Welcome to Joe Cosentino.
Thank you. It’s great to be with you in cyberland.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.
As a college professor/department head forced to read journals, assessment reports, and articles on the world of academia, I read and write mystery and romance novels for entertainment—and sanity. My five Jana Lane mystery novels feature Jana Lane, who was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In PAPER DOLL, as a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present. Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home, which leads to a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer. There Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future. In PORCELAIN DOLL (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 co-star, America’s heartthrob Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL (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 flirtation with Chris Bruno, the sexy detective. In CHINA DOLL (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. In RAG DOLL (Wild Rose Press) Jana stars in a TV murder mystery series and once again life imitates art. She is also reunited with Chris Bruno, the detective who got away. Through the course of the novels, Jana reclaims the inner strength and fortitude she had as a child, a good message for all of us. Since the series is set in the 1980’s, I had a great deal of fun with the hairstyles, makeup, clothing, music, and attitudes of that wonderful era. As a professional actor, I was able to use my insider knowledge of show business for a realistic and captivating series. Each novel has a shocking ending you won’t want to miss. I want to play Jana’s comical old world agent Simon Huckby in the TV series. Make me an offer, producers!
Where do you find inspiration?
As an actor I worked on stage and screen with stars like Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, Jason Robards, and Nathan Lane. I knew my first novel series would be about show business, since show business has always been such a huge part of my life. As an avid mystery reader, it was clear to me that my novels would be page-turning murder mysteries with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, and lots of clues leading to a surprising conclusion at the end of each novel. Since I come from a funny Italian-American family, humor plays a role in my novels too. My mother said recently, “You should write a novel about me.” I replied, “You’re in every one of them.”
Are your characters based on real people?
I have always been fascinated with ex-child stars like Hayley Mills, Shirley Temple, Patty Duke, and Brooke Shields. So my heroine, Jana Lane, is an ex-child star.
I have another mystery series, the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries, published by Lethe Press. Since I am a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. There are five murders per book. My colleagues kid me that if they annoy me, I’ll kill them in my next novel. In DRAMA QUEEN (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor Nicky Abbondanza and Acting professor Noah Oliver to use their theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while Nicky directs a murder mystery onstage. In DRAMA MUSCLE (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) 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 (releasing December 1), 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 LUAU (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. I want to play Martin Anderson, the department head character, in the TV series. Producers, I’m still here waiting for offers!
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources?
I look up things on the internet all the time. However, the best research for a writer is to travel. I went to Washington, DC to write SATIN DOLL, the third Jana Lane mystery. With the Nicky and Noah mysteries, I took a cruise to Alaska for DRAMA CRUISE, and I took a trip to Hawaii for DRAMA LUAU. I visited the stunningly gorgeous and magical island of Capri for my romance novella, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Dreamspinner Press). Finally, I spent some of my summers at the New Jersey shore to write my Cozzi Cove novels published by NineStar Press about handsome Cal Cozzi and his guests at a beach resort at the New Jersey Shore. COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK (book 1) received a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention and TBR Pile Book of the Month award. COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD (book 2) is also out now. COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT (book 3) releases January 23. COZZI COVE: NEW BEGINNINGS releases after that. Cozzi Cove is another potential television series!
Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book?
While my books’ primary function is to entertain, each includes a strong message of the importance of acceptance for all.
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?
These decisions are generally made by my various publishers based on sales, so buy all of my books! The five Jana Lane mysteries are available in ebook and paperback. The first Jana Lane mystery is also available as an audiobook. What fun it was to go back to where it all started with PAPER DOLL and produce the audiobook. Actress Charissa Clark Howe captured the essence of Jana Lane perfectly, and she also did a fine job with all the other characters in the novel: Brian (Jana’s husband), Rocco (Jana’s producer), Jackson (Jana’s best friend), Mark (Jana’s greatest fan), Tamara (Jana’s sister), Scott (Jana’s father), Simon (Jana’s agent) and more. Balancing humor, romance, and mystery perfectly, she hit every beat. I couldn’t wait for the ending, and when it came I was totally shocked!
The Nicky and Noah mysteries are available in ebook and paperback. The first novel, DRAMA QUEEN, is also an audiobook performed by the multitalented Michael Gilboe who makes me laugh every time I hear it. He does an incredible job voicing all twenty-two characters.
My Cozzi Cove romance novels are ebooks and paperbacks. My Dreamspinner Press ebook romance novellas, An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (loosely based on my high school and college years respectively), are joined together in my own paperback anthology called IN MY HEART, which just won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. My other two ebook novellas, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND and A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS release as audiobooks in November and December respectively, performed by the gifted actor Joel Leslie who has a large following. I can’t wait to hear them.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?
Reviews are very important, especially until an author and/or series takes off. I don’t comment on my reviews, but I relish in the rave ones as well as in the messages from readers who tell me my books made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, surprised them, or altered their life or opinions in some way. I don’t read the few negative reviews. If you don’t like a book, stop reading it after Chapter One. What do you gain by writing a negative review of something? It’s your karma, and as they say, “Karma can be a bitch.”
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?
Rather than just picking the murderer out of a hat at the end of a mystery, a good mystery should be very carefully outlined with clues, red herrings, inversions, shocks and surprises. When a reader finishes a book, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equalled the whole: engaging characters, captivating locations, realistic dialogue, clever plot, interesting theme, and clues that led to the perfect ending revelation.
Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?
I’ve read all nine Tales of the City books by Armistead Maupin; every Agatha Christie novel, short story, and play; and each Mary Higgins Clark romantic suspense novel. When reviewers compare my novels to theirs, I am incredibly flattered.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?
Like my Nicky Abbondanza character in the Nicky and Noah mystery novels, I’m a vitaminaholic.
PAPER DOLL, the first Jana Lane mystery
by Joe Cosentino
Audiobook by Charissa Clark Howe on Audible: http://adbl.co/2ek6Kpf
Audiobook by Charissa Clark Howe on Amazon: amzn.to/2dkgvSe
Jana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present. The local suspects include Jana’s down-on-his-luck husband with a dislike for living off the fruits of his wife’s young labor, Jana’s sister and male friend (who both have eyes for Jana’s husband), Jana’s show business father, her deranged loyal fan, and Jana’s young Guy Friday who covets her fame and shares an uncanny resemblance to Jana. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.
“Mr. Cosentino has produced a masterpiece of mystery” “The story gripped me from the start and there were enough twists and turns, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, to keep hold of me until the end of the book.” “Great book, can’t wait for book 2.” Readers’ Favorite
“Paper Doll is a superbly crafted mystery with an eclectic cast of characters that will engage you and elicit some very emotional responses as you are completely caught up in the events that unfold in these pages. Everyone has secrets and the people in Paper Doll have them in spades!” Fresh Fiction
“If you like novels that are filled with new and old Hollywood, and a range of sub-plots, you are going to love this!” Saguaro Moon Reviews
“I liked that there was enough evidence for each of the suspects to keep me guessing until the very end.” Molly Lolly Reviews
“Joe Cosentino knows how to keep his readers’ interest with every page.” Universal Creativity Digital Magazine
“The setting, the characterization and the plot keep you turning the pages.” The Book Mistress
“Joe Cosentino has crafted an engaging tale of secrets, lies and deceit set in that crazy, ego driven scene called Hollywood.” Deb Sanders
“The suspense this book holds is amazing!” “You will absolutely love this book!” Stormy Night Reviews
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Upcoming novels are Drama Luau and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com