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Nights in Rodanthe World Premier

Tuesday- Sept. 30th – Expect the Unexpected! – On tonights show I’m dishing about my trip to NYC for the world premier of Nights in Rodanthe, my star sightings (Richard Gere and Diane Lane), touring the Big Apple, the Broadway musical Jersey Boys. Plus, I’m giving details about my interview with the best-selling author Nicholas Sparks. Today marks the release of his latest novel *The Lucky One*, whose central character is a United States Marine.

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Nicholas Sparks

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Interview with Nicholas Sparks – Part 2

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was part of a bloggers roundtable who interviewed author Nicholas Sparks. It was an amazing experience to actually “talk” to Mr. Sparks. It’s important to note prior to the call I was informed we would be able to ask questions round robin style and I would probably have the opportunity to ask 2 maybe 3 questions on any topic although Mr. Sparks was promoting the film release of Nights in Rodanthe. Well, when the call started I have to confess I was really nervous. The moderator requested we press *1 when we were ready to ask our question. I hesitated and waited about 3 min before pressing *1. As it turned out, the interview started about 15 min late and that meant the total time for questions was cut short. When it was my turn to ask a question I really struggled on what to ask in fear it would be my only question. Would I ask something about the new movie Night in Rodanthe? …or maybe something about writing in general…like his inspiration or does he outline his books. I had done a ton a research, as much as possible in the 24 hours I had to prepare. In the end, after a prayer to the good Lord above it came to me. I’d ask something about his new book The Lucky One whose lead character is a Marine. Now it seems logical, but at the time I really wasn’t sure. In the end I was very happy I asked the question since it was my only one. I was surprised at Mr. Sparks candor and level of detail he supplied in his answer.

I hope this interview is the first of many.

The Lucky One release date is this Tuesday Sept. 30th, I’ll be at Sams picking it up and will clear the decks this weekend to finish it. Click here for book tour info.

Thank you again to Nicholas Sparks, Andrea, Gemma, and my fellow bloggers on the call: Megan, Tracy, Susan, Jenna and Ashley.

Here is the rest of the interview:

Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks

WP: It’s great to see military service members as lead characters in your novels. I’m wondering what is your military experience or background if any?

And what’s your inspiration for writing these characters?

Nicholas Sparks: My whole family was in the military. Both my grandparents, seven of my uncles, five of my cousins. I also live in North Carolina. You know 35 minutes to the south of me is Camp Lejeune and 50,000 marines and their families.

15 minutes to the southeast is Cherry Point, another you know 7,000 marines and their families. An hour to the west is Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and then you know about an hour and 45 minutes southwest is Fort Bragg. So I am surrounded by the military.

And it is just a way of life here and it is an honorable profession here. It is regarded as something, you know a good choice for a number of different, as a profession. So it’s just been part of me growing up. You know I had cousins, I had three cousins who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it’s just part of our family’s culture.

And then it’s part of my personal culture living in this area as well though I did not ever, no, I was not ever in the military. I’m very sensitive to the way military people are portrayed. Like there’s the way Oliver Stone does it and then I’m the exact opposite. I tend to see the good in these people.

I tend to see the sacrifice that they do. I tend to see the honor in what they do and I tend to see the personal effects on their families of what they do. Because of course I’m here you know. We work, one of the people who works for us, her husband is in Iraq right now.

And so you, I live with it you know on a daily basis. What she goes through, the sacrifices that she’s making and she’s certainly not alone. My neighbor the same thing. You know he went to Iraq. He was a chaplain and so he was always being posted over there with the Marines.

So I’m just surrounded by them, I know them well, I know the families, I see the families and I see the humanity and just the overall goodness as a general rule. So Dear John of course was about the Army. You know that was an Army veteran.

But my next novel The Lucky One was about a Marine. And of course I’ll eventually make my way through all of the service branches.

AT: (Regarding the movie Nights in Rodanthe) How do you feel, how accurate of a portrayal is it compared to your novel?

Nicholas Sparks: It’s very close. It’s, you know all of my novels tend to be fairly closely adapted. If you’re going to go in and look for, if you’re going with a yellow sheet of paper and a pencil looking for specifics of course you’ll find them.

But the overall theme, the emotional arcs of the characters, the vast majority of the story, the way you imagine the place to look, the interaction between the characters, all of this is essentially the same. Any differences that happen really come down to just the differences between books and movies.

