It’s hard to believe that the publication date for my 17th book, Safe Haven, is just a few days away! It seems like I just finished writing it . . . well, in truth I only just completed it in mid-July, which is very late considering that it comes out on SEPTEMBER 14th. My publisher is very forgiving about the fact that I tend to be late in delivering my manuscripts. This lateness is not due to lack of effort or even procrastination; rather, it usually reflects the unpredictability of my creative process. In this instance, I started a novel last October. The working title was “Saying Goodbye,” and though I felt that its basic premise was strong, I reached a point in January where I simply couldn’t write any further. The story was lacking … something, but I couldn’t figure out what. I spent torturous weeks trying to overcome this hurdle, but nothing seemed to work. So, knowing that I still had to write a novel for the fall, I put “Saying Goodbye” aside and spent a few weeks pondering a new story. That story eventually became the novel Safe Haven. I started writing it on February 17th and though I hoped the book would take a simple and straightforward course, it ended up being one of the most challenging novels I’ve ever written. I was happy with the results, though, and I think most readers will be, too. It has many of the same elements my readers expect –- a moving love story set in a small town in North Carolina, and compelling characters –- but this novel also features an element of danger. It’s a love story, but it’s also a suspenseful and provocative read, with some interesting twists. I’m proud of this one, and I’m curious to hear whether you agree.
Since completing Safe Haven, I’ve been staying busy. In the past two months, I’ve answered a few thousand pieces of fan mail, completed dozens of pre-publication interviews (there’s a fun interview in the September issue of Vanity Fair that you can read here), tried to catch up on all the paperwork that went by the wayside while I was trying to finish my novel, and co-wrote two screenplays. These screenplays are NOT based on any novels I’ve written. In fact, they’re not even in the same genre. One is an action-adventure project, and the other is a supernatural horror flick. I know that might strike some people as strange, but for me, it’s been a way of working on something different, which keeps the writing process interesting. It also allows me to hone and advance my craft in new mediums. The next question, of course, is will they get made into movies? Who knows. I honestly couldn’t tell you. I haven’t offered either one to Hollywood yet. And when I eventually do offer them, there’s no guarantee that any studio will be interested. They might just end up collecting dust. But that’s okay -- I wasn’t “hired” to write them: I wrote them because I wanted to, and it was a genuine pleasure.
In other Hollywood news, Relativity Media bought the film rights to Safe Haven shortly after I completed the manuscript. To my surprise, there was quite a lot of excitement in Hollywood surrounding the submission and sale of Safe Haven -- certainly more for this novel than for anything else I’ve written. Relativity is the studio that was responsible for Dear John, and as a show of commitment to the coming film andmy fans, they’re supporting the publication of Safe Haven in a truly unprecedented fashion. The Wall Street Journal even published a big article about their unusual promotional support, which you can read here.
I’ll be going on tour as always and I hope to see as many of you as possible along the way. My tour dates are listed here, as well as on the Safe Haven Facebook page. It’s also on the Nicholas Sparks Facebook page, which is independently run by one of my fans, Casey Stromeyer, who works very hard on it. (Thanks, Casey!) And in the late fall/early winter, I’ll be traveling to the Salon du livre in Montreal (November 18-19) and throughout Brazil (December 1-8), to meet some of my foreign fans.
I’ve yet to figure out the story for my next novel. I have five or six ideas bouncing around in my brain, but so far, nothing has solidified. That’s normal for me, if a bit stressful, since I don’t really understand the creative process – it’s still an utter mystery to me. At times, it almost feels as if I’m trying to grab … air.
I saw my oldest son off to college a few weeks ago, and the other four kids are back in school. As you might expect, the house is a lot quieter than it was over the summer. Believe it or not, I miss the activity. I like having my kids around. I like watching them grow up, and am always amazed at how fast it seems to happen. Time . . . we’re always chasing it, and it’s forever slipping out of our grasp.
That’s it for now. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Safe Haven as soon as it hits the stores and let me know what you think.
Thanks so much for your loyalty and support – it means the world to me.