Does your faith inform your writing?
Sparks: Absolutely. Without a doubt. I do not use profanity in my novels. My characters all go to church. My characters have drawn great strength from church. For instance, in my last novel, The Wedding, he credits his wife with showing him that Christ is his Savior. And he says, "This is the greatest gift." I try and work these elements into my novels, some more so than others.
A Walk To Remember was very strong in that, and The Wedding was strong in that. And my new non-fiction book is strong in that. It's called Three Weeks with My Brother, based on a trip around the world that my brother and I took together. My brother had been struggling with his faith and his belief in God and Christ. This is the story of his journey. And it's sort of the memoir of our lives, dealing with my brother's struggle with his faith and my own struggles with working too much. So, I work my faith in as much as I can within the context of my stories.
How does faith play out in The Notebook?
Sparks: It's a metaphor of God's love for us all. The theme is everlasting, unconditional love. It also goes into the sanctity of marriage and the beauty you can find in a loving relationship.
Do you think the film captures that faith angle well?
Sparks: Yes, but I don't want to mislead anyone who thinks these characters are without flaw. They're in love. Crazy things sometimes happen. Do you get my drift? I can't say that everything in the story is completely and a hundred percent Christian. But these are human characters. Nobody is perfect, period. And that's the way the world works. And all we can do is do our best and accept Christ and live your life in as Christian a manner as you can. And you're going to fail at times.
Is it obvious in the film that it's a metaphor for God's unconditional love?
Sparks: It's very subtle. Spreading the news is your duty as a Christian, and there are many ways to do this. There are those who are so wonderful from the pulpit and so telegenic—your Billy Grahams and your Robert Schullers. Others do it through literature, very God-based literature—like Rick Warren. Others do it through the examples that they lead—like Mother Teresa. Others do it more subtle, and that's where I would go.
With three of your novels now on film, does that affect the way you write? Do you ever write while thinking, I wonder how this will play out on celluloid?
Sparks: Never. I'm a novelist at heart.
So, you were once named Sexiest Author Alive by People magazine, eh?
Sparks: That is far from my greatest achievement. When you get picked for something like that, you giggle about it. You kind of giggle and then you move on.
How many times did your wife vote in that poll?
Sparks: [Laughs] She's so funny. She's like, "Okay, Mr. Sexy, take out the garbage." Or, "I need you to go do something with the kids."
So what did she say when that issue of People came out?
Sparks: She said, "You??" She giggled about it, and that was it. And really it was forgotten by the next day.
For more on Nicholas Sparks, visit his official website.
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