Crime writer Rick Mofina on conquering the self-doubt demon
Rick Mofina's former career as a journalist and crime reporter helped inform the author's 17 best-selling and award-winning books. His novel Full Tilt is a disturbing thriller that opens with the police discovery of an underground labyrinth of "confinement rooms."
Below, Rick Mofina answers eight questions submitted by eight of his fellow writers in the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A.
1. Lorna Crozier asks, "If you could write in any room anywhere in the world, besides your own writing room, where would that be? Please describe it."
I visited the Hemingway home in Key West, Florida a few times. His writing room on the second story of the pool house was inviting. It overlooked the pool with large glass-free windows to catch the breezes as they rolled through the palm trees. Looked like a wonderful place to write.
2. Charlotte Gill asks, "What is your Kryptonite?"
Self-doubt and junk food.
3. William Deverell asks, "Is there a surfeit of published books in Canada? Are too many authors competing for diminishing returns?"
No. A good storyteller will always find an audience, even in a crowd.
4. Charlotte Gray asks, "Do you think creative writing courses encourage or discourage originality?"
They're great if your goal is to create by committee. I prefer to work alone and always have. Writing is a solitary pursuit. To me, these courses are an excuse for procrastination and a substitute for self-confidence. Stay home and get the job done. That's just me. Others who swear by them have produced great work.
5. Pasha Malla asks, "Who is one writer, living or dead, you wish could edit or critique your drafts?"
F. Scott Fitzgerald. The man's talent was breathtaking. Alcohol was his downfall but he knew the craft. Read his notebooks.
6. Kim Thúy asks, "Have you ever fallen in love with a character from your own book?"
Love is a strong word. Some characters have given me trouble, others have given me joy. I'd say I'm friends with most of them.
7. Greg Hollingshead asks, "What role does self-doubt play in your life as a writer?"
Self-doubt is the demon to be conquered each time out. I try to bear in mind two quotes; the first from Shakespeare: "Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." The second is from Churchill: "Never quit, never, never, never."
8. Kate Pullinger asks, "Is there anything in your own life that you would never write about?"
Yes, and that's all I have to say on the matter.