The Notebook: The Incredible Story Of Nicholas Charles Sparks' Life
Nicholas Charles Sparks – His Incredible Story
Many people around the world enjoy reading romance novels. For Nicholas Sparks, writing them is his passion. Sparks is known around the world for his popular stories about love, small towns in North Carolina, and the likeable characters. He enjoys writing romance novels, but is reluctant to giving relationship advice. “I don’t like to give marriage tips,” said Sparks in an interview with PEOPLE. “There are people who are probably much better at marriage than I am- they’ve lasted a lot longer. I could probably learn from them”. Sparks has experienced much loss and heartbreak in his life, so why would he base all of his novels about romance? Infact, Sparks dislikes romance novels. He says they are to mellow dramatic. Sparks writes romance novels to change the perception of how people see them, he tries to make his stories as authentic as he can make them.
Sparks was born in 1965 Omaha, Nebraska. He moved around with his family a lot. His father, Patrick Sparks, was a college professor finishing up his graduate work causing his family to move around with him. Sparks’ mother, Jill, was a homemaker and an optometrist’s assistance. The Sparks family found a permanent home in Fair Oaks, California. There, Sparks attended Bella Vista High School. By the time Sparks graduated, he was valedictorian of his class and received a full track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. At the University of Notre Dame, Sparks majored in finance, earned a notice as a middle-distance runner, and wrote his first novel while sidelined by a sports injury. Sparks graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1988. However, Sparks is a major contributor to his alma mater. He provides annual scholarships, internships, and a fellowship for the creative writing program.
Sparks married his wife, Catherine Sparks, in 1989. They divorced in 2015. While they were together they had five children. Sons Miles, Ryan, and Landon, and twin daughters named Lexie and Savannah. Sparks sons have never read one of their fathers novels, but have watched the movies. His daughters, however, have read all of his novels, and have made the comment that “the books have ruined love stories for me.”
During school, Sparks suffered from an achilles tendon injury from running track. With a lot of time of and nothing to do, the budding business major decided to take up writing. He wrote his first ever book which went on to be unpublished. Sparks took a break from writing and went on to sales. After some business setbacks, the writer in hiding cam to surface and began to write again. In 1995, Sparks wrote The Notebook, which later turned into a best-seller, and a number one hit movie. The publisher of The Notebook, Theresa Park, had no published novels to her credit. However, she was able to sell the manuscript to Warner Books, and secured a one million dollar advance.
Sparks has published nineteen novels and two non-fiction books. Out of all of the books he has published, Sparks said the one that means the most to him is The Notebook because it launched his career as a writer. The Notebook is about a young couple, Noah and Allie, who fall in love, but are forced to be apart due to Allie’s family and the socio-economic realities of the time due to World War Two. Sparks was inspired by his wife’s grandparents to write this novel. His wife, Cathy, was very fond of her grandparents. She would go check up her grandparents every weekend when she got her license, and multiple times a month when she went off to college. Her grandparents were very special to her. When it came to Sparks and his wife’s wedding day, she was so excited for her grandparents to be there. Unfortunately, the day before the wedding they got a call saying their grandparents were unable to attend due to health issues. Mrs. Sparks was devastated, but everything was so hectic that she had to put it behind her. They had their ceremony without her grandparents present. The next morning, Mrs. Sparks asked her newly wed husband if he would be willing to put on a mini ceremony for her grandparents. Sparks grandfather in-law told the newly weds about how him and his wife met and how they fell in love. That story ended up making its way into parts of The Notebook.
Sparks finds that all of his books are his favorites and he can’t choose just one. However, the one that was Sparks favorite to write was A Walk to Remember. “I enjoyed the process of capturing the voice of a smart-alecky 17 year-old-kid,” said Sparks. The main character, Jamie Sullivan, was inspired by Sparks younger sister. Like Jamie in the book, Sparks sister had a strong faith, she was a sweet person, she loved going to church, and she wasn’t very popular. And like Jamie, Sparks sister got cancer. Sparks said he wrote the novel to tell the reader about his younger sister and her journey, and also to tell about the wonderful thing her husband once did for her. Sparks sister passed away in June of 2000.
Although some may disagree, Sparks said that some of his best works are See Me, The Longest Ride, and Safe Haven. The most personal book he has written would be Three Weeks With My Brother, because it is only one of the two non-fiction books that he has written, and he says the book relates the most to the story of his life. In the book, Sparks narrates an adventure with his brother, Micah, on a three-week adventure around the world. The adventure was to celebrate a milestone in their lives. The two were thirty-seven and thirty-eight year olds and the only surviving members of their family left. The brothers traveled to Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Ayers Rock in Australia, and across the Indian subcontinent. Throughout their journey their story began to unfold. Along their journey the two brothers faced startling truths about loss, love, and hope.
