Friday, August 13, 2010

Geting to know author, Rick Mofina

I am a big fan of author Rick Mofina and am excited that I got the chance to interview him. Enjoy and don't forget to pick up a copy of The Panic Zone.

Hello and thank you for allowing me to ask you some questions.

First the easy questions.

Can you describe yourself in a few sentences?

I grew up east of Toronto, in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. I began writing fiction in grade school and sold my first short story to a magazine in New Jersey at age 15. I hitchhiked to California and wrote a novel about the experience at 18. I held jobs ranging from working at a horseracing track to delivering cars to Florida, before I attended Carleton University where he studied Journalism, English Literature, and American Detective Fiction.

I was a summer student rookie reporter at The Toronto Star, the same paper that once employed Ernest Hemingway, before embarking on a career in journalism that spanned three decades and several newsrooms. My reporting has put me face-to-face with murderers on death row in Montana and Texas. I covered a horrific serial killing case in California, an armored car heist in Las Vegas, the murders of police officers in Alberta, flown over Los Angeles with the LAPD, and gone on patrol with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. I’ve reported from the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East., Now, a former crime reporter, I’ve published 11 crime fiction novels, have over 1,000,000 books in print in 15 countries.

What do you like to do for fun?

Watch 1950s sci-fi movies.

Are you a morning person?

I get up at 4:00 am to write a bit before I start my day job as a communications advisor.

Ok, now on to the real business.

How important a part does taking a “grain of truth” from real life events play in your books?

The opening of my first published crime novel, If Angels Fall, begins with a toddler being abducted from his inattentive father while they are riding San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit System, known as BART.

Readers have told me that it reads as if I’d drawn it from a real case. I didn’t. The scene is entirely fiction. However, the seed for that moment of terror arose from a real moment of truth I experienced years ago while I was working at The Toronto Star. The summer I was a Star cub reporter, a tragedy hit the city. A child who vanished under chilling circumstances was later found murdered. Fear gripped the metropolitan area and the story screamed from page one headlines of Toronto’s major papers.

In that climate, I was riding Toronto’s subway when I saw a father and his toddler. Dad was hidden behind the newspaper he was reading, one that happened to be blaring the latest on the tragedy. His little boy was toddling up and down the full length of the subway car aisle. The father was oblivious. The train would stop. Doors would open. Waves of commuters would rush in and out, even bumping the toddler. Doors would close. The train rumbled to the next station.

The father was had no idea what was happening as the scene was repeated at the next station. Then the next. Then the next. As I witnessed this, I became a little angry at the father for not watching his kid. Then I grew a little fearful as my imagination went into overdrive. If I were a crazy person, I could easily abduct that boy without his father noticing until it was too late.

That moment haunted me until years later, when I fashioned it into the opening of, If Angels Fall, the book which introduces my ongoing series characters, San Francisco reporter Tom Reed and SFPD Homicide Inspector, Walt Sydowski.

I drew a lesson from that subway ride. By beginning with a seed of ‘truth’ I was able to shape a stronger story. It was in keeping with the old saw, that writers should write what they know.

You have contributed to many anthologies. How different if any is there to writing a short story versus a full length novel?

Stories are every bit as challenging because you’re struggling to convey and emotion in what amounts to an eye-blink of time compared with a novel.

I noticed that with your last two books, Vengeance Road, Six Seconds and your current novel, The Panic Zone that there is a trend. One of the three story lines in each book features a grieving mother. Was this intentional?

No, it just happened.

You have written many novels. Of all the novels you have written who is your favorite character…Tom Reed, Jason Wade or Jack Gannon? Why?

I like them all because they are in essence the same guy, various biographical shadings are at work with all of them.

I read in your author’s note in The Panic Zone that you were inspired by public records and accounts of people subject to experimentation without their consent. After you have found your inspiration do you find that writing the story comes along easily?

The inspiration is the fuel in my tank, so yes, with that fuel, when I know I am on solid ground, then I can work with more confidence.

For someone who has not read The Panic Zone yet, how would you describe this book?

The Panic Zone concerns the story of Emma Lane, an anguished mother from Wyoming who refuses to believe her baby died in a tragic car crash. Jack Gannon, a relentless wire service reporter from New York, joins her in the hunt for a perfect killer whose trail leads around the world in a race against time. The Panic Zone is the second book in the Jack Gannon series. Thriller fans met Gannon in the first book in the series, Vengeance Road when it was released in 2009. The prestigious International Thriller Writers (ITW) has named Vengeance Road a finalist for a 2010 Thriller Award in the category of Best Paperback Original.

What is the best experience you had writing The Panic Zone?

Letting my characters rest once I wrote: “the end”.

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