Friday, July 26, 2013

Author Interview – Gabriel Boutros

at 1:30 AM

What inspires you to write and why? I am inspired by stories that move me on different levels. Stories that excite me emotionally, and maybe even intellectually, or even spiritually. When I read, I look for books that combine all the above. So, when I write I try to do the same. I think my book works on more than the “criminal trial” level, but that will be up to the readers to decide.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? For my first novel I decided to write courtroom dramas because this was a topic I knew intimately and could work comfortably in over the long haul. However my short stories tend to be all over the place in terms of style or genre, because they really are about whatever moves me at a specific moment in time. I’ve written about the grim reaper coming to collect souls, about gangsters and criminals shooting it out, and about lonely people who drift through life without knowing what they really want out of it. There’s a lot more freedom in writing short stories than in novel-writing, if only because the investment in time and effort is so much less.

What inspired you to write your first book? I wanted to write a story that was about more than whether the accused was convicted or acquitted, which I think the best stories in this genre succeed in doing. As a lawyer I had learned quite a bit about human nature, about what people were willing to do when they were desperate, or disenfranchised, or just plain angry at everyone around them. I felt I could tell a “warts and all” story about the people who work in and deal with the justice system, if only to show that it’s not all glamor and glory.

I think after many years on any job a person can get soured about it, and start questioning what it is he really enjoys about his work, or what kind of satisfaction he gets from it. I have to admit that when I wrote The Guilty I was seeing my criminal law practice in a very negative light, which is reflected in the fairly cynical things my main character, a defense attorney, says and does. I think once I got it all down on paper I felt a sense of relief, like I had unloaded all my doubts and complaints onto the written page, and so could go back to doing a job that I had loved for so many years.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Writing a novel takes forever! You get a great idea and you sit down to your computer, or typewriter or notepad, and off you go. You spend several hours writing and then sit back, exhausted, and see that you’ve written maybe 4 or 5 pages. Now do that again a hundred times or more. And then you realize that rewriting and revising your work will probably take even longer than writing it down the first time. This takes the kind of discipline and patience that I don’t usually have. It was a minor miracle that I managed to pull it off once. If I manage it a second time I’m putting in for canonization.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? The Guilty is about Robert Bratt, a highly successful lawyer who specializes in twisting the facts to get his clients acquitted for the crimes they committed. His daughter’s best friend is raped by a former client of his, who is then successfully defended by a lawyer that Bratt had trained. That lawyer made the victim look like she was the aggressor. This turns Bratt’s daughter against all lawyers, including him, and starts him questioning  his profession and the way he has practiced it. Although he’d like nothing more than to take some time off to re-assess his priorities and heal his relationship with his daughter, he is committed to defending a violent, young gang member accused of a double-murder. Bratt has doubts about his client’s innocence, but feels the pressure to continue his old tactics in order to win despite everything his conscience is telling him.

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Genre – Courtroom Drama

Rating – R

More details about the author & the book

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