Author of the Month

Rick Mofina [aug 2011]
Chosen by MyShelf.com reviewer/columnist Bev Rowe


  
What an exciting day when I received a copy of Rick Mofina's latest thriller in the mail. It's called In Desperation, and true to it's name, things really get desperate before the very satisfying climax. I have been a Rick Mofina fan for a number of years, and I chose him as the author of the month for August. You can always count on his books to give you a thrilling and entertaining story. Rick comes to us from Canada, but his books take place all over the world in settings that are realistic and bad guys that are truly bad....and the stories will keep you reading until you finish in the wee-small hours.

Interview:

Bev: Rick, the bio on your web page reads like a great adventure story tell us about your journey to publication.

Rick: For me, writing has been a lifelong affliction. My urge to write reaches back to my earliest years when my mother read bedtime stories to me. She drew me into worlds that were sketched by the writer's words and brought to life in my imagination. This was wild magic.

It had captivated me with such intensity that I was compelled to craft my own fiction based on the real things I'd observed. Like how my mother smiled when my father came home and handed me his big lunch bucket, with one cookie left in it for me. Or the way his hands were creased with fine threads of dried concrete as he unlaced his heavy work boots. I observed the world I was in, and then created fictional worlds based on what I saw. Eventually my parents bought me a typewriter and one thing led to another which led to the sale of my first short story for $60.00 to a magazine in New Jersey. My father stared at that check for a long time, trying to make sense of what had transpired. At age 15, I was a professional writer. Or so it seemed. There was a lot to come; high school, university, marriage, a family and a career as a news reporter, which laid the foundation for me to become the author of several thrillers.

 

Bev: I love your character, Jack Gannon....how much of him is autobiographical? Tell us about that character.

Rick: I think the reporting aspects and growing up blue collar could be regarded autobiographical. I never had a sister but like Jack I grew up a blue-collar kid, but unlike Jack, not in Buffalo, New York. Jack's mother worked as a waitress, (so did my mom) his father worked in a rope factory (I worked in a rope factory). Jack's parents were newspaper readers, a trait they'd passed to him. Being a reporter was all he ever wanted. His older sister Cora nurtured his dream ( don't have an older sister) She encouraged him to write. They were close but Cora started taking drugs, grew apart from her family until the day she ran away. Her friends said she'd gone to California with an older guy who was a heroin addict. Gannon's family looked for Cora but never saw her again. Cora was out of their lives.

Or was dead.

After Cora left Gannon worked on assembly lines in Buffalo factories to put himself through college because his parents had spent their savings looking for Cora. Gannon reported for the campus paper and free-lanced articles to The Buffalo Sentinel. All the while, he yearned to escape Buffalo for New York City and a job with a big news outlet. After college he landed an internship with the Sentinel. Impressed by his determination, the paper gave him a full-time reporting job. Gannon thought the Sentinel would be his stepping stone out of Buffalo. His talent was tested when a charter jet en route to Moscow from Chicago plunged into Lake Erie. Gannon found a Russian-speaking man in the Sentinel's mail room. They worked the phones and the Internet, locating the pilot's brother who gave them the pilot's last email, detailing his plan to commit suicide by crashing his jet because his wife had left him for another woman. Gannon's story led to a Pulitzer nomination. He didn't win but he got a job offer in New York City with the World Press Alliance, the global wire service. His dream had come true. Then fate intervened. A week after the offer came, his mother and father died in a car accident. Gannon was in no shape to do anything and declined the New York offer. The New York job never materialized and in Vengeance Road we meet Gannon working at the Sentinel, a dying newspaper in a troubled industry, where he refuses to give up on his dream of escaping to Manhattan and reporting for a world-class wire service.

 

Bev: Some authors just start writing with no particular plot in mind, and others start with a complete plot. Tell us about your writing methods, and what your working day is like.

