Nicholas Sparks: Biography & Books

Instructor: Joshua Wimmer

Joshua holds a master's degree in Latin and has taught a variety of Classical literature and language courses.

In this lesson, we'll look at the life and work of popular American author, Nicholas Sparks. Keep reading to find out more about how this business major became one of America's best-selling storytellers!

The Tearjerker: A Brief Biography of Nicholas Sparks

When was the last time you saw a really good tearjerker - just a movie that made you sob? Whenever it was, chances are it may have been a film adapted from one of the many romantic tales of the best-selling novelist, Nicholas Sparks.

Nicholas Sparks (1965 - Present), American novelist, screenwriter, and film producer
Photo of Nicholas Sparks

Born December 31st, 1965 in Omaha, Nebraska, Nicholas was the second of three children born to Jill and Professor Patrick Sparks. Times were tough for the little family during Nicholas' childhood, seeing as how Patrick was finishing graduate work (earning little money) and frequently having to move them across the country. The Sparks' finally put down roots in Fair Oaks, California, and Nicholas graduated from high school there as valedictorian in 1984.

His athletic prowess in track and field earned Sparks a full-ride scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, where he pursued a degree in business. While competing in track competitions, though, Nicholas was dramatically injured and needed time to recover. As he recuperated, the budding author wrote what would be his first novel, though it was never published.

In 1988, Sparks graduated from Notre Dame with honors and met his wife Cathy, whom he married a year later. The couple moved to Sacramento, where Nicholas took a series of various odd jobs to help provide for the growing family. He even wrote a second unpublished novel; but finally, in 1994, Sparks partnered with Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills to write Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding, which earned him moderate attention.

That soon changed, however, when Sparks put it all on the line and decided to try writing one last time. Beginning in 1994, Nicholas started writing what would become The Notebook, and after its publication, his reputation skyrocketed in the realm of romance - a genre dedicated to idealism and often associated with virtuous love and emotional intimacy.

From the mid-1990's on, Nicholas Sparks has continued to produce one best-selling novel (and film) after another. As of 2012, he also officially broke into the film industry with the launch of Nicholas Sparks Productions, of which he is President of Production. Living in New Bern, North Carolina with his wife and five kids, Nicholas Sparks now has a total of 19 novels to date, ten of which have been adapted into blockbuster movies.

Notable Books by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook

Inspired by the real-life love story of his wife's grandparents, Sparks published his first novel in 1996, bringing him almost instantaneous success. This touching story of Noah and his daily fight to keep Allie's memory of their love alive in spite of her diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease has become one of Sparks' most popular works, hitting the New York Times Bestseller List within one week of being released. You probably know someone who claims they didn't cry when watching the 2004 film adaptation. Guess what: they're probably lying!

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