Humanities › Literature Life and Career of Writer Nicholas Sparks So Far Author Pens Clean and Sentimental Romance Novels Share Flipboard Email Print Nicholas Sparks. Alice M. Arthur Literature Best Sellers Best Selling Authors Best Seller Reviews Book Clubs & Classes Classic Literature Plays & Drama Poetry Quotations Shakespeare Short Stories Children's Books By Erin Collazo Miller Literature Expert B.A., English, Duke University Erin Collazo Miller is a freelance book critic whose work has appeared regularly in the Orlando Sentinel. our editorial process Erin Collazo Miller Updated July 23, 2017 Nicholas Sparks is a bestselling author, screenwriter and producer. His fans have come to love his clean and sentimental romance novels and films such as, "The Notebook." The stories often have Christian themes and sad twists, and he has had five New York Times bestsellers. Early Life Nicholas Sparks was born December 31, 1965, in Omaha, Nebraska. His family moved around a lot while his father pursued graduate degrees. Sparks had lived in Minnesota, Nebraska and California. He has a sister, who died in 2000, and a brother. He was raised Roman Catholic and continues to practice that faith. Sparks excelled at running and went to the University of Notre Dame on a track and field scholarship. He was a business major, and after an Achilles tendon injury, he spent the summer writing an unpublished novel. Family and Personal Life Sparks met his wife, Cathy Cote, on spring break in 1988, the year he graduated from Notre Dame with honors. They married in 1989 and moved to New Bern, North Carolina. They have five children: three boys and twin girls. The couple divorced in 2015. Writing Sparks wrote two novels that were never published. He worked in the orthopedic goods industry to make a living. His first published work was, "Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding," written with Olympic medalist Billy Mills. Sparks' third novel, "The Notebook," was picked up by a literary agent and published in 1996. It enjoyed tremendous success and garnered a million dollar movie rights contract. But Sparks did not quit his day job just yet, he continued to sell pharmaceuticals and was transferred to Greenville, South Carolina. There, he wrote, "Message in a Bottle," for which he sold the movie rights before it was published. Sparks continued to publish book after book, and he remains active as a writer. His novels often debut as bestsellers. They are noted for being stories with traditional values and lack of profanity, even as they are romances, and the characters face personal crises, often without a happy ending. See a list of Nicholas Sparks books. Nicholas Sparks Movies Most of Nicholas Sparks' books have been made into movies or have been optioned to be made into movies. The first one released was, "Message in a Bottle," in 1999, which earned the number one box office slot. "The Notebook," in 2004 is well-remembered by Ryan Gosling fans. He has served as producer on several, including, "Safe Haven," "Deliverance Creek," "The Best of Me," "The Longest Ride" and "The Choice." Nicholas Sparks Trivia Nicholas Sparks donated a track to New Bern High School, where he was a volunteer coach.He supports the Notre Dame Creative Writing Program with an annual scholarship, internships and a fellowship.He has donated millions of dollars to build Christian International School.Sparks is a black belt in Tae Kwon DoSparks was named, "Sexiest Author," by People Magazine.His family has endured several tragedies. His mother died following a horseback riding accident, and his father died in an automobile accident. His sister died young of cancer.