interview · Pay It Forward · Writing

Get to Know: Joe Cosentino

Drama Prince

the 15th Nicky and Noah mystery


Q: Tell us a little bit about your book…

The Nicky and Noah mysteries is a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, and there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning (as Nicky would say) “faster than a Republican ex-president stealing secret documents from the White House.” At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as we fall in love with them). Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said I’m “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue?

In Drama Prince, the 15th novel in the series, Nicky, Noah, and their Treemeadow College theatre crew take their act on the road to a gay fairytale theme park in San Francisco, where they stage an original musical adaptation of Cinderella entitled, Let’s Ball. However, they may get a royal screw as four local detectives drop around them like (as Nicky would say) “a priest’s robe at altar boy training.” Once again, our favorite thespians, Nicky and Noah, use their drama skills to catch the killer before an explosive pumpkin threatens to make the show a bomb. On the romance side, things heat up pretty quickly between the hot young actors playing Cinder and Prince Charming as well as the sexy young men cast as the Mouse/Footman and the Mouse/Coachman. The show’s playwright and his musclebound agent/stepbrother are also in the mix. I’m more excited (as Nicky would say) “than a Catholic adoption agency discriminating against gay families” to share this fifteenth novel in the series with you. So wave your Fairy Godmother’s wand, ride coach, and head to the palace for a ball with a charming prince who has a slipper fetish! I promise you a happy ending!

Q: Who are the main characters?

Hunky Sherlock Holmes, Nicky Abbondanza, in addition to being the director, plays King Charming in the show—the king with a long scepter. Nicky’s handsome husband and Dr. Watson, Noah Oliver, plays Nicky’s Queen—onstage and off. Their best friends, Martin and Ruben, are along for the wild ride as the Stepmother/Fairy Godmother and the Duke (who wants to grab his brother the King by the crown) respectively—but not respectfully. The two couples’ sons, Taavi and Ty, are cast as Gro and Tesque, the stepbrothers demanding full service from Cinder.

Q: Is this a solo book or part of a series? If so, where does this sit in the series?

The Nicky and Noah mysteries are Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV, Drama Oz, and now Drama Prince. The first ten are also available as audio books! Coming in 2023 are Drama Merry, Drama Daddy, and Drama King.

Q: What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Tell me how much you love me! 😊 Post a rave review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, sign up on my web site, follow me on social media, and buy all of my books and audio books!

Q: Is this your first novel, or have you got a back catalogue you can tell us about?

I’ve written 33 novels to date—three not yet published. My mother asked me, “Don’t you have anything better to do than writing books?” Hm. I wonder if Stephen King’s mother asked him that. Not to brag (but I will 😊), I was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel, which was followed by the remaining 17 novels in that series. I’ve also written the 2 Player Piano Mysteries, the 5 Jana Lane Mysteries, the 5 Cozzi Cove novels, the In My Heart Anthology, the Tales from Fairyland Anthology, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology, and the Found At Last Anthology. My books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. (There I go bragging again.)

Q: What’s the most amusing thing that’s happened to you while you were writing this story?

As Nicky might say, “I’m happier than a conservative Supreme Court taking away women’s and LGBT rights” when I write this series. It’s been such great fun watching Nicky and Noah’s relationship grow as their son grows, laughing at the antics of their best friends Martin and Ruben, visiting cozy Treemeadow College over the seasons, traveling all over the world, and of course revelling in the exciting murder mysteries and romances. The settings have become like home. The characters are my friends and family. Best of all, I can combine my love for theatre and cozy mysteries. Drama Prince has been especially rewarding since one of the main characters is the playwright of the play within the play, which I love as a playwright myself. Also, since Cinderella is one of my favorite fairytales, this book was a joy to write.

Q: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

My husband and I took a wonderful vacation to San Francisco. I included my favorite locations in the book: Castro Theatre, Pink Triangle Memorial Park, and Faerie Hollow. While we didn’t visit a theme park there, where better to have a gay fairytale theme park theatre than San Francisco? We have enjoyed many theme parks elsewhere. We’ve also travelled to Alaska, Hawaii, and Scotland, just like Nicky and Noah in Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, and Drama Castle. I also used our wonderful trip to the stunning and magical Isle of Capri in the first Bobby and Paolo Holiday story (Home for the Holidays), our trips to the New Jersey Shore for my enticing Cozzi Cove series, our vacations in the glorious Key West and gorgeous Tuscany for my Player Piano mysteries, and our trip to Washington, DC and New York City in my Jana Lane mysteries.


Q: Can you remember one of the first things you wrote? What makes it memorable?

I wrote An Infatuation, a novella published by Dreamspinner Press, loosely based on my infatuation from my high school years. That little novella is still a big seller, and I still receive messages from readers telling me how it made them laugh, cry, feel incredibly romantic, and how it has changed their lives forever. As my mother says about my older sister, “The first one is the most special.” (smile) My next novella, A Shooting Star, was loosely based on my infatuation as a theatre major in college. The two together make up my In My Heart novel published by Dreamspinner Press.

Q: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a college professor/department chair like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah mysteries. (I’m also a bit of gossip like Martin too.) So I write at night, and I don’t get much sleep. It’s a very special time for me when I get to commune with my characters.

