Robert Blake Whitehill was born into a Quaker family in Mardela Springs, just outside Salisbury on Maryland’s Eastern Shore peninsula. The family home lay next to the pond that powered a colonial-era relic, the Barren Creek Mill. He grew up sailing the Chesapeake Bay, and one of her most beautiful tributaries, the Chester River.
After graduating from Westtown School Whitehill stayed in Pennsylvania to earn his B.A. in creative writing at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Later he trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. As with David Mamet, exhaustive studies of the best English language drama for the stage and screen transformed an aspiring actor into a passionate writer.
An early focus on feature screenwriting earned Whitehill film festival wins at the Hudson Valley Film Festival, and the Hamptons International Film Festival where he also received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship for his script U.X.O. (Unexploded Ordnance). His feature script Blue Rinse, co-written with Andrea Shane is currently under option with producer Bill Jarblum (Charley Bartlett, The Little Traitor, Cloudburst), with Olympia Dukakis to star, and Thom Fitzgerald slated to direct.
While writing many highly rated episodes of Discovery/Times Channel’s The New Detectives, Daring Capers, and The Bureau, he served as the Vice President of Independent Film Acquisitions for the groundbreaking Centerseat.com, developing and managing their Independent Film Channel.
His first thriller in the Ben Blackshaw series, Deadrise, was named by Cyrus Webb to the Conversations Book Club Top 100 Books of 2012. His second book in the series, Nitro Express, was named to the Conversations Book Club Top 50 Books of Fiction of 2013.
Movie studio HatLine Productions is optioning the first two books, as well as the third title in the series, Tap Rack Bang, for development into feature films.
Whitehill speaks at book festivals and conventions, including the Chestertown Book Festival, and the Baltimore Book Festival, on topics ranging from writing, publishing, screenwriting, the Chesapeake Bay, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and human trafficking.
Whitehill lives in New Jersey with his wife and son. For a number of years, he has worked with the Montclair Ambulance Unit as an emergency medical technician.
When not sailing, or knocking around the sky in a Cessna 152, Whitehill is a contributing writer to Chesapeake Bay Magazine.
A Letter to My Readers