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Nights in Rodanthe author Nicholas Sparks in our exclusive interview

Joel D. Amos is a Los Angeles-based writer, and the Senior Entertainment Editor here at SheKnows. He has interviewed numerous celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Katherine Heigl, Rachel McAdams, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaw...

Afternoon in Beverly Hills

Nicholas Sparks is the most successful author composing dramatic love stories today and SheKnows is sitting across from the writer in a suite in the Four Seasons Beverly Hills to discuss his latest page to screen project, Nights in Rodanthe.

Location, location, location

SheKnows: For you, in the book and of course, the film, the seaside is such a part of the story as is location in many ways in all of your books.

Nicholas Sparks: Right...yeah.

SheKnows: Where does that appreciation for the where in the story come from in you?

Afternoon in Beverly Hills

Nicholas Sparks: That comes from the genre. It was very evident in the film Nights in Rodanthe because I never spoke to George (Wolfe, director). George understands it on-screen the same way I understand it about novels. It comes down to atmosphere. Atmosphere can either enhance or detract. Most people ignore it. It's kind of one of those things when you craft a scene the setting makes a difference. If it's a crowded place versus a quiet place, there's a difference. If it's dusk versus late evening versus dawn, it's different. As I'm working through a novel I have an idea of which one I think is best for where I'm in in the novel. Then you get George and he comes in and captures that in the same way in a filming way. It's an amplifying affect. You're much better to tap into the emotions you're trying to convey. That's what I write. These are love stories. These are dramatic fiction. You have to genuinely evoke emotion. You can't manipulate it. I am not allowed to write the words 'I love you.' By the time I write it, the reader's first response should be, 'duh! It took you long enough! You were in love with her eight pages ago. Now, you're blubbering like a fool.' But, if you read other love stories, they're like, 'I love you.' 'No, I love you.' Because they don't know how to evoke that genuine emotion, so atmosphere plays into that. Atmosphere is all important.

Afternoon in Beverly Hills

Love stories unlike no other

SheKnows: The film truly made me want to celebrate love.

Nicholas Sparks: It's a truly sweet film.

SheKnows: It's so touching.

Nicholas Sparks: It's not as much a chick flick as you'd think. It's dramatic fiction. It's Casablanca. This is wow, let's journey there.

SheKnows: Emotions that run the gamut are present in your books and in your films...

Nicholas Sparks: That's it. You take them on this journey. That's life, happiness followed by sadness followed by happiness. That's life! It's very hard to do without merging into melodrama. It's incredibly hard.

SheKnows: You're kind of alone in your genre right now…

Nicholas Sparks: That's it! I'm the only one (laughs). It's challenge. It is a hard genre. Shakespeare only pulled it off twice. He tried five times. Hemmingway went one for one. Greeks, hit and miss, but in modern times it's a lot of single hits, home runs. Bridges of Madison County, The Horse Whisperer, Love Story, they all wrote other books. They missed. It's very tough.

SheKnows: That's one of the final things I wanted to touch on, female readers just adore your books. One thing I've heard from women is men don't get how to write for women or craft female characters that are true. Yet, you do. What is your background that allows you to capture that essence?

Afternoon in Beverly Hills

Nicholas Sparks: I have a great mom, married a great woman, have a great female agent, and a great female editor. Anything I write, if it gets by my female agent and editor, it's OK. But really, I craft women the way I like women. Which is the way I think most women see themselves. When push comes to shove, in this movie, she says, 'Your son, you have to go to him.' She wants him there with her! That is the beauty of these things. I think most women think that I would make that choice. It's a very hard choice. But it's the one that says, if I'm honest, kids are most important. Family is most important and that's life. You got to live it.

Be sure to visit SheKnows Thursday for our interview with Richard Gere and Diane Lane and Friday for our review of Nights in Rodanthe.

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