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Crime Journalist to Thriller Author—30 Novels and Counting

By K.L. Romo

What kind of novel would you expect a former crime journalist to write? A thriller, of course. And with EVERYTHING SHE FEARED, bestselling author Rick Mofina does not disappoint.

How can a mother believe her nine-year-old daughter might be a killer? And how far will she go to protect her? That’s the chilling premise that Mofina uses to create a tension-filled, terrifying story that’s every mother’s worst nightmare.

Thirty-one-year-old Sara Harmon is no stranger to hard work. When her kind husband, Nathaniel, died, she’d returned to her hometown of Seattle and the Jet Town Diner. For years now, she’s worked as a server at Jet Town, barely making ends meet. She gives her daughter, Katie, everything she can, and today, she’s happy Katie can take part in a wilderness field trip with the Sunny Days day camp.

Sara’s world implodes when she reads a terrifying text from a friend—“there’s been a terrible incident.” Sara learns Katie was the last person to see her babysitter, Anna Shaw, alive before Anna fell to her death from a cliff. Sara is terrified that, somehow, Katie might be involved. After all, the incident is eerily similar to what happened before.

King County Sheriff’s Detective Kim Pierce leads the investigative team. Her colleagues are ready to declare Anna’s death an accident or suicide, but Kim isn’t so sure. Something about Katie unsettles her. Not only does she suspect Katie is hiding something, but she thinks Sara is as well.

Rick Mofina

Kim’s instincts are right. There’s a dark truth in their past that Sara will do anything to hide.

Mofina’s tale captures every parent’s terrifying fear that their child could be capable of committing heinous crimes. And are psychopaths created by nature or nurture? Mofina weaves these insidious thoughts and the struggle between good and evil into a story that will leave readers anxious with the possibilities.

Here, Mofina talks to The Big Thrill about how his previous career as a crime reporter informs his books, why he asks readers to consider the unthinkable, and the moral battle between doing what’s right and protecting those you love.

What was your inspiration for the story in EVERYTHING SHE FEARED?

I drew on several elements for the story. I looked at actual cases of people who committed terrible acts throughout history and considered their children. It presented a question: what would it be like to live your life knowing your parent(s) were evil?

How have your experiences as a crime reporter informed the story? 

As a reporter, I often had to “secret” undisclosed documents or records often obtained through the Freedom of Information Act law. Often those documents were redacted. Other times, sources would supply me with records. I had to intricately search through them—like a prospector panning for gold—to find the story buried in the records. I brought that experience into play in the book, letting the reader search for gold with my characters.

From back in the day, late 1990s. Journalist Rick Mofina on assignment in Kuwait, sits on Russian built Iraqi tank in the tank graveyard in Kuwait City. (Credit Mike Sturk)

What about the battle between a mother’s instinctual need to protect her child and the possibility of her child committing a horrible crime?

At the heart of the battle is the moral, psychological, and emotional conflict to do what’s right when faced with an overwhelming horror. I didn’t just want to dramatize the scenario; I wanted to dissect it and draw the reader into the battle as well.

What about the age-old question of whether nature or nurture forms a person’s character? What if someone is the child of serial killers? 

Exactly. This is the big “what-if” at the heart of the story. How does a person reconcile their life, and all that comes with it, when they know the evil nature in their bloodline?

Also Rick Mofina 2020, researching novel in Las Vegas, Nevada, near Las Vegas FBI field office.

What advice can you give other writers? 

If you know in your heart that you are a writer with stories to tell, you must never give up. Keep at it. Write every day, read every day. Above all, have faith in yourself, because in the end it’s just you; you, who—to steal from Faulkner—have to create something where nothing existed before.

Can you share a teaser about your next novel?

Only that it will be a domestic psychological thriller, set against recent events with lots of twists, turns, and suspense.

Tell us something about yourself your fans might not already know.

Visiting the Dickens house in London, I was alone in his writing room where they keep the first edition of A Christmas Carol. I wanted to take it home. Unfortunately for me, the museum secured it in a glass case.

K. L. Romo
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