Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guest Blogger: NEIL PLAKCY

I’m often asked where I get my ideas, and the answer to that can range from a title to a sentence to an image. This morning, though, as I was walking the dog, a whole book sprung into my head based just on something I saw.

Sam, my golden retriever, and I turned a corner and saw a man approaching us pushing a stroller. Not just any man, though-- a gorgeous one, wearing only nylon running shorts and sneakers. He had short blond hair and a muscular chest and his face had the kind of angular features you see on male models.

He was pushing a pair of little girls in a double stroller as he ran. The sun was shining behind him so I couldn’t get that good a look without staring, but then Sam and I doubled back on our tracks, and so did he, so I was able to see him again more clearly. This time we nodded hellos to each other.

That’s when the book sprang into my head. Suppose he’s not the dad of those two adorable little girls at all, but their uncle. He’s staying with his sister while she’s -- what -- recovering from an illness? Getting over a divorce? What’s going on in his life that he has the time to do this?

And who’s the other guy in this story? Not me. I’m too old and too settled with my own partner. But a younger guy, perhaps, recovering from a broken heart by bonding with his dog. They’d exchange some smoldering glances as they meet, perhaps a couple of times in the mornings. But my hero would be curious and a bit repelled-- is this suburban dad flirting with me? With his daughters right there?

How would the truth come out? Maybe they meet unexpectedly away from kids and dogs. And then… sparks fly, and the book takes off.

This is the kind of question I always wanted to ask when I went to writers’ conferences as an unpublished guy, struggling to write a book. How do you start? How does it all come together? Attending Sleuthfest years ago gave me the chance to ask those questions, and get some answers. And then, as I got published, I kept on attending Sleuthfest, looking for inspiration on how to keep my career going, how to get over those slow spots in my manuscript. I’m still going to Sleuthfest, because I still have so much to learn, and you never know where inspiration will strike you.

Even early in the morning, walking the dog.

Neil Plakcy is the author of the Mahu mystery series, about openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka. They are: Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire, Mahu Vice, Mahu Men, and Mahu Blood (2011).

He also writes Aidan and Liam bodyguard adventure series, Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, Dancing with the Tide and Teach Me Tonight (2011).

His other books are In Dog We Trust, a golden retriever mystery, as well as the novels, Mi Amor, and The Outhouse Gang and the novella The Guardian Angel of South Beach.

Plakcy is a journalist and book reviewer as well as an assistant professor of English at Broward College’s south campus in Pembroke Pines. He is president of the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of Sisters in Crime.

He edited Paws & Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog and the gay erotic anthologies Hard Hats, Surfer Boys and Skater Boys (2010). His erotic stories have been collected in three Kindle editions: Tough Guy Erotica, Romantic Erotica, and Pledge Class and Other College Boy Erotica.

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