Joe Cosentino – Interview and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joe Cosentino. His newest release, Paper Doll, the first book in the Jana Lane series, is released today from Whiskey Creek Press. Post a comment about your favorite ex-child movie star. Who is it? Why do you like him/her? The staff at Long and Short Reviews will pick the comment that tickles their fancy the most and the winner will win an electronic version of PAPER DOLL, a mystery/romance novel by Joe Cosentino.

Joe usually starts a new project by writing an outline and character biography–and in Paper Doll, he wanted to share his love of movies and moviemakers with his readers.

“I have always been fascinated with ex-child stars like Hayley Mills, Shirley Temple, Patty Duke, and Brooke Shields. I also included the important concept of someone rediscovering her lost self-worth and confidence,” he explained. “My heroine, Jana Lane, is an ex-child star who has lost her self esteem as an adult. Through the course of the book, Jana not only solves the mystery of her past, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. This is an important message for all of us.

“Jana’s agent, Simon, came about as I recalled various agents and managers I worked with in the past. He is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, loyal to Jana, and most importantly, I want to play him in the movie version!

“Jana’s sister, Tamara, was hardest to write since, unlike most of the other characters in the book, Tamara does not have a sense of humor. She came about as I remembered visual artists I’ve known who were amazing creative artists but had very little people-skills. Tamara is a tortured soul with a secret and painful past. She loves her sister yet at the same time envies her. It was difficult for me to get into her mindset, but once I did, I believe I represented her well.

“Jana’s best friend Jackson was the most fun to write because he is so funny, smart, charming, and devoted to Jana (and her husband). I also like that Jackson is a gay activist back in 1980 when it wasn’t so popular. I created him when remembering back to the gay men I met in the 1980’s in NYC who were hysterically funny, resilient, and tortured inside from years of being the victims of homophobia and heterosexism.

“I love that the story takes place in the early 1980’s since I had fun with real events, music, fashion, and mindsets from the time period. I also love that the story takes place in locations dear to me: NYC, upstate New York, and Hollywood.”

He’s just completed the second book in the Jana Lane series, Porcelain Doll, which takes Jana to the next stop of her career and personal life, as well as an M/M novella, A Shooting Star which takes place in the theatre department of a college. Since Joe is a college theatre professor/department head himself, he knows a great deal about that world.

He has another M/M romance novella available: An Infatuation, published by Dreamspinner Press.

“Like all of my writing, it is full of humor and drama,” he told me. “Here’s the blurb: With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.”

He is also writing an M/M comedy mystery series set in the world of theatre academia. The first two books, Drama Queen and Drama Muscle are completed, and he’s working on the third, Drama Cruise. Lethe Press is publishing the first book in the series this summer.

When Joe was a kid, he played make believe constantly. He became as actor in film, television, and theatre, working with stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. You can see him in a theatre skit at .

“Morphing into writing plays and now novels seemed like the perfect progression,” he told me. “It occurred to me that acting is storytelling in the same way that writing is storytelling, so I decided to give writing a try. I knew my first novel would be a show business story, since show business has always been such a huge part of my life. As an avid reader of hundreds of mystery novels, it was clear to me that my novel would be a page-turning murder mystery with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, humor, and lots of clues leading to a surprising conclusion.”

He actually started writing about twenty years ago when he began writing musical play adaptations for young audiences that tour throughout the northeast. His adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is available at Eldridge Plays and Musicals.

“It was a great way to begin writing since children’s audiences can’t be fooled,” he explained. “They know what is funny, touching, and real. They also get restless if a character or storyline becomes stagnant. You learn immediately what works and what does not. After that I wrote one-act plays and eventually full length plays that were performed in regional theatre and in NYC. Working with other actors and directors helped me hone my writing skills. Two years ago I was finally ready to tackle fiction writing. Paper Doll is my first full novel.”

“If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to a movie, what would you pick?” I asked.

“Since I come from a show business background, each of my novels and novellas is theatrical. I think An Infatuation and A Shooting Star would make great indie films. The Jana Lane mystery series and the Nicky and Noah mystery series would make terrific television series. When you read them, I’m sure you’ll agree. So film and television producers, contact me and let’s get the slate board cracking!”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“I love reading and writing stories with engaging characters who I want to spend time with. I recommend letting your characters talk to one another and seeing what happens. An outline is simply an outline. Don’t be afraid to deviate from it. I prefer mystery suspense novels that drop lots of clues leading to the murderer. I also recommend incorporating many other characters with secrets into the story. A writer should create an entire world of suspense above and beyond “who done it.” When a reader finishes a book, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equaled the whole, rather than the author pulling an ending out of the hat. I always see the humor and the romance in life, so I look for both in my writing and reading.”

About the Author: 3_5 Joe CosentinoJoe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press). 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 a musical theatre adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals), and 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 Porcelain Doll (the second Jana Lane mystery) and Drama Queen (Lethe Press).

Website | Goodreads

3_5 paper-coverwhiskeyJana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now she’s 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. 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. Can Jana uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future?

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