Last August, TBV’s very own J9 was sent on assignment to the movie set of Safe Haven in North Carolina. Shortly after her trip she posted a recap on the trip, but was limited on what she was able to talk about at that point in time. A couple weeks ago, J9 shared pictures she took on the set and was able to talk about her trip in detail.
Today we have snippets from a roundtable interview between bloggers (including J9) and Nicholas Sparks. (I’ve also included some official pictures from the set for visual stimulation.) He talked about his books, his writing, the setting of Safe Haven, and much more. I took snippets from the interview to share with you. (Keep in mind that these snippets were from a transcript. I tried to piece together topics that were related so that they make sense out of context.) Here are the highlights of what Nicholas Sparks had to say:
On his characters:
They have to have flaws. And yet, for the most part, most of my characters are created with my own worldview I guess. And my own worldview goes something like this. I think that 80 percent of the people, 80 percent of the time, try to do the right thing. Everyone makes mistakes. But, I tend to see the glass half-full when it comes to humanity. A Nicholas Sparks character would be, the glass half-full type of character.
On changes that are made when adapting a book into a movie:
Most of the big stuff is in there. And that's really all you can ask for. And I say that because they're totally different mediums. A novel is a story told in words. A film is a story told in pictures. You’re trying to get these pictures to fill in all that introspection that I could do and you don't have a lot of time. I've written both screenplays and novels and it's a different thinking. I find novel writing much harder. You really need these quality performances that make you say, "I know who that person is. I relate to them. And I'm going to root for them by the end of the film."
When asked to share something romantic he’s done:
Every year for our anniversary, I write my wife a love letter and it takes me four days or so to get all the words perfect. I type it up first. And then after I have it all typed, I handwrite it.
On his writing process:
The first decision I make is the age of the characters because my readers are so varied in age. Then you go through who are they? What are some dilemmas at this age that people can be facing? What haven't I done before? What haven't I seen in movies? What's new? How can I make something old new again? How do the characters meet? What keeps them apart? What's the conflict? Why can't they be together if they love each other because, without conflict, you have no story. You've always got to have this thing holding them apart. And yet they get together anyway.
What you do when you're among the many decisions you make in the creation of one of my novels is we all know it's a love story, right? We all know that. It's love and something. You can have love and mystery, love and forgiveness, love and loss, first love, right? You can have all these things. [Safe Haven] was love and danger. I chose love and danger because it'd been a long time since I'd done one. I did that with The Guardian.
When I sit down to write--and it's not everyday--but when I actually sit down to write, it's 2,000 words. Two thousand words would be a daily output.
On giving up control when another screenwriter adapts his book into a movie:
It is what it is. I don't have to, I don't have to sell it. You know, that's my choice. That's my power as an author. I choose to participate in this world. And the simple reality is that films are a very collaborative process. I have to say that I am very fortunate in that my opinion is weighed fairly heavily. And yet I also understand that they're very different mediums, and you can't do everything. They're not just going to film the entire book.
On the novel he is currently writing:
Well, [the main characters in] The Best of Me [are in their] 40s. I will tell you [the current novel I’m working on has] got older characters than that and younger because then you have to balance it out because you want everyone to always enjoy it. I will tell you the book I am writing now is so good. The working title of it is Novel #17.
On the growth of visitors to North Carolina due to his novels:
I have heard such a thing. I do not know if such a thing is true. I do know my house is on both tours. You take the river tour of New Bern, you'll float by my house. And if you see me, I will wave.
On whether or not he gets emotions when writing his novels:
No. Writing is incredibly taxing. I find it incredibly hard and challenging. But, no, I don't get caught up in the emotion because it's so slow compared to reading. I mean, you're writing a sentence and then you're evaluating it. I sit back, tweak this and that. It’s a very slow process.
On books he has enjoyed reading to his kids over the years:
I liked Blitz. That was this horse story, loved it. I like The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I've read a lot of the Bernstein Bears, The Great Road Race.
On his experience with making audio books:
I will tell you that story just so you can really appreciate the glamour of my industry.
So, I said, "Oh, okay. You know, well, I will read A Walk to Remember." And so, they said, "Great, we have this studio in Wilmington.” I'm like, "Great, fantastic."
I'm imagining these things that you see like on the Disney movies, the glass booth, lots of room, and waving, right?
No, I drive down. And I get to Wilmington. And I take a right down at the waterfront. And the neighborhood starts decaying and getting worse and abandoned buildings and even worse. And it's terrible.
And it's in a warehouse, not part of the whole studio setup. It was a radio studio that had probably not been in--I don't know.
It was 105 degrees. It was the middle of summer, no working elevator. I walk up five flights of stair. They put me in a small room.
It's 175 degrees in there. I'm like, "Oh, my God." I said, "Can you put on the air?"
"No, we can't put on the air. That's going to affect the sound."
They give me this music stand and a hard chair, wood that doesn't squeak at all because you can't do any squeaks. And then they come in with this nice basket of apples.
They go on to tell me that the apples clear out your pallet so you enunciate all your words.
Then the guy sits on the other side. And if you hit one flaw, you hit an S too hard, a T too hard, you stumble over a paragraph. Could you please take a bite of apple, please?"
And it’s hot in there, I’m literally disrobing as I'm reading. By the end, I'm sitting there in my underwear, eight apples in my belly, and it was two days.
Safe Haven comes out in theaters this Thursday – Valentine’s Day! Here’s the movie trailer:
For more information on Safe Haven the movie:
A very special Thanks goes to Relativity Media for this amazing opportunity!