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Robert Whitlow 

Best-selling author Robert Whitlow is not only a legal suspense novelist but also a partner in a law firm. He started writing in 1996 after his family encouraged him to pursue an idea he had for a novel, while he also continued to practice law. Now 11 years and seven novels later, the movie version of his book The List (that first great idea), opens this Friday in Charlotte.

Although Whitlow did not write The List with the intention of converting it into a movie, he saw that it definitely had the potential. "As soon as the manuscript was finished, one of the first things my wife said, that was in 1998, was 'that's going to be a movie someday,'" Whitlow says. "She's usually right, so here we are."

"Working part time as a lawyer and writing more, I realized that I was not cut out for the solitary life of a writer -- just sitting at a computer -- which is one of the reasons why I started working again more full time."

Whitlow does not work the typical hours of an attorney. "I will work usually 30-35 hours a week at the law firm -- that gives me the energy and the time to do the writing."

"I think all writers, all modern novelists, are influenced by the television. My dialogue is short -- it's very rare for a character to be saying more than two or three sentences."

"I will think about a situation I went through, for example something with a polygraph test that actually happened, and then I will weave that into a story that maybe is a different kind of case than the one in which it actually occurred," Whitlow says on the inspiration he gets from practicing law.

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