Nicholas Sparks

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Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas-Sparks-Autograph-1-4-06.jpg
Sparks signing autographs in 2006
Born Nicholas Charles Sparks
(1965-12-31) December 31, 1965 (age 48)
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Occupation Novelist, screenwriter, producer
Genre Romantic fiction
Romantic-drama
Spouse Cathy Sparks (m. 1989)
Children 5
Website
www.nicholassparks.com

Nicholas Charles Sparks (born December 31, 1965) is an American novelist, screenwriter and producer. He has published seventeen novels and a non-fiction book. Nine of his romantic-drama novels have been adapted to film.

Early life[edit]

Sparks was born on December 31, 1965, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Patrick Michael Sparks, a professor of business, and Jill Emma Marie Sparks (née Thoene), a homemaker and an optometrist's assistant. He was the middle of three children, with an older brother, Michael Earl "Micah" Sparks (1964–) and a younger sister, Danielle "Dana" Sparks (1966–2000), who died at the age of 33 from a brain tumor. Sparks has said that she is the inspiration for the main character in his novel A Walk to Remember.

He was raised Roman Catholic,[1] and is of German, Czech, English, and Irish ancestry.[2] He and his wife are Catholics and are raising their children in the Catholic faith.[citation needed]

His father was pursuing graduate studies at University of Minnesota and University of Southern California, and the family moved a great deal, so by the time Sparks was eight, he had lived in Watertown, Minnesota, Inglewood, California, Playa del Rey, California, and Grand Island, Nebraska which was his mother's hometown during his parents' one year separation. In 1974 his father became a professor of business at California State University, Sacramento teaching behavioral theory and management. His family settled in Fair Oaks, California, and remained there through Nicholas's high school days. He graduated in 1984 as valedictorian from Bella Vista High School, then enrolling at the University of Notre Dame, having received a full track and field scholarship. In his freshman year, his team set a record for the 4 x 800 relay.[3] Sparks majored in business finance and graduated with honors in 1988. He also met his future wife that year, Cathy Cote from New Hampshire, while they were both on spring break. They married on July 22, 1989 and moved to New Bern, North Carolina.[4]

Sparks has credited his parents with instilling certain precepts and values in him and his siblings. His mother constantly used these phrases: "It's your life", "No one ever promised that life would be fair", and "What you want and what you get are usually two entirely different things".[5] He also notes that they were "raised to survive, to meet challenges, and to chase our dreams."[6]

Career[edit]

Sparks was inspired to start writing by a remark from his mother when he was 19 years old.[7]

While still in school in 1985, Sparks penned his first (never published) novel, The Passing, while home for the summer between freshman and sophomore years at Notre Dame. He wrote another novel in 1989, also unpublished, The Royal Murders.

After college, Sparks sought work with publishers and to attend law school, but was rejected in both attempts. He then spent the next three years trying other careers, including real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products by phone and starting his own manufacturing business.

In 1990, Sparks co-wrote with Billy Mills Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding.[8] The book was published by Feather Publishing, Random House, and Hay House. Sales for this book approximated 50,000 copies in its first year after release.[9]

In 1992, Sparks began selling pharmaceuticals and in 1993 was transferred to Washington, DC. It was there that he wrote another novel in his spare time, The Notebook.[10] Two years later, he was discovered by literary agent Theresa Park, who picked The Notebook out of her agency's slush pile, liked it, and offered to represent him. In October 1995, Park secured a $1 million advance for The Notebook from Time Warner Book Group. The novel was published in October 1996 and made the New York Times best-seller list in its first week of release.

With the success of his first novel, he moved to New Bern, North Carolina. He subsequently wrote several international bestsellers, and several 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), and The Best of Me (2014). His website states that he has also sold the screenplay adaptations of True Believer and At First Sight.[11]

Personal life and philanthropy[edit]

Sparks and wife Cathy live in New Bern, North Carolina with their three sons, Miles, Ryan, and Landon; and twin daughters, Lexie and Savannah.[12] His son Ryan has autism.[13]

Sparks donated $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.[14]

Sparks contributes to other local and national charities, as well, including the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame by funding scholarships, internships and annual fellowships. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly reported that Sparks and his wife had donated "close to $10 million" to start a Christian, international, college-prep private school, The Epiphany School of Global Studies, which emphasizes travel and lifelong learning.[15][16]

Sparks has a private two-lane bowling alley in his house.

