I am mega delighted with knobs on to welcome Joe Cosentino
to my blog. He says, "It’s my first time. I feel like a virgin! Thank you for having me. Well, you know what I mean."
What inspired you to start writing?
I was a hammy little kid, always singing, dancing, and telling stories. With an incredible imagination, I remember telling neighbors that my cousin and I were international spies. At a very young age I began reading mystery novels, which inspired me to write myself. I remembering writing a murder mystery play, starring me of course, and putting it on at my school to the horror of my teacher. I’m sure it’s no surprise that I majored in theatre at college and became an actor working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Bruce Willis, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. After receiving my MFA, I began writing plays and later novellas and novels. I’m currently writing screenplays too.
Do you have another job (paid or otherwise) apart from being an author? If so, how do you juggle your time?
My mother says I don’t have “a real job” like my sister the accountant. I’m a college theatre professor/department head like Martin Anderson in my Nicky and Noah mystery series. That keep me busy during the day. I write at night after my spouse has gone to sleep and the house is quiet. I’ve been known to act out the scenes in my books aloud, so luckily my study has thick walls.
What did it feel like watching your first book fledge and leave the nest?
I had written a successful Off Broadway one-act play, AN INFATUATION, then adapted it into a novella. When I received the acceptance email from Dreamspinner Press, I did the happy dance on my desk. Loosely based on my years in high school and my ten-year high school reunion, I’ve received countless comments from readers about how it made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, and changed their lives. The e-book did so well that Dreamspinner Press partnered it with my novella loosely based on my days as a theatre major in college, A SHOOTING STAR, into my own anthology paperback, IN MY HEART. Dreamspinner Press is also producing an audiobook version coming out soon. I wrote two more novellas published by Dreampinner Press. In A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, an American law student takes a trip to the romantic and gorgeous island of Capri, Italy, where he embarks on a relationship with his captivating third cousin. THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND is my gay take on my favorite beloved fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen.
In the straight world, with gay supporting characters, I wrote the Jana Lane mysteries. As a kid I was infatuated with child movie stars. So my character Jana Lane was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In PAPER DOLL Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. I was thrilled when The Wild Rose Press picked up the popular series! In PORCELAIN DOLL Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a flirtation with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. I am currently editing RAG DOLL, where Jana stars in a television murder mystery and once again life imitates art.
Are you character or plot driven? What do you do if one of your characters starts developing at a tangent?
With mysteries I’m more plot driven since I outline the clues, red herrings, murders, plot twists and turns, secrets, reveals, and of course the shocking ending. When writing a romance novel I’m more character driven and let the characters help show me the way. If they develop a tangent, I follow. That happened in my Cozzi Cove beach series published by NineStar Press (COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, and the upcoming COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT). Handsome Cal Cozzi runs a gay resort on a gorgeous cove on the New Jersey Shore. Cal, his lover, his sister, and the guests at Cozzi Cove became so real to me that they dictated their stories, and they’re incredible!
If you were in a tight corner and had to rely on one of your characters to save you, which would it be and why?
Associate Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza in my Nicky and Noah mystery series published by Lethe Press is hysterically funny, good-looking, sexy, and uses his theatre skills (like impersonating others) to solve murder mysteries. I adore Nicky and would love him by side. In Drama Queen theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detective more interested in getting into Nicky’s pants than solving the murders, it is up Nicky to solve the case, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, gorgeous Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers Poll Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Contemporary, and Best Humorous Novel of 2015) is available as an e-book, paperback, and audiobook performed by Michael Gilboe. In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah (now a couple) have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. The novel is available as an e-book now on special discount at Lethe Press for the paperback at only $6, and soon to be an audiobook performed by Michael Gilboe. In Drama Cruise (releasing soon), Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship. I am currently finishing Drama Luau, where Nicky directs a luau show in Maui and has to figure out why muscular male hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts.
If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what book would you write?
What I’m writing now. I never think about whether one of my books will sell or not, or how long it will take me to write it. I write the kind of books I love to read: fast-paced, romantic, funny, surprising, and entertaining with loveable characters in interesting locations.
Is there a classic book you started and simply couldn't finish?
Many! I think the Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome is rampant in literature. Just because a revered critic or a large audience love a book, that doesn’t mean the book is for everyone. On the other side of the coin, I can’t understand why some people write scathing reviews of books. If you don’t like it, put it down and read something else. Different books speak to different people.
What’s your favourite gay romance/other genre book? And why?
I just finished reading Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books for the third time. I love the quirky characters, surprising storylines, political messages, romance, and locations. When readers compare my books to his, I am incredibly flattered.
What's your next project?
I am currently writing screenplay adaptations of some of my books. Hear that film and television producers. I’m available!
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen.