It was my first time out "in public" as an author, and I have to admit to feeling more than a little trepidation at the thought of answering questions about my book. Of course, my worries were for naught, as this small group of readers were quite welcoming and exceedingly flattering in their commentary about the book. It was, however, harder than I would have thought to explain some of the choices I made in writing it, whether it was the development of certain relationships, or even the ending. It sounds a little clichéd to tell people that many things just "turned out" the way they did as I was writing the story. Of course, I had a good idea of what I wanted to happen in the book, but, as every writer has probably experienced, sometimes the characters just took over and led me in directions I hadn't expected or intended. This included how the lead character resolved his personal and professional challenges at the end (which I obviously won't explain here). I'm very happy with how the various conflicts were resolved, yet they weren't at all what I had originally plotted out.
It was also interesting to talk about my years as a defense attorney, and realize that I was parroting some of the very comments and opinions that my lead character gives in the book. While The Guilty is in no way autobiographical (I only wish I was that dashing and smooth with women), I think that in every novel the writer will find some of his own points of view coming across through certain characters. Of course, if, in a novel like The Guilty, opposing points of view are constantly being put forward, the reader can properly wonder which ones the author truly espouses, or if he isn't just a bit schizophrenic.
At the end of the day, it was lots of fun to meet some of my readers in person, discuss what worked for them and what didn't in the story, and realize that even among a small group of friends, different people can take away different things from the same book. I don't know when my next foray out into the public sphere will be, but, having broken the ice I at least have a better idea of what to expect.
Thanks again ladies. It was a treat!