There is not much ground that prolific author, editor and teacher Neil Plakcy hasn’t covered in his career. Mysteries with humans, mysteries with dogs, romance, short stories, comedy and even erotica – he’s written them all. I recently sat down with the two-time Lamda Literary Award finalist to talk about the pros and cons of being a hybrid-publishing author, the challenges facing LGBTQ writers and the impact of free e-books on the literary market.
Open Mic: Tell me a little bit about the new book, “Survival is a Dying Art.“
Plakcy: Let me backtrack for just a minute to talk about where my protagonist Angus Green comes from. I wrote a male-male romance set in South Beach, and there was a crime in the background where my protagonist was approached by the FBI. The younger of the two FBI agents was Angus Green, a young cute redhead who is very kind and gentle for an FBI guy. Later on, I was writing a young adult book set in Miami and I needed an FBI agent so I popped him in in a minor supporting role. Angus was hanging around in the back of my mind saying, ‘I’m an interesting character and I’d like my own book.’ Then I was fortunate enough to attend the FBI Citizens Academy, a program the FBI runs at their regional offices all around the country. Then I said it’s time for Angus to actually have that book of his own.
Open Mic: How was the process from there?
Plakcy: It was very interesting. I submitted online to Alibi, which is a mystery imprint of Random House. I got a wonderful three-page, single-spaced rejection letter from the editor telling me what he loved about the book and where he thought the flaws were. So I immediately sat down and wrote another draft addressing all of his questions. I sent it back, but the only address I had was his email from submissions at Alibi. I didn’t hear anything for three months. I finally got somebody who said he had left the company and they were not interested in the book.
To read the entire interview