Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mystery Author Neil Plakcy on Why He Writes

Today, I'm thrilled to give you successful mystery author, Neil Plakcy cluing us in on what makes him tick...

By Neil Plakcy

Writing is the way I filter the world, the way I organize and make sense of my experiences. It's what I do with all the people and places and ideas that crowd my head.

I was driving home from work one day, feeling cranky about my students, my colleagues, my partner, and the pressure of constantly grading papers. I started spinning a little fantasy to entertain myself. I'll run away, I thought. I'll just pick up and move somewhere else, start a whole new life.

Where would I go? It would have to be someplace warm. After twenty-plus years in South Florida, I can't live in the cold any more. How about Tunisia? I've never been to Africa, and it sounds exotic and very different. And of course I'd have to meet a guy there, someone handsome and buff. A bodyguard!

That was the genesis for Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, my first Liam and Aidan romance adventure novel. I couldn't just pick up and move to Tunisia, but Aidan Greene, a teacher of English as a Second Language, could. Especially after he was dumped by his partner of eleven years.

The handsome bodyguard? He's Liam McCullough, a former SEAL who left the military under Don't Ask, Don't Tell because he couldn't keep his secret and his self-respect, too.

Pretty soon, the characters took over. Aidan met Liam at a bar and then got roped into helping him track a Tuareg tribe through the desert. Along the way, they fell in love and earned the happily ever after ending I love to give to my characters.

Maybe that's part of why I write, too. To create those happy-ever-after endings that I love to read, and want to achieve in my own life. From the Honolulu homicide detective hero of my Mahu mysteries to the couples who populate my romance novels, I want my guys to be happy. Sometimes that means going through a lot of sex, suffering and adventure, but they get there.

I love telling stories and making stuff up. That's another part of why I write. It's just fun to do. Well, maybe some of the rough drafts aren't that much fun, and fixing problems found by editors is kind of like torture-- but it's great to sit back after a day's writing and feel like I've moved the story forward. That I'm creating something readers will enjoy. Like Scheherazade, I'm spinning tales.

I hope that my characters will take hold of readers the way they've taken hold of me. I just can't stop writing about them! This month, Aidan and Liam are back, in Dancing with the Tide. Aidan's determined to become a bodyguard, and he and Liam are hired to protect a young Arabic pop star who has gotten death threats after coming out of the closet. I'm already working on a third adventure for them, as well as more mysteries and other books.

In the end, I guess, I write because I just can't stop.

Neil Plakcy is the author of the Aidan and Liam bodyguard adventure series, Three Wrong Turns in the Desert and Dancing with the Tide. His other books are Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire, Mahu Vice, and Mahu Men, about openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka,, and In Dog We Trust, a golden retriever mystery. Visit him on the web and find his books at, or direct from MLR Press and Loose Id.

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  1. Once removed from the Times Square world, in fact and mythology, the stories of that time, early 6os and 70s, just keep coming out. I have three books due out eXtasy Books, and two are about Times Square, besides I have one, Times Queer, out now in Synergy Press.

    Why I write? The events just flood my mind and have to get them out or else I'd go whacko or nuts.

    Nice interview too.

  2. Neil! I read that the night it came out (here in California, the books come out at 9:00PM.)

    Fun, fun read... I thought you must have lived in Tunisia! LOVED it, love all of them actually

  3. Loved the first one, have the second one on deck. I'm just waiting for all the other Kimo books to go to Kindle and I'll be really happy. I really enjoy the way you write. I'm glad you can't stop. AKM

  4. Thanks for the nice comments, ZAM & AKM. Glad to hear you love Aidan & Liam as I do! I hope to have the Kimo books on Kindle soon, now that I have disentangled myself from Alyson, who refused to put them up there, and refused to pay me royalties too.