West Virginia Book Festival

Nicholas Sparks speaks at the Book Festival

This is also in the live blog, but Nicholas Sparks just finished an informal news conference. A few snippets:

On the thriller aspect of his newest book, “Safe Haven”: Sparks noted that one of his previous novels, “The Guardian,” also had thriller elements, “but for me it had just been a long time since I’d written a novel with an element of danger.” Once you get past that, though, “it’s very similar to what I’ve written before,” he said.

On his next novel, and whether he’s seen or heard anything on his current tour to shape it: “Yes, just withing the last couple of days, I’m closing in on the structure of the novel. … I’m still deciding on the voice (first-person or third-person) … they each have something to recommend them.”

On the amount of research he does for his books: “Most of my novels have very little research, and by very little, I mean five hours tops.” The novel that involved the most research was “The Lucky One,” he said, because of its connection with the Iraq War.

On whether he actually enjoys big fan events like this one: He reminded me that he used to be a salesman and said, “I tend to be more outgoing than a bunch of authors,” and he noted that his debut, “The Notebook,” “was very much a word-of-mouth book and that [way of promoting books] has sort of carried on.” Different genres have different types of fans, he said, and “my particular genre — family drama, love story, whatever you want to call it — tends to draw a very nice group of people.”

“Do I enjoy it? Sometimes I do, and sometimes I’m tired. … I will say this: [these events] are much easier than writing. Writing is tiring, grueling, aging me ungracefully.”