Interview with Guest Author
Writer. Actor. Professor.
Thank you for stopping over to visit, Joe. I loved hanging out with you when Wt. interviewed us on WON Radio! In case my lovely readers don’t know who are, I thought I’d do a little sit-down visit with you and help us all get to know you a little better.
What makes your stories different from other authors out there?
Joe: Since I was an actor and playwright, my stories are theatrical, humorous, dramatic, romantic, and often contain mystery, suspense, and surprise. After reading my stories, most readers and reviewers comment on how they laughed, felt romantic, cried, and were totally surprised by something in the story. I love that!
When did you first consider yourself an author?
Joe: As a playwright it was after my first play was produced in New York City. As a novelist it was when I saw my books on Amazon—with lots of positive response from readers who I didn’t know.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to get past it?
Joe: Never! It’s the total opposite for me. I have so many stories in my head that it is a challenge for me to decide which one to write next.
LOL 😉 I know you were in movies and in theater productions, but what made you want to write stories instead of acting them out?
Joe: It’s all connected for me. Storytelling is storytelling whether you are acting, writing, directing, singing, dancing, or drawing. If you go to You Tube, you can see MY MOTHER WAS NEVER A KID, an old ABC-TV I did (I’m in the last third of the movie) and a more recent humorous short play, JULIE (I also wrote that as well). After acting on stage, screen, and television opposite people like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T Industrial), Nathan Lane (ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT in dinner theatre), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), Bruce Willis (A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM in regional theatre), Holland Taylor (MY MOTHER WAS NEVER A KID ABC-TV movie), and acting Off-Broadway, in many television commercials, and on NBC’s ANOTHER WORLD, the acting work started to dry up. So I moved on to playwriting and directing, and now writing novels. I hope to come full circle one day by acting in the film versions of my novels. I want to play Mr. Ringwood (the high school principal) in AN INFATUATION, Simon Huckby (Jana’s agent) in PAPER DOLL (Jana Lane mystery book 1), and Martin Anderson (the department head) in DRAMA QUEEN (Nicky and Noah mystery book 1). So come on film producers. Make me an offer!
Does your family know what you write, and if so, how did they react when you first told them what and how explicit your writing would be?
Joe: As a teenager, when I told my mother I wanted to be an actor (unlike my cousins who are lawyers), she said, “Take this knife and stick it through my heart.” Eventually my parents became accustomed to the idea and supported me. When my mother heard I was writing books, she said, “Don’t you have anything better to do than write novels?” I wonder if Shakespeare’s mother said that. Anyway, my parents, now ninety years old, are accustomed to it and enjoy my novels. They keep asking me, “How do you think up all those amazing stories?” Since I don’t write erotic fiction, they haven’t complained about the heat level of my stories.
Have you ever met someone in real life, or a stranger, that you turned into a MC?
Joe: Constantly, but not directly. I combine people or change someone’s race or gender. The most fun is changing their sexual orientation. While the situation is fictitious, Harold in AN INFATUATION is based on me. I really admire Harold’s resilience, honesty, intelligence, wit, and ability to keep going in trying situations. His heart may be broken, but his spirit always stays intact. Harold’s devotion to his spouse, Stuart, is admirable, as is his honesty about his teenage infatuation with Mario. I love that the story spans twenty years, so we see Harold (and Mario) develop and mature. Harold’s spouse, Stuart, is based on my spouse who is totally organized and a real list maker, but also sweet, creative, and caring. He creates an itinerary for our trips in ten minute time blocks! Mario is based on a few handsome, muscular, and a bit self-absorbed guys I knew as an actor.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Joe: Armistead Maupin, due to his amazing wit, surprise story twists, and engaging characters. I’ve read all nine TALES OF THE CITY books.
Oh, some great stories / authors! So… boxers, briefs, commando? What’s your favorite way to “dress” your man?
Joe: I always go for comfort and freedom, so boxers are great.
Do you as an author concentrate on one genre? Or do you feel like you should try to find your voice amongst the genres?
