Don’t talk to Rick Robinson about lawbooks or banking regulations or legalese. He won’t have it.

Robinson wants to talk about novels. The craft of writing. The art of politics. And not necessarily in that order.

A former legislative director for Congressman Jim Bunning, Robinson worked the trenches on Capitol Hill. “I left Washington, D.C., on the first day of the Clinton administration. The town obviously wasn’t big enough for the both of us,” he laughs.

He took his wealth of Washington experience, including his work with the House Banking Committee, and translated it into a second career representing banks in the Northern Kentucky region as a partner at Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP.

“The nice fit when I came home is that I ended up with a law firm that had a culture of civic engagement,” notes the gregarious attorney, who is as likely known for his community involvement as for his banking practice. As chairman of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Robinson became more familiar to hundreds if not thousands of Kentuckians. It’s amazing he finds time to practice any law, given his service on boards of directors: Northern Kentucky Leadership Council, Behringer-Crawford Museum, American Cancer Society, Gateway Community College, HealthPoint Foundation, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport.

True to his Bluegrass roots (he earned a B.S. in political science at Eastern Kentucky University in 1980 and a law degree at Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 1983), Robinson has blanketed Northern Kentucky’s civic scene, developing a robust civic affairs practice. He also managed to squeeze in a run for U.S. Congress in 1998.

Now the community dynamo has turned thriller writer, a John Grisham for the Tristate. “I’m one of those people who always believed they have a book in them. The trouble comes in trying to write it down.” His first book, The Maximum Contribution, a fictional accumulation of some 30 years in politics, earned a place on the’s Top 100 bestseller list of political fiction. A second novel with the same hero, Sniper Bid, is just out. “In this book, the protagonist is elected to Congress.”

A place that Robinson knows a thing or two about. As we speak, Robinson is packing bags for a weekend library conference and book tour in Pittsburgh. “I end up having the best of both worlds. During the week, I get to practice law with some truly outstanding attorneys. Then, on weekends, I get to go out and be an author.”