A book is a story told in words and a film is a story told in pictures. And that very essential difference means you have to do some things differently because some things work great in one and not the other and vice versa.

For instance, in novels introspection works great. You learn all about the character but you can’t film someone thinking.

Nicholas Sparks: It just doesn’t work. It’s a very boring film. And then you know conversely the, some things work great in film, they tend to work better than they do in books. Anything involving a fire, a car chase, intense emotion. These things work very well because you can see what’s happening. And you know you can describe a, you know a fight in a book. But man you put it on screen and it looks that much better.

Nicholas Sparks: And so there’s, so most of the changes just go to those, those types of differences and you can go through one by one and I can explain you know why The Notebook was a little bit different here or why A Walk to Remember was a little bit different there.

And usually the changes are made to keep it more in line with what the book was trying to achieve.

MS: (Regarding Three Weeks With My Brother – a book about a trip around the world with NS and his brother) What was the hardest thing about the experience of taking the trip and writing the book? And what was the easiest?

Nicholas Sparks: The hardest thing about it was, and I spelled it out in the novel or in the memoir. It was twofold. It was going, you know just going. I was at a point in my life when I was very, very busy. And then number two, finding a way to enjoy it. And that was really what the journey that I was going through was about.

It was, that was an important part of my journey. So that was the most challenging part, the most challenging part about writing it was reliving experiences that I’d rather not get emotionally close to again. It’s, you know there were a number of tragedies that struck my family and I needed to go back to those places, put you back in there.

You really have to work to do that. That’s a very painful place to be. It became very real for me again. So those were very, that was that. For the good things look, traveling the world with my brother is an experience that I’ll never forget and it’s something most likely we’ll do again.

And the best part about writing it was the fact that I knew the story. I mean I knew it in and out.

MS: Now when you say finding a way to enjoy it tell me a little bit about that. Letting yourself go to enjoy the trip?

Nicholas Sparks: Yeah. Both. I mean it was, I have a lot going on. I have a lot, I had a lot going on. It was not the time for me to take that trip. And so by the time I went it felt almost as if it was a burden to go. And that is a shame because that is, that reflects an imbalance in your life. And to correct that imbalance took time.

MS: Has your wife taken a similar trip?

Nicholas Sparks:

MS: Does she plan to?

Nicholas Sparks: I know, yeah, maybe not three weeks but without question.

TO: I’m a teacher and teachers are readers and so are my co-workers. And one of them asked me when I mentioned I would be talking to you, said oh ask him about the titles. Because we’d noticed that the titles at first glance seem so simple on your books.

And then as you read the story there’s such a deeper meaning to each one. For example, The Rescue.

Nicholas Sparks: Of course. The titles are chosen very carefully and the titles are usually chosen after the fact, after the novel is written. And they are meant to do exactly that, reflect a deeper meaning to the novel.

And you know there’s this real fine line between being too schmaltzy with the title and then being too hard with the title. There’s a real fine line between appealing to both men and women with the title. And so you’ve got to find the right balance and then of course make sure it has meaning.

So titles can be very challenging to be quite frank.


Read Part 1

Nights in Rodanthe is currently in theaters.

Interesting facts about Nicholas Sparks:

1. He is a father of 5 children

2. Coaches a high school state champion track team

3. Sold over 50 million books

The Next Notebook – Nights in Rodanthe

25 Sep 08

Look for the full details of my 1st trip to NYC in upcoming posts. I’ll also be adding photos as I get them edited and captioned.

Nights in Rodanthe World Premier

Nights in Rodanthe World Premier

The Ziegfeld Theatre, built in 1969 just steps from the original Ziegfeld Theatre, is said to be one of the last real movie houses built in America. It’s located on 54th street in Manhattan and has recently been the location of many movie premiers including Mama Mia, Dreamgirls, National Treasure – Book of Secrets, Made of Honor just to name a few. On Tuesday, 23 Sep 08, the Ziegfeld Theatre hosted the world premier of Nights of Rodanthe, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane.

We arrived on site about 6pm, running late from our dinner at Carmines. There was a HUGE line and I was sort of freaking out thinking we would be late getting inside on time. My mom without skipping a beat walked up to the front to say “We are guests of Warner Bros” and we were quickly taken care of. Who knew!?? How strange to say “we are quests of WB??”.

