Interview: Nicholas Sparks
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American novelist Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s leading romance writers, with the success of bestsellers-turned-blockbusters such as Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember and The Notebook already under his belt. The film adaptation of his 2010 novel Safe Haven was released on 14 February. TNS sat down with Sparks to discuss the novel... Can you tell us a bit about the novel? Does Safe Haven follow a similar storyline to any of your other novels? Safe Haven is both the same and different to my previous works and that’s what I set out to do whenever I write a new novel. I want to make the story feel as fresh and new as possible and yet I try to weave some threads of familiarity into the text. So it’s the same with Safe Haven – they’re a couple, you know they’re going to fall in love, it’s set in North Carolina, it’s set in a small town, so all of these are familiar threads but the main theme is different to most of what I’ve written before as we have the theme of love and danger. There is a dangerous element, almost a thriller-esque element, one that I haven’t written about since The Guardian ten years earlier. Safe Haven handles some very serious topics such as domestic violence. Was that something you aimed to raise awareness about with this novel or would you say that it’s more just strongly focused on romantic love? No, not really - I don’t set out to write any novels that raise awareness about anything. To be quite frank I just try to write a good and interesting story. So when I was thinking about the theme of danger, I thought danger can come in three forms – you can have a dangerous person, a dangerous place or a dangerous thing, like a fire. And I said OK, I’m going to write about a dangerous person. Previously I’d written about a dangerous stranger so this time I wrote about someone familiar who is dangerous. One thing led to another and I came up with this theme of domestic violence, of Katie on the run from an abusive ex. Yet really the novel’s about second chances. It doesn’t dwell so much on what happened in the marriage and how she escapes. You’re in quite a unique position as a man writing for a mostly female audience - how does that affect your creative process?
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