Nicholas Sparks says that each of his books will have “love and something.” It could be love and mystery, love and forgiveness, love and loss, and as this one is an example of first love. You look for three things – looking for things to be interesting, original, and universal. That goes to the theme of the story, the journey of the character, but also the specific elements in the book. Sparks doesn't write messages, but instead says a single issue doesn't define you entirely. He says, “It's one part of your life, and most importantly, parts you can change. I'm an author. but also I am a father, a friend, a brother, a friend. You are not just one person.”
Nicholas Sparks' novels are all written about eastern North Carolina. North Carolina is very different because it is made up of all small towns. It is a different way of life. It's being part of the community.”
Sparks said that he realized that books and movies are different mediums. Books create scenes in words while films create scenes in pictures. He used Garret Blake from MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE as an example. Blake “was upset about the loss of his wife, and I covered all of it with this introspection in the novel. You know he was really hurting – that he missed his wife. But how do you show that?” Her entire family was created along with her paintings. They wanted a part of her back – the paintings. This evolved into a conflict, his letting go.
Your novel is about getting a second chance at love. Can you share a little more?
I was in my 40s when I wrote The Best Me, and I think the 40s are a very interesting period of peoples’ lives. It’s like, if you’re in your 20s and your 30s, you kind of believe that your dreams can come true. You’ll meet the right guy, or you’ll be famous, or whatever your dreams are.
So, you go through your 20s and 30s, and there’s a part of you that just knows it’s still, you still got a shot, here. Well, in your 50s, 60s, and 70s, you kind of reach a point where you’re looking back and say, well, maybe they didn’t all come true. I’m never going to be an astronaut. I think I’ve now passed the NASA retirement age or whatever. So, you go through that.
So, the 40s is this period, this decade of your life when really, there tends to be a lot of self-reflection. Who am I? How did I get here? Is this the life I wanted to lead?
It kind of felt like maybe I got here by accident. And is this the life I want to lead the rest of my life?
So, all of those factors, that period of the 40s really comes into play for both Dawson and Amanda in The Best of Me. Is this what you want for the next 40 years of your life? Now that you’ve reached the age where you’re very conscious of the fact that life is about choices, and, you know, sometimes you reach that point of now or never.
Do you have a say in the differences between the movie and the book?
Yes, the differences between the book and the movie, of course there are always differences. You know, film is a very different medium, in general. So, because they’re different mediums, you have to kind of go into the whole project knowing that some things work better on film than they do in books. And some things conversely work better in books than they do on film.
For instance, a car chase always works better on film, right, or scenes that have some real emotional intensity, like anger scenes, fight scenes–yes, I can do it in a book, and I work really hard to make it as real as I can, but really, it’s seeing their face and all of that. That really helps to bring it to life. So, action scenes, emotional intensity–that tends to work better in film.
What works better in a novel? Introspection. You really can get into someone’s head. And so, the goal in a film is to then figure out what the introspection is and then to come up somehow with images for them, and that, in and of itself, requires changes.
Whether I’m producing or screenwriting, I say, let’s retain the spirit and the intent of the characters. Let’s retain the spirit and the intent of the story, and then let’s just make the best film we can, knowing that it’s a different medium.
Then you add in the fact that a script is about 20,000 words. This novel was about, you know, 90,000 words. So, I mean, of course there’s going to be differences.
But, it’s very close within the spirit of the characters, the spirit of the story, and certainly, if you’ve read the novel, you will recognize the film.
Nicholas Sparks was asked about some of the endings and he replied, “We often do alternate endings. You want to see what people want, essentially, because everyone wants different things.But, in the end, movies are a business, and you try to keep people satisfied.” He was asked if there was an alternate ending for THE BEST OF ME. He evaded a direct answer and it appears that there there could be two endings.
ABOUT THE BEST OF ME
Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.
The Best of Me stars James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato.
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Stacie Connerty lives in Atlanta, Georgia with three teenagers. She has an insatiable love of travel, food and style & fashion. Stacie also loves all things tech, beauty, DIY, home decor, fitness, pet entertaining, and family.
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Awwww I love Nicholas Sparks stories. They are always so tragic but so heartwarming at the same time. I will have to check this one out!
What a great opportunity! I love speaking with authors and actors, it then gives us a chance to bring them closer to our readers!
This sounds like such a great movie. I am looking forward to seeing it.
I really enjoyed this interview. Nicholas Sparks is a pretty deep guy.
I’m REALLY looking forward to this movie. I think he’s got such a great feel for this genre because he’s such a deep thinker. Some of the answers he gave were really insightful.
I want to see the movie. Every time I see his picture I think he should be in movies, he has a movie star look about him. 🙂
I love Nicholas Sparks books and films! I can’t wait to see this movie!
I am SO jealous that you got to meet one of my favorite authors! He is amazing 🙂 I had no idea how involved in the movies he was. That really makes me want to see this even more. I have a girls night out planned for opening night!
What an excellent interview! Nicholas Sparks has written so many great books.
I love a good love story! Can’t wait to see this one
It’s so interesting to hear from the author himself. I always love his books and movies, so I won’t miss this one either.
I bet it was really neat beaing on the set. It sounds like a good movie and I look forward to seeing it..
I love Nicholas Sparks! this movie is one that i will be watching.
Oh, you are so lucky!!! I would love to meet Nicholas Sparks some day. Looks like you had a great time.
You met Mr. Romance himself??? Wow, what a great experience and can’t wait for this movie
Love that it is love and something. I need to read some of his books.
I am interested in reading the book and the movie. I have reached the age that he is discussing so it will definitely hit home.
I’m wanting to finish the book before seeing he movie. I think I’ll make it this weekend
This looks like such a good movie – I also want to read the book. Adding the book to my Must Read list.
That must have been a great day to get to interview the writer. I am excited to see this movie.
I’ve never read a Nicholas Sparks novel. They just are really the niche I enjoy reading but I do enjoy watching the movies based on his books.
I’m really looking forward to this movie. I’ve seen all of his movie adaptations about a hundred times!
My book club and I plan on going to see this together. Every girl needs a good love story.
This looks like a great movie! All of his books are great!
I’ve been excited about this movie since I heard about it. What a fun opportunity for you to get the inside scoop
I can’t wait to see this movie. Who doesn’t love Nicholas Sparks??? lol What a man!
What a cool interview! Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite authors! I’m going to have to schedule a date night with my hubby to go see this!
Haven’t read the book, but the romance genre is just not my thing. Now if there’s is horror component or a serial killer, I’m all in! LOL 🙂
What a awesome opportunity! I love Nicholas Sparks. I’m just sad that he has been more into movie/tv movies than he has been into writing here lately. I miss having a new book out every September.
Wow, what a wonderful opportunity! I am reading The Best of Me right now and can’t wait to see the movie!
What a once in a lifetime opportunity! i must see this movie asap!
I cannot wait to see this movie! I love the way he tells a story!
I love Nicholas Sparks! I met him at the Safe Haven event and he was so sweet and fun to talk to.