We walked by the red carpet, who my mom would later say, “what red carpet, I don’t remember seeing any red carpet?” I told her, yes mom….you walked right by it! ha! Anyway, we entered the theater that was decorated in velvet red carpet and chandeliers. We were treated to complimentary popcorn, soda and water. The staff was so friendly and the New Yorkers in attendance were also friendly. We found our seats, row H. That is row 8 people. Row 8! Thank you Andrea!

We sat for sometime wondering just were the stars might be coming in or where they might sit. In the end we hear the crowd rustling and discovered they are sitting behind us about 3/4 of the way up. My pictures are pretty dark, so I won’t post all of them here. Instead I’ll link to the “professionals” here, here and here to let you get a good look at all the stars which included Richard Gere, whose hair was “white white” and Diane Lane, whose about as big around as my wrist and author Nicholas Sparks who surprisingly was wearing a button up shirt with a simple leather jacket.

When the lights dimmed everyone took their seats. There were no previews to watch or commercials, the movie just started. Something I thought different and unique; when an actors name came on screen the audience clapped for their favorites, including for the director and of course the author of the book the movie was based on. This also happened with Richard Gere came on screen, the audience went crazy.

I have to say going into this movie I was ready to be disappointed. I enjoyed the book, but I’m not the biggest fan of Richard Gere. Frankly, I was nervous on whether Diane Lane would keep her clothes on. I had seen Tuscan Sun and really liked that movie, so I tried to have an open mind.

Let me just say this movie really does sweep you away. I felt the entire audience was lost in the movie and at certain scenes there was not a dry eye in the house, classic Nicholas Sparks. How does he continue to tug at our heart strings and make us fall in love with the story and his characters….it’s amazing really. I do have to say the not-so-nice part of this movie is that in fact Diane Lane’s character is still married when she has this affair with Richard Gere’s character. There is one scene where her wedding ring is clearly visable as they are cozying up to one another which I found awkward.

It’s important to note, this is the fourth of Nicholas Sparks novels to be made into films. Message in a Bottle in 1999 (with Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn and Paul Newman), A Walk to Remember in 2002 (Mandy Moore), and The Notebook in 2004 (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams).

Diane Lane does an amazing job and I think should be nominated for her performance.

This movie is so visually beautiful, it made me miss the coast even more than I already do!

I’m sure there were lots of things I missed so I plan on seeing it again this weekend.

Nights in Rodanthe is the next Notebook.

Hope you go to see it and let me know what you think!

Look for the latest Nicholas Sparks book The Lucky One to be released Tuesday, 30 Sep 08!

NYC here I come

22 Sep 08

I have never been to New York City. Well, I take that back….about 15 years ago I attended my aunts wedding, but we only went to the wedding, her apt and I think it all lasted about 2 days before we headed out of town. So, I really do not count that time.

On Friday after the amazing interview with Nicholas Sparks I received an email with the invite to the premier. “The NYC Movie Premier” I had to google it just to make sure. I even asked, “is this an advanced screening” and was told “It’s the NYC Premiere…stars will be there!” Having the opportunity to fly to NYC for a movie premier just was not even on my list of things to do before I die!

As far as movie stars go Richard Gere would not be top on my list to see, but my mom is a HUGE fan. The choice seemed obvious on just who to invite along. As for me, I’m most anxious to meet / see Nicholas Sparks the author of Nights in Rodanthe.

Yesterday I visited Macys trying to decide if this event would require something new for the “red carpet” or something I already had in my closet. In the end I decided to wear something I had that was new at home with the tags still on that I purchased last fall for such a dressy event. I love finding things on sale and squirreling them away.

My shopping trip also included a trip to Barnes and Noble for a much needed tourist guide and travel journal.

I worked all day today, but managed a trip to the exchange at lunch to pick a new pair of boots and a shawl / wrap thing to wear over my top just in case it is chilly. I don’t plan on packing a jacket. I’d like to not check any baggage, so I’m only packing the bare minimum.

I will be gone approximately 48 hours. In the end I decided to fly out Thursday at 5am so that we could have all day on Wednesday in the city. I’m hoping to sleep in and maybe see a show. I’d like to take a tour of some kind, see Central Park and Ground Zero.

