Robert James Waller was born in Rockford, Iowa and attended the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and the Indiana University School of Business. He was a professor of management and, later, dean of the business school at the University of Northern Iowa. He has written short stories and novels, but is best known as the author of The Bridges of Madison County, which was adapted into a movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. The book surpassed Gone with the Wind as the bestselling novel of all time. Waller received the Literary Lion Award from the New York Public Library.