Since it’s World IP Day on the 26th of April, I thought I’d ask some IP related people to tell me about their Inheritance Books. So, this week I’ve got the lovely Ivan Cotter, who has written a book with a patent attorney hero. I’m quite partial to a patent attorney hero myself…
I retired a couple of years ago after a stint of 40+ years as a patent attorney, during which time I wrote non-fictional legal documents. During January last year I read three supposedly great new thrillers I had received for Christmas. Two of these were indeed great. The other, allegedly the joint work of an acclaimed author and an unknown, was a stinker. I guess it was merely rubber stamped with the name of the author. Musing on this disappointment, I decided to write a novel myself. After five intensely enjoyable weeks of writing and researching I had finished The Schmetterling Effect , drawing upon knowledge of law, technology, research and basic writing skills acquired during my previous career. Like the characters Tom and Sean Cosgrave in the novel, I am of joint Irish and British nationality and was born in England. Fortunately, however, since much of the action takes place in Ireland and between Irish (and Irish-American) people resident in Ireland, England and the USA, I was able to draw upon knowledge of Ireland and the Irish based upon visits there, my late father’s autobiography, the nuns who taught me at primary school, and my father’s extended family, all of whom moved to England after my father, who had to leave there at the age of 14 (hitching a lift on a Royal Navy destroyer) in the absence of any employment in rural County Cork.
Which book have you inherited from generations above? Why is it special?
Nothing from my grandparents, since my paternal (Irish) grandparents died before I was two and my maternal (English) grandparents were, as was commonplace for rural folks born around 1880-1890, wholly illiterate. (I remember my mother telling me that she taught them to write their names; and that she accompanied her father to the silent movies so she could read the captions to him.)
From my father, I received his autobiography “Deprived? Not me!”, which he wrote in his late seventies. More than this, I published it as a limited edition for family and friends. Having also typed part of it and edited the final typescript, I was impressed at how a man who left school at 14 after education at a single-teacher school on Bere Island in Bantry Bay, could produce such a beautifully structured and very entertaining story with virtually perfect spelling and grammar.
Another book that perhaps qualifies is “White Fang”, because it was given to me as a prize (for English) at primary school by a nun acting in loco parentis. Getting this prize was a major cause of my appetite for books. Over the years, the prize itself and my memory of most of its contents had disappeared. I could remember only that the book was about a wild dog/wolf, and that I had read it many times and loved it. While I explored how to use my first Kindle, I saw that “White Fang” was included in Amazon’s list of its top 100 free books. I downloaded it, expecting to find a mere childrens’ book. I was wrong! Although now a pensioner instead of a small boy, I still loved what I concluded was a perfect illustration of the power of good writing. This century old book will be just as good a read for an eight year old (or a 69 year old) in another 100 years.
What a lovely story about your mum accompanying her father to the movies. Which book would you like to leave to future generations and why?
A novel that I read time after time throughout my youth was “The Cruel Sea” by Nicholas Montsarrat, an amateur yachtsman and member of the RNVR, who was called up in World War Two to join a band of now largely forgotten heroes called the Royal Naval Patrol Service. The RNPS existed only from 1939 to 1946, during which time it expanded from a small organisation of professional seamen (but amateur warriors) who manned small ships such as armed yachts and armed trawlers, to become a large, small-ship component of the Navy operating throughout the world, especially minesweeping and convoy escorting. My father, although Irish and thus a neutral, having been a seaman (sea cook – general hand) for three years since leaving Ireland, lied about his age to join the RNPS in 1940 and, after a three-day induction into becoming a military type sailor, was sent to join an armed yacht instructed to look for German raiders in the Atlantic and to radio home and then get the hell out if they found one. My son has read this book and I will leave it to him to pass on. Being concerned with small ships engaged in the bitter and frightening task of escorting Atlantic convoys, it has given me and him (and, in future, may give to our descendants) a picture of the horrors endured by men of 17 years and up (about which they are loath to speak) to ensure the advantages that we, their offspring, have.
Thanks you so much for sharing your Inheritance Books with us, Ivan. And for the fascinating stories about your family.
Ivan’s novel, The Schmetterling Effect is available on Amazon now.
Continuing the IP day theme, IP thriller writer Kalyan Kankanala will be sharing his Inheritance Books next week.