This whole planning and getting ready for a trip like this seems surreal. I’m waiting for someone to call and tell me that I’m dreaming and that no, you really are not going to NYC to attend a movie premier, see Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Nicholas Sparks, tour the city, see the Statue of Liberty, ride in a NYC cab, see a broadway show, take pictures of amazing buildings….etc…etc….

Interview with Nicholas Sparks – Part 1

20 Sep 08

Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks

Last Thursday I had the amazing opportunity to be apart of interviewing author Nicholas Sparks on a conference call with 5 others bloggers. I’m so excited to share the call. As I mentioned in a preview post, I found Nicholas Sparks to be very open as he was willing to answer any question we asked. I felt he was truly engaged in the conversation and really elaborated in the answers he provided. My hope is as you read the interview you find it revealing, interesting and leave you wanting to read more of Nicholas Sparks or perhaps pick up your first of his novels. Nights of Rodanthe based on the book by Nicholas Sparks opens Sep 26th, so grab a girlfriend, your mom, sister, the neighbor along with a pack of tissues and escape into this great movie. I’m leaving for NYC for the World Premier on Tuesday morning (5am) and can’t wait to share all the sights, sounds and tastes I can manage to fit into 48 hours!


MS: I recently read the book Nights in Rodanthe and when I finished the book I came away saying, “What a lovely story.” And the character Adrienne was so well drawn. How do you think it is that you’re able to write such well rounded women characters?

Nicholas Sparks: That in all honesty is the magic question. I have not the slightest idea. I have a, I have a standard group of answers that I give whenever asked that question you know and they’re all true. I had a wonderful mother. I married very well. All of the most important people in my life at the present time and throughout my publishing career have been women.

I have daughters. And yet none, and yet none of those fully answers the question. I suppose I just have an ability to create a character’s voice that is, that sounds genuine and real. And I know that’s the question you asked. I don’t know. That’s part of the magical writing process. It is what differentiates writers, the talent level of writers.

It’s, and it’s akin to asking where do you get the ideas. I don’t know. I just do. How do I create women? I don’t know. I just do. Certainly I observe the world. I’ve seen how my wife reacts in certain situations. I saw how my mom or my sister did it.

All of these things I’m sure play a role in that but it comes together in a way that is unique for me just as it is unique for everybody.

TO: You write so well about the south. Do you need to do greater research in terms of the settings, for example, the inn in Nights of Rodanthe?

Nicholas Sparks: As a general rule I don’t have to do so much research because I’ve been to, in every novel that I’ve written I have been to the town that I’ve described. And of course as a novelist I feel free to take certain liberties when I need to because I’m a novelist and I can do such things.

But the – and the reason for that is in the novels that I write and these are dramatic fiction, this is the love story genre. It’s got its roots way back to Greek tragedies and you know Hemingway did it, Shakespeare did it.

In these types of stories the atmosphere and the setting almost becomes a character. And you know that always on a subconscious level when you’re in the south, in all forms of southern literature the atmosphere and the setting almost become their own character.

And it’s just part of writing about, living in the south and writing about the south. And it’s the way people tell stories, it’s just the way it is down here. It’s a very different world in some places. I live in a small town that I swear hasn’t changed much in 30 years. I mean it is, people walk places, it’s very hot and muggy, you’ve got the Spanish moss hanging from trees, kids running around barefoot.

It’s very much like it, it’s like a place stuck in time. And whenever you’re in rural areas of the south it is, of the south, it’s often like that. It’s just, yeah it’s moved up, it’s got the, we’ve got cell phones and the whole bit but the core of the place has not changed.

And it is a unique and wonderful place and certainly every place has their unique features but it’s a great place to write about because the setting is so important and there’s always the perfect place to set a story. And I know exactly where that is.

You know I – for a while before I was a writer you know I sold pharmaceuticals so I drove around virtually to every small town in the eastern part of the state. So I’ve been to every one of them. So it makes picking a setting relatively easy.

SO: I was wondering when you are writing your stories and has this changed over the time that you’ve written them and published so many successful ones, how does the editorial decisions affect your plot and is that a painful decision when they want you to change things?

And how much does that play into the final book that we get to get our hands on?

Nicholas Sparks: That’s a great question. For the most part I am, I would be considered lightly edited. I mean there’s no question that I’m edited but the process is a little bit different for me than it is for other writers. And I suppose, and I can’t speak for other writers because I don’t know exactly what they do.

