Nicholas Sparks Biography & Facts
Nicholas Charles Sparks is an American novelist, screenwriter, and philanthropist. He has published twenty-two novels and two non-fiction books, all of which have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 115 million copies sold worldwide in more than 50 languages.Eleven of his novels have been adapted to film, including The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven (on all of which he served as a producer), The Lucky One, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John, The Last Song, and The Notebook.
Sparks lives in North Carolina, where he contributes to a variety of local and national charities. In 2011, he launched the Nicholas Sparks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to improving cultural and international understanding through global education experiences for students of all ages.
Nicholas Sparks was born on December 31, 1965, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Patrick Michael Sparks, a future professor of business, and Jill Emma Marie Sparks (née Thoene), a homemaker and an optometrist's assistant. Nicholas was the middle of three children, with an older brother, Michael Earl "Micah" Sparks (born 1964), and a younger sister, Danielle "Dana" Sparks Lewis (1966–2000), who died at the age of 33 from a brain tumor. Sparks has said that she was the inspiration for the main character Jamie Sullivan in his novel A Walk to Remember. Sparks was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, and is of German, Czech, English, and Irish ancestry. He and his ex-wife are Catholics and are raising their children in the Catholic faith.His father pursued graduate studies at University of Minnesota and University of Southern California, one reason for his family's frequent moves. By the time Sparks turned eight, he had lived in Watertown, Minnesota; Inglewood, California; Playa Del Rey, California and his mother's hometown of Grand Island, Nebraska for a year, during which his parents were separated. By 1974, his father had become a professor of business at California State University, Sacramento, and the family settled in Fair Oaks, California.
The family remained there through Sparks' high school days, and in 1984, he graduated as the valedictorian of Bella Vista High School, where he learned to slam dunk. After being offered a full sports scholarship for track and field, at the University of Notre Dame, Sparks accepted and enrolled, majoring in business finance. In 1988, while on spring break, he met his future wife, Cathy Cote of New Hampshire, and then concluded his early academic work by graduating from Notre Dame magna cum laude. Sparks and Cote were married on July 22, 1989, and they eventually settled in New Bern, North Carolina. Prior to those milestones, however, Sparks had begun writing in his early college years.
Sparks started writing at his mother's suggestion: '"Your problem is that you're bored. You need to find something to do..." Then she looked at me and said the words that would eventually change my life: "Write a book." Until that moment, I had never considered writing. Granted, I read all the time, but actually sitting down and coming up with a story on my own? ...I was nineteen years old and had become an accidental author.
In 1985, while at home for the summer between his freshman and sophomore years at Notre Dame, Sparks penned his first, never published, novel, The Passing. He wrote another in 1989, also unpublished, The Royal Murders.
After college, Sparks both sought work with publishers and applied to law school, but was rejected in both attempts. He spent the next three years in various occupations, including real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products by phone, and starting his own manufacturing business.
In 1990, Sparks co-wrote a book with Billy Mills entitled Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding, a nonfiction book about the influence of Lakota spiritual beliefs and practices. The book was published by Feather Publishing, Random House, and Hay House, and sold some 50,000 copies in its first year after release.In 1994, while working in pharmaceutical sales, Sparks began a novel in his spare time, The Notebook. In 1995, he was discovered by literary agent Theresa Park, who picked The Notebook out of her agency's slush pile, fell in love with it, and offered to represent him. In October 1995, Park secured a $1 million advance for The Notebook from Time Warner Book Group. Published in October 1996, the novel made the New York Times best-seller list in its first week of release and eventually spent fifty-six weeks there.
Including The Notebook, fifteen of Sparks's novels have been No. 1 New York Times Best Sellers, and all of his books have been both New York Times and international bestsellers. Eleven of his novels have been adapted as films: Message in a Bottle (1999), A Walk to Remember (2002), The Notebook (2004), Nights in Rodanthe (2008), Dear John (2010), The Last Song (2010), The Lucky One (2012), Safe Haven (2013), The Best of Me (2014), The Longest Ride (2015), and The Choice (2016). He has also sold the screenplay adaptations of True Believer and At First Sight. In September 2020, Sparks published his twenty-first novel The Return.
Sparks has frequently drawn inspiration from his own experiences.
Sparks and his then-wife Cathy lived together in New Bern, North Carolina, with their three sons and twin daughters until 2014. On January 6, 2015, Sparks announced that he and Cathy had amicably separated. They subsequently divorced. Sparks still resides in New Bern.
Sparks donated nearly $900,000 for a new, all-weather tartan track to New Bern High School along with his time to help coach the New Bern High School track team and a local club track team as a volunteer head coach.Sparks contributes to other local and national charities, including the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame by funding scholarships, internships, and annual fellowships. The Nicholas Sparks Foundation, launched by Sparks in 2012, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to improving cultural and international understanding through global education experiences for students of all ages was launched in 2011. Between the foundation, and the personal gifts of the Sparks family, more than $15 million dollars have been distributed to deserving charities, scholarship programs, and projects. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly reported that Sparks and his then-wife had donated "close to $10 million" to start a private school, The Epiphany School of Global Studies.
Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding (1990), Nicholas Sparks and Billy Mills. ISBN 978-0-9627943-0-8
Three Weeks with My Brother (April 2004), Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks. ISBN 978-1-58621-643-6Adaptations in other media
Nicholas Sparks at IMDb
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