Ottawa author Rick Mofina draws on his experiences as a crime reporter for his novels. His 11th, The Panic Zone, hit store shelves this month.
We know you as an Ottawa thriller writer, but your books are set mostly everywhere else. Is this because there’s a limit to how much mayhem could reasonably occur in Ottawa, even in a novel?
Well, I just like the stories to travel. I travelled as a reporter and I think the reader likes a bit of a trip with the story as well, so I find it’s fun. It keeps it fresh for me.
Apart from your background, are there other good reasons why your main character tends to be a reporter?
It’s a good base for me to draw from. Most of my books have been reporter books, and I guess I’m comfortable there. I think what that structure lends itself to is also kind of unlimited, really. As you know, in the news business you can encounter everything and anything.
Jack Gannon is your third protagonist. How do you know when it’s time to retire a hero?
The short answer is you never really know. When you’re tired of the character I think is the first sign to retire them, when the author thinks that they’ve had enough.
Is there any chance of hearing from (past protagonists) Jason Wade or Tom Reed again?
There’s always a possibility but I think they’re kind of in the wings right now, to be honest. Jack has centre stage. Anything’s possible because the Wade books are just being released in the U.K. and Australia.
You’ve got book signings in Ottawa next week. How are those for you?
It’s just great to meet readers who’ve come out to the signings and say hello. I’m very well received here in Ottawa and I really enjoy it. I’m typically shy, but it’s kind of nice.
Are hometown readers different than those from elsewhere?
Yeah, I think there’s a sense of familiarity in that I share the same area code with everybody here. I have had, on one or two occasions, a person come up to me on the street and say, “Are you the author?” Only once or twice in a few years, though. I like being anonymous.