Find a local camera store, preferably the good old fashioned family owned business. The people who work at them are more often than not dedicated lifelong photographers themselves, who know and love photography. They will be able to help you every step of the way, from choosing a camera using your style of photography and your budget, to showing you how it works. And they will be there after the purchase if you're having problems, to explain what's wrong and how to correct it, based on looking at your pictures. They can also give you helpful hints on making your photos better, and some even display customers' photos on the walls.
I used to work at just such a place.