Sparks thinks deeply about what topic he is going to write about next. In an interview with News Observer, Madison Iszler asked Sparks why he sets he books in North Carolina, “I live here, so I know all these areas I tend to write stories where small towns work well, and it’s a strange state the closer you get to the coast, the smaller the towns get, the better they work with my stories,” answered Sparks. He gets ideas for topics from events in his life such as, from people he may know, from conversations he overhears, or possibly from articles he reads. When writing a book, Sparks follows his own three rules: A love-story element, it will be set in Eastern North Carolina, and the characters must be likeable. Sparks told Inquirer.net “Every genre has a purpose, and mine, as a writer of love stories, is to make readers feel as is they had just lived a mini-life between the covers of my book,” said Sparks.
Along with the twenty-one best-seller books Sparks has written, he also enjoys doing other things in his free time. Away from writing books, Sparks likes to read and spend time with his five children. In his spare time, he also runs thirty miles a week, lifts weights four times a week, and practices Taekwondo. In Taekwondo, Sparks has a black belt and has competed at both the regional and national levels. Sparks enjoys exercising at least a couple of hours a day. During the time Sparks was writing his first book, he worked a variety of careers. Included were, real estate appraisal, dental supply sales, and home restoration.
In an interview with Hypable, Sparks was asked the question, “What is a day in the life of Nicholas Sparks, the writer, like? The producer?” Sparks answered, “I wake up before my family everyday, because I get my best work done in the morning… I try to complete two thousand words a day, four to five days a week.” Sparks’ day can get busy with calls from movie producers, delivering notes for screenplays, or phone interviews. Even with a busy schedule, Sparks always finds time to spend with his wife and kids. With his busy schedule, Sparks has to find time to elaborate with movie producers and studios. Before writing a book, Sparks makes sure that what he is going to write will work well as a novel and a film. However, when he begins to write, he only thinks of his writing as a novel. Sparks was asked by Hypable what he thought was harder, writing the first line or the last. Sparks answered, “Both. Or neither. The creative process still begins with with an idea that catches, and I still have to spend countless hours in my office, pulling out my hair and writing everyday until I’ve turned that idea into a fully formed novel, start to finish.”
Sparks is hard at work on his next novel. The plot is a secret until the novel is complete, but he promises it will worth the wait. His books all include a tragic aspect to them. “I try to write novels that evoke the entire range of human emotions. To me, this makes the characters feel real and adds authenticity to to the story. It makes the novels more memorable,” said Sparks in an interview. Sparks also added that sadness and tragedy are apart of the human experience, and both are apart of love. If he didn’t add this aspect to his stories, he said he would be writing fiction. For Sparks, writing is primarily about honesty. He makes his stories relatable to any reader, to achieve this goal he has to evoke human emotions, such as love.
Only six weeks after marrying his wife, Catherine Cole, Sparks’ mother passed away in a horseback riding accident in 1989. In 1996, tragedy struck again. Sparks was informed that his father had been in an automobile accident. He later passed away in the hospital. This event happened just one month before Sparks went on tour to promote The Notebook. Then in 2000, Dana, Sparks sister, died from a brain tumor at just thirty-three years old. She inspired the main character in a walk to remember.
Best-selling author Nicholas Sparks has accomplished many things in his life. In 2009, Sparks won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Chick Lit for his novel, The Last Song. Separate from winning that award, Sparks has also received many accomplishments including, being selected in a poll for Entertainment Weekly as favorite author, he coached track at New Bern High School and set a World Junior Indoor Record in the four by four hundred meter in New York which still stands, he is the creator of The Nicholas Sparks Foundation which has raised over ten-thousand dollars to help charities, he is the author of #1 New York times bestseller for twelve of his books, and much more.
Sparks’ books have been translated to over 50 different languages, and are sold worldwide. While all of his books are romance based, Sparks does not like romance novels. He says they are too melodramatic. Sparks says he tries to steer clear of the melodramatics and make his stories as authentic as possible. When writing his first published novel, The Notebook, Sparks was working in pharmaceuticals in Washington D.C.. Sparks ended up writing the screenplay for the movie The Last Song before he wrote the novel itself. He met Miley Cyrus, and she sparked the idea for Sparks to write a drama based around her own life with her and her father. With all of his work, Sparks became a millionaire at the age of thirty.
Sparks is one of the most world-known best-selling author of the twenty-first century. He writes only romantic stories, despite not liking them himself. Sparks hopes that he will be remembered as an author who defined and exemplified excellence in crafting the modern love story. Just as Stephen King, one of his favorite authors, was remembered for his impact on the horror genre. “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I’d hope to give you forever,” said Sparks, Nicholas.