Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and forty-fifth, is of short story writer and novelist Gabriel Boutros. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/author-spotlights.
Gabriel Boutros practiced criminal law for 24 years in Montreal. During his career he had the opportunity to represent a wide range of clients, from the homeless to professional athletes; from suburban housewives to street gang members. He continues to live in Montreal with his wife and two sons.
He has always loved telling stories. Some of his friends have told him, not always kindly, that his quarter century as a defence attorney was spent spinning some of his best stories. He has brought that great love, and small talent, for storytelling to his fiction writing, an endeavour from which he has strayed for varying periods of time, but always returned. He has managed to get two of his short stories published: “I Drive” in Carte Blanche (an on-line literary review for the Quebec Writers Federation), and “Out of the Sun” in an anthology called Danse Macabre: Close Encounters With the Reaper.
He recently published his first novel, “The Guilty.” This is the story of a lawyer defending a client accused of a double murder, while dealing with a crisis of conscience about his profession and the “win at all costs” manner in which he has practiced it. The book is loosely based on a multiple-murder case that Gabriel Boutros worked on in the 1990s.
And now from the author himself:
Although people have often said that one should write what he knows, for the longest time I wasn’t particularly interested in trying to write a courtroom drama. In fact, my short stories tend to be all over the map, both in terms of style and subject matter, but lawyers and trials have rarely appeared in them.
When it came to writing a novel, however, I decided to stick closer to home, especially because I had some things I wanted to say about certain aspects of my chosen profession. To be clear, I was always quite proud of the work I did as a defence attorney. During my years in defence I got to know many honest, ethical lawyers who worked hard to guarantee that anyone accused of a crime got a fair trial. These were honourable men and women who took their obligation to defend their clients to the best of their abilities very seriously. But, occasionally, I would meet lawyers who would gladly cross ethical lines as long as they, and their clients, came out winners. Sometimes, in the heat of battle and under the intense pressures that a major trial can create, even an honest lawyer could make a decision that he’d later come to regret. It was the story of just such a lawyer, desperate to win at all costs, that I wanted to tell.
In writing “The Guilty” I pictured the main character, Robert Bratt, as someone who is essentially a good person, but whose need to win has led him to forget his inherent honesty, and driven him to do things that he wished he hadn’t. This story is about how he begins to question himself and his profession at the same time he is hired to defend a young gang member accused of a double-murder. The client is not very likable, and may well be guilty. Bratt has to decide if this matters to him or not, and just how far he is willing to go to defend him.
The story is told on two levels: we follow the lawyer as he goes about doing the work of defending a suspect in a murder trial; and we also see the lawyer’s internal struggle as he questions himself and his actions, even as he does everything he can to win his case. I’ve tried to use my years of experience to bring a certain amount of detail and realism to the depiction of the trial. But I also tried to write a story that was fast moving and entertaining. I know the last thing I would want to read is something preachy, so I tried to avoid that, while giving the readers some realistic characters they could root for or against, in an exciting story. I hope I’ve succeeded, but that will be for others to decide.
You can find more about Gabriel and his writing (including his short fiction) via…
- His website: http://storiesbygabrielboutros.weebly.com
- The Guilty Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/the.guilty.gabriel.boutros.
If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/submission-information/opportunities-on-this-blog (the spotlights are option (a)) or email me for details.
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