Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Charles Sparks (born December 31, 1965) is an American novelist, screenwriter, and philanthropist. He has published twenty-three novels and two non-fiction books, some of which have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 115 million copies sold worldwide in more than 50 languages.[1]

Nicholas Sparks
Sparks signing autographs in 2006
Sparks signing autographs in 2006
BornNicholas Charles Sparks
(1965-12-31) December 31, 1965 (age 56)
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Alma materUniversity of Notre Dame
GenreRomantic fiction
Romantic drama
Cathy Cote
(m. 1989; div. 2015)

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. He also sets many of his novels in that area. 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.[2]

Early lifeEdit

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,[3] 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.[4]

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.


Early careerEdit

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.[5]

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,[6] 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.[7]

In 1994, while working in pharmaceutical sales, Sparks began a novel in his spare time, The Notebook.[8] 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.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

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.[10] Sparks still resides in New Bern.


Sparks donated nearly $900,000[11] 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.[12]

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 have been distributed to deserving charities, scholarship programs, and projects.[13] 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.[14][15]

Published worksEdit



Adaptations in other mediaEdit


Year Film Director Cast Rotten Tomatoes Budget Worldwide
1999 Message in a Bottle Luis Mandoki Kevin Costner and Robin Wright 32% $30 million [18] $118,880,016
2002 A Walk to Remember Adam Shankman Shane West and Mandy Moore 27% $12 million $47,494,916
2004 The Notebook Nick Cassavetes Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams 53% $29 million $115,603,229
2008 Nights in Rodanthe George C. Wolfe Richard Gere and Diane Lane 30% $30 million $84,375,061
2010 Dear John Lasse Hallström Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried 29% $25 million $114,977,104
2010 The Last Song Julie Anne Robinson Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus 21% $20 million $89,041,656
2012 The Lucky One Scott Hicks Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling 21% $25 million $99,357,138
2013 Safe Haven Lasse Hallström Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough 13% $28 million $97,594,140
2014 The Best of Me Michael Hoffman James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan 12% $26 million $35,926,213
2015 The Longest Ride George Tillman Jr. Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson 31% $34 million $62,944,815
2016 The Choice Ross Katz Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer 11% $10 million $23,420,878
Total $288 million $889,615,166


Year Series Credit Director/ showrunner Network Rotten Tomatoes
2014 Deliverance Creek[19][20] Executive producer Jon Amiel Lifetime 50% (6 reviews)[21]
TBA Untitled The Notebook follow-up[19][20] Characters based on The Notebook TBA The CW TBD


  1. ^ "Every Nicholas Sparks Book in Order – Hachette Book Group". April 8, 2020.
  2. ^ "Nicholas Sparks Foundation".
  3. ^ "Author Nicholas Spark remembers his Catholic roots". November 4, 1999. Archived from the original on September 22, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  4. ^ "Morality in Hollywood: An Interview with Author Nicholas Sparks".
  5. ^ Nicholas Sparks mother and Nicholas Sparks as quoted in: Three Weeks with My Brother, pp. 183–184
  6. ^ Billy Mills; Nicholas Sparks (July 1999). Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding. Hay House. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-56170-660-0.
  7. ^ "Nicholas Sparks". Ferrum College. Archived from the original on November 25, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  8. ^ "Biography for Nicholas Sparks". Book Browse. Retrieved March 26, 2006.
  9. ^ Djinis, Elizabeth. "Nicholas Sparks' books are based on true stories, author says at Bradenton talk". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  10. ^ Nudd, Tim (January 6, 2015). "Nicholas Sparks and Wife Separate". People.
  11. ^ "The Philanthropist: Nicholas Sparks". October 24, 2008.
  12. ^ Buckley Cohen, Adam. "Nicholas Sparks." Runner's World 43.12 (2008): 70–71. Web. September 29, 2012.
  13. ^ "Nicholas Sparks Foundation". Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  14. ^ Valby, Karen (October 10, 2008). "True Believer The chemistry of Nicholas Sparks – The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe scribe has penned 14 bestsellers in 14 years". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  15. ^ "The Epiphany School: Welcome". Archived from the original on September 23, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  16. ^ "The Return".
  17. ^ "The With".
  18. ^ "Message in a Bottle (1999) - Financial Information".
  19. ^ a b "Noah and Allie Forever! The CW Is Developing The Notebook for TV". Us Weekly. August 11, 2015.
  20. ^ a b The Uprising Creative. "Nicholas Sparks".
  21. ^ "Deliverance Creek (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 4, 2020.

External linksEdit