Q: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Obviously I can’t get Nicky and Noah out of my brain. They’d never let me. Actually, I love spending time with the Treemeadow College Theatre crew. They’re so entertaining!

My Cozzi Cove series published by NineStar Press is also quite captivating. In the series, retired professional football player Cal Cozzi manages his family’s gay resort on a beautiful cove at the New Jersey Shore. At Cozzi Cove love is always in the sea air, and nothing is what it seems at first glance. Besides Cal and his family, each book brings a new set of guests for summer sizzling. I adore writing this series while vacationing at the New Jersey Shore.

Q: If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part?

Here’s my wish list for the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Matt Bomer as Nicky, Neil Patrick Harris as Noah, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as Noah’s parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as Nicky’s parents, me as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla, and Luke Macfarlane as Nicky’s brother Tony. I’ve written a screenplay for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery. Come on, producers, make me an offer!

Q: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book/s?

My readers crave something different. Most MM novels are erotica, young adult, dark thrillers, or supernatural. While that’s fine, I think we’re missing a whole spectrum of fiction. In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, they include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy with lots of hot cocoa by the fireplace. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect whodunit. So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning over (as Nicky would say) “faster than a right-wing media outlet spouting fake news.” No matter what is thrown in their path, Nicky and Noah always end up on top. At least Nicky ends up on top, which is just fine with Noah.

Q: How do you get past writers block or distractions like the internet?

Since I’ve written 33 novels, I obviously don’t suffer from writer’s block. I generally think of a great idea for a new book at 3 a.m. If I can remember it the next day, or read my notes on my night table, I draft the outline. For a mystery, it’s important to plot out the clues, red herrings, plot twists and turns, romances, and shocking ending. Since I was an actor, I write a character biography for each character. Then I close my eyes and let the magic happen. As I see the scenes in front of me like a movie and the characters start talking to each other in my head, I hit the computer. My spouse reads my second draft. After we argue, I write my third draft.

Q: Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre? How did it turn out?

Many times! My readers begged me for a supernatural mystery. So I wrote the Player Piano Mysteries series, where a young music teacher discovers an antique player piano in the basement of his New Jersey apartment building and is visited by the ghost of the original owner: a dapper and charismatic playboy from the Roaring Twenties. The two fall in love while solving murder mysteries.

I also had an idea to do my own fairy tale anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland published by Dreamspinner Press. Hans Christian Andersen, move over. In my comic gay spin on my favorite fairy tales, Cinder dresses his stepsisters for the ball and falls in love with the Prince himself, a twink named Goldie visits three sexy bears, a young man with a giant fetish meets another young man with a growing appendage, and the Snow Queen is a chilly queen. When the readers loved it, I wrote the follow up Holiday Tales from Fairyland gayifying The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Nutcracker, and Baba Yaga.

Also, it seems taboo to write about older gay lovers. I decided to do just that in my Found at Last series published by Dreamspinner Press: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando, where a young gay couple reunite older gay couples who in their youth were separated due to familial and societal homophobia.

Finally, as an actor myself, I decided to write a mainstream mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press. Jana is an ex-child star making a career and personal comeback as she solves murder mysteries in her upstate New York mansion, on her movie and television sets, and on the Broadway stage. The first novel in that series, Paper Doll, won some literary awards!

Q: What is your writing environment like? Do you write with a pen and paper, or on a computer? Do you need quiet, or music in the background? Do you have a pet who gets in on the act?

My home study is very much like Martin Anderson’s office at Treemeadow College, including a fireplace with a cherry wood mantel and a cherry wood desk and bookcase. I also have a window seat beneath a large window/gateway to the woods. Since I literally hear voices in my head when I write, I need absolute silence. Therefore, I work on my computer after my husband is asleep. Luckily he doesn’t snore. (smile) Since I’m allergic to dogs and cats and afraid of snakes, our house is pet free.

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Three months writing evenings and weekends. Some of my readers kid me that I wrote faster than they read.


Q: What do you like to read in your free time?

Cozy mysteries.

Q: What’s been your best book of this/last year, so far?

I reread Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Cracked.

Q: Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My mother says I tell tall tales—and she’s right! I’ve always had a wild imagination. My parents always feared what I’d make up and tell the neighbors about them. And they still do! I appropriately majored in theatre at college. Then I went on to act opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint musical onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’s Another World), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie). Finally, I began writing plays and ultimately writing novels. Since I’m a cozy mystery reading fanatic, and there are so few gay cozy mystery series out there, I was happy to fill the bill—or in this new novel, the nightshirt.

Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t listen to naysayers. Find the magic within yourself. Get in front of the computer and start writing your unique story. Don’t try to copy anyone. Nobody can do that, and why would you want to? Write what you know and feel passionate about. Write every day. Don’t be afraid to take chances. When you have a story you think is perfect, ask someone you trust to read it. Then after doing another draft, email it to a publisher who has an open submissions policy and who publishes the kind of story you’ve written, or publish it yourself.


Best of luck with the new novel and we can wait to hear from you again.

Thank you! It was my pleasure. As Nicky would say, “It’s always a pleasure talking about me.” 😊 And best of luck with your wonderful books too!


Author Bio

Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV, Drama Oz, Drama Prince, Drama Merry, Drama Daddy, Drama King; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.

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