Nicholas Charles Sparks (born December 31, 1965) is an internationally-bestselling American novelist and screenwriter. He has 16 published novels, with thematic ideas that include cancer, death and love. Six have been adapted to film, including Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song. Two more are in various stages of development. The Lucky One is expected to be released as a film in early 2012. "Safe Haven" is expected to begin filming in 2011.
Nicholas Sparks was born on December 31, 1965, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Patrick Michael Sparks, a professor, and Jill Emma Marie (née Thoene) Sparks, 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. Sparks has said that she is the inspiration for the main character in his novel A Walk to Remember.
Sparks was raised Roman Catholic and is of German, Czech, English and Irish ancestry. He and his wife are devout Catholics, and are raising their children in the Catholic faith. "I was raised Catholic, baptized, confirmed, Sunday School, went to Notre Dame, go to confession, go to church weekly," the author says. "My oldest son is an altar boy. All my children go to the Catholic school. My wife Catherine was raised Catholic. We were married in the Catholic Church. God is the most important thing in our lives. I suppose that's true of everybody's lives, whether or not they want to believe it."
His father was pursuing graduate studies, and the family moved a great deal, so by the time Sparks was 8, he had lived in Watertown, Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Grand Island, Nebraska. In 1974 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. 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 Sacramento, California.
While still in school in 1985 , Sparks had 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 or 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. 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.
In 1992, Sparks began selling pharmaceuticals and in 1993 was transferred to Greenville, SC. It was there that he wrote another novel in his spare time, The Notebook. 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, NC. After his first publishing success, he wrote several international bestsellers. Six of his novels have been made into films: Message in a Bottle (1999), A Walk to Remember (2002), The Notebook (2004), Nights in Rodanthe (2008), Dear John (2010), and The Last Song (2010).
According to his website, he has also sold the screenplay adaptations of True Believer and At First Sight, though it is uncertain whether either film will be made. His latest screenplay turned novel, The Last Song, has been turned into a film produced by Offspring Entertainment for Touchstone Pictures featuring Miley Cyrus.
Sparks began his 16th novel, Safe Haven, on February 17, 2010, and it was published on September 14, 2010. Film producers asked Sparks on August 4 for rights to release a movie adaptation of this new novel and the deal was closed the next day.
On June 17, 2011 Nicholas Sparks stated on his official website that Warner Bros. had bought the movie rights to his new book The Best of Me, which is coming out October 11, 2011. The production date for the movie has not been verified, although Sparks believes that filming of the movie will start in 2012.
On August 2, 2011, Nicholas Sparks stated via his Twitter page that Safe Haven should begin production some time in October of 2011. He also confirmed that The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron, should be in theaters in either March or April of 2012. 
Personal life and philanthropy
Sparks resides in North Carolina with his wife, Cathy; their three sons, Miles, Ryan, and Landon; and twin daughters, Lexie and Savannah.
Sparks has donated a track to New Bern High School and contributes to local and national charities. He contributes to 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, which emphasizes travel and life long learning.
- The Notebook (October 1996)
- Message in a Bottle (April 1998)
- A Walk to Remember (October 1999)
- The Rescue (September 2000)
- A Bend in the Road (September 2001)
- Nights in Rodanthe (September 2002)
- The Guardian (April 2003)
- The Wedding (September 2003)
- Three Weeks With My Brother (April 2004) - A non-fiction account of traveling with his brother after the men lost both parents and their sister in quick succession.
- True Believer (April 2005)
- At First Sight (October 2006)
- Dear John (October 2006)
- The Choice (September 2007)
- The Lucky One (October 2008)
- The Last Song (September 2009)
- Safe Haven (September 2010)
- The Best Of Me (October 11, 2011)
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. The show will be produced by Twilight producer Temple Hill
- ^ "Author Nicholas Sparks remembers his Catholic roots". Catholic-doc.org. 1999-11-04. http://www.themiscellany.org/index.php/news-archives/75-1999/982-author-nicholas-sparks-remembers-his-catholic-roots. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- ^ "Formal Biography". Nicholas Sparks. 1965-12-31. Archived from the original on May 2, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080502151003/http://www.nicholassparks.com/ShortBio.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- ^ Williams, Stan (2002-07-09). "Morality in Hollywood: An Interview with Author Nicholas Sparks". Catholic Education Resource Center. http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/arts/al0145.html. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
- ^ "Nicholas Sparks: The Official Website". Willow Holdings INC. http://www.nicholassparks.com.
- ^ "Nicholas Sparks | ThinkTalk Networks - Career TV for College". Thinktalk.com. 2008-09-26. http://www.thinktalk.com/show/nicholas_sparks. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
- ^ Billy Mills; Nicholas Sparks (July 1999). Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding. Hay House. p. 176. ISBN 978-1561706600.
- ^ Nicholas Sparks bio from ferrum.edu. Ferrum College official website.
- ^ "Biography for Nicholas Sparks". Book Browse. http://www.bookbrowse.com/biographies/index.cfm?author_number=310. Retrieved March 26, 2006.
- ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about At First Sight". The Official Nicholas Sparks Web Site: The Novels. http://www.nicholassparks.com/Novels/AtFirstSight/FAQ.html. Retrieved 2007.
- ^ "Item Not Found — SFGate". Sfgate.com. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/03/30/entertainment/e032048D99.DTL.
- ^ http://www.nicholassparks.com/LearnMore.asp?NewsID=64
- ^ http://twitter.com/#!/SparksNicholas
- ^ Official Web Site
- ^ 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. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20230339,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- ^ "The Epiphany School: Welcome". http://epiphany-nb.org/517464.ihtml. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- ^ "ABC Buys Sparks's Archangel Love Story". http://scifi.about.com/b/2011/09/25/abc-buys-sparkss-archangel-love-story.htm. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- ^ "Mr. Movie Date Night Wants to Ruin Your Television Experience, Too". http://hypervocal.com/entertainment/2011/author-nicholas-sparks-wants-to-ruin-your-television-experience-too/. Retrieved September 29, 2011.