romance Writers of America. The organization has a wonderful educational system for aspiring writers and provides timely information about agents and editors. The local chapter, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers in Raleigh, has a number of New York Times bestselling authors and over 100 members. You can find them at http://www.heartofcarolina.org.

  • fishnett5977 Dec 4, 10:54 a.m.

    Not only is he a wonderful writer but a very good speaker! Have been to hear him speak several times! He is always friendly at the book signings too! I have read all his books to except the last one -"The Chosen One" - havent had the chance to read it -now have a 5 yr old in my household! And "Gammy" is her favorite person to call!!!lol If you EVER get a chance to hear him speak, please do! He will have you shedding tears one minute, and laughing the next! I love that his plots take place here in NC - know the places and can picture them in my mind. That makes a book more interesting to read, knowing and visualizing the places and people! :)

  • westoflyra Dec 3, 1:04 p.m.

    From the looks of it, he has a lot going for him. I believe he coaches the track team in his hometown. What interviews I've seen of him, he seems like he's a friendly, kind-hearted person.

  • binkyboo Dec 3, 12:18 p.m.

    For someone who makes a career out of writing, he sure did have some short answers! I guess he's saving his words for his next great novel.

  • not today2008 Dec 2, 7:12 p.m.

    Blah, Blah, yuck, yuck, every novel is basically the same.

  • westoflyra Dec 2, 4:00 p.m.

    I would also like to know when there will be another book signing. I went to the signing in Cary last October but was turned away because of the crowds and some sort of time limit that Nicholas had before flying into another city.

  • awomnsptofview Dec 2, 3:10 p.m.

    Nicholas Sparks is my all time favorite author! I've read EVERY book he has written and I am especially proud of the fact that his books are all best sellers, while at the same time not filled with near pornographic, and obsentiy. He is living and financial proof that America loves good clean books and movies! I would love to know when he will be doing another book signing.