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Nicholas Sparks
Sparks signing autographs in 2006
Sparks signing autographs in 2006
Born Nicholas Charles Sparks
(1965-12-31) December 31, 1965 (age 58)
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
  • Novelist
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
Alma mater University of Notre Dame
  • Romantic fiction
  • Romantic drama
Cathy Cote
(m. 1989; div. 2015)
Children 5

Nicholas Charles Sparks (born December 31, 1965) is an American romance novelist, screenwriter, and film producer. He has published twenty-three novels, all New York Times bestsellers, and two works of non-fiction, with over 115 million copies sold worldwide in more than 50 languages. Among his works are The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and Message in a Bottle which, along with eight other books, have been adapted as feature films.

Sparks lives in North Carolina, where many of his novels are set.

Early life

Nicholas Sparks was born on December 31, 1965, in Omaha, Nebraska. His father, Patrick Michael Sparks, was a business professor and his mother Jill Emma Marie Sparks (née Thoene) was a homemaker and an optometrist's assistant. Sparks is of German, Czech, English, and Irish ancestry. He 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, an event that inspired his novel A Walk to Remember. As a child, Sparks lived in Watertown, Minnesota; Inglewood, California; Playa Del Rey, California; and Grand Island, Nebraska, before the family settled in Fair Oaks, California in 1974.

In 1984, Sparks graduated valedictorian of Bella Vista High School. He began writing while attending the University of Notre Dame on a track and field scholarship, majoring in business finance and graduating magna cum laude. Sparks wrote his first, never published, novel, The Passing in 1985 and a second unpublished novel called The Royal Murders in 1989. He married Cathy Cote in 1989 and moved to New Bern, North Carolina.

Literary career

Sparks' first published book was Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding, a nonfiction book co-written by Billy Mills about Lakota spiritual beliefs and practices, published by Feather Publishing. The book sold 50,000 copies in its first year after release.

In 1995, literary agent Theresa Park secured a $1 million advance for The Notebook from Time Warner Book Group, the book that became Spark's breakthrough novel. 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.

In 1998, after the publication of The Notebook, Sparks wrote Message in a Bottle which, in 1999, became the first of his novels to be adapted for film in 1999. In total, 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.

Including The Notebook, fifteen of Sparks's novels have been No. 1 New York Times Best Sellers, and all of his novels have been both New York Times and international bestsellers. Sparks has also often been listed on Forbes annual highest-paid authors lists.

In September 2020, Sparks published his twenty-first novel The Return and followed that up with The Wish in 2021 and Dreamland in 2022, each of which were optioned as films.

Personal life

Sparks lives in New Bern, North Carolina. He has three sons and twin daughters. He and Cathy divorced in 2015.


In 2008, Sparks donated nearly $900,000 for a new, all-weather tartan track to New Bern High School, where he has also volunteered to coach. That same year, he also donated "close to $10 million" to start a private school, The Epiphany School of Global Studies. Sparks has also funded scholarships, internships, and annual fellowships at the University of Notre Dame Creative Writing Program.

In 2012, Sparks founded The Nicholas Sparks Foundation, a nonprofit that funds global education experiences for students. The Sparks family and foundation have donated more than $15 million to charities, scholarship programs, and other projects.


Eleven of Sparks's books have been turned into films, four of which he produced, including The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, and Safe Haven. Seven other of his books have also adapted for film: The Lucky One, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John, The Last Song, and The Notebook. Films based on his novels have grossed $889,615,166 worldwide, while the Rotten Tomatoes scores range from 11% for The Choice to 53% for The Notebook, the most critically acclaimed film based on his work.

In April 2021, it was announced that a film adaptation of The Return was in development. Tom Dean joined the production as director, with the project developed by Bisous Pictures, and MRC Films, while MRC will serve as distributing company. Sparks will serve as a producer alongside Elizabeth Cantillon, and Theresa Park. In May of the same year, it was announced that three additional films based on novels by the author were in development for distribution by Universal Pictures. The company signed a first-look deal with Sparks, with intentions being that a long-term working relationship follow; the three movies will be joint-venture productions between Universal Pictures and Anonymous Content. The Wish will be the first book to be developed by the studio, followed by Dreamland, and an as-of-yet unspecified third adaptation. The Wish will be Sparks will serve as producer, alongside Park, and Zack Hayden.


Year Title Screenwriter Producer Director Notes Box office RT
1999 Message in a Bottle No No Luis Mandoki Based on the novel of the same name. $118,880,016 32%
2002 A Walk to Remember No No Adam Shankman Based on the novel of the same name. $47,494,916 27%
2004 The Notebook No No Nick Cassavetes Based on the novel of the same name. $115,603,229 53%
2008 Nights in Rodanthe No No George C. Wolfe Based on the novel of the same name. $84,375,061 30%
2010 Dear John No No Lasse Hallström Based on the novel of the same name. $114,977,104 29%
2010 The Last Song Yes No Julie Anne Robinson Based on the novel of the same name. $89,041,656 21%
2012 The Lucky One No No Scott Hicks Based on the novel of the same name. $99,357,138 21%
2013 Safe Haven No Yes Lasse Hallström Based on the novel of the same name. $97,594,140 13%
2014 The Best of Me No Yes Michael Hoffman Based on the novel of the same name. $35,926,213 12%
2015 The Longest Ride No Yes George Tillman Jr. Based on the novel of the same name. $62,944,815 31%
2016 The Choice No Yes Ross Katz Based on the novel of the same name. $23,420,878 11%
TBA The Return No Yes Tom Dean Based on the novel of the same name. TBD TBD
The Wish No Yes 0TBA Based on the novel of the same name. TBD TBD
Dreamland No Yes 0TBA Based on the novel of the same name. TBD TBD
Untitled film No Yes 0TBA Based on one of his published novels. TBD TBD
Total $889,615,166


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

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Nicholas Sparks para niños

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