Today I am so pleased to welcome Joe Cosentino to Joyfully Jay. Joe has come to talk to us about his latest release, A Shooting Star, the second In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella from Dreamspinner Press. Joe has also brought along a copy of the first book to give away. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOE COSENTINO
How does it feel to no longer be a new MM author?
Yes, I’m not an MM author virgin anymore. What a relief. Hah. Actually, I was welcomed wholeheartedly by so many MM authors and sites (like yours!) with AN INFATUATION, the first In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella from Dreamspinner Press. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. Readers and reviewers so kindly posted how the novella made them laugh, feel romantic, cry, and see life in a different way. They fell in love with Mario and Harold, and were nice enough to write about it. I will always be grateful.
Is A SHOOTING STAR a continuation of AN INFATUATION?
No, they are two separate stories. They are both in the In My Heart series because they are similar in tone and execution. Though bittersweet dream novellas, they are funny, theatrical, romantic, surprising, sad, shocking, and uplifting. Like real life. AN INFATUATION is loosely based on my high school days through adulthood. For A SHOOTING STAR, I thought back to my days as a theatre major in college.
What was special about your college days as a theatre major?
We studied hard, and put on plays for delighted audiences who never knew the personal secrets behind the stage curtains. We laughed, cried, and learned our acting craft, and we learned about life. There was the star student who got the leading role in every show. Everyone, male and female, was in love with him. There was also the class clown, the manipulator, everybody’s best friend, and (as they say on Gilligan’s Island) the rest. We shared an incredible experience that none of us will ever forget.
Did any of your classmates become famous?
Bruce Willis is one. Others went on to act on Broadway. As you know I acted in theatre, film, and television myself, including in the ABC-TV movie MY MOTHER WAS NEVER A KID with Holland Taylor, NBC’s ANOTHER WORLD with Charles Keating, onstage in ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT with Nathan Lane, and in a Commercial Credit Computer commercial with Jason Robards.
Are the characters in A SHOOTING STAR based on your college classmates?
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, likeable, and wears his heart on his sleeve. 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. 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. They were gay, bi, closet-gay, or straight. 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. Finally, 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. I want to play him in the movie version. And I want to play Principal Ringwood in AN INFATUATION!
Jonathan and David seek, find, and cultivate the good in others. It would be a better world if we all did the same.
You’re a past theatre major and current college theatre professor/department head. Is that why you write so much about college life?
As they say, write what you know about. As you know my Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press takes place at Treemeadow College, a fictitious white stone Edwardian New England college. Though the novel is a farcical, gay, who-dun-it, I again was able to think back to my college days and incorporate some of the people and happenings from days gone by. I was also able to use some scenarios, though grossly exaggerated, from my current stint as a college theatre professor/department head. In DRAMA QUEEN, while Nicky directs the school play, college theatre professors Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills (including other people) to figure out why their colleagues are dropping like stage curtains. In DRAMA MUSCLE (not released yet) 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. The fourth book, DRAMA ALOHA (not released yet), has Nicky and Noah putting on a luau show as muscular male dancers drop like hula skirts. As the series progressing, Nicky and Noah fall deeper in love, and the readers hopefully fall deeper in love with Nicky and Noah. DRAMA QUEEN has consistently been on the Amazon bestseller list in its category. It is available as an ebook, paperback, and audiobook performed (with 24 characters!) by the amazing Michael Gilboe.
What’s next for you in terms of MM novellas?
Dreamspinner Press is publishing A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (an American travels to Capri Italy and embarks on a romance with his handsome third cousin) in December, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND (gay fairytales) in February. I just completed a new MM novel set at the Jersey Shore, COZZI COVE: Bouncing Back, which features two minor characters from AN INFATUATION.
Do you write straight fiction as well?
I have a mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters. In PAPER DOLL from Whiskey Creek Press Jana, America’s most famous ex-child star discovers who attached her in the past and who is trying to snuff out her future while she embarks on a romance with her handsome producer. In PORCELAIN DOLL (coming from The Wild Rose Press), 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. In SATIN DOLL (not yet released), 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 the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL (not yet released), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star, and faced with murder on stage and off.
Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels. Jana’s agent (who I want to play in the movie version) and her best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist.
If readers want to learn more about you, where can they find you?
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
During the coming attractions, David gave me a lecture about Jane Austen’s female characters losing their virginity late in life and finding true love. Then the movie theatre darkened and the film began. Though it was a beautifully photographed movie taking place in an emerald-green, quaint country setting in England, my focus wasn’t on the screen. Wearing tight white slacks and a blue and white striped polo shirt, David positioned his bulging bicep on the arm rest between us, nestled his enormous shoulder into mine, and let his knee slide into mine. Taking in his musky scent, I shivered when David’s shimmering hair and warm breath tickled my ear as he whispered, “The most stimulating thing about Jane Austen’s characters are their refusal to fall in love…until they can no longer hold back the natural impulse to do so.” He placed his hand on my knee and I nearly ripped my (rather David’s) chino pants. “Aren’t you tired of fighting off love, Jonathan?”
“What do you mean?” I somehow got out through a hoarse throat.
“During all that studying and gymnastics in high school, didn’t you ever want to just give in?”
“To what?” I croaked out.
He put his muscular arm around me. “Your natural desires to make love?”
“I haven’t really thought about it.”
David moved my face toward his. “Think about it, Jonathan. Don’t you want to be a part of something beautiful? To be awoken, stimulated, possessed by another human being?” Leaning in with our noses nearly touching, he asked, “Don’t you want to let go and experience fulfillment, passion, love?”
Sweat dripped down my back. “I don’t know.”
His voice was silky and masculine like a Greek god whispering in a forest. “Do you want to find out?”
I noticed my head nod.
“Do you want to find out with me?”
It nodded again.
He wrapped both arms around me and pressed his huge pectoral muscles into my chest. “Do you want me, Jonathan?”
A frog landed in my throat. “I…I…”
David’s lips were an inch away from mine. “Do you want to make love with me?”
I was speechless.
He placed my hand on his lap. “Jonathan, if you don’t want me, nothing is going to happen here. Do you understand?”
I sounded like a soprano. “Yes.”
“It’s all up to you, Jonathan. Now, think about it, do you want me?”
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.
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
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KRPXJP6
Joe has brought a copy of An Infatuation, the first book in the series, to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday, October 13th at 11:59 pm EST.
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