Close Up
Creative Commons AttributionClose Up - Credit: doug88888, Flickr

His story sounds like a fairytale: £65,000 in debt, Nicholas Evans sold the film rights to his half-finished debut novel to Robert Redford for £3 million. But nothing in real life is ever that black and white. As fame and fortune knocked on his door, he was waiting to hear whether a mole on his stomach was a malignant melanoma, the condition that had led to his mother's death the previous year.

The Horse Whisperer was published in 1995, and has sold over 15 million copies in 36 languages.  The movie was released in 1998: it was considered a competent production, but proved disappointing to fans of the book.  The altered ending was highly controversial.

Evans split from his first wife, and married the songwriter Charlotte Gordon Cumming. In 2008, the couple were poisoned by Deadly webcap mushrooms they had collected and eaten while on holiday in Scotland. By 2009, Evans was still suffering the effects and awaiting a kidney transplant.

Although Nicholas writes in an American voice, he is British through and through.  He was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire on 26 July 1950, where he later went to boarding school. After teaching English in Senegal for a year, he went on to study Law at Oxford University. He has worked as a journalist, a screenwriter, and a TV & film producer. His other books include The Divide, which was inspired by his divorce, The Smoke Jumper and The Loop.

Nicholas Evans: Official Website

Interview, The Independent