Nicholas Sparks was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on New Year's Eve, 1965. As a child, he lived in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Grand Island, Nebraska, finally settling in Fair Oaks, California when he was eight. In 1984, he received a full scholarship to run track and field for the University of Notre Dame. Sparks wrote one of his best-known stories, The Notebook, over a period of six months at age 28. It was published in 1996 and spent 56 weeks on the New York Times hardcover best-seller list followed by another 54 weeks on the paperback list. Sparks has had a string of New York Times bestsellers including: A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, The Rescue, A Bend in the Road, Nights in Rodanthe, The Guardian, The Wedding, True Believer and its sequel, At First Sight, Dear John, The Last Song, Safe Haven, The Best of Me and The Longest Ride. Safe Haven became his eighth film adaptation. Sparks is involved in many local and national charities, and is a major contributor to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame, where he provides scholarships, internships, and a fellowship annually. Along with his wife, he founded The Epiphany School in New Bern, North Carolina and the Nicholas Sparks Foundation.