"The Notebook" author Nicholas Sparks on Monday said he gets inspiration for the characters in his books from the people in his life, including his wife.
In his new novel, "The Longest Ride," Sparks intertwines two very different love stories. Ira and Ruth are art collectors, an older, wealthy couple, who have lived a long romantic marriage. While Luke, a young bull riding cowboy and Sophia, a senior at Wake Forest, are a modern couple starting their relationship.
“I try to make every character unique," said Sparks, who will be promoting his book in Miami. “Some of my characters have been inspired by people that I know.”
In the case of "The Longest Ride," Ira was inspired by a family friend, who was much like Spark’s grandfather. Luke mirrored his two nephews, who live on the ranch detailed in the book.
But just like all of his previous books, the female characters have many of his wife’s traits: “intelligence, humor, passion, loyalty, honor and most of all they are not necessarily defined by men. They love men deeply, but they are not defined by the men.”
Sparks said he initially came up with the ending of the book and worked his way to the beginning of the book but had challenges as he developed the stories.
“The biggest challenge was having Ira and Ruth collect art in North Carolina,” said Sparks. “It took time.”
He also spent extra time figuring out some of the twists in the book and coming up with ways to make past events in the characters’ lives “feel like it’s happening right then in that instant.”
The book also explores with new technologies like text messages and YouTube videos. Something Sparks said he learned from his five kids and constantly keeps up with.
“That’s part of life now, that’s what people do. They text and they send video,” he said. “I tweet, I have Facebook, Instagram, I’m all up in the social media word. I have it all going.”
"The Longest Ride" is expected in theaters in 2015, where Sparks is involved with the production, casting and screenwriting.
“For me it’s a way to experience the story in a different medium through someone else’s mind,” he said. “They are very different but they are both very good.”
In addition to working on the movies, Sparks is simultaneously working on two new novels.
“Love stories, North Carolina, small towns, stick with the basics, you can’t go wrong,” he said.
NBC 6’s anchor Jackie Nespral will moderate a conversation with Nicholas Sparks Monday at the Miami-Dade College’s Wolfson Campus. For information on vouchers for the event, contact Books & Books at 305-442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com