Neil Plakcy writes mystery and M/M romance novels. His most recent books are Love on the Pitch and The Sea Between Us, both from Loose Id, and Children of Noah, a Mahu Investigation published by MLR.
He is an assistant professor of English at Broward College in South Florida, and has been a construction manager, a computer game producer, and a web developer – all experiences he uses in his fiction. His research includes a great deal of time spent on South Beach talking to good-looking younger men.
CC: How do you write?
NP: I have to compose at a keyboard. My parents sent me to learn typing during the summer after sixth grade, and I’m still a pretty speedy typist. My thoughts come way too fast for my crummy handwriting! And I love the freedom of jumping into a story anywhere, then cutting and pasting things as I figure out exactly where the story starts. I remember too many of those half-typed sheets I had to pull out and throw away because I had to start over again.
CC: Where do you write?
NP: I’m a coffee shop kind of guy and I believe in routine. So almost every day I get myself out of the house and a few blocks away to the neighborhood Starbucks, where I feel like a character on “Cheers” as the baristas call out “Hi, Neil!” I’m able to block out the music and the chatter and the smell of roasting coffee and focus on what I’m writing. (And I don’t have dogs nosing at me wanting to play or go out!)
CC: Where do you get your ideas?
NP: A lot of my ideas come from observation. I’m always writing down bumper stickers and T-shirt slogans and character descriptions. Then those notes often lead me to thinking about characters and situations. A lot of the neighbors I see when walking the dogs have found their way into my books—though of course changed around to suit the story.
CC: Is there a genre you haven’t written, but would like to explore?
NP: In my teen years I read a ton of adult fantasy—Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and Evangeline Walton in particular. I’ve never written anything truly fantastical, though I have created a genie private eye named Biff Andromeda. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of post-apocalyptic stuff, and I have a book like that in the works.
CC: What was the first thing you ever wrote?
NP: I was searching my last name in an online newspaper archive and discovered a story I had published in the local paper when I was about seven or eight. It’s absolutely awful, about kidnapped twins and cats, and makes no sense whatsoever.
CC: How do you choose names for your characters?
NP: I have a couple of those “name your baby” books—my favorite is one that is divided by ethnic backgrounds. I find that a name can give you so much direction in developing a character. I find that too often characters in books and stories have very generic WASP-y sort of names like “John Anderson” and while there’s nothing wrong with that I love ethnic names that reflect the melting pot where I grew up, surrounded by Italians, Poles, Jews, Greeks, Germans and so on.
Check back next week, when we learn more about Dee Aditya.