Name: Nicholas Charles Sparks
Born: December 31, 1965
Occupation: Novelist and screenwriter
Born in Omaha, Nebraska to Patrick and Jill, Nicholas Sparks was the middle child. The family moved around quite often, living in several locations in Nebraska, Minnesota, and California while his father worked on his graduate degree.
Sparks actually published his first novel while he was in college, seeing The Passing to print in 1985. While he graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in finance, he did not initially focus on writing as a career. As a matter of fact, he spent time working as a manufacturer, selling dental products, dabbling in real estate, and working in restaurants. He also attempted to find work with publishers while applying to law school, but neither career path really panned out.
Not long after graduating college in 1988, and in the midst of his career search, Nicholas met Catherine, the woman who would become his wife in 1989. His writing career didn’t take off again until 1990, when he partnered with Billy Mills to write Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding. The income wasn’t great, and he still had bills to pay. Sparks told himself he’d write three more books and his plan was to give up altogether if none were published.
Thank goodness he didn’t give up. Readers would surely be disappointed if hits like The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, and A Walk to Remember had never been published. As a matter of fact, The Notebook hit the NY Times best-seller list in it’s first week. His first publication led him to success, and several of his books have been turned into hit movies as well. Nicholas Sparks is currently estimated to have a net worth of $30 million.
How much is $30 million, really?
Sparks has known his own share of personal tragedy in his life. His mother was killed in a horseback riding accident right after he was married, so opening a ranch or horse-back riding facility with access for those with disabilities would be a touching tribute. After publishing, The Notebook, his father was killed in a car accident (the grieving process became the inspiration for Message in a Bottle). He could certainly use a portion of his money to support charitable organizations dedicated to safe driving.
His love of running, cut short in college by an injury, led him to donate $900,000 to his old high school for an all-weather track. A few more of those would make a lot of high schools very happy!