If you were stranded on a desert island (food and water provided), what three things would you take with you?
My spouse for company, my neighbor who knows how to do everything to build a hut and catch and cook the food, and Zeb Atlas to look at.
Do you have a designated writing area at home? What’s it like?
Like Martin Anderson, the college’s theatre department head in DRAMA QUEEN (the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press), I have a beautiful cherry wood study with a fireplace, huge desk, bookcases, and window seat. It’s hard for me to leave.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Also like Martin Anderson in DRAMA QUEEN, I’m a college theatre professor/department head. I love giving back to my students, and they teach me as much as I teach them. A number of my faculty colleagues kidded me that if they tick me off I will kill them in an upcoming Nicky and Noah mystery. While tempting, I like them too much to do that.
What are you working on now?
I just finished writing a new novel set at a gay beach resort in New Jersey called COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, and sent it to the publisher. And I just started writing CHINA DOLL (the fourth Jana Lane mystery). The Jana Lane mysteries are about ex-child star, Jana Lane, making a comeback while she solves murder mysteries, including who is after her. The series takes place in the 1980’s so AIDS is an integral part of each novel. Though Jana is straight, her best friend, agent, and greatest fan are gay. PAPER DOLL was published by Whiskey Creek Press. PORCELAIN DOLL is releasing in 2016 by The Wild Rose Press. SATIN DOLL and CHINA DOLL will follow.
Why did you decide to write M/M Romance?
They say, write what you know about. Also, go to the mall and look at movie poster after movie poster with no gay characters in them. What does this say to gay youth? This needs to change. Gay stories need to be told. After my In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella, AN INFATUATION, was released by Dreamspinner Press, so many readers told me they laughed, cried, and were very much moved by Harold and Mario’s story. I received numerous requests for a second novella in the In My Heart series. Since AN INFATUATION was loosely based on my high school days through adulthood, I thought back to my days as a theatre major in college, and A SHOOTING STAR was born. I know this story will touch everyone’s heart. I can’t wait to share more MM stories with readers.
What did you enjoy most about writing this story
I loved spending time with the characters in A SHOOTING STAR. Like Harold in AN INFATUATION, Jonathan in A SHOOTING STAR is loosely based on me, though I haven’t won an Academy Award—yet. He is ingenuous, funny, warm, gullible, and has an open heart. As is the case with Stuart in AN INFATAUTION, Barry, Jonathan’s loyal scene partner in A SHOOTING STAR, is loosely based on my spouse. Barry is hysterically funny and has such a great sense of self. He is also a devoted friend. Similar to Mario in AN INFATUATION, David in SHOOTING STAR is a combination of a number of young men I met as a theatre major in college and as a young actor. Each was handsome, muscular, charismatic, sensuous, and almost other-worldly like Greek gods. Though they appeared to hold the world in the palm of their strong hands, they each had a secret weakness. David is magical, an enigma, and incredibly sexy.
The acting professor, the hysterically hypochondriac Professor Katzer, is a lampooned version of an acting professor I had in college who has since passed away. He is great fun! I also love the theme of the story. As college theatre majors Jonathan and David sought out, developed, and celebrated the good in everyone around them. The world would be a better place if everyone followed their lead.
What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter, a pantser, or both?
I generally wake up at 3am with a good idea and jot down notes on the pad on my night table. Since I began as an actor, I start by writing a long biography for each character. Sometimes I write an outline and other times I wing it. Since I did improvisation as an actor, I let the voices/characters in my head talk to one another then I write down what they say. I show the second draft to my spouse for his notes. The third draft goes to the publisher.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author looking to get published?
Write the kind of stories that you like to read, and the kind of characters you want to spend time with. There’s more to romance than romance. Just like in real life, romances are full of comedy, mystery, drama, twists and turns, and big surprises.
What are your plans for the future? What more can we look forward to from you?
I am editing A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (an American travels to Capri Italy and embarks on a romance with his handsome third cousin), a short holiday novella releasing from Dreamspiner Press in December. Then comes THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND (gay fairytales novella), releasing from Dreamspinner Press in February. DRAMA MUSCLE (the second Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press) releases in March with Nicky and Noah investigating why musclemen are dropping like weights while Nicky directs the college’s bodybuilding competition. DRAMA CRUISE (Nicky and Noah investigate why theatre professors are dropping overboard while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre), and DRAMA ALOHA (Nicky directs a luau show in Hawaii while he and Noah investigate why muscular hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts) will follow. The second Jana Lane mystery, PORCELAIN DOLL, releases from The Wild Rose Press sometime in 2016 too. SATIN DOLL and CHINA DOLL will follow. So I’ll be very busy! Hopefully readers will come along for the ride, and contact me via my web site to give me their feedback: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com, and on Amazon and Goodreads!