But for me the process goes something like this. I write a novel or I write half of a novel and then send the other half later. The first step is it goes to my agent. And my agent really, she’s a Creative Writing major. She’s probably one of the most intelligent women I’ve ever met in my life.

She, she goes through and does a pretty significant line edit on the work. And she, she suggests deletions of passages that she doesn’t necessarily believe are necessary. You know she might change the wording here and there on a few things. But it’s mainly a lot of blue marks and I’m deleting an awful lot.

And the reason she does that is I ask her specifically to do so. One of those core tenets under which I write is efficiency. I believe that efficiency is underrated and it is, and it is incredibly important to develop in quality literature. I’ll give you a real quick example before I go on.

You know you could write a story and say you know the country’s out of whack, you know the markets are crashing, house prices are plunging, you know people are losing their jobs, there’s a lot of illegal immigration, you know healthcare costs are spiraling out of control and yet you know some people are doing okay.

You know they haven’t been affected, da, da, da, da, you can go on and on like that. Or you could say something like it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Nicholas Sparks: And that is what I mean by efficiency. And that is very hard to do. And it’s a, it’s a lesson that only, that very few writers master and it’s always a struggle because it’s much easier believe it or not to take a paragraph to describe it than to come up with a sentence like it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. So my edit, my agent goes through with a rather significant line edit. I make all the changes. And then from there it goes to my editor. My editor is also very intelligent. And she and I have worked together since the very beginning. And by that time the writing is fairly strong and it tends to be very efficiently written.

And what she’ll do is she’ll fill in story gaps or she’ll say this doesn’t quite flow the way it should or you really need to maybe rework this particular scene. So she does story holes. And as a general rule there aren’t many. For instance, you know for me to do all of the line edits in a novel, you know I write a novel from beginning to end, to do all of the line edits for my agent might take 12 hours.

The edits from my editor which include new writing and you know deletion perhaps and increasing flow, all of those edits might take 12 hours.

So, in other words, no, no, once I, you know if I, I either send my agent the whole book or I send her half and then send her the other half. So it’s all done through the line edit. And then once she’s gone all the way through it once it goes to my editor.

So really my books go to my editor probably about 98% complete, you know 98% and so you’re only talking about editing at the most, 2% and that doesn’t take long at all. Like I said, I could do, for most of the vast majority of my books, a total editing process of less than 24 working hours…

SO: Wow.

Nicholas Sparks: …which isn’t much.

Nicholas Sparks: …and then rewrite the whole thing. I’ve never had to do that.

SO: Has that always been the case or is that improved as you’ve done more books? I mean was your first book the same?

Nicholas Sparks: The first book was the same. It probably took…
…well actually I probably spent a little bit longer editing. I mean it was probably a little bit more time. not, but certainly much less than you would imagine. They come in, they come in pretty close to what the final product is.


Look for Part 2 of this interview coming soon!

A big thank you to Andrea, Gemma, and my fellow bloggers on the call: Megan, Tracy, Susan, Jenna and Ashley. Your questions were great.

Don’t forget Nights in Rodanthe, staring Richard Gere and Diane Lane opens Friday 26 Sep 08!

Nicholas Sparks Interview!

Friday 19 Sep 08

Yesterday I received the opportunity to participate in a LIVE! interview with “THE” Nicholas Sparks! I know, I’m still pinching myself. I’m so excited to share the interview with all of you, our loyal readers! First, let me tell you a little bit about the call.

Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks

The interview took the form of a bloggers roundtable. There were 5 other bloggers on the call and we took turns asking Nicholas any question we wanted. With the release of *Nights in Rodanthe* this Friday, Sept 26th, chances are you have already seen the non-stop trailer playing on TV. The questions ranged from the new movie *Nights in Rodanthe*, to his upcoming novel The Lucky One. I found him to be very open, personable and generous in his answers to questions.

It’s important to note up until 30 min. of the interview I was still trying to gain access to the call and I was completely resolved with the fact it might not actually happen. It was my own mini-miracle for the day! Getting email via my instinct is just amazing.

I headed out of my office to actually sit in my car, distraction free, for the interview.

Look for the interview in it’s entirety right here coming soon!

Update! Here is the link to read the interview!