Tuesday 24 February 2015

Guest Author Interview - Gabriel Boutros

Gabriel Boutros joins me in this week's Guest Author Interview to tell us about his latest release Face/Mask.

You can discover other indie authors in the Guest Author Interview archive here:


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Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Gabriel Boutros. I live in Montreal with my wife and two sons. I worked as a defence attorney for 24 years, and for the past ten years or so I’ve been writing pretty regularly. Short stories, at first, and now two full-length novels.

What first inspired you to start writing?
Some people would say that as a trial lawyer I’ve always been a natural story-teller, but the truth is ever since I was a child I enjoyed reading all sorts of books and that eventually led me to wanting to tell tales of my own. Sometimes I see something that I enjoy and want to write about, but more often I write about things that bother me. And, working in the criminal justice system I’ve had the chance to see the best and worst of people, much of which informs my writing.

Have you experienced anything in real life too crazy for fiction?
Sadly, my life has been too boring for fiction. (Although it could have been a Swedish movie from the 1960s, full of long, quiet moments, where nothing much seems to happen; hopefully by the end it will have some meaning.) Clearly that’s why I disappear into my imagination and write stories whenever I can.

If you could write anybody's biography, whose would it be?
First of all, congratulations on coming up with one of the more original questions I’ve gotten in any interviews I’ve done.

Since I’m not a political animal, and more than enough biographies of historical figures have been written, maybe I would stick to my favourite domain of books; preferably someone whose life story hasn’t been told and analysed myriad times. There are a number of authors I would love to learn more about, and tell people about, but I’ll choose sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick. (For those who don’t know, his writings have been made into movies such as Blade Runner, Minority Report, Paycheck and Total Recall. And he wrote many other great books that haven’t been made into films.)

I would love to learn about what kind of life he led which had him questioning so many things that we take for granted nowadays, such as what it means to be human, how trustworthy our memories are, or what is reality. In fact, his books are a combination of entertainment, imagination and philosophy courses.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy seeing how some vague, unformed ideas in my mind can be transformed into coherent words on a page. I have no ability to draw or sculpt, so I paint, to the best of my abilities, with words. It’s very satisfying to be able to express those ideas in a way that I can share them with others.

And the least?
Writing is a most solitary art. To write I have to leave my family and friends and lock myself in my little office, with as few distractions as possible. I don’t mind the hours spent, or the frustration of not advancing fast enough, but I’m a naturally gregarious person, and I don’t know if it’s healthy to spend so much time alone.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
I used to answer this question by saying read a lot, and that’s still good advice. But, if I had to give only one piece of advice today, I would say write, and then rewrite and revise until you’re sure you can’t make a single improvement to what you’ve written. And then go back and revise it some more anyway. It seems to me that many new writers are in a rush to get their books onto the market, but they don’t always make sure their work is ready for prime time. Maybe it’s spelling errors, or simply badly structured sentences; sometimes there are obvious inconsistencies in the plot. Self-publishing has made getting books to market so easy, but new writers (and some older ones) should take the time to make sure that what they’re putting out is truly their best effort.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just published my second full-length novel, called Face/Mask. It’s a far cry from my first book, The Guilty, which reflected many of my experiences in the legal profession. Although Face/Mask fits into the genre of dystopian fiction, it is not science fiction. It takes place only 25 years from now, so the world is still very recognizable, although suffering from constant war and serious environmental problems. I wanted to write about how living in an ugly, decaying world leads people to doing equally ugly things: lying, cheating and betraying each other. The title refers to masks that people must wear to protect themselves from the toxic environment, as well as figurative masks they wear to hide their true natures.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Face/Mask is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon, as well as most other book-selling sites.

You can  learn more about Face/Mask, The Guilty and all my other fiction by going to my own website: http://storiesbygabrielboutros.weebly.com

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