Robert James Waller (born August 1, 1939, Rockford, Iowa) is an American author best known for The Bridges of Madison County, an enormously successful book in 1993. He is also a photographer and musician.
Waller received his BA ('62) and MA ('64) from University of Northern Iowa (then known as Iowa State Teachers College). He received his PhD in business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington in 1968.
Later that year he returned to UNI and began teaching management and economics, and in 1977 became a full professor. He became dean of the College of Business in 1980 and retired from that position in 1986. It was announced in 2000 that he made a "seven figure" donation to Indiana University.
Several of his books have been on the New York Times bestseller list including 1992's The Bridges of Madison County which was the top best-seller in 1993. Both that novel and his 1995 novel, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, have been made into motion pictures. Waller currently resides in Texas.
In 1997, his marriage of 35 years ended in divorce after Georgia confronted him about his relationship with Linda Bow, while all three were traveling together in India, and he declared his love for Linda. Waller hired Linda in 1995 to help out with landscaping and work on the 1,200-acre Firelight Ranch he shared with wife Georgia and daughter Rachel. An article in People magazine noted "The parallels between Waller's life and his art—his Bridges heroine, farmwife Francesca, sacrifices her chance for happiness with a globe-hopping photographer in order to stay home and shield her loved ones from small-town scandal—haven't been lost on the locals" (referring to the locals of Alpine, Texas).
- The Bridges of Madison County (1992) (original UK title Love in Black and White)
- Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend (1993) ISBN 0-446-51653-8
- Puerto Vallarta Squeeze (1995)
- Border Music (1995)
- A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to The Bridges of Madison County (2002)
- High Plains Tango (2005)
- The Long Night of Winchell Dear (2007)
- Just Beyond the Firelight (1988)
- One Good Road is Enough (1990)
- Iowa: Perspectives on Today and Tomorrow (1991)
- Old Songs in a New Café (1994)
- Images (1994)
- The Summer Nights Never End...Until They Do: Life, Liberty, and the Lure of the Short-Run (2012)
- The Ballads of Madison County: A Collection of Songs