Interview with Joe Cosentino, author of
THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND
Published by Dreamspinner Press
It is my pleasure to welcome back to the Purple Rose Tea House prolific author Joe Cosentino.
Thank you, Charlie. I’m here so much you should name a tea after me.
What would we call it?
How about Spicy, or since I come back so much, Reflux?
I like Spicy. Perfect for you.
Reflux didn’t get a rise out of you.
Who would buy a tea called Reflux?
People are into all kinds of kinky things, as you know. For example, I remember a picture of you—
On to our interview.
First I want to congratulate you for winning The Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Gay Paranormal Novel of 2015 with RISE and FALL!
Awwww. Thank you, Joe. That’s so sweet of you to mention that. My first question—
(Joe clears his throat.)
I’d like to know—
Charlie, did you want to mention anything else about the Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards?
I’m just pulling your tea bag. Of course I want to tell everyone that your MM novella AN INFATUATION won Best Book Cover, and your gay mystery/comedy novel DRAMA QUEEN the first Nicky and Noah mystery won Best Mystery, Best Crime Novel, Best Humorous Novel, and Best Contemporary Novel. Congratulations, Joe!
You didn’t need to mention all that.
But since you did, I want to thank my Kindergarten teacher who—
On to the interview for THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND, your latest novella from Dreamspinner Press. Your previous novels and novellas were reality based, well based in your reality. What made you to venture into the world of fantasy?
While reading other prolific writers whose work admire—like yours, I noticed so many writing about alternative realities. I decided to leave science fiction to the writers who do it best, but try writing in a new genre I adore—fairytales (no pun intended).
Did you love fairytales as a kid?
My older sister (She’ll love reading this) read me fairytales in bed every night before sleep when I was a kid. I was totally entranced by the captivating stories of peasants becoming princes and princesses—and finding true love. The gorgeous locations, hysterical wit, wonderment, high drama, and happy endings filled my young mind like beans in a counting jar. I wanted to leave my ordinary life behind and live in those palaces, meet the charming princes, and bring financial equality and happiness to those kingdoms. I learned how to read by reading those cherished, worn fairytale books, which were handed down to my grandnieces who love them (when they aren’t wearing their Frozen clothing, sitting on their Frozen blanket, drinking from their Frozen mug, and playing in their Frozen Village.
Had you always thought about writing your own fairytales?
After college I wrote musical plays for professional theatre companies (Interborough Repertory Theater, Pegasus Productions, and TSF Productions) that toured to young audiences. Many of them were based on fairytales like Princess and the Pea, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Some of them are still on tour!
What’s your favorite fairytale?
Cinderella. It has the perfect elements: larger than life characters, humor, drama, conflict, and a perfect ending.
What led you to write fairytales with a gay spin?
As I read and reread those old fairytales, I was saddened to see no openly gay characters in any of my favorite stories. I also saw all the Disney films and Broadway musicals and wondered, ‘Where are the openly gay characters? What does this absence say to a gay child and/or gay parent?’ I also asked myself, ‘Why aren’t there any gay people in fairyland? Why couldn’t a peasant boy fall in love with a prince? Wouldn’t a tired, hungry, homeless blond boy seek refuge in a house with three bears? What was Pinocchio’s growing appendage trying to tell him? Did Jack enjoy his time with the Giant more than he let on? Could the Snow Queen be a handsome, frigid prince?’
What’s the good of fairy dust without any fairies?
So how did you go about writing the four stories in the long novella?
Having written three successful novellas published by Dreamspinner Press, I knew it was time to write a fourth. Unlike my three contemporary romances (AN INFATUATION, A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS), I decided this one would be a fantasy featuring my favorite fairytales turned into rainbows. So I thought back to the stories I loved so much and incorporated many of them into the four humorous, romantic, adventurous, touching, and magically gay tales from Fairyland. It really was fun, like updating history books.
What are the stories about?
“The Naked Prince” is a different take on the Cinderella story. Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Will Cinder and Prince Charming confront their manipulative mothers, bring equality to the kingdom, find themselves, and find one another? In “The Golden Rule,” when he is caught with nimble Jack, eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden is thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents. With nowhere else to go, he breaks into the home of three men living on Bear Mountain. Bo and Butch enjoy having a young roommate, but Ben isn’t convinced. Will Gideon and Ben make vinegar or honey? “Whatever Happened To … ?” takes place on Christmas Eve. A reporter living on Andersen Lane interviews a celebrity for the Queen Newspaper series, “What Ever Happened To … .” Friction ensues between the celebrity with the growing appendage who can’t tell fact from fiction, and the reporter who has a thing for giants. Eventually a romantic spark is lit between the two as Christmas Day arrives, and they realize they have more in common than living in Fairyland. Finally in “Ice Cold,” after losing their families during the great ice storm in the northernmost kingdom of Fairyland, young Gaelen and Kieran pledged their love for one another. When Isidore rides into Frost Village on his elaborate sleigh, Kieran follows the handsome prince to his castle in Arctic Kingdom, where Kieran becomes Isidore’s bewitched slave. This leads Gaelen on an amazing adventure to find his true love and melt his frozen heart.
Tell us more about the main characters.
