Relativity Media has acquired Nicholas Sparks’ upcoming novel Safe Haven in a deal that will see the company share marketing and promotional support with Grand Central Publishing on the upcoming book launch.

Relativity acquired the rights late last night in what a press release referred to as a “heated bidding war.” Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey of Temple Hill Entertainment will produce with Relativity Media’s Ryan Kavanaugh and Sparks. Relativity’s Tucker Tooley will serve as executive producer.

Sparks’ latest novel follows a young North Carolina woman determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships. As she begins to fall in love, she struggles with a dark secret that still haunts her.

Relativity has put the project on the production fast-track now that Kavanaugh knows he can self-distribute following the recent acquisition of Overture Films’ markting and distribution operation.

Bowen and Godfrey previously teamed up with Kavanaugh on the Sparks hit adaptation Dear John, which starred Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried and grossed more than $110m worldwide.

“Nicholas is one of the few great writers who can create epic love stories,” Kavanaugh said. “He is our generation’s most prolific writer, and has reset the bar once again with Safe Haven.”

UTA represents Sparks and handled the sale on behalf of Sparks and his New York-based publishing agent, Theresa Park of The Park Literary Group.  Sparks iso represented by attorney Scott Schwimer. Safe Haven will be published on September 14.