Author Interview

RICK MOFINA: A SNEAK PEEK

By Sandra Ruttan


Sandra: Your new book is just out, yes?

Rick: It’s launched away in Canada, it’ll be launched in September in the US… It’s been a busy year.

Sandra: There’s a lot of things that go into being an author that people don’t always think about starting out. You’ve got a family, a job, you’re doing all this traveling for promotion. How do you find time to write?

Rick: You do what you can. My family affords me the luxury of time. My wife goes beyond the call of duty. It’s just become part of our routine that I pretty much use most of the weekend. The mornings I’m locked away down here, and during the commute. I’m up very early so I’m making notes very early in the morning and by the time I wake up during the commute I’m making very coherent notes. And those notes are key points that lead to sentences that lead to paragraphs and the writing is done on the weekends.

Or sometimes in the morning if I’m sharp enough and the adrenaline’s going when I’m over the hill in a book. For me, it’s always a process. The foundation has to come. When I know that’s rock solid then I can accelerate things.

Sandra: Does that mean you’re one of those people that doesn’t pre-plot the book?

Rick: I have to. I outline because in my experience publishers buy the outline. They make the deal on the basis of the outline, and it can be anywhere from five pages to fifty pages. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to stick to it to the letter but it gives them a summary and a good idea of what you’re shooting for. So you pretty much have to have the whole book in your mind and an idea of what the characters are going through. That way, when you go to them and pitch it to them it’s an artist’s concept and then you go to town on it. So that helps you and you can take your little outline and stretch it into a detailed plan if you like and things will change. I just let my publisher be aware. There was something I wanted to change and we discussed it and they agreed. Just so they knew for planning purposes.

Sandra: Way back when, I think in one of the interviews I read with you, it said you wrote your first book when you were 18, was it?

Rick: Oh, yeah. That was not… Geez. I had hitchhiked to California and kept a journal and then thought I’d try my hand at my first novel. I wrote about the experience – it was loosely based on my experience – and went the distance, actually finished a dreadful first novel of wanderlust, just at the end of the hippie days. I sort of missed that period.

I went from Belleville Ontario, which is near Toronto, right across to Vancouver and down the coast to San Francisco. I wrote about it. There was no outline and the only person who liked it was my younger brother.

It promptly went in the drawer. It’s around here somewhere. It’s not bad. There’s actual sentences in there.

But the trip itself, and the fact I did the novel, I went alone and it’s a lonely trip and the book is a lonely enterprise.

I did plan the first book that was published and I had lots of time to work on that and then I had ideas for other books. I learned in my experience that outlining was what the publishers wanted. That’s how the other books came. They had to be planned.

Sandra: It always helps if that works for you.

Rick: That’s how the deals are done, in my experience. A multi-book deal without outlines might come for some writers.

Well, the current deal is a two-book deal and the first one was outlined and second one was to be named, but they’ll go forward based on the outline.

Sandra: When you negotiated this deal did you have your idea already for the second book?

Rick: No, but it was thrown open. Maybe I’ve told you Sandra, A Perfect Grave is the last book I’ll be doing with Pinnacle.

Sandra: I was aware of that. You’re moving over to MIRA.

Rick: Yeah, I’m moving to MIRA. Amy Moore-Benson, my agent, did a great job shopping it around. The plan was to write a standalone outline and I wrote two or three possibilities. It took a long time planning them. She had one from me that she felt was fine, perfect, but felt had been done by others so she said we should set that aside and I didn’t feel a fire for that one either. I had another idea, so I did another 50-page outline and it was a little different. She said, “This is the one” and I said, “Are you sure? It can be tricky in spots.” But she said it was the one. So she shopped that one. She took it to publishers and offered them that one and a second book to be named later and MIRA took the outline for the standalone, which I’m now working on. I’m 40% of the way through the first draft.

The second book, they want to be a series book. Now, the second book… I own the license to the Jason Wade series and they loved that series because they auditioned me when they were ready to go on the deal and read The Dying Hour and that was the clincher. They said we could either continue with Jason Wade or launch a whole new series. The decision was made just recently that we’ll…

What does the future hold for Rick Mofina and Jason Wade? In the fall issue of Spinetingler we’ll have the full interview, discussing Rick’s latest book, A Perfect Grave, the delicate task of portraying real journalists instead of the conventional stereotypes we see on TV, and talk more about Rick’s move to MIRA and the standalone. For more information about Rick Mofina visit his website at http://www.rickmofina.com


ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER

Sandra Ruttan’s debut suspense novel, Suspicious Circumstances, was released in January, 2007. For more information about Sandra visit her website


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