I had the privilege of asking author Rick Mofina a few questions about his writing process and plans for future publications after reading his newest thriller, Free Fall (#4 in the Kate Page series), which is out today! If you missed my review you can find it HERE. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a copy of Free Fall HERE! Free Fall, along with Rick Mofina’s other books, are available for purchase at AMAZON and BARNES AND NOBLE.
RICK MOFINA INTERVIEW:
1) Where did the initial inspiration for Kate Page’s character come from? Is any aspect of her personality inspired by a real person/people?
No, not any one person. In my time as a reporter working in newsrooms I got to know and meet a lot of reporters. The women I met were among the best in journalism from across Canada, the U.S., Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Australia and the Middle East. I not only learned from them, I drew upon their life stories, their work ethic, their investigative skills, their quirks, habits, — the pen tappers, the gum chewers, the soft-talkers and those who could be righteously intimidating — to create Kate. I also drew upon the women in my life who were not reporters, but are moms, cops, paramedics, lawyers, criminals, survivors, you name it.
2) Free Fall had such a realistic plot and feel to it; what sort of research went into making the story feel authentic?
I wanted the avionics and navigation systems for Free Fall to ring true, I read several books on airline disasters, I studied federal investigation reports into airline accidents issued by officials in several countries, I studied the exam questions for aviation engineers at MIT, to ensure things sounded right, and I sought the help of a former NTSB accident investigator. With a background in reporting, I’m inclined to ensure my stories, especially this one, are grounded in reality. I mean credible fiction evolves from the truth. Still, you have to constantly measure the research you put into the story to avoid overwhelming the reader. You could say Free Fall does drift into the realm of a techno-thriller, but the technical information is key to the detective work propelling all the characters, who’ve been carefully drawn. Once you build a good technical foundation, then you can let the characters, with all of their dimensions, grapple with the “what-if” cards while time ticks down on them.
3) As a writer, do you have a specific format or any particular methods on outlining and writing your stories to keep your plot lines straight? Any tips for up and coming writers on how to best utilize their time and resources?
I outline and I carve out the time to write. This is something I’m passionate about. You have to realize that, no courses, no writing groups, no apps, or computer programs, and no advice, will ever write the book for you. Books are not written by support groups or by committee. They are largely a solitary journey. You take a leap of faith, believe in yourself, be serious about the enterprise, make the time and get the job done.
When in doubt, walk through your local library or book store and see all those titles as confirmation that this is a mortal effort. Others have done it and so can you, if you’re serious.
In addition to writing thrillers, I have a full-time day job, so I have a fairly regular routine I’ve followed ever since I got my first publishing contract. I go to bed early and get up about 3:00 a.m., it takes me a while to fully wake. When I do, I review the previous days work and notes I’ve made. I’ll make new notes. Then by 5:45 I start my one-hour bus commute to my office. By then I’m usually fully awake and working hard on new notes on scenes, storylines and where the chapter should go. At work, I put those notes away and repeat the routine on the commute home. Then in the evening, after supper, I’ll take a walk and review the story in my head, then do whatever research I need in the early evening before knocking off and watching some TV. At bedtime, I’ll review and make notes again and read whatever research material I need to read before I go to sleep. I do this 5 days a week. On weekends, I’ll turn those notes into chapters. I usually work all morning, take a walk at lunch and work a bit more in the afternoon before closing the shop. By the time the weekends arrive I usually know where I’m going and what I need to do with the book. There are days I’m exhausted and would like to take a weekend off, but I can’t lose the time. I’ve got a contractual obligation to meet a deadline with the absolute best I can give. The notes I’ve made during the week are invaluable. I will also write when I’m on the road to conferences/book events. I may not get a lot done but I find it is critical that I “stay in the book”. So I’ll read and work on notes in pre-boarding, on the flight, early in the morning in the hotel. If I have time and it’s going well, I’ll stay in my room for much of the morning and work. I always try to plan ahead so I always know, or have a good idea on where the story is going, what’s needed next, that sort of thing. I will refer to my outline. I am a plotter. I’ve always been a plotter. In fact, my publishers prefer to buy into an outline, then I use it as reference. For me they’ve run from seven to sixty pages, it is up to me. That’s my process. The outline is not the book. There will be changes, but the outline does serve as a guide when I’m lost. However, I can abandon it when I know exactly the detour I need to take. This process has served me well. I am now starting my 22nd thriller.
4) What is the future looking like for Kate and her series? Are there any stories you have been working on for the future and can you share a little about them?
Kate will take a well-earned hiatus. Meanwhile, I’ve just completed, Before Sunrise, a short, dark novel that will be released as an eBook in the months ahead. I’m now working on big standalone thriller that might be out in late 2017, or early 2018. I’m happy that my entire backlist is available as e-Books and new readers are discovering them every day.
5) What is one little known fact about yourself (preferably random or strange)?
While on a reporting assignment in Africa, I visited a village outside of Addis Ababa where I was bitten by a small dog. Just a nick, really, but it drew a little blood. Later, back in Addis, I was told by a doctor at my hotel that the region was something like a 90% risk zone for rabies (one of the highest in the world at the time) and I was taken to a clinic for shots. I was fine, but I used the experience as part of the inspiration for my thriller, The Panic Zone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rick Mofina is a former crime reporter and the award-winning author of several acclaimed thrillers. He’s interviewed murders face-to-face on death row and patrolled with the LAPD and the RCMP. His true crime articles have appeared in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Reader’s Digest, and Penthouse. He’s reported from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, Qatar and Kuwait’s border with Iraq. Visit his website at http://www.RickMofina.com.