legal thriller Robert Whitlow

Jan. 7, 2021


Robert Whitlow

Robert Whitlow is a best-selling author of legal novels and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Q. You worked as one of the screenwriters on the adaptation of your novel, The Trial. What did you learn in that process?

Robert: Unlike a novel, writing a screenplay is a collaborative effort. My goal was to preserve the essence of the story as originally created, while recognizing that it’s impossible to film a 400- page book! I had the final say on all major changes. In writing the script I focused on the dialogue while the other writers wrote the aspects of the scenes that related to movie production. If someone came up with an idea that I wished I’d included in the novel, we added it!


Q. Which do you enjoy writing and working on more, movies or novels?

Robert: Novels are my preference. Living a story alongside my characters makes story-telling fun. As a writer, I’m more comfortable with the creative style of a novel. Scriptwriting must, to a certain extent, be more formulaic. 


Q. You’ve said that you enjoy participating in book clubs. What’s the appeal?

Robert: I enjoy the questions readers ask and learning what they liked about a story. Even criticisms provide food for discussion. I appreciate and respect a person who took the time to read one of my novels and then wants to spend time with the author.


Q. How has your experience as a lawyer has informed your legal thrillers?

Robert: One of the axioms of writing is to write what you know. I’ve been a lawyer for decades so my knowledge and experience help me create fictional worlds that are close enough to reality that the reader can join the journey. I draw on many personal experiences with cases and people. I’ve always been an active, curious listener who asks people questions. That has provided a wealth of information that seeps into my novels.


Q. What are you working on now?

Robert: A new novel, Trial and Error, will be released in February, 2021. My work in progress is called Attorney in Law. It’s a story that involves in-laws who end up in a law practice together and become involved in a case that is about much more than they bargained.

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