An Interview with Noah Oliver of Drama Dance, the eighth Nicky and Noah mystery novel by Joe Cosenti
Hi, Noah. Congratulations on the release of the eighth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy mystery series.
Thanks. It's great to get out of the books and stretch my legs.
The novels in the series have been called “laugh out loud funny,” “sexy shenanigans,” “brilliant brain teasers,” “sweet romances,” and “a combination of Murder She Wrote, The Hardy Boys, Hart to Hart, and a British farce.”
I’d like to thank the Academy. Actually, I share the success of our series with the love of my life, my husband and theatre professor colleague, Nicky Abbondanza, and our family, friends, and colleagues.
Why are your books called gay cozy mysteries?
Because Nicky and I get cozy together, which is my favorite part of the books. Our books 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 faster than a closet gay politician running out of a gay bar in November (as Nicky would say). No matter what is thrown in our path, Nicky and I always end up on top. Actually, Nicky ends up on top, which is just with me. Many of the novels take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Treemeadow College (named after its gay founders, couple Tree and Meadow) 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.
For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us a bit about the first seven novels in the series.
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 I have to use our theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit while Nicky directs the school play. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and I don our gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells in Nicky’s bodybuilding competition. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and I must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring college theatre professors from across the US and me. Complicating matters are our both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with us. In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort, and Nicky and I need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Our 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 me 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 our 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 I use our drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before we 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 our son Taavi, Martin, Shayla, and me. 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 I once again need to use our drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before we hit the final reel. In Drama Castle, Nicky is directing a historical film co-starring Taavi and me 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 mote, it’s up to Nicky and me to use our acting skills to figure out whodunit before we land in the dungeon.
Which brings us to your current release, Drama Dance.
Now in Drama Dance, Nicky is directing The Nutcracker ballet at Treemeadow. Muscular dance students and faculty with bountiful dance belts cause more things to rise than the Christmas tree. When cast members drop faster than Christmas balls, Nicky and I once again use our drama skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out who is trying to crack the Nutcracker’s nuts, trap the Mouse King, and be cavalier with the Cavalier before Nicky and I end up in the Christmas pudding.
Do you and Nicky take on roles in the ballet?
Nicky directs and co-stars (as the Mouse King) opposite me (as the Cavalier), our son Taavi (as Fritz), and our best friend and department head Martin (as Drosselmeyer). Since it is Treemeadow College after all, there are lots of cracked nuts as characters and the yule tide is definitely gay. Oh, and of course there are more murders than closet gay politicians hidden in the stalls of public men’s rooms (as Nicky would say).
Are some of our old favorite characters back?
Yes! There are our best friends the comically cantankerous Martin and Ruben, Martin’s sassy office assistant Shayla, and Nicky’s and my both sets of riotous parents.
Do you like Nicky’s parents?
They’re very loud, but I’ll admit that I adore them. They’re absolutely hilarious. They’re goal is to feed everyone and protect their children. Like my parents, they fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing. Nicky loves my mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and my father’s fascination with seeing movies. He also loves how my father is an amateur sleuth like him. As they say, men marry their fathers.
Can you give us a run down on some of the new characters in book eight?
They are Thomas Bighorn, the muscular and gorgeous student cast as the Nutcracker. Everyone at the college wants to be in his Christmas stocking. Thomas’ understudy and ex, Piero Lamas, is just as hunky and makes everyone’s bells jingle. Only Piero’s sister, Caterina (Clara), knows Piero’s secret, and he knows hers. Liz Canton (Clara’s understudy) is an abstinence-before-marriage advocate with more than holiday gifts hiding in her closet. The dance faculty members playing the other roles, and Otto Dietrich the choreographer with a secret past, have just as many hidden roasted chestnuts in their drawers. Nate Owen’s (student stage manager) crush on Piero is absolutely adorable. Finally, Anya Dietrich, the Dance Department Head (Sugar Plum Fairy) is quite the woman of mystery.
How can your readers get their hands on Drama Dance, and how can they contact you? The purchase links are below, as are Joe’s contact links, including his web site. Joe tells us everything, so message us through him. Nicky and I love to hear from readers!
Thank you, Noah, for interviewing today.
It is our joy and pleasure to share this eighth novel in our series with you. So take your seats. The curtain is going up on Clara, the Nutcracker, the Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Cavalier. And of course hilarity, romance, and murder Nicky and Noah Style!
Drama Dance (the eighth Nicky and Noah mystery) by JOE COSENTINO
Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is back at Treemeadow College directing their Nutcracker Ballet co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. With muscular dance students and faculty in the cast,
the Christmas tree on stage isn’t the only thing rising. When cast members drop faster than their loaded dance belts, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is cracking the Nutcracker’s nuts, trapping the Mouse King, and being cavalier with the Cavalier, before Nicky and Noah end up stuck in the Land of the Sweets. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining eighth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on the Fairy—Sugar Plum that is, clumsy mice, malfunctioning toys, 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 Dance, the eighth Nicky and Noah msytery, by Joe Cosentino:
Noah kissed my neck. “Being back at Treemeadow and in a show again has been great for Taavi.” “And for us.” I kissed his forehead. Always thoughtful and kind, Noah said, “I grew up in Wisconsin with my extended family nearby, as you did in Kansas. I can tell Taavi misses our parents, our brothers and their husbands, and their kids.” “But Taavi has us. And his fairy godparents, Martin and Ruben.” “And his theatre family.” A line appeared across Noah’s porcelain-like forehead. “Interesting how Taavi picked up on all the bickering at rehearsals.” “He’s a perceptive kid. Besides, Martin and Ruben have been bickering since the turn of the century. It’s their way of showing affection for each other.” I ran my sideburn against his cheek. “Every family bickers a bit.” “Especially the Lamas siblings. You’d think they were playing the Borgias instead of Clara and the Nutcracker’s understudy.” The gossip in me was awoken. “It seems Piero told their conservative parents that Caterina is a stripper. And Caterina told them Piero is gay.” “You think they’re each vying for a higher spot in the parents’ will?” “Or at least in their parents’ hearts.” I squeezed Noah closer into my chest. “And did you notice how Liz turned into Eve Harrington when Caterina was hit by the tree?” “All understudies yearn to take over their roles.” “But Liz was practically salivating on my neck.” “While she gave her lecture about abstinence until heterosexual marriage.” I laughed. “Our heterosexually-married choreographer didn’t seem to notice. Otto was too busy trying to get into Piero’s dance belt.” “Totally inappropriate. And not only because Otto is married. Piero is his student!” “I agree.” Noah’s crystal blue eyes shimmered. “But, Nicky?” “Yeah?” “I’m not your student."
I grinned. “But you are married.” “And I’d have it no other way.”