Monday, September 27, 2010

9mm: An interview with Rick Mofina

Welcome to the latest instalment in Crime Watch's ongoing series of author interviews; 9mm - 9 MurderMystery questions put to a variety of New Zealand and international crime, thriller, and mystery authors.

Today I thought I would share my recent 9mm interview with a ‘cool Canadian crime’ writer, award-winning thriller novelist Rick Mofina, who grew up in Bellevue, Ontario and now lives in Ottawa, but has travelled the world in between as part of his pre-novelist life as a journalist. As his website bio says, his freelance crime stories have appeared around the world in such publications as The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Marie Claire, The South China Morning Post magazine and The Moscow Times. He’s also written for the UK’s Sunday Telegraph. His reporting has put him face-to-face with murderers on death row in Montana and Texas. He 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. He has reported from the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East.

Mofina has written 11 thrillers since his debut IF ANGELS FALL in 2000, has won and been shortlisted for several prestigious awards, received high praise from his peers, like Michael Connelly, James Patterson, and Jeffery Deaver, and is a popular panellist at various crime writing conventions. Having kept an eye on some awards lists over the years, I had heard of Mofina, but until recently hadn’t read any of his work.

Canadian crime writers, like their New Zealand and Australian counterparts, are often a little harder to find in overseas markets, no matter how good the quality of their writing and storytelling. Having spent time in Canada in 2008, I know that there are many great crime writers there that I struggle to find on booksellers’ shelves down this way, just as the opposite is true too (ie Kiwi crime writers will be hard to find in Canadian bookstores).

Fortunately, some of Mofina’s books have recently been released in New Zealand, and last week I read his first ‘Jason Wade’ tale, THE DYING HOUR. I picked this up at lunchtime on Wednesday, and ended up finishing it by the next day, immediately picking up the next Wade tale, EVERY FEAR, and reading all of that before Friday morning as well. So the phrases ‘page-turner’ and ‘gripping’ will certainly be top of mind when I write some reviews.

You can read more about Rick Mofina and his books at his website here, and at the Crime Writers of Canada website here.

But for now, Rick Mofina stares down the barrel of 9mm.


The Crime Watch 9mm Author Interview: Rick Mofina

Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
Well, he's not recurring, but I am fond of Kinderman, the Washington, D.C., detective William Peter Blatty created in The Exorcist, who re-appeared in Legion. Too many people overlook the masterful job Blatty did in breathing life into that guy, who afterall was chasing the greatest villain of all time.

What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
Paddle To The Sea, a children's adventure because took my imagination hostage. I think it was a masterpiece.

Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
I was a fulltime journalist at a newspaper. I sold freelance true-crime stories to The New York Times, Reader's Digest, Penthouse and The South China Morning Post. I also wrote a few short stories.

Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
Kick back and watch movies. I love having a story unfold before my eyes. I am a sucker for 1950s Sci-Fi classics, like THEM!

What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?
Visiting the original jail where they used to hang criminals. It's now a youth hostel in downtown Ottawa, Canada.

If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
Ethan Hawke.

Of your books, which is your favourite, and why?
All of them because I love them all equally.

What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a bookseller’s shelf?
I was with my, wife, our son and daughter when we walked into a big chain books store and saw it on the shelf. It was quiet moving, we all just sort of stood there because well my mother had passed away only a short time before. She never saw the first one, or an advance copy. So seeing it there, took me back to when I was a kid and she'd encouraged me to write, bought me my first typewriter, a portable manual Royal.

What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
This young man came up to me at my signing table and wanted a signed book to his wife, but wanted me to write: "I'm so sorry for making you mad and and I hope you --"I stopped before I started and said, "I'll sign it and you can make the apologies."


Thank you Rick Mofina. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk with Crime Watch.

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So what do you think of this 9mm interview? Have you read any of Rick Mofina’s books? The Jason Wade series? Tom Reed/Walt Sydowski series (Mofina’s first five books)? The new Jack Gannon series? What do you think? What do you think of Canadian-written crime in general? Which cool Canadian crime writers would you recommend? Thoughts and comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Craig - Thanks so much for this interview. I have to agree with Rick Mofina that Blatty did a great job creating Kinderman. The rest of the interview was enjoyable, too.

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