Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rush Job

I have bumped into Canadian novelist Rick Mofina several times over the last few years, including at ThrillerFest in New York and Bouchercon in Baltimore. In fact, Mofina and I were both judges for the International Thriller Writers’ (ITW) awards in 2006.

As far as his work goes, I’ve enjoyed the deft journalistic style Mofina brings to his thriller-writing. (2006’s Every Fear was a particularly engaging and terrifying reading experience.) While I was in Baltimore last fall, Mofina passed me an advance reader’s copy of Six Seconds, his latest thriller, coming out this month in the States from Mira Books (and due for release in Britain in April). In association with the debut of that paperback, Mofina is interviewed by Jeff Ayers in the ITW’s Big Thrill e-zine. When asked what sparked the idea for Six Seconds, Mofina replies:
Six Seconds is a standalone that 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 the 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 boarder with Iraq. I also 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. Then I 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?
Mofina also won an interview with Reuters news service. During his exchange with reporter Belinda Goldsmith, Mofina talks about the difficulties a novelist faces in trying to do everything:
Q: How do you find the time to write?

A: It does exact a toll on my home life. There are things I have missed because I write in the morning when I get up, I write notes on the bus, I write on weekends and on holidays. My wife and kids have just accommodated me in that way. When something important comes up I will set writing aside of course. I get up about 4 a.m. to 4.30 a.m. and by the time I am on the bus I am wide awake for the 45-minute commute and making notes. I really am a creature of ritual and habit and that is important for me.

Q: Do you still read a lot?

A: I try to, but it is usually for research. I try to read and stay on top of the genre but it is very difficult because before you were published you seemed to have more time to read.

Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?

A: I always say don’t make excuses, make sentences. If you have a television in your home then you have time to write.
Would you like to sample what Six Seconds has in store? Click here for a book video, and read more about this quiet Canadian from The Romantic Times.

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