interview · Pay It Forward · Quotes · Writing

Getting to Know…Joe Cosentino

 

  • What can you tell me about yourself? I look just like Matt Bomer. I wish! Actually, like Matt, after college I became an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. It occurred to me that acting is storytelling in the same way that writing is storytelling, so I decided to give writing a try. After writing some plays, I moved on to writing novels. In two years I’ve written four romance novellas published by Dreamspinner Press, four Nicky and Noah mystery novels (two not yet released) published by Lethe Press, four Cozzi Cove beach novels (two not yet released) published by NineStar Press, and five Jana Lane mystery novels (one not yet released) published by The Wild Rose Press. I’m also a college professor/department head. Obviously I don’t sleep much. Hah.
  • Where do you see yourself five years from now? Winning numerous Academy Awards and EMMY Awards for the film and television versions of my novels and novellas. Actually, many readers have said my books would make terrific films or television series. I agree! So I recently wrote screenplay and teleplay versions of some of them. Come on producers, make me an offer. Matt Bomer can star!

  • What motivates you? The many many messages I receive from readers who tell me they have been moved, laughed, cried, or had life-changing experiences after reading my books. And the awards! I just found out In My Heart (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star) published by Dreamspinner Press and Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (the first Cozzi Cove beach novel) published by NineStar Press (also TBR Pile Book of the Month) received Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/Finalist awards. Drama Queen (the first Nicky and Noah mystery) published by Lethe Press was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine! I am doing the happy dance on my desk.

  • What are you working on at the minute? I am currently editing Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out and finishing the first draft of Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, the third and fourth novels in the Cozzi Cove beach series published by NineStar Press. They will be published in January and July. So though it’s fall, I’m still enjoying the warm sun, white sand, white foamy capped waves, jagged rocks, and aqua sky meeting the clear blue sea. Not to mention the men in Speedos.

  • What is the strangest thing you’ve ever researched? The Cozzi Cove beach series has a merman, a ghost, an angel, Jesus, and a vampire in them. So I had to do a great deal of research. However, nothing is what it seems in the magical and romantic place called Cozzi Cove.

  • Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? I generally wake at 3am with a great idea and surprise ending. Then every evening I write until the first draft is finished, usually three months’ time. My spouse reads the second draft and gives me notes. Somehow we stay together after that. Hah. I write the third draft then send it to the publisher. The fourth draft is after the editor’s notes.

  • Do you read much and, if so, who are your favourite authors? I’m a big Armistead Maupin fan, having read each of his books again and again. I also love Agatha Christie. When readers compare my books to theirs, I am incredibly flattered.

  • Favourite TV show for inspiration/distraction? Murder She Wrote.

  • For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hardback books? I like to hold and snuggle up to a real book. Each of my books is with a publisher that publishes e-books and paperbooks for that reason. I also have a few of them as audiobooks.

  • What are you reading at present? A lot of political blogs for the upcoming election. It mystifies me how so many people vote against their own self-interests. Why would you support a political party who in their platform want to destroy the environment, force their religious beliefs on you, and take away your rights?

  • What is your favourite book and why? Regarding my own books, that would be like picking a favorite child. Though my mother would have no problem picking my sister. Hah. Well, they say your first is always your favorite, so I’ll pick In My Heart (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star) published by Dreamspinner Press, since those novellas are loosely based on my high school and college years. Outside of my books, I’d pick Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.

  • Pen, type writer or computer? Sometimes I feel as if my eyes are glued to my computer. My students at my college are even worse with their cell phones.

  • Do you write alone or in public? Alone in my quiet study. Like Martin Anderson, the department head in my Nicky and Noah mystery series, I have a quaint study with Cherrywood furniture, fireplace, and window seat looking out over the woods.

  • Music or silence? Silence. If my spouse sneezes in another room, it breaks my concentration. When I write, I fully enter the world of my books and get totally lost. It’s as if I’m channeling the characters and dialogue.

  • Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes? I write every evening with no goals other than to immerse myself in the stories. Sometimes it’s hard to leave those enticing, wonderful worlds.

  • If you could spend time with a character from (any of) your book/s whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? I’d solve a murder mystery with Nicky from my Nicky and Noah mystery series. Nicky Abbondanza is not only great looking, muscular, sexy, smart, and hysterically funny, he’s a terrific sleuth who never gives up until the mystery is solved. I also really admire his love and devotion for his partner at the college, in crime, and at home: Noah Oliver.

