Mr. Nicholas Sparks: A Nicholas Sparks character, for the most part, whether male or female if they’re your main leads, unless they’re a specifically bad character – like Kevin Tierney in Safe Haven, what you would want is someone that you would feel like they could be your brother, your sister, your kids, your neighbor, your friend from college, your friend from high school, someone that you know and like, someone you work with, right? Because the simple fact is that nobody walks around being perfect. And so, you don’t want to create a character that’s absolutely perfect.
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. They try to do what’s best for their kids. They try to support their friends or their family. Nobody’s perfect. 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. Yes, they have flaws. Alex, he gets frustrated. He’s lonesome. He has problems, right? He’s got his own baggage. And if you’ve read the book, you know Kevin is an overall nice guy who has had a couple of crappy cards dealt to him. He’s a total loveable character though.
Which brings us to the next question: Are there certain things that you were disappointed that had to be left out or tweaked?
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: 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. You know, a novel is a story told with words. A film is a story told with pictures.
I’ve written both screenplays and novels and it’s a different thinking. I find novel writing much harder.
It is a different kind of thinking. You have to be able to capture things. It’s the picture first. And if you have a scene of introspection that you can’t capture in a quick picture, sometimes you have to invent things or put things in or take things out to make it work. That’s just the nature of it.
I’ve grown used to it after, what, movie number eight?
Number eight…and more, at least this girl hopes! It’s interesting because there is such a big age range of people who enjoy Nicholas Sparks books and as it turns out, this is something Nicholas Sparks knows.
You appeal to people like my aunt who’s 87 and my niece who’s 16. So, what do you do to get inside the mind of an abused woman to write this character? It is shocking and very impressive. What is your process when you outline your characters?
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: It is always a challenge because by the age of the characters is the first thing I make a decision about in any novel. It’s always the first thing. What age group are the main characters that fall in love? I try to vary it from book to book because most people like to read about people they relate to, right? I look back on my past. I said, “Well, I had The Last Song, and that’s teenagers. I had Dear John. They’re in their 20s.”
So I said I’ll do 20s for Safe Haven or whatever. But, then I said, “Oh, my gosh, where’s my middle-aged people?” So, here comes The Best of Me characters in their 40s and 50s. And so, then what you do is say, “Ah, but everyone wants to enjoy these.” So, in my teenage story, I also make it a father-daughter story. And in my 40- and 50-year-old story, they had a love story as teenagers. So, believe me, all of that is done purposefully to keep everybody happy.
The business of book writing and movie making is serious stuff, but there’s a lot of fun involved too. I’d love to hear from you, please share your thoughts about Safe Haven, will you see it in theaters?
*All travel and accommodations were provided at no cost. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author. *