I don't usually make my interviews personal. My job is to let the artists speak to their audiences, on behalf of all those who don't get a chance to meet their favorite actors and filmmakers every week. For this special occasion, I had a personal agenda.
Nicholas Sparks has written some of the most beloved modern love stories, including the basis for this week's Nights in Rodanthe, and one of my all time favorites, The Notebook. I need some help with my own love life, and who better to guide me than the author of The Notebook?
Sparks was game to share his wisdom in the interest of promoting the latest movie adaptation. He had a good sense of humor about it, keeping this piece from being self-indulgent, but also a truly hopeful message that should benefit our readers. But really it helps me personally.
Help me with my love life. You're the master.
Nicholas Sparks: "That's what they say."
What insight have you gained into relationships from writing love stories?
Nicholas Sparks: "The insight, I don't know that I've gained any. I suppose that if I was to lay on the couch and tell the psychiatrist, often many of my female characters share the same characteristics and that goes to the kind of woman that I like. That essentially is my wife. I suppose that deep down, that's what I've learned. That would be an insight that I've gained."
So what am I doing wrong? I'm prepared to share whatever personal info you need.
Nicholas Sparks: "Okay."
I seem to be good at meeting people and getting their phone numbers, but when I call, they're not answering, not returning calls, or too busy to ever meet up. So what's happening between the meeting and the follow-up?
Nicholas Sparks: "Hmm. Well, it goes down to the number one lesson of a long and happy marriage. It would go right down to probably what you're dealing with. The number one thing to do to ensure that or to get a date is to choose well in the first place. So if I was to say what are you doing wrong? You're asking the wrong women, or wrong whoever. You're not reading the situation correctly. Perhaps you are seeing something that's not there."
That's a good insight. Reliability is number one to me, and if they're already not reliable by phone, that's the wrong person. So knowing that reliability is important to me, where might I find the right person?
Nicholas Sparks: "Well, I suppose that it comes down to first, you have to know yourself, what your interests are. I'm not one who believes the whole 'opposites attract' thing lasts very long. It might, but my general feeling is the more you have in common, the better chance you're going to have. The more values you share, that you both like bike riding, you both like old movies, you both like writing. Whatever, what is it, dinner, the more things you have in common, the more things that you can do together and enjoy that. So the answer would be, know yourself. What is it that you like? Do those things and that's where you find them."
It is amazing how hard it is to find people who like movies in Hollywood. You would think this is where those people would come.
Nicholas Sparks: "I would think. Now, I really like them. I go to movies all the time. I've seen everything. I flip through the thing over there [hotel TV] and thought, 'I saw every one of these. Which one do I want to see twice?' Well, movies are okay. That is not a great thing. Movies are just okay because movies you're facing out and being entertained. It's got to be something, doesn't have to be active, it could be chess. It doesn't have to be active is my point, but a movie is probably the world's worst first date. A movie's what you do when you run out of ideas because you're much better off keeping it casual and not having any expectations, just going out because you already know that you share something in common, like art or like this or like that, do this and then you're like, 'This is going on. We both like this. Let's go do this.' Then you can talk and then do you have other things in common? Do you both also like this or is everything else totally different?
Well, if you're in a movie and you're not talking, you're never going to know. Dinner can tend to be too formal so it's got to be something more. Anything, a walk, most people like the beach. You can walk on the beach. Most people like seeing interesting things of any kind. You've got 87 museums or botanical gardens or kite flying competitions or surfing competitions or dog walks up in the canyon. You've got a ton of things where you can talk."
Don't worry, I've definitely learned since I was a teenager that movies aren't good dates. I'm just thinking of it as an interest people could talk about.
Nicholas Sparks: "That could be what you talk about to find out if you have other interests. It's like, 'Have you seen this? Oh yeah.'"
I get it about the activities.
Nicholas Sparks: "Doesn't have to be hard. It's just you've got to know yourself. Know who you are."
I feel like I've had some Nights in Rodanthe experiences. I do well when I'm on vacation meeting ladies. How do I bring my Nights in Rodanthe home to Burbank?
Nicholas Sparks: "Hmm. Well, yeah, that is probably more common than you think. It's hard. You're different there than you are here. Here you have life. There, you have time to relax. So it's different but I don't know that if you're both from Burbank that it would end unless again, you really didn't have that many shared interests in the first place. If you don't have something to talk about, you don't have something that you can sit and enjoy without talking, there's both of those things, you're doomed. What are you going to do? It's terrible. You don't have anything."