Author Nicholas Sparks Talks About His Latest Book, "The Last Song"
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Author Nicholas Sparks Talks About His Latest Book, "The Last Song"

September 8, 2009 04:31 pm CDT 

The film adaptation of perhaps his most memorable book, "The Notebook" brought audiences to tears and secured a place on most twenty-something female's lists of their all-time favorite love stories. Mixing love and tragedy seems like the perfect cocktail for success for the talented storyteller that is Nicholas Sparks. His latest, "The Last Song" only proves that his recipe for the perfect life and love story seems to be working quite well.

In the novel, troubled teenager Ronnie along with her younger brother spend a summer in North Carolina to find the sleepy beach town her father calls home can bring just as much adrenaline as her native Manhattan. A summer that she'll never forget, Ronnie experiences both love and heartbreak as she falls for a local boy's charms and slowly loses her own father to illness after having reconnected with him after several lost years.

Sparks has written both the novel and screenplay for "The Last Song," which is currently filming and starring teen sensation Miley Cyrus alongside Kelly Preston and Greg Kinnear. "Though the intent was for Miley to star in the film, what I wanted to do was write the best screenplay that I could. I've met Miley and her family before and I can say that she is a very nice lady and perhaps less rebellious than the character she's going to portray on screen. And unlike Ronnie, she's got a much better relationship with her parents. She comes from a very strong family," Sparks says.

Despite being a teenage love story, Sparks believes both younger and mature audiences are going to connect with Ronnie's dilemmas and heartache as she struggles to find acceptance with her boyfriend's family and how her love and hate for music brings her much closer to her once-distant father. "Really it depends on the age of the reader, but this story is a compelling test of time," he says. "In the end, Ronnie's summer is both believable and interesting without having to be melodramatic. She finds out what's really important in life and most readers can relate to that."

And as most of Sparks' novels, the Carolina settings play an important impact on his storytelling, with "The Last Song" being no different. "When one of my fans picks up my book, I want to give them an element they are already familiar with. And plus I live here so it makes it much more simple to write about my surroundings."

Those surroundings - which includes long nights watching the sun set and rise on the beach with the ocean going from blue to grey to black - is where the characters of his novel experience everything from their first kiss to their feelings of fear and hope. "And just like in the novel, you can find plenty of old beach homes in need of repair up and down the Carolina coast," he adds.

Even though all of his novels have been filmed in the Carolinas, "The Last Song," is currently being filmed in Georgia. Explaining the reason behind the departure, Sparks says, "It came down to financial incentives that states offer to studios and in this case Georgia offered more. I tend to stay away from those type of decisions."

And although busy penning a new project himself, Sparks still finds the time to check out the latest titles from his peers. "There are a lot of good novels and a lot of bad novels out there. But most recently, I've read 'The Devil's Punchbowl,' by Greg Iles and 'South of Broad' by Pat Conroy."

"The Last Song," is currently on bookshelves. The movie is due in theaters in 2010.

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