Internationally bestselling author Nicholas Sparks graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Business Finance. He received a full track scholarship to the university and after breaking a school record was hurt and couldnâ€™t run for an entire summer. To ease his boredom his mother sarcastically suggested he write a book, which is exactly what he did. His first novel, which was created that summer, was The Passing. The Passing, along with his second novel, The Royal Murders, went unpublished.
After being rejected by publishers and law schools, Sparks experimented with many other jobs, trying to find where his interests lie. While working other jobs Sparks completed Wokini, which was eventually picked up by Random House in 1994. Next, Sparks wrote The Notebook and Message in a Bottle. While writing Message in a Bottle he quit his â€œrealâ€ job to focus on his writing. Since then, Sparks has completed many other novels (15 to date) that have made bestseller lists and four of his novels have been turned into feature films. Two more of his stories are to be produced in 2010.
Sparks contributes to local and national charities and to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame by funding scholarships, internships and annual fellowships. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly reported that Sparks and his wife had donated "close to $10 million" to start a Christian private school, The Epiphany School, which emphasizes travel and teaches evolution. Sparksâ€™ upcoming projects include writing a screenplay for Miley Cyrus and using his experience as a track coach to write a short book about coaching the 800m.
Nicholas Sparks joins ThinkTalk host Nellie Yangmi to talk about the film adaptation of his novel Nights in Rodanthe. Sparks also takes questions from students concerning the romantic nature of his novels, the adaptation process from novel to film, and about his personal writing process. Nicholas Sparks also joins ThinkTalk once again at the 2009 National Book Festival to share a few more bits of advice for aspiring writers.