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Nicholas Sparks Essay

Nicholas Sparks’s own life story is definitely a story about love and great success. It is a story that can teach us not to give up a dream and follow it no matter what. Sparks’s first works have not been published, the manuscripts were rejected by the publishers.

Nevertheless, he did not give up. Sparks’s persistence led to the great success and turned him into one of the most popular contemporary writers.

Nicholas Sparks was born on the New Year’s Eve, few minutes before 1966 in Nebraska. When Nicholas was born, his father was working as bartender and trying to get into a master’s program in university, where he was later accepted. The whole family with Nicholas, his older brother and younger sister has moved to Los Angeles in 1969 where Nicholas’s father Patrick did Ph.D. in the University of Southern California. At the age of seven, Nicholas spent a year in Nebraska with his mom, sister and brother while his father was writing his thesis. After that the whole family moved to Fair Oaks, California.

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Nicholas Sparks writes in his biography that his father was a student until Nicholas turned 9 and his mother did not work, so the family led a very simple life. However, Nicholas admits that he had wonderful childhood and would not wish another one.

As Nicholas himself describes his childhood, “just the life of a little kid” (www.nicholassparks.com). Nicholas Sparks was a brilliant student and got only straight As during his high school years (and that while working 30 hours a week as a waiter in a local restaurant). He has graduated valedictorian and got a full scholarship in the University of Notre Dame.

Sparks wrote his first book during the first summer in college. The Passing, that was the name of the book, was never published. Before the brilliant writing career started, Sparks graduated from college with high honors with a degree in Business Finance in 1988 and got married in 1989.

During 1989 the second novel, The Royal Murders, has appeared. As well as the first book it has never been published, but according to Sparks is much better than the previous attempt. The script was rejected but the publishers. Nicholas has considered career in law, but has been rejected by the law schools. He tried different short-time jobs and even started his own business, but it was not extremely successful. After two years Sparks was glad he has broken even.

During the same period of time the third novel has appeared. Sparks wrote Wokini together with Billy Mills, an Olympic champion. This novel was published and did relatively well. Meanwhile, Nicholas Sparks started selling pharmaceutical products and moved to North Carolina.

Despite tough luck Nicholas Sparks never gave up writing. The next book, The Notebook, that was written during 1994-1995 turned out to be tremendous success. Warner Books offered Sparks $1,000,000 for the book. The novel was later translated into more than 35 languages and New Line Cinema bought the film rights.

Nicholas lost his parents very early. His mother died in a horseback riding accident in 1989 and his father was killed in a car accident in 1994 just before The Notebook was published.

The Notebook is a dramatic wonderful love story about inspired by grandparents of Nicholas’s wife. It describes a couple that goes through incredible difficulties, but manages to keep its live forever. As Nicholas himself explains the success of his book, “I suppose it went to what’s best in people – faith, love, loyalty – and that’s how people like to see themselves. … it was easy to read, the story was compelling and original, and in the end, most people were deeply moved by the premise.” (www.bookreporter.com)

Among the contemporary books, The Notebook can compete in popularity only with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Nevertheless, during 1996 and 1997 Sparks continued to sell medical products, while working on Message in a Bottle. In 1997 Sparks saw that Message in a Bottle is doing quite well and quite the job in the pharmaceutical company. Warner Brothers bought the film writes for the novel before it was even completed. The book has appeared in 1998 and was again great success. As its predecessor, Message in a Bottle is also a love story and was inspired by Nicholas’s father after the death of his mother.

In 1998 Sparks wrote A Walk to Remember, which was again bought by Warner Brothers. It turned out to be the most popular book Sparks has written so far. A Walk to Remember is a love story about the beauty of first love. It was inspired by Nicholas’s younger sister, who got cancer and died in the age of 33. The main character of the book, Jamie Sullivan, resembles Nicholas’s sister.

The next novel, The Rescue, was written in 1999 and reflects some personal experiences of the writer. It is also a love story, about love that can save a person. The book was inspired by Nicholas’s little son. In a very young age, Ryan, Nicholas’s second son, was diagnosed as autistic and could not talk. Nicholas and his wife spent hours each day to teach him to talk and their efforts were not in vane, Ryan is fine now and can talk like other kids.

Other books by Nicholas Sparks include A Bend in the Road (2001), Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), Three Weeks with my Brother (2004), True Believer (2005) and At First Sight (2005). All the books were published with Warner Books. All of them have been best sellers both in the US and internationally and were translated to more than 35 languages. The movie version of Message in a Bottle appeared in 1999, A Walk to Remember in 2002, and The Notebook premiered in 2004. All the movies have gathered millions in ticket sales and are among the most successful in Hollywood.

Most of the Sparks stories are inspired by the members of his family. A Bend in the Road is not an exception and is inspired by his brother-in-law, husband of Nicholas’s younger sister who has died from cancer. According to Booklist’s review of A Bend in the Road, „Love and death are constant companions in Sparks’s books and this one is no exception… Once again, Sparks brings a tale of true love to fruition, proving that love stories can be sweet without being cloying.” (A Bend in the Road)

Nights in Rodanthe is another bittersweet love story, this time inspired by Nicholas’s wife. After Nights in Rodanthe came other two love stories, The Guardian and The Wedding, which turned out to be very successful. Many of Sparks’s novels are very sad. As he explained himself in an interview, “Tragedy is hard and sometimes painful to write, but, at the same time, the stories linger longer in people’s minds” (www.bookreporter.com).

Three Weeks with my Brother stands out in the line of love stories. It is a non-fiction memoir about a trip Nicholas did with his older brother. According to Washington Post Book World, Three Weeks with my Brother is “…a moving tale of familial solidarity. Sparks’s side story of commitment to ameliorating his son’s autism is downright inspiring” (Three Weeks with my Brother).

Following Three Weeks with my Brother five other love stories were published by Sparks, including True Believer (2005), At First Sight (2005), Dear John (2006), The Choice (2007), and The Lucky One (2008).

Sparks is incredibly productive and publishes a new novel almost each year. In addition to that he coaches track and field, reads 125 books a year, lifts weights three times a week, raises five kids and has black-belt in Tae Kwon Do.

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Bibliography:
Book Reporter. The Book Report, Inc. May 3rd, 2009
<http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-sparks-nicholas.asp>
Sparks, Nicholas. A Bend in the Road. New York: Warner Books, 2001.
Sparks, Nicholas. Three Weeks with my Brother. New York: Warner Books, 2004.
The official Nicholas Sparks Website. Nicholas Sparks Enterprises, Inc. May 3rd, 2009 <http://www.nicholassparks.com/TheNovels.html>

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