Friday, February 20, 2015


1. Who has influenced you the most in your writing career?

Sister Mary from St. Michael’s Academy who taught me grammar in the 7th Grade with the intensity of a drill sergeant. We feared her. She numbered our seats, called us by our last names and smacked our desktops with a yardstick to ensure we paid attention to the examples she’d written on the board; demanding we identify subject and predicate. I remember how she once stared at me and said: “Mofina, one day you’ll thank me.”

2.What are you working on now?

Going through edits of my next book, EVERY SECOND, which is due for release later in 2015.

3. In what ways is your main protagonist like you? If at all?

I’m a former reporter and most of my main protagonists are reporters. I draw on my experience to get into their heads.

4. Are you character driven or plot driven?

Both. You need a sympathetic character and you need them to face challenges that will re-define them.

5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?


6. What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?

That feeling you get when you just step off a mid-way thrill ride.

7. Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years?

I really don’t know.

8. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?

I’d prefer not to say. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

9. What do you like to read for pleasure?

The notes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, especially his essays in The Crack-Up.

10. Give us a summary of your latest book in a Tweet

Screams in the Night
, a gut-wrenching call and a reporter's life-long search for her missing sister.

Rick Mofina is a former journalist who has worked in newsroom across Canada. He's also reported from the Caribbean, Africa and Kuwait's border with Iraq. His books have been published in nearly 30 countries. The Crime Writers of Canada, The International Thriller Writers and The Private Eye Writers of America have listed his titles among the best in crime fiction. As two-time winner of Canada's Arthur Ellis Award, a three-time Thriller Award nominee and a two-time Shamus Award nominee, the Library Journal calls him, “One of the best thriller writers in the business."

Friday, February 13, 2015


Time for this month's question once again. You may have forgotten at this point that it all started back last spring when four local mystery authors, Barbara Fradkin, R.J. Harlick, Mary Jane Maffini, and Linda Wiken were panelists at a Capital Crime Writers' workshop at the Ottawa Public Library. We had a great time but we also had a great stack of questions and by the end of our time, hadn't gotten through many of them. So, we're tackling them now. One a month. Sometimes we're all able to take part but at other times life interfers -- things like deadlines or even, holidays! -- so this week we're a threesome. Here's the question and our answers follow:

Protagonist, sidekick, villain -- which do you prefer to write?


I am most at home with the protagonist. The protagonist carries your values and is the person the reader cares about (if all goes well) but really, the sidekicks (quirky, irritating or whatever) and the villains (over the top, vengeful, evil, again whatever) are much more fun to write. Especially villains because you can get rid of them at the end of a book. Begone!


This may turn out to be another question with total agreement. I find the protagonist the easiest to write, especially in a series, because the author has to get into his or her psyche right off the bat and that expands over time. And, if you're going together on a long journey of several books, this should be someone you like. Unless you're writing an anti-hero, it's not difficult to come up with a likeable character. Writing the villain can be liberating with an outlet for any deep-seated neuroses. :) No one would ever attribute those to the author's personality! The sidekick is the most fun because this person gets to be sympathetic, empathetic, play the role of a sounding board, and give the protagonist a good kick in the rear when necessary. Everyone need a reliable sidekick.


Villains let us plumb our dark side and misbehave outrageously. It’s a great way for us writers, who are usually gentle, law-abiding, pacifist souls, to kick loose and be bad. Sidekicks are steadfast, smart and loyal, the friend we wish we could have at our side. But it is the protagonist who really holds our heart. When I write, even though I use multiple points of view, the protagonist is the one in whose shoes I walk and whose feelings and passions I share. Not only do I have to care about my protagonist and all the ordeals I am subjecting them to, but in order to spend months or years in their company, I have to enjoy them too.

Friday, February 6, 2015


By Catherine Macdonald

Turn-of-the-century Winnipeg seems the perfect backdrop for this first mystery from a Manitoban with a background in history. Then toss in an unusual sleuth in the form of the Reverend Charles Lauchlan, some very unsavory behavior from the town’s leading citizens, a touch of romance, and of course, murder.

For the Reverend, the challenges in his life are provided by tending to his Presbyterian flock and trying to juggles repairs to the church along with limited funds. But all that changes when his former university roommate, Peter McEvoy is arrested for murder. McEvoy’s once-promising future has disintegrated to alcoholism, gambling and sleazy bars. Then he’s arrested for the murder of one of the city’s most prominent citizens. Only McEvoy can’t remember what happened.

Lauchlan agrees to be responsible once bail is granted. He doesn’t believe his friend, even in a booze-induced state, could do such a thing and that draws him into a quest for the real murderer. Fortunately, Sergeant Andrew Setter of the Winnipeg Police agrees and they form an unusual alliance in searching for the truth. As Lauchlan gets more emotionally attached to the daughter of his former teacher and mentor, her relationship with the son of the dead man’s business partner draws them both into that family’s darkest secrets. And, as time runs out for McEvoy, Lauchlan ends up at the wrong end of a gun.

Catherine Macdonald spins a tale of power, greed and intrigue that is certain to keep the reader engaged until the final pages. Put On The Armour of Light has all the right ingredients: a crime hidden under layers of assumptions; a time period that sets its own restrictions on investigations; and aroster of engaging characters, from the Reverend to the police office, to a female photographer used at crime scenes. That’s a terrific addition and she could probably spin out in her own series.

If you’re watching Granchester on PBS, you’ll want to read this book!