Which of your characters is most like you?
Readers tell me my books are cinematic. So I’m ready to make the movies. I want to play Principal Ringwood in AN INFATUATION, Professor Katzer in A SHOOTING STAR, Martin Anderson the department head in the Nicky and Noah series, and Simon Huckby Jana’s agent in the Jana Lane series. I’m ready for my close up!
Genre: Contemporary | Bittersweet Dreams Title
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
On the eve of the best night of his life, winning an Academy Award, Jonathan Bello thinks back to his one great love, David Star. Flipping back the pages of time, Jonathan recalls his handsome, muscular, and charismatic college roommate. Since Jonathan was a freshman and David a senior in the Theatre Department, David took Jonathan under his wing and molded him, not only as an actor but as a lover. With every wonderful new adventure, David left his joyful mark on anyone with whom they came in contact, but Jonathan soon uncovered David’s dark past, leading to a shocking event. Undaunted, Jonathan celebrates the captivating man who will always hold a special place in his heart.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
Reviews for AN INFATUATION the first novella in the In My Heart series by Joe Cosentino from Dreamspinner Press:
“Author Joe Cosentino brought just the right amount of humor, angst and honesty to make this short but sweet coming of age story a success.”
– MM Good Book Reviews
“Joe Cosentino proves there’s more than one way to a happy ending in An Infatuation, a story of first love and heartbreak delivered in a fresh and funny voice.”
– The Novel Approach
“Don’t miss this one friends, it is a heartfelt story magical in the telling! Thanks Joe Cosentino 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
“I recommend this book to anyone reminiscing about that one that got away.”
– LoveBytes Reviews
“I think you will be left breathless with the reality and emotion behind An Infatuation.”
– Diverse Reader
As an Italian-American, I subscribed to my mother’s theory that if someone doesn’t want you to see something, he will hide it in a locked vault covered with cement. So I inadvertently took a quick look at my roommate’s things on the other side of the room. He was incredibly neat. Numerous theater textbooks and play scripts lined his bookshelf in alphabetical order. The bulletin board above his desk displayed artistically arranged programs from various comedy, drama, and musical college productions listing the same male lead in each show: “David Star”.
“Do you always look at other people’s things?”
I nearly got whiplash as he entered the room.
Stammering like a kid caught masturbating by his parents, I said, “I… w-was… ad-m-miring y-your… r-room.”
Though it was a fall September day, he took off his scarf (violet) and rested it on a tall coat-rack, which held scarves in various colors like a department store window display. He was taller than me, with a chiseled, handsome face, and straight, shiny black hair, which fell down his thick neck. I admired his perfectly sculpted muscles, housed in a turquoise designer dress shirt. But what captivated me the most were his piercing crystal-blue eyes—and the enormous bulge in his skin-tight, designer beige pants.
“What’s your name?”
He looked at me like a surgeon examining a tumor. “No, it’s not.”
“It’s Jonathan Bello.” He opened a bureau drawer, pulled out a bottle of hair gel, and tossed it to me. “You should gel your hair.” He opened his closet, revealing a multitude of color-coordinated shirts and slacks, and lay some on my bed. “And you can wear these.”
I looked at his perfectly pressed designer clothes. “Where did you get all these things?”
“They were gifts, mostly.”
“You must have some generous friends…. Sorry, I don’t know your name.”
“I’m David Star.” He took a bow.
Looking back at his play programs, I said, “You must have starred in every play at the college over the last three years.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“What happened to your last roommate?”
“He went to LA over the summer break and started auditioning. He got cast in a new TV sitcom. I hope it takes off. It’s called Cosby.”
“At the orientation session, they said freshmen are housed with other freshmen. How did I get a senior for a roommate?”
His eyes twinkled. “Just lucky I guess.”
“Do you think it was some kind of an administrative error or something?”
“Or something.” He added matter-of-factly, “I asked for a freshman roommate.”
Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe 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, 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 A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press short stories novella), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press), and Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press).
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com