Joe: Often people question whether I’ve really written all my books (a la Shakespeare) since each one is so different. Believe me, I’ve written them all. AN INFATUATION is a Bittersweet Dreams MM romance novel with endearing characters. The Jana Lane mystery series (PAPER DOLL out now with PORCELAN DOLL and SATAN DOLL following) is an MF mystery/romance series about an ex-child star solving a mystery of her past and present with the help of her gay best friend and gay agent. The story is plotted with clues and secrets that are all revealed in the shocking ending. The Nicky and Noah comedy mystery series (DRAMA QUEEN releasing this summer with DRAMA MUSCLE and DRAMA CRUISE following) is a laugh out loud, wild and crazy, MM mystery/romance series set in the theatre department of a college. As a college professor I can relate, though thankfully there have been no murders at my college. However, I kid my colleagues that if any of them annoy me, I may murder them in one of my novels. Hah!
And just because I love to tease 😉 what are you working on now, and what is coming up from you next?
Joe: I just finished A SHOOTING STAR (a new MM Bittersweet Dreams contemporary romance novella), PORCELAN DOLL (the second Jana Lane mystery), and DRAMA MUSCLE and DRAMA CRUISE (the second and third Nicky and Noah mysteries). Up next is SATAN DOLL (the third Jana Lane mystery). Reader response has been incredible to all of my novels with reviewers and readers telling me these novels have changed their lives, and begging me to keep writing. Those words are magic to my ears, and inspiration to my brain and computer keyboard.
How do you imagine the ideal reader of your book?
Joe: My ideal reader is a lover of a good story, someone who craves being swept away and becoming part of the novel. My reader enjoys humor, and being taken on a roller coaster ride. Finally, my reader relishes in captivating characters and earth-shattering romance, as she/he willingly enters the portal of my book. That’s why I love hearing from my readers! http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
Here are the blurbs and excerpts from my two current offerings.
M/M Contemporary Bittersweet Dreams
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Christy Caughie
Release Date: February 4, 2015
Length: 103 pages / Novella
With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.
One Friday afternoon I accidentally ran into my hero in the boy’s locker room. I’d had enough of the big guys banging me into gym lockers, pushing me into cold showers, and hanging me from the gym ropes. So I was on my way to give Mr. Adoni a note from Dr. Dlorah excusing me from gym class for the remainder of the school year (due to my highly contagious disease being studied by my doctor in Guatemala, where he could not be reached for the next year).
The locker room smelled of an odd combination of soap, cologne, sweat, and desire. Mario was getting ready for football practice, standing at his gym locker without a combination lock on it. Nobody would dare to break into it (Except for me that one time I smelled his jock strap. Okay maybe it was a few times, but not more than ten.). Mario slid his T-shirt (red today) over his thick, black hair and threw it on the nearby bench. No longer harnessed by cotton, his arm, back, chest, and neck muscles swelled to full size. I was half hidden behind the adjoining row of lockers, wearing my usual green and blue flannel shirt and brown corduroy pants. Mario, who wasn’t looking in my direction, said something really beautiful to me that I will never forget. “Hi.”
“Did you just? Oh. Hi. Hello. Good afternoon. Nice to see you. I mean, change with you.” I looked down at the floor (but cheated a bit) as Mario kicked off his boots, slipped off his jeans then threw them in the lucky locker. His red underpants (briefs) revealed ample manhood. This is better than the newspaper’s underwear ads!
“Good gym class today with Mr. Adonis, I mean, Mr. Adoni.” Did I just say that? “Harold High.”
“High.” How can I get my pulse down to 260?
“Hi.” Mario reached into his locker for his sweat clothes.
Shouldn’t people be doing that for you? “Oh, my last name is High. Like a kite.” How can I stop my arms from waving like an airport flagger on speed?
“Mario Ginetti. Like nothin’ else imaginable.” Mario smiled, revealing a row of perfectly white teeth, and held the sweat clothes in his hands as if he was mortal.
“I know. I watch your body play.” Why can’t I stop talking? “I mean, I watch you play … football … on the field … in your football outfit.” I feel like Michelangelo with his David!
As Mario put on his sweats, I continued to sweat.
“I’m voting for your body … I mean I’m voting for you for president of your … our … the student body.” I need my jaw wired shut. “I’m your lab partner in Chemistry class. Ms. Hungry’s class … I mean Ms. Hunsley’s class.”
His olive-colored face glistened as Mario’s face registered recognition—of me! “I thought I knew you from somewheres. Hey, thanks for doing the lab reports.”
