By Virginia Dutton
Sitting on his back porch overlooking the Neuse River of New Bern, N.C., Nicholas Sparks talks enthusiastically about his exciting life and his love of being an author. Dressed casually in a light blue v-neck sweater and jeans, the famous writer talks about how he first became interested in writing.
The romance author ran track at Notre Dame and, after breaking a record for the relay race as a freshman, injured his Achilles tendon. He spent the summer recovering and “going crazy from boredom.”
He continues, smiling slightly, saying, “My mom told me to do something productive, and when I sarcastically asked what? she said ‘I don’t know, write a book,’ so I did.”
His first book went unpublished but the business finance major continued writing as a hobby. After working numerous jobs after college, he wrote his first published novel, “The Notebook,” at the age of 28.
In October 1995, rights to “The Notebook” were sold to Warner Books. It was published in October 1996, and he followed that with “Message in a Bottle” in 1998.
His newest novel, “The Best of Me,” was released on Oct. 11 of this year.
Sparks participates in worldwide book tours, and stays busy writing books and for television as well. He is the writer for a new show soon to air on ABC Family called “The Watcher.”
When asked how he is able to spend time with his family with such a busy schedule, Sparks’ brown eyes light up. He describes his wife Cathy, and five children—Miles, Ryan, Landon, Lexie and Savannah—with enthusiasm and love in his eyes.
“That’s why we live in a small town. I like peace and quiet and truly knowing people. Whenever I’m home, we go on the river or just hang out around the house. Family is the most important thing. I also stay active in their school activities, from coaching Miles’ track teams to supporting the building of the younger kids’ school.”
Charity is another huge interest of the novelist. He gives back to many schools, businesses and charities, including Wounded Warrior, USA Track and Field, Children Track and Field, St. Jude, University of Michigan, Florida State, and Notre Dame.
When asked about the future, he answered, “I plan to keep writing and, as for my kids, I want them to do whatever they choose and to be happy. It’s very easy to coast in life, I want them to work hard and enjoy life.”
Sparks has many people who help him in his line of business but none more important than his good friend and assistant Stephanie Yeager. The brunette 29-year-old jokes around with the famous author always in good humor as if the two were siblings.
“I keep him up to date with the latest events and I get to set up press conferences and book signings,” said Yeager. “It’s really exciting!”
The enthusiastic assistant is very close with the entire Sparks family and loves them as if they were her own. When asked what her favorite part about her job was she stated, “I love being able to travel and meet tons of new people, but I also love being close with the family and the loving atmosphere I work in.”
Sparks, a famous novelist, professional romantic and devoted family man, has much more he wants to accomplish in his future and looks forward to more writing and memories with the ones he loves.
Other books by Sparks include:
•“A Walk to Remember”
•“A Bend in the Road”
•“Nights in Rodanthe”
•“At First Sight”
•“The Lucky One”
•“The Last Song”
• and a non-fiction memoir, “Three Weeks With My Brother.”