Nicholas Sparks is a prolific American novelist. Beyond writing, Sparks has many attributes and experiences that make him an interesting personality. Here are the top facts about the famous novelist.
He was a Valedictorian in High School
Nicholas Sparks was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and lived in several cities as a child until his family settled in Fair Oaks, California, when he was about eight years old. It was here that he enrolled in the public school called Bella Vista High School.
At Bella Vista High school, Sparks actively participated in sports while also excelling in academics. He graduated excellently as the valedictorian of the 1984 graduating class.
He was offered a fully funded sports scholarship to study at the University of Notre Dame. He accepted the scholarship and enrolled in the university, where he majored in Business Finance and graduated magna cum laude in 1989.
He is among the most adapted novelists in the world
Nicholas Sparks is the author of twenty-three novels and the co-author of two non-fiction books. Out of his twenty-three novels, eleven have been adapted into films and TV shows, placing him among the most adapted novelists in the world alongside top-rated authors such as Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Agatha Christie.
In a list of most adapted novelists in the world compiled by yardbaker.com, Nicholas Sparks ranked number 25. Charles Dickens topped the list with other notable writers like Victor Hugo and Leo Tolstoy following closely behind.
Nicholas Sparks is also one of the most adapted novelists still alive, his eleven movie adaptations outnumber J.K Rowling‘s nine movie adaptations.
The list of Nicholas Sparks novels adapted into films are ‘The Notebook,’ ‘A Walk to Remember,’ ‘Nights in Rodanthe,’ ‘Message in a Bottle,’ ‘Dear John,’ ‘The Last Song,’ ‘The Lucky One,’ ‘Safe Haven,’ ‘The Best of Me,’ ‘The Longest Ride,’ and ‘The Choice.’
He is a Movie Producer
Nicholas Sparks is a known name, not just as a novelist in the literary world but also as a producer in Hollywood. He has been on the production team of the film adaptations of his novels. And for some of the film adaptations, he was the producer himself.
Some of the films produced by Nicholas Sparks include ‘The Choice,’ ‘The Longest Ride,’ ‘The Best of Me,’ and ‘Safe Haven,’ all of which are movie adaptations of his novels.
All of Sparks’ novels have been New York Times bestsellers
Nicholas Sparks has written twenty-three novels in his career, and they all made it into the prestigious New York Times bestseller list with over 75 million copies sold in the United States alone and 105 million copies sold globally.
His debut novel ‘The Notebook‘ is what put Sparks on the best seller list, becoming a bestseller from the first week after its release in 1996 till over fifty weeks after. Since then, numerous other titles by him have made the list, including ‘Message in a Bottle,’ ‘Nights in Rodanthe,’ and ‘The Longest Ride.‘
He is a record-holding Athlete
Sparks went to college on a full sports scholarship for track and field. At the University of Notre Dame, he made a record as the university’s fastest in track and field and still holds the record to date.
However, his dream of becoming a full-time sports athlete was cut short due to injuries, and he had to quit professional sports. This experience is part of his inspiration for his latest novel ‘Dreamland.’
He is a Martial Artist
Nicholas Sparks is a practitioner of the Korean martial art, Tae Kwon Do. According to him, martial arts is both a hobby and a lifestyle for him. He has practiced martial arts for years and has become quite an accomplished practitioner, obtaining the high-ranking black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
He is a Sports Coach
Nicholas Sparks spent four years coaching track and field sports at a public high school in New Bern, North Carolina. The team he coached made both local and national records under his tutelage. The New Bern High School team set a World Junior Indoor record in the 4 by 400 meters race, as well as records in the 800 Medley and 1600 Medley US National High School Records while he was the coach in the year 2009.
Sparks is a Philanthropist
In 2011, Sparks founded a nonprofit organization called The Nicholas Sparks Foundation. The Nicholas Sparks Foundation funds educational programs and provides scholarships to less privileged young people.
Sparks is also a contributor to many educational charities in the United States, including the funding of the Creative Writing program at the University of Notre Dame where he is an alumnus.
He does not have any literary award
Despite a prolific writing output, bestselling titles, and numerous movie adaptations, Nicholas Sparks is yet to receive a literary award for any of his books.
Many literary critics claim his books are too schmaltzy to be truly artistic. The melodrama and melancholy of his writing are often criticized.
However, he is a middle-aged writer, and hopefully, with many years ahead of him in his literary career, so he may still obtain literary awards in the future.
He lost his only sister to a brain tumor
In 2000, Nicholas Sparks lost his only sister Danielle Sparks Lewis to a brain tumor. This tragic event was reflected in some of his books, including in the character Jamie in ‘A Walk to Remember,’ and in his non-fiction book ‘Three Weeks with my Brother‘ co-authored with his elder brother Micah Sparks.
Sparks generally mirrors some of his experiences in his novels, and the tenor of melancholy in some of his novels is from the tragedies in his personal life. Sparks argues that his books ought not to be categorized as romance novels but as love stories because of the inclusion of tragic events.
When did Nicholas Sparks write his first book?
Nicholas Sparks’ first book was published in the year 1990. It is a non-fiction book titled ‘Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self Understanding’ and was co-authored with Billy Mills.
However, Nicholas Sparks’ first novel is ‘The Notebook‘ a romance novel published in 1996.
What is Nicholas Sparks’ real name?
Nicholas Sparks’ pen name is also his real name. He was named Nicholas Charles, and his family name is Sparks. So, his real name is Nicholas Charles Sparks.
Where is Nicholas Sparks now?
Nicholas Sparks currently lives in North Carolina, where he continues to write and promote his books.