Rick: I always outline first. I take an idea I like and expand it into an outline with a beginning middle and end. Then I set out to write the draft, knowing that the story may change along the way as it comes to life. I rise about 4:00 am and review my previous day's writing for 30-45 minutes. Then during my 30-40 minute commute by bus to my full time day job as a communications advisor, I make notes in long hand in the journal I create for the work in progress. I let those notes gestate in my subconscious during the day. On the return commute, I revisit the journal and update my notes. If I have enough energy in the evening, I will try to draft a few new sentences, or go for an evening walk with my notebook before knocking for the evening to watch TV and relax a bit. A bed time, I will review my journal notes and make new ones. On the weekends, I sleep in until about 6:00 a.m. I'll work in my home office turning my notes into sentences and paragraphs that grow into chapters. If I am travelling, I'll take my laptop and attempt to work while waiting for flights, aboard jets, in hotels during down time. I adhere to this routine, but it is only possibly because my family accommodates it. I am very blessed that way.

 

Bev: Of all the books you have written, which is your favorite and why?

Rick: I love them all. The each presented challenges. I worked hard on all of them. So no, no favorites.

 

Bev: Six Seconds was one of my first Mofina books...the assassination plot to kill the pope was a fresh new take on crime fiction, with a completely unexpected ending. Was it grounded in an actual event?

Rick: Six Seconds took shape by refining a number of unrelated scenes, dramas and events I had observed during my time as a reporter; such as the heart-wrenching anguish of interviewing a mother whose child had vanished. Then there was the time I was on assignment in Nigeria, not long after the September 11 attacks. I was in Abuja where I saw a boy in a slum wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with Osama bin Laden’s picture and message calling him #1 Hero. On that African trip I also visited Ethiopia where I watched old women, who lived in some of the harshest conditions on earth, weaving fabric on a loom in the slums of Addis Ababa. Prior to that, I was in the Gulf where I talked to British aid workers, and at Kuwait’s border with Iraq; I also visited the tank graveyard in Kuwait city. I talked to peacekeepers from Canada concerned about the toll land mines were taking on children who plucked them from the dunes.

And I’ll never forget the big-city homicide detective back home who confided that he was haunted by the case he couldn't clear. I also remembered years back, when Pope John Paul II visited my city where I was attending university. I went out to see him and met an international student who joked about assassination as the papal entourage passed by our group near the campus.

It got me thinking. What if I took these elements and twisted them into fictional threads that were all connected? What if ordinary people from different parts of the world became ensnared by extraordinary events that could alter history as a clock ticked down on them? Suppose it all came down to six seconds?

 

Bev: Are there any plans to make your earlier books available as e-books? I find that I am increasingly addicted to my Kindle...

Rick: Yes, we are working on publishing my backlist in E-format but it takes time. All of my newer titles are available as E-books. The list is on my website www.rickmofina.com

 

Bev: Tell us about the next Jack Gannon Book.

Rick: It is called The Burning Edge. The story concerns Lisa Palmer, a single mother and supermarket cashier from Queens, N.Y, who becomes an eyewitness to murder. Lisa has barely recovered from the sudden death of her husband and is struggling with the reality of raising two children alone when she is drawn into a new nightmare. On her way home from selling her family's cabin in upstate New York, Lisa stops at a service center minutes before an armored car heist. Four men are executed before her eyes—one of them an off-duty FBI agent Lisa tried in vain to help. She becomes the FBI's secret witness and the key to finding the fugitive killers. FBI agent Frank Morrow leads the investigation of the high-profile case. Hiding a very personal secret, Frank knows this assignment will be like no other he’s ever faced. And it could be his last. At the same time, Jack Gannon chases down the elusive thread of an anonymous tipster. With every instinct telling him the story is within his grasp, Jack gambles everything in his frantic race against time to reveal the chilling truth before the cold-blooded killers can enact the next stage of their vengeful mission.

 

Bev: Tell us about Dangerous Women & Desperate Men, your new E-only book.

