Nicholas Sparks is the bestselling author of many romance novels that were made into movies. Here’s an excerpt of our phone interview with him, for Flashback Friday.
Q: One of the most amazing things I read about you is that you read over 100 books a year. Other authors I talk to have little or no time to read. How do you do that, given that you have five kids and so much else going on?
A: I love reading, and I read very quickly, obviously. Most books don’t stay with me, with that magical quality, other books I linger over longer. I have wide interests, so it’s almost like watching television. You turn off the TV and pick up a book, read a page a minute or faster, and pretty soon you’re reading a hundred books a year instead of watching TV.
Q: Do you listen to audiobooks on the road?
A: Yes, I do, and generally I prefer non-fiction for the road. . . biographies and histories. . . but then, to be honest, I really don’t drive much. I live in a small town in North Carolina. Put it like this. My car is four years old. I drive it everywhere. Everywhere, I take my car. Four years. Nine thousand miles. (laughs) I mean, I just don’t go anywhere! I go to the store, drive back, drive to post office, drive back. Nothing.
Q: I interviewed producers Dennis Kao and Linda Ross, and they talked about the choice of Tom Wopat as one your narrators. He’s a macho guy who can be sensitive too. That’s the ideal, don’t you think? Was wondering what you think of audiobooks as a medium.
A: They’re great. I remember as a kid driving with my parents there’d be radio stations with plays and stories. You almost never hear that now, but I remember hearing that, and I loved it. It’s a wonderful thing for people who spend a lot of time in the car. If you’re going to drive 45 minutes or more to work every day, you know, you can go through 50 books a year. So you can be as well read as anybody you know. It’s a wonderful choice.
And here’s Janet Evanovich, also a phone interview excerpt.
Audiobooks Today: Do you listen to your own audio books? What do you think of Lorelie King?
JE: I do listen. And I love Lorelie King! She was actually my request. She’d been doing my U.K. books, and I was having a hard time finding someone to do my books in this country. The Recorded Books reader C.J. Critt does the library editions here, but she was contracted to them, and although I love her, she wasn’t available. So I asked to get Lorelie. What do you think of her?
AT: She captures Stephanie’s character very well, and does a marvelous job.
JE: Yes, she’s articulate and consistent.
AT: Did you hear she won an Audie award for reading Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas?
JE: I wasn’t aware of her winning, but I’m not surprised. Lorelei rocks.
AT: So who influenced you? Who are your favorite authors?
JE: The earliest influence was Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge. They were always setting off on adventures. And of course, there was Lucille Ball. On my last book tour the book that traveled with me was Slightly Shady by Amanda Quick. Shady is a Regency romance and I love reading about the Regency period. They’re comedies of manners much like the Plum books.
AT: Is anything going to film? Have you written any screenplays yet?
JE: TriStar bought the rights to One for the Money, the first book in the series. I’ve never written a screenplay but think it might be a fun future project.
AT: Am trying to think of who might best play Stephanie. Ashley Judd? Cameron Diaz? Sandra Bullock? (Note: Katherine Heigl played Plum in the 2012 movie.)
JE: Or maybe Anne Hathaway or Ellen Page.
AT: A Stephanie Plum for a new generation. Now, you are truly everywhere, these days. Ever signed books overseas, and does any of this ever interfere with the writing?
JE: Once I did a month long tour of Australia, three weeks in England, Scotland, Ireland, and then a month long tour of the U.S. The result of all that touring is that you can get behind on the writing. I love the signings and media but hate the flying.
AT: At this point, can you even remember being at a signing where few people showed up?
JE: When I first started touring I had signings where no one showed up. It takes a lot of Cheez Doodles and beer to get over that sort of thing! An average signing now runs anywhere from 500 to 5,000 people.
AT: No more Cheez Doodles for you, then, Janet!