2015 has been a good year in publishing for today's guest author, Joe Cosentino. I've been pleased to feature him on the blog in both February and March, and I hope you've had a chance to pick up at least one of his enjoyable novels. If you haven't yet, give this latest release a try. You won't be disappointed.
Welcome back, Joe. First up, I’d like to congratulate you on the release of DRAMA QUEEN. It’s been receiving high praise as a humorous, fast-moving, keep-us-guessing mystery, and readers are eager for the return of Nicky and Noah, myself included.
I’m diving right into the questions today, because I’m excited to have another chance to talk.
1. Your familiarity with the background used in the story gives the reader a real insider’s view to the world of college theatre. Knowing that truth is much stranger than fiction, did you stick pretty close to reality or did you make use of artistic license?
Thanks so much, Chrissy. I always love answering your questions. As you know I was a professional actor and am currently a college theatre professor/department head. Colleges, especially theatre departments, are communities unto themselves with more humor, drama, romance, surprises, and interesting characters than found on television. Thankfully nobody has been murdered at my college, so the novel’s five murders were obviously made up in my active imagination, as were the quaint characters. However, some of the situations, particularly when Noah directs the play on campus, were based on incidents in my life. Of course the wacky sense of humor is mine too. I love Nicky and Noah and all their hijinks. So far readers are falling in love with them as they fall in love with each other. DRAMA QUEEN is currently (June 12) #46 on the Top Best Seller List in its category on Amazon Kindle. The paperback has just released, and the audiobook will be out in about a month.
I have already written the next two novels in the series, and I hope they will be published soon. In the first novel, Drama Queen, Nicky and Noah have to uncover why college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains while Nicky directs the college play production—a murder mystery. In the second, Drama Muscle, Nicky and Noah must find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In the third, Drama Cruise, 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. Since I acted in murder mystery dinner theater, I used a few incidents from my life—though greatly exaggerated. I will probably write the fourth this fall. I want to play Martin Anderson, the theatre department head, in the TV series!
2. With multiple releases under your belt, have you changed any part of your writing process since your first novel?
My writing process has stayed the same. I generally write in the evenings. I create a character biography then an outline. In a mystery, it’s so much fun to plan the clues, red herrings, suspects, plot twists and turns, and the surprising yet justified ending. Then I move on to the first and second drafts. After my spouse reads it and offers comments, I write the third draft, which goes to the publisher.
3. What’s the worst bit of advice on writing you’ve ever received?
Try to write for a particular market. I think what makes all of my books special is my ability to weave in mystery, romance, humor, compelling and fast-paced plots, and a surprise ending. I use my background in show business and academia often. My books come from my heart. I can’t imagine what they would be like if I tried to write for a particular audience or publisher. That may be why I have three different publishers for my books (Lethe Press, Dreamspinner Press, Whiskey Creek Press)—so far!
As much as we love your work, I’d also like to give your readers a glimpse of the man behind the cover. Ready?
4. What is your favorite part of the day?
About ten pm. I’ve finished all my work at the college, exercised, and eaten. My spouse has gone to sleep. I enter my home office (with cherry wood desk, fireplace mantel, and bookshelves—like Martin Anderson’s office in DRAMA QUEEN). I unleash the voices in my head and write until bedtime.
5. What’s the one thing that drives you crazy, no matter who does it?
Texting when I am talking to them. I have a funny scene in DRAMA QUEEN where the students do it while Nicky tries to give notes on the play. That actually happened to me. It drives me crazy, and my students know it. That’s probably why they do it. Hah.
6. What’s your favorite love story? (movie or book)
I love Armistead Maupin’s TALES OF THE CITY saga. Sadly only the first three were made into television movies. His characters are unpredictable, outrageous, but extremely loveable, as are their stories. I try to emulate that in my writing.
7. I asked you this question back in February when you first appeared on the blog, so I’m curious to see if anything has changed. If we were to look at your desk right now, what three things would we see?
The same things! Hah. Folders marked ‘Past Releases,’ ‘Current Releases,’ and ‘Future Releases.’ My desk at the college is another matter!
Thank you, Joe, for spending time with us once again.
Are you ready to see what new fun Joe has in store for us?
DRAMA QUEEN (a Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel
by JOE COSENTINO
paperback and ebookavailable now in all formats
audiobook coming soon
It 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!
With the student actors and technicians sitting in the front of the theatre (obliviously texting on their phones), my student stage manager, SuCho, screamed for everyone’s attention, and for me to come to the front of the theatre house to give them my notes. This thankfully sent David off to his office in a huff.
After I had given my first few notes, I noticed Noah Oliver standing in the back of the theatre. Noah is tall and lean with curly blond hair, blue eyes, and the sweetest smile I have ever wanted to kiss in an Assistant Professor. While I teach Theatre History and Play Directing, Noah is our department’s specialist in Acting, and for good reason. Noah is a terrific actor, a creative and passionate teacher, and a wonderful colleague. More importantly, I have had a crush on him since the moment he made his entrance into our humble campus three years ago. Noah is single, gay, and seems to really like me. Why don’t I ask him out? Noah is twenty-eight years young. As a junior professor in my department in need of my vote for tenure this year, if I make a pass at him it could be considered attempted coercion on my part.
It was difficult for me to concentrate on giving my notes to the students since Scotty Bruno, my graduate assistant and Assistant Director of the play, was talking, laughing, and obviously flirting with Noah in the rear of the theatre. I had reason to be concerned. Scotty has bleached blond hair, contact lens turquoise eyes, ultra-white bonded teeth, and muscles as if sculpted by Michelangelo, housed in multi-colored, stuffed shorts and tank top (in winter) that were not unnoticed by Noah. Unless I was becoming nearsighted, I could have sworn that Scotty whispered something into Noah’s ear then handed Noah a box. What the heck is in it? Love letters? Condoms? My heart on a silver platter?
Joe Cosentino is the author ofDrama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press),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.
Edited to add Author's Note: Due to a technical error, for a short period of time some people who purchased from Amazon the Kindle version of DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino published by Lethe Press, did not receive the entire ebook. If this happened to you, our sincere apologies. The problem has been corrected. Please update your Kindle file and you will have the entire book. If you have a problem, please contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
. If you purchased it on Amazon and returned it for refund, please purchase it again and enjoy the full book! The paperback and audiobook were not affected by this technical error. Thank you! Joe Cosentino