Rick: It's a collection of four short stories of people on the brink.

1. Blood Red Rings -- After 24 years of putting his life on the line, Officer Frank Harper sees it all tick down to one defining moment in this soul-wrenching short story.

2. Lightning Rider --Twenty-six year-old Jessie Scout had endured a life steeped in pain. She had come to Las Vegas, a city of risk, not to gamble. But to collect. This short work won Canada's top literary prize for crime fiction, the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada.

3. Three Bullets To Queensland -- Ike Decker, a loss recovery agent, for the armored car industry, is a desperate man. He has a dream and the only thing in his way to realizing it is Paco Sanchez and $1.2 million in stolen cash.

4. As Long As We Both Shall Live -- Liz Dalton's world was coming apart but she refused to surrender. Presented in the format of a court transcript, this short work was named a finalist for Canada's top literary prize for crime fiction, the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada.

This anthology, Dangerous Women & Desperate Men. is available on Amazon.com for Kindle and Smashwords for most digital readers.

 

Bev: I am really looking forward to those two books, but do you have any plans to write more Jason Wade stories?

Rick: While it appears the Jason Wade trilogy is complete as a three-book series you should never say never. Jason has a lot of fans and he may be back one day.

 

Bev: Are there any other thoughts you would like to share with your fans at MyShelf.com?

Rick: Readers are the critical part of the business. Without you, a writer does not have a voice. Without you, a book is an untold tale. There are not enough words to thank you. If I can make people feel something on the page, I know my stories are primarily entertainment, but I like to go as deep as I can for what the genre is and what I’m offering. And if you feel something, some readers let me know if something’s really connected with them, then I know I’ve taken it a little deeper. So I try to give a thousand percent. I put everything I can into it. I know readers are going to invest their money, and their time, and I want to give you the absolute best. You expect perfection. When people lay their money down, you better deliver, and I feel the same way about my work, I know we all do, all my fellow authors. They’re all totally dedicated, we all get it, we may all come to it from different points, but we all get there. And at the center of it is the reader, and it’s gotta work for them or we’ve failed. I feel I’m in a privileged position and I want to maintain that every way I can. Every time I hear from a new reader, “Never heard of you before, I’ve just discovered your books.” I say great, that’s what I’m aiming for."

Bev: Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us...I'm really looking forward to the two new books you have coming out.


Review:

In Desperation
Rick Mofina
Mira/Harlequin
March 22, 2011
13: 978-0778329480
Mystery/Suspense
Amazon

Beverly J. Rowe


Journalist Jack Gannon's estranged sister, Cora, disappeared without a trace decades ago. Now she is frantically reaching out to him for help. If you have been a fan of the Jack Gannon series, it is a relief to finally learn what really caused Cora to abandon her little brother and just disappear.

Cora's eleven-year-old daughter, Tilly Martin is dragged from her suburban bedroom. Cora is bound and gagged and warned that the kidnappers want their five million dollars back within five days, or Tilly dies. If anyone contacts the police....Tilly dies. The kidnappers are sure that Cora's boyfriend has stolen five million dollars from them.

Cora manages to loosen her bonds, and e-mail her brother, Jack. She has kept track of him over the years, and is sure that he is the only one who can help her. Jack is on assignment in Mexico, investigating the drug Cartels, but flies to the aid of his sister.

The complicated plot lines in this thriller take you from San Francisco, to Phoenix, to Mexico and back again. Cora is anxious to assist in the investigation, except for the one thing she must never tell, it may be the only secret keeping her daughter alive.

A twenty year old man seeks absolution and relief from the haunting faces of people that he has executed for the Cartel and confesses to a priest before departing to commit his final assassination.

I started this book, knowing full well that I would not be able to put it down until I came to the mind-blowing climax. I was not disappointed. You can count on Mofina to provide you with non-stop exciting entertainment.


Website:

www.rickmofina.com

2011's Honorary List

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