Neil S. Plakcy, Serial Mystery Writer

May 16, 2024
By Anne Marie Duquette
Featured image for “Neil S. Plakcy, Serial Mystery Writer”

Anne Marie Duquette interviewed Neil S. Plakcy, winner of the Books- Fiction, Adult or Humor Category with his book, “Dog of Thieves.”

View the Winning Entry

Congratulations on your win!  Tell us about your experience and expertise, and how this relates to your entry.  What target audience did you write for, and why?

I have been a dog lover since I was a little boy, and a dog dad for the last 25 years. I like to tell people that I spend hours every day researching my books—walking my two golden retrievers, feeding them, and playing with them. I write for readers who, like me, love dogs and mysteries.

What prompted you to submit this specific entry?  Why do you think it struck a special chord with the public and the judges—and with you?

Dog of Thieves is the 16th in my Golden Retriever Mystery series. The plot revolves around mayhem in a homeowner’s association—and since 74 million Americans live in HOAs, I thought it would strike a real chord in readers. Plus, my canine hero, Rochester, is just adorable.

How big a part have dogs played in your personal and professional life?  Was there a particular dog that sparked your interest in interacting with the public?  Tell us about this special dog, and/or the dogs in your contest entry.

In 2000, my husband and I adopted a golden retriever I called Samwise, because I wanted him to be my faithful companion like his namesake in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series.  My husband had a Yorkie already, and Charlie made it clear to Sam that my husband was HIS human, and Sam could have ME if he wanted. Fortunately, he did.

Our human-canine relationship was a love affair cemented by long walks, hours of play, and Sam sleeping by my door. I wanted to write about him and chose the mystery format because I love it.

How big a part have people played in your association with dogs?  Family?  Friends?  Do you have any favorite writers/bloggers/media or graphic artists?  How have they influenced your career?

Because I spent years on my own in apartments, I couldn’t have a dog until I met my husband and we bought a house together. He’s the “clinical” dog lover in the family—he medicates them, wipes their butts, and endlessly researches any health problems.

My role model as a writer is Lillian Jackson Braun, author of the popular “Cat Who” books. I wanted to do for dogs what she did for cats. Rochester doesn’t talk, and all his crime-solving behaviors come from real things that I’ve observed my dogs do.

What ongoing or future canine projects do you have planned?  Are they personal (like cuddling your favorite pooch or volunteering at the local shelter) or professional (like selling articles, training, or conducting medical research)?

I plan to continue with the Golden Retriever Mysteries. I want Rochester to have a long crime-solving career ahead of him.  As long as readers want new books in the series, I’m happy to write them.

What would you recommend to those peers who wish to enter your winning category in next year’s contest?

Write a great book with a canine character readers will love. Root your writing in the behavior of the dogs in your life. Each of my dogs has had his own personality and showing that uniqueness has helped my books succeed.

 Congratulations again and thank you for sharing with us.

Featured Image: Book cover courtesy Neil Plakcy
Brody and Griffin, Courtesy Neil Plakcy
Brody and Griffin, Courtesy Neil Plakcy

Neil Plakcy is the author of the Golden Retriever Mystery series, and co-editor of Paws and Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog. Visit his website