Here are a few questions I had for Rick Mofina author of The Panic Zone:
1. There are so many plot lines going on, was there any specific case that inspired The Panic Zone? Well, with this book, I recalled reading a news story years ago about a mother whose baby died in a house fire - was incinerated with nothing left.
For years the mother had always believed in her heart that her baby was alive somewhere. Somehow later a child surfaced and DNA proved it was her child and they were reunited. I think the story was that the baby had been abducted from her crib during the fire, or something. Anyway, I thought of that when I created my fictional mother.
2. How much of your own experiences as a former crime reporter inspired the character of Jack Gannon? I was a working at the Calgary Herald when Columbine broke and I was dispatched to cover the story -- told to get on the next plane to Denver with nothing but a laptop and a credit card -- to buy what I needed in Colorado.
My stomach was in knots at the magnitude. When I left, the fear was 10 deaths. When I landed in Denver, President Clinton was on the airport TVs offering condolences and the fear was 25 dead. My knees nearly buckled. I drew upon that tension for Jack Gannon, when he's dispatched from New York to fly to Rio de Janeiro to cover the breaking story of a cafe bombing -- I used my experience of being thrown into chaos with a deadline clock ticking.
In Jamaica I was doing a story on the murky background of an ex-Jamaican cop who murdered a police officer in Canada. I rode in the back of a pickup with Jamaica's anti-drug task force on drug raids in the slums of Kingston. As our vehicles marshalled and the cops locked and loaded these two white guys in dark glasses materialized and asked: Who are you? Reporter, I said. Who are you? – We're not here, they said.
Later one of the cops beside me told me the strangers were CIA working on something. It stayed with me and got me thinking about the ghost work carried out in exotic places and worked some of it into The Panic Zone.
3. Who are some of your favorite crime authors? Do you take inspiration from other writers? There are so many. William Peter Blatty, I liked his character, Detective Kinderman, James M. Cain and Thomas Harris.
4. The ending sounds like there is more in store for Jack Gannon. Do you have his next adventure planned out? Absolutely, check out IN DESPERATION when it is released in April 2011.