One Day author David Nicholls admits the novel’s success made it ‘very hard’ to write again – but believes his new book is BETTER than the bestselling love story
- It’s 10 years since One Day was published; it was then made into a film in 2011
- Author David Nicholls, 52, said he worried his future books wouldn’t be as good
- Admitted he found writing his new novel Sweet Sorrow ‘completely terrifying’
- Nicholls, from Eastleigh, reckons ‘ Sweet Sorrow is a ‘better book’ than One Day
The author of bestselling novel One Day has admitted its incredible success made it ‘very hard’ for him to write again – but he reckons his new book is even ‘better’.
David Nicholls, from Eastleigh, Hampshire, said every time he sat at his desk he was plagued by worries that what he was writing wasn’t ‘funny enough’ and wouldn’t sell as many copies.
One Day, which was published 10 years ago and made into a feature film in 2011 starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, sold more than five million copies around the world and has been translated into 40 languages.
It follows two characters – Emma and Dexter, who met at Edinburgh University – and revisits them every year on St Swithin’s Day (July 15) over 18 years until they hit their early 40s.
Author David Nicholls said every time he sat at his desk he was plagued by worries that what he was writing wasn’t ‘funny enough’ and wouldn’t sell as many copies as One Day
But Nicholls hopes his latest ‘personal and heartfelt’ offering, Sweet Sorrow, will be just as big a hit with readers.
‘The success of One Day made it very hard to write,’ he told BBC News.
‘It doesn’t get easier with each book. I don’t feel any more confident now than when I started.’
Sweet Sorrow, Nicholls’ fifth book, is narrated by Charlie, a man in his 30s reflecting on a summer when he was 16 which changed his life.
One Day was published 10 years ago and made into a feature film in 2011, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess
At 52, the author admits he was ‘anxious’ about authentically portraying what it feels like to be a teenager, but is confident his has a ‘vivid recollection’ of his own experience.
‘It’s tough, it’s difficult, you feel lonely,’ he explained.
This latest novel, which is set in 1997, tackles the subject of mental health – something Nicholls observes was quite a ‘taboo’ topic back then, with few people facing up to and dealing with depression.
Charlie’s father has the condition, and the story highlights the impact it has on both him and his son.
One Day sold more than five million copies around the world and has been translated into 40 languages. Nicholls hopes his latest novel Sweet Sorrow will be as big a hit with readers
It’s not autobiographical, but Nicholls said he did draw on things that ‘you feel very profoundly and personally and things that affect you very strongly’, without recreating anything from real life.
‘There’s very little in the novel that actually happened. But there are lots of things in the novel that preoccupy me, that occupy my thoughts constantly,’ he told the BBC.
Though Nicholls hasn’t published a book since Us, the follow-up to One Day which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, he’s certainly been busy.
He wrote the screenplays for One Day and Starter for Ten – the film based on his first book starring Dominic Cooper, Alice Eve and James McAvoy – and his miniseries Patrick Melrose, adapted from the novels of Edward St Aubyn and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, won a Bafta.
Nicholls, who wrote the screenplay for One Day, admitted the book’s sucess made it very hard for him to write afterwards
Nicholls is currently adapting Us for a four-part BBC television series, which will begin shooting later this year.
He revealed he hopes he will never adapt another one of his own novels, as he finds it time-consuming and distracting from his fiction writing.
Though he’s under no illusions; Nicholls admitted One Day will most likely remain the ‘most popular and successful thing’ he’s known for.
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