Neil Plakcy

Read more about Neil Plakcy.

Interview By: Tamazon

Date: January 18, 2012

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Current Release: Model Men

Describe your current release in two sentences?

The male model is the gold standard for masculine beauty, and the guys of Model Men have sex appeal and a yen for man-on-man action.These aren’t the kind of guys who say, “look but don’t touch” -- they want to be touched, and in all the right places!

Do you have a favorite time of the day? If so when and why

Those first few minutes after waking up, lying in bed in a half-dreaming state, knowing I don't have to get up quite yet to walk the dog and get the day started. I have to have a pen and paper on the bedside table because I get some of my best ideas then.

If you could time travel, where would you travel to and why?

Woody Allen has already made a movie about it-- but I'd love to be in Paris in the 1920s, among Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein, and all the other authors and artists who hovered around them. It sounds just amazing.

Please describe your writing environment.

I write in my home office, surrounded by pictures of my golden retriever, a calendar of hunky male models, writing reference books, and a male hula dancer doll who shimmies when you jiggle him.

What is your favorite TV show?

Right now I'd have to say Hawaii Five-O, because in addition to my editing work I write the Mahu mystery series, about an openly gay Honolulu homicide detective (the newest book in the series, Zero Break, will debut in March from MLR Press). I love looking at the islands and listening to the way the characters talk. It's like taking a sixty-minute trip to Honolulu every week.

What are you working on?

Next up from Cleis is an anthology called Sexy Sailors, about men who succumb to the longing to strike out for unknown waters in tall ships steered by stars. From mariners on huge yachts to river boatmen to recreational boaters, the combination of men and water is irresistible.

What career fields have you worked in?

I was a shopping center construction manager for about five years-- the inspiration for my HARD HATS anthology, which launched my career as an editor with Cleis. I produced computer games for a decade or so and then segued into web development and technical writing, and now I'm a college English professor.

Where do you want to travel?

There are so many places I want to visit that it's hard to pick just one or two. I'm really interested in going to Lithuania, where my grandparents are from, because I'm fascinated by anything I can learn about their lives. Anywhere warm-- the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, South America, Africa-- I love hot climates!

How do you mesh your personal and professional life?

Many of my closest friends are writers, and I love nothing more than traveling to a convention or conference and hanging around with readers and writers, talking about books. One of the pleasures of being an English professor is that I work with a lot of people who care about the same things I do, and there's always someone willing to discuss comma usage or help find the right word I'm looking for.

How was your road to publication? Have you every had to deal with rejection letters?

My very first published story was a short called "The Cop Who Caught Me," in Mandate magazine twenty+ years ago. It seems like I've been writing about cops and gay sex ever since. My first published novel, Mahu, was begun in 1992 and not published until 2005. Along the way it went through many, many drafts and many rejections. I think one very big component of success is a willingness to keep on writing and keep on trying until you find your voice. I'm still getting rejections-- but fewer, thank goodness!

What is the best thing about being an author?

I feel so privileged to be able to have the career I've dreamed of since I was a teenager, and to hear from readers that something I've written has touched them. It's so amazing to be able to take an idea that's floating around in my head, put it onto the page, polish it and improve it, and then share it with others. It's an amazing feeling.

If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?

I'd love to have dinner with John Barrowman, the star of Torchwood (among other things.) He's handsome, smart and sexy and I'd go all fan-boy gooey. But I love the way he's able to inject his personality into every character, and I love his singing voice, too!

Editing books for Cleis has been lots of fun-- who wouldn't love the opportunity to read lots of sexy stories and get paid for the job? And I've also learned so much about how to improve my own writing by working with other authors, either by seeing what they do well, or spotting ways that their stories can be improved.

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