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.
Who is your publisher? I am a proudly independent author. In other words, I self-published using CreateSpace. It’s a great tool for someone who enjoys doing everything themselves, although they also have people on staff you can hire for different parts of the book-making process. If I’m self-published it’s because I realized that a new and unknown writer was going to have to spend a lot of time publicizing his book, even if he used a traditional publisher. So, now I control what kind of marketing I want to do, who I want to do interviews with, where I submit my book for reviews, and so on. I don’t worry about whether my publisher is really pushing my book, or has a vision for it that is different from mine.
How did you develop your plot and characters? The general outline of the murder and the ensuing trial is actually based on a murder case I worked on many years ago. I found the facts of that case could be the framework for a story that was as much about the lawyer struggling with his own conscience as it was about his trying to win his case. As for the characters, I tried to keep them realistic, with well-rounded personalities. They may have a characteristic or personality trait that I may have noticed in someone I met here or there, but none of them are based on anybody real. I tried to write each character in a way that he or she has a specific role to play in the twin conflicts that are fought in the court room and in the lawyer’s conscience.
How do you promote this book? I spend lots of time connecting with readers, as well as other authors, reviewers and bloggers, on various sites. This means lots of interviews, getting others to review my book, writing a humble blog about my struggles to achieve fame and fortune, etc. I do spend quite a bit of time on the marketing and promotion, but I’ve also met many great people who are really into writing or reading books, which just happen to be two activities that I’m really into as well.
Will you write others in this same genre? For sure. For a few different reasons: first of all, most readers, and I include myself in that group, love a good courtroom drama, with all the tension and conflict that’s inherent to the subject-matter. It’s also an area I know well, and so can I can mine it for many story ideas. I also love a setting which has the potential for moral and ethical conflicts, running in parallel to the criminal story.
How much of the book is realistic? As I wrote The Guilty I kept imagining various lawyers I knew reading it. I knew if I twisted around the courtroom procedures, or cut corners on some basic rules of practice, or had lawyers saying things in court that real lawyers would never do, that I would hear about it very quickly. So, while it is a work of fiction, which means everything gets ratcheted up a notch or two for dramatic effect, I think how the lawyer deals with his client and his witness, how the trial unfolds, and the decisions people make, are all realistic.
Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Yes. I am presently working on a new book. It’s called A Crooked Little Man. It also revolves around the Montreal legal scene, although the main character is the polar opposite of the lawyer in The Guilty. He is, by all standards, a failure. He has a hard time finding or keeping clients, rarely succeeds in any of his cases, and can only pay his rent because he is collecting alimony from his much more successful ex-wife. Circumstances find him representing a homeless man accused of murder, and he finds himself over his head.
Do you have any advice for writers? I can’t add anything to the best advice I was ever given: before you become a writer you have to spend a lot of time reading. It amazed me when speaking to some young writers to find out that they weren’t very well-read. I don’t know how you can write a book unless you know what goes into making a book great, or even terrible.
Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? I think those who enjoy reading should constantly stretch their tastes and interests. That means reading genres they hadn’t tried before, going for more commercial or literary fiction, depending on what they usually read, trying out classics, as well as newer writers, maybe taking a look at experimental or avant-garde writers. The worst thing that can happen is you confirm your previously-held opinion that you don’t like something. More than likely, though, you’ll surprise yourself by discovering books you never realized you’d enjoy.
When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? I will be happy if I feel that I’ve written all the stories I wanted to, whether it is one, or one hundred, more. I don’t want to stop writing and regret never getting around to some great story idea. Of course, it will be important for me that people read and enjoyed my stories. That’s a very gratifying thing. But even if nobody ever read anything I ever wrote, I still was very happy to have written them, and I think I’ll feel the same way when I hang up my quill.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Courtroom Drama
Rating – R
Connect with Gabriel Boutros on Facebook