“It’s my honor … I mean my pleasure. It’s fine. If you need help putting up posters for your campaign, I can … ”
Having just tied the laces of his sneakers, Mario stood absolutely still. He looked at me as if he was staring into my heart and somehow knew what I was feeling. “I gotta take a wicked piss.”
Can I watch?
“Thanks for helping me out, Buddy.” He slammed the locker door and left.
He called me, Buddy! My heart was as soft and silly as putty that Mario held in the palm of his hand like his soap on a rope.
Jana Lane mystery 1
M/F Hollywood Mystery Romance
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Cover Artist: Christy Caughie
Release Date: March 5, 2015
Length: 103 pages / Novella
Jana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.
No longer postponing the inevitable, she rested back on the tree stump. As Jana peered out at a tree with a yellow ribbon tied around it, she thought of how her life had been held hostage during the past twenty years. With eyes sealed tightly shut she blurted out, “They’re like flashbacks. I see myself at the studio on the set of my last film—on the final day of shooting.” She moistened her lips. “We’re outside in Lot C. After my father, playing the town sheriff, makes me an assistant sheriff, I strike my last pose on my horse, Ginger. She bucks underneath me, but I control her until Mr. LeClerc, the director yells, ‘Cut!’ Hank, the trainer, helps me off my horse. A few speeches are made. My agent, my sister, Mr. Cavoto—the studio head, and his son are there. Everyone applauds. As usual—”
“—you walk inside to your dressing room with your agent.”
She opened her eyes. “How did you know that?”
He bit at a blade of grass. “I just assumed.”
“You really are good at this.”
Another satisfied nod from Jackson led her eyelids to close again.
“My agent, Simon, waves at someone who passes us in the hallway. Then a flash hurts my eyes. I think it’s a photographer. Simon approaches him, scolds him I think then leaves me alone…and this part of the dream occurs over and over again…”
After a shaky breath, she said, “A masked figure in black appears in front of my dressing room door. I’m forced into a dark corridor…pushed down onto the floor…we struggle. His touch is angry but somehow…familiar. I try to scream…but…nothing.” She opened her eyes.
“Then Jana Lane—the girl who swam the rapids, climbed Mt. Everest, parachuted from a plane to save the world from mad scientists in her movies—wept uncontrollably in a psychiatric hospital for nearly a year while the masked man got off free.”
“How do we know it was a man?”
She replayed her nightmare and came to a realization. “I guess we don’t.” Her eyes suddenly swam in tears. “Jackson, the years since I left Hollywood, I’ve been hiding. Housewife, mother, community fundraiser—they’re shields, so I don’t have to face an assault and breakdown from when I was eighteen years old…or face something worse.” She wiped her face with the back of her hand. “Maybe I should see a shrink again.”
Jackson diagnosed in his best German accent. “You don’t need a shrink. You have me.”
“I wish I had Brian, too.” She knew Jackson would understand.
Jackson helped her to her feet, and laid a pansy in the palm of her hand. “Brian will come around.”
“So will the F.D.R. Benefit,” she said, happy to change the subject. After a nervous glance at her watch, she added, “Let’s get to work.”
* * * *
The room was cold and full of ominous shadows. As the viewer waited in anticipation, the most famous child star in history filled the screen nearby.
Jana Lane, at eighteen in Sugar and Spice, was dressed in a canary and brown leather cowgirl suit and matching boots. With determination beaming from her face, she pushed a kidnapper off a cliff and lifted her little friend, Timmy, onto her horse. After she sped Timmy down the mountain to safety, her father—the sheriff—kissed her on the cheek and proudly presented her with an assistant sheriff’s badge. Jana remounted her horse, Ginger, and waved her cowgirl hat triumphantly as Ginger stood up tall on hind legs.
As Jana’s celluloid face filled the room, restless fingers lifted a glass of liquid and sent it crashing into orange droplets against the screen.
Eerie laughter transformed into a hushed voice. “It’s time to play again, Jana. The first time was sweet, but the second time will be so much sweeter!”
Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll, the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press-releasing this summer), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Porcelain Doll (the second Jana Lane mystery) and Drama Muscle (the second Nicky and Noah mystery).
Find & Follow Joe Online:
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com