Today I'm thrilled to have Joe Cosentino here!
Hello, Joe Cosentino. Thank you for interviewing today.
My pleasure. I love Cyber Sarah Hadley Brooks Land as much as I love Sarah Hadley Brooks’ books (Try saying that three times fast with a lip ring—as my character Nicky Abbondanza would say).
You are releasing Drama Castle, your twentieth full-length novel! How prolific!
My mother asked me, “Don’t you have anything better to do at night than write books?” I wonder if Josh Lanyon’s mother asks her that?
How do you find the time to be a college professor/department chair and do all this writing?
I write two hours each night after my spouse goes to sleep and the house is quiet. It’s my most precious time. Since I’m a bit tired, the writing flows out uncensored. The only problem is that I often laugh out loud, gasp, or cry when writing, which can wake my husband in the next room. If he asks about it the next morning, I tell him he must have had a bad dream.
All of your books are in series: In My Heart, Tales from Fairyland, Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Cozzi Cove novels, Jana Lane mysteries, and Nicky and Noah mysteries. Is it difficult writing a series?
They say you can’t go home again. Well you can if you write a series! It’s as much fun as visiting with old friends. I love watching the leading characters and their relationships grow and develop. For example, witnessing Nicky and Noah’s family expand has been joyous and brings tears to my eyes. It’s also great fun developing minor characters from earlier books into major characters later on, like Martin Anderson’s husband Ruben. I enjoy creating new characters/suspects in each book to relate to the regulars. I also love travelling with my characters to new locations, like Alaska in Drama Cruise, Hawaii in Drama Luau, and now Scotland in Drama Castle Nicky and Noah mysteries.
The other Nicky and Noah mysteries take place in Vermont. Why did you set your Treemeadow College there?
Vermont is a gorgeous state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Treemeadow College is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces. After all, the college was started by gay couple Tree and Meadow.
Martin Anderson (the department chair), Martin’s husband Ruben, Nicky, Noah, and now even their adopted son Taavi drink hot chocolate on tall leather chairs at Martin’s cherry fireplace while they examine the murder clues and plan their wild and wacky role plays to catch the murderer. Is hot chocolate your drink of choice?
Actually, hot carob is my personal favorite. I thought carbo would be too out there for a cozy mystery series.
What do you mean by a cozy mystery series?
In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, the settings are 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 faster than a priest heading for altar boy orientation. At the center of all the stories is sweet romance between Nicky and Noah and other characters in the novels. No matter what trials and tribulations Nicky and Noah go through, there is always a happily ever after ending—until the next book. Reviewers called the series hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit. One reviewer wrote they were the funniest books she’d ever read! The Nicky and Noah mysteries do have occasional tasteful sex scenes unlike most other cozy mysteries, which I think makes them unique—and more interesting. So do the reviewers.
Why do you write gay fiction?
Simple. Go to a mall and look at the row of movie posters without any LGBT characters in them. Take a look at so many of our political and so-called religious leaders who raise money and gain power by demonizing LGBT people and via the Republican Party taking away civil rights. I mourn for the young gay kids who consider suicide. So I support organizations like GLSEN, giving a percentage of my royalty income to that organization each year. I also write stories that include LGBT people and themes. However, just as my Jana Lane series with its gay supporting characters has huge crossover appeal for gay people, the Nicky and Noah series with its LGBT leading characters and straight supporting characters has a tremendous amount of crossover appeal for straight people. Most people like a clever mystery, a sweet romance, and a good laugh, regardless of the sexuality of the characters.
Tell us about your Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.
I created a heroine who 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. In Porcelain Doll, Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. 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. In China Doll, Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll, Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s agent and best friend are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.
Your Dreamspinner Press series?
In In My Heart, An Infatuation is loosely based on my high school years through ten-year high school reunion. A Shooting Star is loosely based on my college years as a theatre major. The Tales from Fairyland are my comic gay takes on my favorite classic fairytales. The Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories were created after I took a trip to the gorgeous and magical island of Capri and met a distant Italian cousin
And how about your New Jersey beach series published by NineStar Press?
Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings are about handsome Cal Cozzi’s gay beach resort on a gorgeous cove. I spent my summers as a kid on the Jersey Shore, so it’s a special place for me. The first novel was a Favorite Book of the Month on The TBR Pile site and won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. I love the intertwining stories of Cal and his family and the guests as Cozzi Cove, each so full of surprises. Cozzi Cove is a place where nothing is what it seems, anything can happen, and romance is everywhere. Some reviewers have called it a gay Fantasy Island.
Now to the matter at hand: the Nicky and Noah mystery series. For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell them what they are missing.
In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year) college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains at Treemeadow College, and college theatre professors Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. Also, Nicky and Noah’s relationship reaches a milestone by the end of the novel. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with the handsome couple. In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort, and he and Noah need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Their department head/best friend and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In Drama Detective, Nicky is directing and ultimately co-starring with his husband Noah as Holmes and Watson in a new musical Sherlock Holmes play at Treemeadow College prior to Broadway. Martin and Ruben, their sassy office assistant Shayla, Nicky’s brother Tony, and Nicky and Noah’s son Taavi are also in the cast. Of course dead bodies begin falling over like hammy actors at a curtain call. Once again Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street. In Drama Fraternity, Nicky is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Noah, Taavi, Martin, and Shayla. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the quarterback, jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel. Having acted in films and on television myself, I know first-hand the world of moviemaking. So I was able to use that knowledge in the sixth and seventh novels.
Which brings us to your current release, Drama Castle?
