Today I am so pleased to welcome Joe Cosentino to Joyfully Jay. Joe has come to talk to us about his release, Drama Queen (the first Nicky and Noah mystery). He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Joe a big welcome!


Hello, Joe. Thank you for stopping by to chat with us today.

My pleasure. I love interviewing with you!


Drama Queen is very different than your other story, An Infatuation. What would you say to people who might be surprised that Drama Queen is quite different?

I love salmon but I also love chicken. It’s the same thing. While both books are theatrical in style, An Infatuation is a romance novella, and Drama Queen is a wacky comedy mystery with a side order of romance. I’d ask them to give Drama Queen a try. Like I found eating pea soup as a kid, they may acquire a different taste.


What’s next for you as a writer?

I hope to continue with the Nicky and Noah mystery series as well as the Jane Lane mystery series. Also, this fall Dreamspinner Press is releasing my new romance novella, A Shooting Star, which also takes place on a college campus, this one in Colorado. In December Dreamspinner Press is publishing my holiday romance novella, A Home for the Holidays, which takes place in one of my favorite places, Capri, Italy. I’ve also written an anthology of gay fairytales, and I’m working on a new romance novel, Cozzi Cove, that could possibly be a series.


Your bio states you were an actor. How was it acting with all those celebrities?

I did an AT&T Industrial with Rose O’Donnell, A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage with Bruce Willis, Roar of the Greasepaint onstage with Nathan Lane, a Commercial Credit Computer commercial with Jason Robards, NBC’s Another World with Charles Keating, and ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid with Holland Taylor. In each case, I worked with them before they became famous, and in each case they were gracious, hard-working, kind, and very funny.


Do you want to go back to acting?

Yes, when the Nicky and Noah mysteries come to television, I want to play Martin Anderson. I also want to play Jana’s agent in the Jana Lane series, Mr. Ringwood the high school principal in An Infatuation, and Professor Katzer the acting professor in A Shooting Star.


What do you think the rules are for writing a good mystery?

Give the clues early. There’s nothing worse than reading a mystery and not getting any clues until the end. That’s cheating. Camouflage your clues and put in a number of red herrings. A mystery should have more than mystery. Like any novel, it should have interesting characters, a strong plot with lots of twists and turns, and a surprising but justified and satisfying ending. In my case, it also needs a heavy dose of humor.


How does your acting inform your writing?

I approach both in the same way. It all starts with character. I ask a million questions of each character, trying to figure out exactly who he/she is. Once that’s done, I move on to plot. As actors do improvisations, I have my characters talk to one another, and I write down what they say. I laugh and cry at my characters’ antics, just like a reader of the book.


Do you like when readers contact you?

I love it! I also love reading the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads–when they’re good ones (hah). A writer puts his/her soul into a book. It’s a fragile thing. It’s so terrific when a reader takes the time to show his/her appreciation. I’ve received so many beautiful thank yous from readers who have been touched by my writing. I hold those missives close to my heart, and I love getting them.


If my readers want to know more about you or your work, where can they find you?

Through my web site. I’m also on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter. So share the love.


Any last words for our readers?

If you like a good mystery brain teaser, wacky comedy, with a side order of gay romance, give Drama Queen a try. And let me know how you like it!


A few minutes later we were in the white stone building next door, which houses our faculty offices, lab theatre, rehearsal hall, and classrooms. Martin was just about to leave his office when Noah and I arrived like the Scarecrow and the Tin Man asking for our special wish.

Our department head is a short, thin, balding man who looks like Pinocchio, if Pinocchio was in his sixties. Besides being a terrific Theatre Management professor, Martin is honest, kind, incredibly competent, and a tireless advocate for everyone and everything in our department. When I grow up, I want to be Martin Anderson.

“Nicky! Noah! Come in. Have a seat.” Pretending he hadn’t been on his way home, Martin surreptitiously slipped off his hat and coat then settled us all on tall, leather wingback chairs around his cherry wood mantel fireplace with china cups filled with hot cocoa in our hands and monogrammed cranberry cloth napkins on our knees. Martin wore his usual wardrobe of a white button-down shirt, black pants, and matching sweater vest and bowtie (cranberry today).

I said, “Working on next term’s budget?”

Martin smiled revealing jagged teeth from biting on too many number two pencils. “The budget, course schedule, and curriculum reports for next term are finished. I was going over student grade appeals.”

Noah’s jaw dropped. “It’s only February. Grade appeals so soon?”

I patted Noah on the head, and said a la W.C. Fields, “The way our students are coddled at home and in high school, there are always grade appeals, my boy.” I took a sip of my sweet cocoa, and asked Martin, “Doesn’t Ruben ever complain about the hours you keep at the college?”

Martin smiled at the picture of him and his husband on his large cherry wood desk. “After over forty years together, we understand each other’s passions…for one another and for our work.”

Ruben is the C.E.O. of a gay rights organization, a devoted husband to Martin, and a loving father to their two adopted children, now grown women with families of their own.

“But enough about me. How’s the show coming?”

“I’ll let you know after opening night…and after I sleep about twenty-four hours.”

“You do terrific work…both of you.”


Martin looked like a termite in a wood shed. “Now tell me everything that is going on at rehearsals. Any love affairs among the students? Arguments between the staff? Artistic tempers flaring?”

Besides being an amazing department head, Martin is also an amazing gossip. Though he will keep any secret asked of him in confidence, everything else is fair game for a major Martin chin wag.

I filled Martin in on the latest antics of my cast and crew, including Ricky, Kayla, and Jan’s infatuation with my play’s leading man.

After I ran out of gossip, Noah said tensely, “Martin, we came to see you about David Samson.” Noah rested a shaky elbow on the arm of his chair. “Besides Ariella, who in our department might be swayed by him?”


DramaQueencoverIt could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

Buy links:


Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner 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, 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 Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery.


Joe has brought a copy of An Infatuation to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, August 13th at 11:59 pm EST. And if you would like to share your thoughts on reading mysteries by gay characters, Joe would love to hear them! 

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FILED UNDER: Excerpt, Giveaway, Interview