Published works[edit]

Film adaptations[edit]

Year Film Director RT approval
rating
Budget Worldwide
Gross
1999 Message in a Bottle Luis Mandoki 32% $80 million $118,880,016
2002 A Walk to Remember Adam Shankman 27% $11.8 million $47,494,916
2004 The Notebook Nick Cassavetes 52% $29 million $115,603,229
2008 Nights in Rodanthe George C. Wolfe 30% N/A $84,375,061
2010 Dear John Lasse Hallström 28% $25 million $114,977,104
The Last Song Julie Anne Robinson 20% $20 million $89,041,656
2012 The Lucky One Scott Hicks 20% $25 million $99,357,138
2013 Safe Haven Lasse Hallström 12% $28 million $97,594,140
2014 The Best of Me Michael Hoffman 7% $26 million
2015 The Longest Ride George Tillman, Jr.
TBA The Choice[18] Ross Katz

Television[edit]

The Watchers is a television supernatural drama which will be run on ABC. The show is based on a concept by Sparks, and will be co-written by Kristin Hahn who co-produced the film adaptation of The Time Traveler's Wife;[19] the show will be produced by Twilight producer Temple Hill.[20]

Controversy[edit]

Sparks has been accused of racism, homophobia, and anti-semitism by the ex-headmaster of the North Carolina private school he co-founded, the Epiphany School of Global Studies.[21] The ex-headmaster, Saul Hillel Benjamin, claims in a lawsuit that Sparks has "endorsed vulgar and discriminatory views about African-American, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals." The Epiphany School of Global Studies has 2 black students of 514. When the lack of diversity at the school was brought to his attention, he is quoted as saying "black students are too poor and can't do the academic work."[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Author Nicholas Spark remembers his Catholic roots". Catholic-doc.org. 1999-11-04. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  2. ^ "Formal Biography". Nicholas Sparks. 1965-12-31. Archived from the original on May 2, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  3. ^ http://www.und.com/sports/c-track/spec-rel/012104aaa.html
  4. ^ "Nicholas Sparks: The Official Website". Willow Holdings INC. 
  5. ^ From Three Weeks with My Brother, p. 353
  6. ^ From Three Weeks with My Brother, p. 355
  7. ^ "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.'... I was nineteen years old and had become an accidental author." From Three Weeks with My Brother, pp. 183-184
  8. ^ a b 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. 
  9. ^ "Nicholas Sparks". Ferrum College. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Biography for Nicholas Sparks". Book Browse. Retrieved March 26, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about At First Sight". The Official Nicholas Sparks Web Site: The Novels. Retrieved 2007. 
  12. ^ Tauber, Michelle (February 25, 2013). They spend the majority of their days discussing the importance of removing Port Adelaide from the AFL. "At Home with Nicholas Sparks: King of Hearts". People. Vol 79, No. 8.
  13. ^ Li, Lucy (8 April 2009). "Drastic Increase in Diagnoses of Autism Moves Scientists, Charities to Action". The Cornell Daily Sun. 
  14. ^ Buckley Cohen, Adam. "Nicholas Sparks." Runner's World 43.12 (2008): 70-71. Web. 29 Sept. 2012.
  15. ^ 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 2009-09-03. 
  16. ^ "The Epiphany School: Welcome". Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  17. ^ Sparks, Nicholas: "Somehow I was able to squeeze in time to write a book with Billy Mills, entitled Wokini....it would end up being the first work I'd ever publish,..." Three Weeks with My Brother, p. 230
  18. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr (June 10, 2014). "Lionsgate Acquires North American, UK Distribution Rights To Nicholas Sparks’ Novel Adaptation 'The Choice'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  19. ^ "ABC Buys Sparks's Archangel Love Story". Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Mr. Movie Date Night Wants to Ruin Your Television Experience, Too". Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Book News: Nicholas Sparks Is Accused Of Racism And Homophobia". NPR. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]