Nicholas Charles Sparks (born December 31, 1965) is an internationally-bestselling American novelist and screenwriter. He has 15 published novels, with themes that include Christian faith, love, tragedy and fate. 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, released on March 31, 2010. Two other books are in the process of being made into films; True Believer is expected to be released in 2011; The Lucky One is expected to be released in 2012.
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 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.
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 He wrote another novel in 1989, also unpublished, The Royal Murders.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.