An Interview with author Joe Cosentino
Name: Joe Cosentino
Title: Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out
Series title: Cozzi Cove
Genre(s): MM Romance
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Word count: 55,000
Page count: 216
Tags: LGBT, gay, lesbian, tran, romance, humor, New Jersey, beach, resort, series, ebook, paperback, fiction, cove, shore
We hope you had as much fun with our debut interview with the debutant Julian Green as we did and that you found the courage to try out this new to you author.
This time, we’re gonna talk to Joe Cosentino—a well-known and loved author in the LGBT genre with numerous titles under his belt—also in the mainstream genres. But just because he’s an award-winning author that doesn’t mean all of you’ve had the pleasure, so let’s see if getting under the skin of the author can stack a bit on your TBR pile.
Thank you. And happy journeying under my skin. Let me know what you find. Hopefully blue blood. J
You had a new book released January 23, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out. Congratulations.
Thank you again. It’s my fourteenth release in two years. My mother said to me, “Don’t you have anything better to do at night than write books?” Hm, I wonder if Stephen King’s mother asked him that?
I’ll see if I can persuade him to let himself interview on our little blog, and I’ll ask him. I won’t hold my breath, though. Tell us a bit about your latest release.
Welcome to Cozzi Cove, a gay resort of eight bungalows in a private cove on the Jersey Shore. Each has a stunning view of the bay and lighthouse in the distance. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. It’s a place I love to visit, and I know you will too. Since I spent my summers as a kid on the New Jersey Shore (though unfortunately not at a gay resort), the series is my homage to those wonderful times. Cozzi Cove is a gorgeous, romantic place where nothing is what it seems, and anything can happen.
In the series, we are treated to six interwoven stories per novel about Cal, his family, his friends, and his guests. Cal’s lover, Michael Rodgers, an African American college student with exotic eyes and a toned body, landed at Cal’s doorstep and the two have never looked back. Connor, the college student assisting Cal, is packed with muscles and hormones. He also still revels in checking out each resident for a possible fling on the cove—which he occasionally enjoys. Tommy, the bald, muscular, tattooed resident of Cozzi Cove who owns the local bar has held a torch for Cal since high school. George, Cal’s half-brother, helped Cal renovate Cozzi Cove. Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Rome, Paris, Wall Street, or Palm Springs as usual. As a type A personality and top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. She is also incredibly devoted to her brothers.
After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/TBR Pile Book of the Month) and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward released, readers and reviewers praised their romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. So I wrote Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, where Cal and Michael hit a plateau in their relationship, Connor becomes the subject of a handsome young psychologist’s study on human sexuality with unexpected results, Tommy and George each meet someone from their pasts and are off to a wild adventure, and we learn something shocking about Taylor’s past. Lucky for Taylor her best friend, Cozzi restauranteur Carla Mangione, is there for support. Finally, guest Bill, a disbelieving pastor, sees a vision of two sexy male angels on the cove, which leads him to start a new life. What secrets, humor, tragedy, mysteries, and passions lie in the magical place called Cozzi Cove?
I guess I told you lots more than “a bit.” Now you see why I’m a writer.
Well, going deeper than the skin is how we’re gonna find out whether the blood is blue or not, so I appreciate your willingness to share. Looking at your website http://www.joecosentino.weebly.com/, I see you also write two mystery series. Would you tell us a bit about those?
Okay, you twisted my arm. J My Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press are farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-its. 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 detective more interested in getting into Nicky’s pants than solving the murders, it is up to well-endowed Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the case, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, gorgeous Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and Noah (now a couple) 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 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.
In the Jana Lane mysteries (the Wild Rose Press), with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, Jana Lane was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. In Satin Doll 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. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, where she is faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art on the set. The novels are full of mystery, romance, humor, and theatricality. Since they take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friend and agent are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist. The AIDS epidemic also plays a role in the novels.
Though not mysteries, I also wrote my Dreamspinner Press romance novellas. In My Heart: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) are first love stories loosely based on my high school and college years respectively. A Home for the Holidays is my popular holiday short novella about an American law student who, as I did, takes a trip to the romantic and gorgeous island of Capri, Italy, where he embarks on a relationship with his captivating third cousin. The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland is my comical gay take on my favorite fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen.
Do you have any marketing thoughts of trying to catch different audiences since you write under the same name?
As a reader if I find an author whose work I enjoy, I want to read every book he or she has written. The best advice I received about marketing was to write good books, and write a lot of them. I’m up to twenty books at present for release throughout 2017. I also really enjoy doing interviews like this one to help spread the word. Finally, most of my books are available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook.
Wow, you’re productive! I admire that. Do you try to make each book in the series stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I can’t stand to finish a book only to find out I have to read another book(s) to find out the end of the story. Though I write three different series, each novel in each series has a clear beginning, middle, and generally shocking but satisfying ending with more stories to follow.
Like movies often have outtakes or gag reals. Do you have something that didn’t end up in the book? Or do you have a fun tale that you’d like to share about this book/series?
One of my close friends asked me to write a merman character into one of my books. I did just that in Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (book 1) and I named the character’s love interest after my friend. While I was fearful and skeptical to write that storyline, it remains one of my (and many readers’) favorites.
What genres do you love the most as a reader, and what genres would you never contemplate writing as an author?
I’m a huge mystery buff, having read hundreds of mystery novels. I can’t get enough of writing and reading them. Unlike my spouse, I’m not much of a science fiction reader. Though I admire those who do, I doubt I will enter that foray as a writer. However, as they say, never say never.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
None. I generally wake up with a terrific idea at about 3am. The next evening, if I can read the notes on my night table, I write the character biographies and outline. Once the characters start talking to each other in my head, it’s a race to the finish line.
You also were an actor, do you think the insight and participation in visually told story techniques has added to your way of writing?
Totally! Everyone says my books have a theatrical and cinematic quality. They love the humor and finely drawn characters. I’m sure I got that from my days as an actor doing film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, James Robards, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and more. It also gave me first-hand insight into being on stage, on a film set, and on a television set, which I used in my Jana Lane mysteries. Similarly, being a college theatre professor for twenty years helped me write the Nicky and Noah mystery series.
Do you think the two media could inspire each other/teach authors something? Maybe only on a developmental level.
Definitely! My training and experiences in improvisation as an actor helps me to write realistic, humorous, and active dialogue. My training in various acting techniques enables me to create interesting and believable characters.
BTW, I’ve written screenplays of some of my novels. So producers, make me an offer!
Do you have a favorite motivational phrase or personal motto you’d like to share with us? Maybe a philosophy on writing?
Write after your husband goes to sleep since the house is quiet.
On a closing note, would you share what’s coming next?
Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (book 4 in my Cozzi Cove series) releases from NineStar Press on March 27 with new characters and exciting storylines coming to Cozzi Cove, and even a new generation.
Drama Luau (Nicky and Noah mystery book four) releases June 1, and Drama Detective (Nicky and Noah mystery book five) releases December 1.
Finally, The Perfect Gift, a sequel to A Home for the Holidays, releases in November.
Then I’ll take a long nap. J
It’s always interesting to sit down with someone who’s gathered so much experience in so broad a field, thank you so much, Joe.
I hope this peek has made our readers curious. If so, you may find Joe or more about Joe Cosentino through the following links.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Yes, I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
Thank you for the fun interview. So readers, grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades, and head to Cozzi Cove. Cal Cozzi has a bungalow waiting just for you. I hope to see you there!