Monday, October 18, 2010

Read On with Guest Blogger Charles Courtley

The Book Boost welcomes author Charles Courtley to the blog.

Here's what he had to say...


Why does the reading of books remain so popular today, despite the enormous variety of other entertainment ranging from TV to the latest computer games? It’s quite simple really. We humans aren’t just “flesh and blood” computers. In a book, it’s you the reader who must do the work to create the stimulus; the interpretation of the maker is not imposed on you as it is in a film or TV drama.

A writer may describe a character, but every reader must recreate that character for themselves, and from this point on the story belongs to the individual. In that way, you make your own world and inhabit it in your terms - which isn’t possible in any other media.

Perhaps that’s why the simple possession of books seems to have such a strong emotional appeal. That may be partly due to the decorative effect books have in a room, but is also because a book read and enjoyed becomes an old friend whose presence you will always treasure. You could never feel the same towards a collection of DVDS.

There’s something about the written word too, which lies at the very base of our existence as reasoning human beings. Attempts to replace it by modern film-makers in this visual age, by conveying emotion merely by using facial expressions, is a poor substitute.

So the writing of books should be encouraged. But is it?

Unknown authors, particularly those don’t write within an established genre, find it increasingly hard to get published independently in a world obsessed by profit and self-published authors, regardless of the quality of their work, are often ignored.

Not much help then from the book industry, or the major bookstores, who tend to advertise and display only the output of a favored few.

But since the profusion of blogs, things have changed a lot – and very much for the better. Now, every writer has access to a huge potential market and a real chance of getting noticed.

Moreover, with the continuing development of e-books, the market is bound to expand even further as ultimately publishing won’t even involve the printing of books in bulk.

But when and if that happens, something will be irretrievably lost. A handset, containing hundreds of downloads lying on a table next to a cell phone, can’t possibly compare with colorful shelves bursting with books of every size and description.

Worse still will be the loss of all those old familiar friends as well. A writer, such as myself, will feel it even more acutely. No longer will I be able to look up and see the works of those who have preceded me (probably much more successfully) and feel uplifted.

There’s another sobering thought too. If the electricity were ever to founder in some future catastrophe, then your e-book handset would remain just that – a mere handset.

Perhaps it’s as well to leave your bookshelves full for the time being and to keep your garage stocked up too – a life without books simply wouldn’t be worth living!

A Note from the Book Boost: Well said and I concur! Thanks for joining us and please share more about your book!


Charles, a newly qualified lawyer without a penny to his name, plunges into the archaic world of the Bar as it was thirty-five years ago. After a stroke of beginners’ luck – and a taste of good living – he soon becomes established in practice battling away in the criminal courts, conducting court-martials in Germany and on one horrifying occasion actually appearing in a commercial court, “winding up ” companies of which he knows nothing!

He encounters a wide range of clients including an Italian motorist charged with assault, who claims to have been savagely attacked by an elderly lollipop man wielding his road sign. On top of that, there are instructing solicitors who never pay him and even one who has departed this world altogether yet still manages to operate on a shadowy basis from the vicinity of Bow Road in East London.

Court-martials take Charles abroad where he encounters a German policeman’s dog whose canine expertise is deemed to be perfectly sound evidence and samples a night out on the other side of the infamous Berlin wall just making it back to the safety of the West.

Wig Begone
is an exhilarating tale of Charles’ early career with disaster often lurking round the corner and culminating in his own appearance in front of England’s most notorious judge!


The Lord Chief Justice’s good eye gave me a stony stare through the one clear lens of his spectacles as I re-entered the room. I searched desperately round for a sympathetic face – surely, there must be one? Not the other judges, who sat by his side, that was for sure.

I felt myself breaking into a cold sweat.

Only an hour beforehand, the disciplinary hearing at Galahad’s Inn having at long last finished, I’d slunk into the anteroom; such a friendless place, adorned with paintings of long dead judges. A marble bust of yet another ancient judicial luminary from the distant past wearing a full-bottomed wig was my only companion.

Outside, a gentle rain fell on the Inn’s venerable buildings which surrounded its fine square with an elegant fountain spouting in the middle. Soon the environs of the Inns of Court with their air of calm authority would be lost to me forever. Charles Courtley, the poor boy from the sticks, who had no previous connections with the law and was so determined to succeed in the competitive world of the Bar, was about to receive his comeuppance.

Of course, there were always other jobs I could do, I reflected gloomily; working in an office as a law clerk (a fate worse than death) was one unappealing option - or becoming a mini-cab driver which, at least, would mean that I remained self-employed.

Want More Charles?

Robert Seymour, (under the pseudonym of Charles Courtley) is a retired judge who lives on the English coast with his wife, Jane, of 38 years, and a small dog called Phoebe.

He is the author of Wig Begone, a tale of a young barrister’s triumphs and tragedies. As well as adapting his novel into a screenplay and writing a sequel, he contributes to legal newsletters and blogs.

Find him online at
Pick up your copy of his book today! Click here!

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