As anticipation keeps building to see the latest Nicholas Spark novel The Longest Ride come to life, we had a chance to speak to the man behind the book and learn more about his writing process and how this particular story came about. Check out our interview with Nicholas Sparks.
What was the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote a manuscript while I was in college that is still sitting in a dusty box somewhere. It wasn’t a great story—but it taught me a lot about writing!
Describe your writing process. Do you write a story from beginning to end or do you write your stories in phases?
I try to write every day until the book is done, but the exact process depends on the story and its structure. Sometimes, if the story is more linear, I write it from beginning to end. In the case of THE LONGEST RIDE, though, I wrote Sophie’s story and Ira’s story separately and then figured out how best to integrate them through alternating chapters.
Are your characters and storylines based on real people and real situations?
While I find inspiration in real life, the actual stories are, thankfully, works of fiction—which, given the considerable turmoil in my character’s lives, is probably a good thing!
What was the inspiration behind The Longest Ride?
I wanted to write a story that was different than what I’ve done before—so I decided to write dual love stories that will keep the reader wondering how the stories will come together by the end. Then, when I learned about Black Mountain College for the first time while researching North Carolina cultural institutions, I was amazed that such an important art college had operated only hours from my hometown and yet I’d never heard about it; I knew I had to find a way to incorporate it into the story. The rest unfolded from there.
Was bull riding a vehicle to simply introduce the characters, or is it a sport you were interested before the book idea came to you?
Bull riding is pretty popular in North Carolina, so I was somewhat familiar with the sport already—but as I researched it further for the novel, I was amazed by both the depth of the sport’s fan base and the remarkable dedication of its athletes.
In The Longest Ride, flowers play such an integral part in Luke’s arrival on his first date with Sophia, what is it about chivalry in the courtship of one’s potential love interest that interests you? It’s obviously a theme throughout your novels that holds true as a great thematic tie.
In part, it’s the southerner in me—chivalry is big in North Carolina, and I have always had an interest in how cultural rituals play into something as unpredictable as romance.
Your books are all set in such beautiful scenic locations, especially in North Carolina, are these important places in your life and what about the locations do you think make them so romantic?
I’ve lived in North Carolina for a long time, and I love living here, so the locations in my books are important to my life. But the other advantage to setting stories in North Carolina is that you have everything here: the coast, the mountains, beaches, farmland, you name it.
Luke and Sophia come from such different worlds, what do you think is it about opposites that attract each other?
One of the exhilarating parts of falling in love is discovering new things about one another, and seeing the world from a different point of view. With opposites, almost everything is new!
Do you have another book in the works?
Yes, I’m currently working on two different books—but that’s all I can say about it right now!
As a flower company we have to ask, what’s your favorite flower?