  • What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? To be honest, my books generally receive rave reviews. I don’t read the few negative reviews. I assume those reviewers have some kind of agenda. A writer pours his/her blood, sweat, and tears into a book. If you are unhappy after reading chapter one, stop reading. Why keep reading and write a negative review? Move on and read something else. It’s your karma.

  • What has been the best compliment? A reader wrote that An Infatuation made her laugh, cry, and completely revaluate her life. She said that book changed her and she begged me to keep writing. I did.

  • What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans? Lately a number of them have gotten angry with me that the next book in a series isn’t out yet. I have to explain to them that the books are written, but the publishers decide the release dates, not me.

  • Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents? Acting, teaching, and writing aren’t enough for you? Hah. I’m really good at conflict resolution.

  • What do you love most about the writing process? Hearing from readers who love the books and share in those experiences/plots that are so personal to me. We have a bond that can never be broken.

  • What character in your book/s are you least likely to get along with? The homophobic characters. I suspect anyone who devotes his/her time and energy to trying to take away the rights of LGBT people is closet gay him/herself.

  • What do your friends and family think of your writing? My mother’s response was, “Don’t you have anything better to do than write so many novels?” Hm, I wonder if she’d prefer I check out nursing homes. Hah. Actually, my family and friends love my novels. Their only complaint is that I’m writing them faster than they can read them. My colleagues at my college love the Nicky and Noah mystery series and ask me to kill them in my next book. Hah.
  • Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer? My publishers’ web sites are terrific and caused me to submit my books to them.

  • Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day? As I mentioned, I’m a college theatre professor and department head, though my mother keeps hoping one day I’ll get a “real” job like my sister the accountant.

  • Do you think that giving books away free works and why? With the low price of e-books and the publishers’ regular sales promotions, the price is low enough for most people to buy them. Nobody else works for free, so why should authors? As it is we receive a low percent of the purchase fee.

  • How do you relax? Writing relaxes me and stimulates me at the same time. I also love traveling as evident by my A Home for the Holidays (Capri, Italy), Drama Cruise (Alaska), Drama Luau (Hawaii), Paper Doll (Hollywood), Satin Doll (Washington, DC), and Cozzi Cove series (the New Jersey Shore).

  • What advice would you give to your younger self? Calm down. It’s all going to work out eventually.

  • So, what have you written?

Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/Finalist: In My Heart (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star) published by Dreamspinner Press are loosely based on my high school and college years respectively.

A Home for the Holidays is my popular holiday short novella from Dreamspinner Press about an American law student who, as I did, 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 from Dreamspinner Press 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.

My Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press are farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-its. In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) 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 to well-endowed Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) 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. 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. 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. Coming next is Drama Luau, where Nicky directs a luau show in Hawaii and muscular male hula dancers drop faster than grass skirts. It’s up to Nicky and Noah to once again save the day.

My sister and I as kids would grumble through the school year waiting for our annual summer trip to my aunt and uncle’s bungalow on the New Jersey shore. We swam and made sandcastles at the beach, waded in the bay, played miniature golf, ate salt water taffy and jumped up and down on trampolines until we (literally) saw green, and dined with our parents at our favorite seafood restaurant with a colorful player piano. All those places and experiences are in the novels set in a fictitious place I call Cozzi Cove, a gay resort of eight bungalows in a private cove on the Jersey Shore. Each bungalow is based on my aunt and uncle’s, and is furnished with hand-carved nautical furnishings, and has a stunning view of the bay and lighthouse in the distance. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. It’s a place I love to visit, and I know you will too. After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back released, many readers and reviewers praised its romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. So I wrote Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward. As with the first book, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove, and nothing is what it seems. Next are Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings.

In the Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose Press), with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, 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. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, 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. 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. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels. Coming next is Rag Doll, where Jana stars in a television murder mystery series and once again art imitates life.

joe-cosentino-books

  • How can readers discover more about you and you work? Where can we buy or see them?

 

I love to hear from readers at:

 

Website                Facebook                Twitter                Amazon Author Page                Goodreads 

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

It was my pleasure! Happy reading!

~

Joe Cosentino

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015 for Drama Queen. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married.
http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

~

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