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The Longest Ride, my seventeenth novel, could not have been written without the support of many wonderful people. At the top of my list, as always, is my wife Cathy, who has remained after all these years the best friend I’ve ever had. My life has been enriched by her presence on a daily basis, and part of me knows that every female character I’ve ever created is in no small way inspired by her. It’s been a joy to share with her the longest ride, this thing we call life.
I must also thank Theresa Park — my literary agent, manager, and now producing partner — yet another extraordinary blessing in my life. It’s hard for me to believe that we’ve been working together for nineteen years now. Though I’ve told you many times before, it’s time for me to put it in writing: I’ve always considered myself to be the fortunate one.
Jamie Raab, my editor, is priceless when it comes to making my novels as good as they can possibly be. She has been my editor since the very beginning, and working with her has made me one of the luckiest authors around. She deserves my thanks not only for all she does, but also because I consider her a cherished friend.
Howie Sanders and Keya Khayatian — my film agents at UTA—are quite simply the best in the business. More than that, they’re creative geniuses in all aspects of business. Add in kindness, honesty, and enthusiasm, and the more time I spend with them, the more thrilled I am to consider them friends.
Scott Schwimer, my entertainment attorney, is yet another member of my team who has been with me since the very beginning, a man who has gifted my life with his wisdom and advice. Add in friendship and laughter, and my life has been enriched by his presence.
Elise Henderson and Kosha Shah, who run my television production company, are two amazing people, gifted with motivation, intelligence, and humor, and I’m fortunate to consider them part of my team. Also thanks to Dave Park, for his guidance and support in my early TV endeavors, and to Lucinda Moorehead for her enthusiastic efforts at UTA.
My thanks also go out to Denise DiNovi, who has produced —with style and quality—any number of films adapted from my work, including Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, and The Lucky One. I very much enjoy working with you and look forward to seeing The Best of Me on the big screen. I’d be remiss, of course, if I didn’t thank Alison Greenspan for all she does as well.
Marty Bowen is yet another producer with multiple films adapted from my work to his credit, and I’d like to thank him for the work he did on both Dear John and Safe Haven. Along with Theresa and me, he’ll be producing The Longest Ride, and there’s no doubt that it will be an amazing film. Thanks also to Wyck Godfrey who works with Marty on all their endeavors.
I also have to thank Emily Sweet and Abby Koons at the Park Literary Group. Emily not only works with my foundation and the website, but handles all those jobs that fall into the gray areas of my ventures with energy, enthusiasm, and efficiency. Abby, who is responsible for all things foreign, is fantastic at her job. I consider both of them my friends, and I don’t know where I’d be without them.
Michael Nyman, Catherine Olim, Jill Fritzo, and Michael Geiser at PMK-BNC, my publicists, are all terrific at what they do. I want to thank them for all the extraordinary work they do on my behalf.
Laquishe Wright — also known simply as Q—who runs my social media pages, and Mollie Smith, who handles my website, also deserve my gratitude. Both of them are incredible at what they do, and it’s because of them that I’m able to let people know what’s going on in my world.
For further helping to keep me up to speed on the latest in technology, I’d like to take a moment to thank David Herrin and Eric Kuhn at UTA, who are always there to answer my questions.
Thanks, also, to both David Young and Michael Pietsch at Hachette Book Group. I’ll miss working with you, David, and I look forward to working with you, Michael.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to Sean Gleason, COO of Professional Bull Riders, Inc., for his painstaking review of the manuscript and all of his and the PBR’s enthusiastic support for this book. Bull riding is a thrilling sport, and you run an amazing organization, Sean.
Larry Vincent and Sara Fernstrom at UTA also deserve my thanks for the fantastic work they do in branding and corporate partnerships; it’s been an amazing experience so far, and I look forward to all that will happen in the future.
My thanks also go to Mitch Stoller for all of his early contributions to the Nicholas Sparks Foundation, and to Jenna Dueck, the most recent addition to the foundation team, who I know will bring invaluable expertise and energy to our efforts in support of education.
I also want to thank Saul Benjamin, the Headmaster at The Epiphany School of Global Studies, a school that my wife and I founded in 2006. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll take the school to new heights as it moves toward the future. Of course, he couldn’t do that without the help of David Wang, the Assistant Headmaster, and I’d like to take a moment to thank David as well.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Jason Richman and Pete Knapp, neither of whom work directly for me but nonetheless find themselves working on my behalf anyway. Thank you both for all you do.
Rachel Bressler and Alex Greene also deserve my thanks for helping to keep the wheels turning smoothly when it comes to the Novel Learning Series and all things contract related, which can be a never-ending task.
Micah Sparks, my brother, also deserves my heartfelt thanks not only for being the best brother a guy can have, but for all the effort, hard work, and vision he has brought to the Novel Learning Series.
Emily Griffin, Sara Weiss, and Sonya Cheuse at Grand Central also deserve my thanks for all they do. Emily helps to guide a project near and dear to my heart, Sara handles an amazing workload at GCP on my behalf, while Sonya is a fantastic publicist in charge of my book tours.
Thanks also to Tracey Lorentzen, the Director of the New Bern office of my foundation, and to Tia Scott for all things assistant related. She keeps my life running smoothly, which is no easy matter. Finally, many thanks to Jeannie Armentrout for all she does at the house.
I must also thank Andrew Sommers, who does so much for me in yet another complex and critically important area of my life.
Pam Pope and Oscara Stevick, my accountants, are wonderful at what they do, and I’m thankful to consider them part of my team.
Courtenay Valenti and Greg Silverman at Warner Bros. feel like family to me after all these years, and I hope to work with both of you again.
Ryan Kavanaugh, Tucker Tooley, Robbie Brenner, and Terry Curtin at Relativity deserve my thanks for the terrific work they did on Safe Haven, and I’m looking forward to working with all of you very soon! We make a wonderful team.
Many thanks to Elizabeth Gabler and Erin Siminoff at Fox 2000 for agreeing to make the film version of The Longest Ride. I’m excited to be working with both of you.
David Buchalter, who helps to arrange all my speeches, also deserves my thanks. I appreciate all you do.
Todd and Kari Wagner also deserve my thanks for what they did — I trust they know what I’m talking about.
And finally, thanks to friends new and old who’ve added much joy and laughter to my life, including Drew and Brittany Brees, Jennifer Romanello, Chelsea Kane, Gretchen Rossi, Slade Smiley, Josh Duhamel, and Julianne Hough.