I first decided to write CONTEMPT OF COURT many years ago. I suppose I am like a lot of lawyers who promise themselves that one day they will write a great American novel. My book is not exactly that, but I hope that the reader will find it enjoyable. This is my first novel.
The story is about a Sacramento trial lawyer who is in trouble. He is still trying to come to grips with the loss of his wife to ovarian cancer five years ago. One day, he is mugged on the bike trail when out for a jog. The mugger takes his car keys, steals his car and ransacks his home. His law office is burglarized. He is smashed from behind one day when driving on the freeway. To top it off, he is held in contempt of court by a judge for no good reason and thrown in jail. Then things really go bad. Unfortunately, the authorities aren’t much help. So my hero and his law partner have to figure it out for themselves.
The stakes go up, and the question is whether they can figure it all out before someone is killed.
I have been practicing law in Sacramento for more than forty years, first as a public defender then as a business litigator. I have loved both types of law and have drawn upon my experiences in fashioning this story.
I recall a case when a judge threatened to hold some attorneys in contempt of court for not following his order to turn over financial documents to the attorneys on the other side of the case. Problem was that all of the attorneys were under an explicit order from another judge, who was handling a related divorce, to not divulge any financial information. This judge was trying to protect the privacy of both the husband and wife, so his order made imminent sense in the divorce case. Nonetheless, the first judge was not persuaded. So I wondered why the first judge would do this. Was there some hidden agenda?
I combined this dilemma with a fear that a lot of criminal defense lawyers have, which is that a former client might be released from prison and come back to settle some score. Or it could be a witness in some case who felt that he was not treated right. A lot of my story is true or is at least based on true stories, with some embellishment.
When I set about this project, I started by following the age-old advice of just sitting down and writing and to focus on what you know. About five years and ten revisions later, I finally finished my book. It has been a very exciting time.
I love the pure ecstasy when I am alone, sitting in front of my computer and writing, especially when I have figured out exactly what I want to say. It means that I have given a great deal of thought to the particular passage or chapter and have a clear plan for what will happen. Even when I have not figured out exactly what to say, there are times when it just comes to me, as I write. It is obvious and it feels right. There is pure joy in writing at those times. I have started sometimes in this writing mode in the morning and all of sudden realized that it is 5 p.m., with no recognition of the passage of time.
I have to say that there are other times when it does not come so easily. Then I have to grind it out. But as long as I am making progress, it is still very exciting. I am creating something out of nothing.
During the time it took to write this novel, I spent quite a bit of time learning about the art of writing fiction. I took online courses in creative and novel writing, I attended writing conferences and learned from professionals what was necessary for a good novel. I read countless books on how to write. I have kept them all and they sit on my bookshelf for my occasional reference when I get stuck. As an aside, it is amazing how many good books exist on how to write. I have listened to several CDs of authors talking about writing.
When I read a novel now, it is a different experience for me. I look at style, how characters are introduced and developed, how the plot develops, transitions and tension.
I hope that readers will enjoy this book, but also gain a new appreciation for how hard trial lawyers work every day. It is a very big responsibility to go into the courtroom and carry someone’s hopes for justice on your shoulders. Trials are very difficult events for lawyers on both sides, but especially difficult when you are convinced that you as the lawyer are right. You have to accept that the result is out of your control. This is one of the hardest lessons in life to learn, both for the lawyer and for the client.
Title: Contempt of Court
Author: Ken Malovos
Genre: Legal thriller/mystery
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 23, 2013)
Purchase at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GJXAY4Y/
About the author:
Ken Malovos is a mediator and arbitrator in Sacramento, CA. Previously, he was a trial lawyer, a public defender for 12 years and a business litigator for 25 years. He is a graduate of Stanford University (philosophy) and UC Hastings College of the Law. Ken is a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association and Legal Services of Northern California. He is a panel member for the American Arbitration Association, a fellow in the College of Commercial Arbitrators, a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals and a member of the California Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. Contempt of Court is his first novel. He lives in Sacramento with his wife.
You can visit Ken Malovos’ website at www.malovoslaw.com.
Thank you for visiting today, Ken. Your book sounds fascination!
Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith