Yes, Nicholas Sparks was involved in every step of the creation of the movie, and agrees with the changes. He consulted with Karen Janzen during the script writing process, visited the set 3 times, and consulted with the director after it was filmed.
On his website, he said:
“I’ll go on record as saying that I love the movie. I think it’s a wonderful adaptation, and I hope that everyone who enjoys my work will head out to see it. I promise that you’ll enjoy it.”
This was never addressed in the final version of the film, but the book had Landon ask her the same question. The Bible that she carried belonged to her mother. (I had guessed as much, but the book confirmed it).
An interesting note about this. If you recall, when Jamie gives him the book of quotations that had belonged to her mother, she told him “don’t worry, it’s not a Bible.” In the book version she DID give him a Bible for Christmas, in fact, it was HER Bible!
One would assume about 4 years before the movie was released 😉
Seriously, though. The correct answer is the mid-1990’s. They had originally decided on the year 1996 but later deleted the references making it more vague.
“Flood” was released by Jars of Clay in late 1995 and “Twister” a popular movie from 1996 was supposed to be seen in the marquis of a movie theatre that Jamie and Landon walked by.
An early draft script had the story take place during the 1985-6 school year as indicated by the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger (Jan. 1986), the movie Ferris Buler’s Day Off, and numerous 80’s music references.