Now in Drama Castle, Nicky is directing a historical film co-starring Noah and Taavi at Conall Castle in Scotland: When the Wind Blows Up Your Kilt It’s Time for A Scotch. Rounding out the cast are members of the mysterious Conall family who own the castle. When hunky men in kilts topple off the drawbridge and into the moat, it’s up to Nicky and Noah to use their acting skills to figure out whodunit before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. By the end of the novel, Noah also makes a shocking personal revelation. Nicky and Noah are joined by their best friends and fan favorites Martin and Ruben, and by Noah’s eccentric parents. And book seven adds a number of captivating new characters like Brody Naughton, the hunky head of Housekeeping with a red beard and roving eye for the oldest Conall brother, Barclay, and for Donal Blair a waiter in the castle’s Great Hall dining room. Each of the three hunky Conall brothers (Barclay, Magnus, and Fergus) have a surprising secret. Ewan Baird, the elderly caretaker, provides Nicky with information about the last generation of Conalls, which blows the story wide open.
How can your readers get their hands on Drama Castle, and how can they contact you?
The purchase links are below, as are my contact links, including my web site. I love to hear from readers! So do Nicky and Noah!
Thank you, Joe, for sharing with us today.
It was a joy. It is also my joy and pleasure to share this seventh novel in the series. So everyone, take your seats. The curtain is going up on steep cliffs, ancient turrets, stormy seas, misty moors, malfunctioning kilts, and murder!
Drama Castle by JOE COSENTINO
Barnes & Noble
Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a historical film at a castle in Scotland, co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, and their son Taavi. When historical accuracy disappears along with hunky men in kilts, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is pitching residents of Conall Castle off the drawbridge and into the moat, before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining seventh novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on steep cliffs, ancient turrets, stormy seas, misty moors, malfunctioning kilts, and murder!
Praise for the Nicky and Noah Mysteries:
“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his use of farce, along with his convoluted plot-lines, will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven't discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine
“A combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…
Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” “the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” Optimumm Book Reviews
“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews
“For fans of Joe Cosentino's hilarious mysteries, this is another vintage story with more cheeky asides and sub plots right left and centre….The story is fast paced, funny and sassy. The writing is very witty with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour….Highly recommended.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“This delightfully sudsy, colorful cast of characters would rival that of any daytime soap opera, and the character exchanges are rife with sass, wit and cagey sarcasm….As the pages turn quickly, the author keeps us hanging until the startling end.” Edge Media Network
“A laugh and a murder, done in the style we have all come to love….This had me from the first paragraph….Another wonderful story with characters you know and love!” Crystals Many Reviewers
“These two are so entertaining….Their tactics in finding clues and the crazy funny interactions between characters keeps the pages turning. For most of the book if I wasn't laughing I was grinning.” Jo and Isa Love Books
“Superb fun from start to finish, for me this series gets stronger with every book and that’s saying something because the benchmark was set so very high with book 1.” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“The Nicky and Noah Mysteries series are perfect for fans of the Cozy Mystery sub-genre. They mix tongue-in-cheek humor, over-the-top characters, a wee bit of political commentary, and suspense into a sweet little mystery solved by Nicky and Noah, theatre professors for whom all the world’s a stage.” Prism Book Alliance
“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland with Holiday Tales from Fairyland, the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). 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. Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and he is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.
Excerpt of Drama Castle, the seventh Nicky and Noah msytery, by Joe Cosentino:
Noah and I made our way up the gigantic poplar wood staircase. After standing all day and evening, the thick burgundy carpet on the steps was a welcome cushion to my tired feet. Noah admired the intricate molding of lions in various positions on the staircase, walls, and pewter chandelier above us. “Nicky, the castle must be much more crowded when open for business.”
“I prefer having it to ourselves.” I pinched his firm bottom and he giggled.
On the second floor, Noah and I headed down the long corridor and knocked on Mom and Dad’s door. Dad opened it, wearing a T-shirt and Bermuda shorts.
“Dad, we’re in Scotland, not the Caribbean,” Noah said.
“A vacation’s a vacation.” Dad welcomed us into his room. “This is some place, huh?” He gestured to the large canopy bed. “And look at that!” Poking my arm, he added, “You planning on giving it to Noah in the caboose tonight?”
Noah turned scarlet.
Dad laughed uproariously. “How are my two boys?”
“Tired.” I sat on an ornate bench.
“Stay and watch TV with me.” Dad opened a giant oak wardrobe revealing a flat screen television.
Did they have those in the eighteenth century?
He sat next to me and ran a hand over his bald head. “Braveheart is on tonight.”
Noah sat on a wide oak chair opposite us. “Dad, you’re in Scotland. Why not do some sightseeing?”
“No sights can beat the locations in Braveheart,” Dad said.
The door opened, and an iPhone covered my face. “What a cute picture of you two boys. Do you like my new iPhone?” Mom texted and then smiled proudly. “Judy from Wisconsin says her son and son-in-law, Tommy and Timmy, have never been to Scotland.”
Dad laughed. “Lucky for Jack. He’d have gotten stuck with the bill.”
“How are my boys?” Mom kissed every inch of our faces.
I wiped Mom’s tangerine lipstick off with a handkerchief. “How are Tommy and Timmy?”
“They’re worried about their little adopted daughter from Vietnam. Poor Dung gets under everyone’s feet, and Judy and her husband Jack keep stepping on Dung!” Mom sat on the canopy bed and adjusted the tie of her tangerine robe. “I think Tommy and Timmy are spreading Dung too thin with baby classes in sign language, swimming, and art.”
“All paid for by Grandpa Jack,” Dad added.
Mom patted her dyed blonde hair into place. “Dung is a sweet child, but no kid is as gifted and talented as our grandson.”
“Amen,” Dad said while readying the television remote control.
“Speaking of Taavi.” Noah looked around the room. “Where is he?”