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Nicholas Sparks is the author of novels The Notebook, Message in a Bottle and Nights in Rodanthe, among others.
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The book sold moderately well, and was later picked up by Random House.
But Sparks, now the father of a young son, still needed to pay the bills, and in 1992 he sold his business and ventured into the field of pharmaceutical sales. Sparks was earning a decent living, but the frustrated writer wanted more. He decided to give himself one final chance to make it as a writer. The plan: To write three more novels. If nothing got published, he'd move on to something else.
For the next six months, beginning in June 1994, Sparks began a manuscript that would become The Notebook. When he finished in early 1995, Sparks, now living in Greenville, South Carolina, found an agent, who found him a publisher. Within a shockingly short span of time, Sparks went from being a relative unknown to being a writer with a book deal and $1 million movie rights contract.
Once again, though, Sparks' triumph gave way to devastation when his father was killed at the age of 54 in an automobile accident. The grieving author turned to writing as a source of comfort, penning a story about a man who writes letters to his deceased wife and sends them out to sea in bottles. The book, later titled Message in a Bottle, was inspired by his parents' relationship. Skeptical that he'd really made it as a writer, Sparks continued to sell pharmaceuticals while he wrote the book. He finally retired from sales in February 1997, when he managed to sell Message in a Bottle to a Hollywood studio before the book was even completed. The story was transformed into a film in 1999, and featured Kevin Costner and Paul Newman.
The subsequent years have brought more novels, as well as more Hollywood-blockbuster adaptations of Sparks' work. The lineup includes The Rescue (2001), A Bend in the Road (2001), Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Wedding (2004), and the poignant Three Weeks With My Brother (2004), which recounts a journey he and his brother Michah embarked on after becoming the only surviving members of their family. (Their younger sister, Danielle, died of cancer in 2000 at the age of 33.) In September 2008, Sparks' published his 14th novel, The Lucky One.
But Sparks' life isn't all about his novels. He's supported his old university with a $1.5 million scholarship, and an internship fund for the creative writing department. He's also maintained his connection with track and field; his oldest son, Miles, competes in the sport and Sparks now coaches his local high school team. In addition, Sparks serves on the USA Track and Field Foundation's board of directors.
Nicholas Sparks and his wife, Cathy, reside in New Bern, North Carolina. They have five children: Miles, Ryan, Landon, Lexie, and Savannah.
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