Cinder is sweet, giving, kind, and totally devoted to his family. He wants nothing more than to see them happy. Due to his selflessness, the spirits of his two deceased dads grant him a wish to go to the king and queen’s ball. Prince Charming is handsome, strong, and of course—charming. Like Cinder he wants to help the poor in his kingdom, but he doesn’t know how to do it. That’s where Cinder comes in. Cinder and Prince Charming are perfect foils and perfect soulmates.
Gideon begins as a selfish teenager. Thanks to Ben (the mature and hunky brother on Bear Mountain), Gideon learns the true meaning of love and family.
Pinocchio and Jack learn in their story to transcend their pasts and love themselves, and each other, again.
Gaelen is a sheltered young man who finds his inner strength to save his love, Kiernan, from the wicked Prince Isidore. Along the way he is tempted by three handsome men in the forest, but his heart always belongs to Kiernan.
Who is your favorite character in THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND and why?
I love all of them, but my favorite are Cinder’s funny, sweet, devoted dads. I want to play Mortimer in the animated movie!
Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write and why?
“Ice Cold” was a stretch for me since unlike most of my other work it is a fantasy epic. I enjoyed it though and I love all of the colorful characters Gaelen meets on his journey.
Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most and why?
In “The Golden Rule” Gideon sparing with Ben was a blast. Those two really heated things up.
How did you handle writing the love scenes?
Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. The love scenes in this novella are as beautiful and magical as the stories.
What are you writing now?
A new series of novels in a gay beach resort called Cozzi Cove. Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach! Nine Star Press is publishing COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD soon.
You write mysteries as well. Any new releases coming out soon in that genre?
Yes, my Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press is a farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-it. In DRAMA QUEEN 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 (whose tenure application was not supported by the first victim). In DRAMA MUSCLE (released January 2) Nicky and Noah 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 (not released yet), 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.
I have another mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters. As a child I loved child stars like Shirley Temple, Hayley Mills, and Patty Duke, seeing their movies over and over. So 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 (Whiskey Creek Press), 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 (The Wild Rose Press releasing March 15), 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 (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), 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 romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), 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. Through the course of the books, Jana not only solves the mysteries, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. This is an important message for all of us. As one reviewer wrote, she starts out as a wounded bird, and ends as tiger. 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.
How can your readers contact you?
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
As always, it was an incredible pleasure, Joe.
Thank you, Charlie. Would you like to be my date at the Divine Magazine Awards? We can sit up front and blow kisses to the camera when the MC makes jokes about us.
It’s a date. Until next time, happy writing!
THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND
by JOE COSENTINO
published by Dreamspinner Press
Pages or WC: 30,000 words
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Follow Cinder and Prince Charming in this twist on the classic “Cinderella” tale, as they discover their inner strengths and find their very own happily ever after. Enjoy “The Naked Prince” and three other reimagined Tales from Fairyland, each with a unique spin on stories we all know and love, including “The Golden Rule,” where eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden, after being thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents, breaks into the cottage of three burly men on Bear Mountain, “Whatever Happened To…?,” in which friction ensues between a celebrity with a growing appendage and the reporter who has a thing for giants, and “Ice Cold,” where young Gaelen must save his love Kieran after a handsome but evil prince freezes Kieran’s heart and bewitches him into being the prince’s slave.
Praise for Joe Cosentino’s books from Dreamspinner Press:
“unbelievably beautiful” “a masterpiece” Lovebytes Reviews
“as Joe Cosentino proves time and time again, with his wonderful writing and storytelling ability, love will prevail, and you will smile from ear to ear.” Kathy Mac Reviews
“a master class in how to write short fiction (or any fiction). Joe Cosentino has provided a work that will leave you thinking and wanting to savor and re-read it again and again.” GGR Reviews
“Like an onion, Joe Cosentino’s stories have layers.” “For those readers looking for something a little bit different – dare I say unique? For those readers who like to laugh. For those readers who appreciate the nuances of people and the way each character is different. For those readers who want to read a damn good story – check out this author. I’m glad I did.” “A truly fabulous read.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“This story just blew me away.” Cathy Brockman Romance/MM Good Book Reviews
“From the beginning I was enthralled and couldn’t wait to finish the book.” Inked Rainbow Reads
“really grabs you and tugs at your emotions” “unique and enjoyable.” Nautical Star Books
“It turned out exactly how I wanted it to.” BFD Book Blog
“This is polished prose at its best. Intelligent writing, a thought-provoking plot and characters befitting the theater genre” “one of my favorite reads this year.” Love’s Last Refuge Reviews
“Don’t miss this one friends, it is a heartfelt story magical in the telling! Thanks Joe for putting your heart on the page for us to savor!” Bike Book Reviews
“It’s unusual for me to get sucked into a book in the first chapter but it grabbed me early and I read the whole thing in one day”. Nautical Star Books
“There were times I laughed and then there were times I cried…unforgettable.” Multitaskingmomma Reviews
“I really loved this book and having an ending that made me laugh and cry at the same time is testament to the brilliant writing.” BooksLaidBareBoys
“The author executed his storyline with a marvelous precision that would be the envy of many authors. He draws the readers into the lives of his characters, they become real and in turn, their emotions becomes yours.” “If you can only afford to buy one more book this year, buy this one.” Three Books Over the Rainbow Reviews
Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), 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, Charles Keating, 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 releases are Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press) and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press releasing March 15).
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com