This week we put our five questions to Drama Muscle author Joe Cosentino.
Would you like to introduce yourself as a writer? My mother says I was telling stories in the womb. Actually she tells me I took forever to come out (of her womb)—and she says it still hurts! As kids my sister, neighborhood friends, and I created full theatrical, costumed and choreographed musical productions in the garage for our unsuspecting yet very patient family and friends. After majoring in theatre in college I became a professional actor, working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’s Another World), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie). Moving on to playwriting and ultimately writing novels came next. Along the way I received two master’s degrees and became a happily married college professor/department head (like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah mystery series). In addition to Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), I have written An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Nine Star Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). My upcoming novels are Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press). The Nicky and Noah mysteries are the kind of books I like reading: farcical, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at its center—and a surprise ending! Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, a captivating whodunit, and the funniest book of the year! Who am I to argue? I love to hear from readers. They can contact me via my web site at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
Summarise your latest book from Lethe in five words! Fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, gay who-dun-it.
What’s the secret to your writing? Locking yourself away and writing a disciplined word count, or waiting for inspiration to strike? (Or something else entirely, of course…) I go to sleep at night with a pad and pencil on my night table. When I wake up in the morning, my head is full of ideas. Since I was an actor, playwright, and director, it’s not a surprise that many of my ideas are theatrical in nature. As a college professor, it also isn’t surprising that many of my plots have to do with the wacky world of academia.As an avid cozy mystery reader, I love writing books with plot twists and turns, fun clues, red herrings, and a shocking (yet justified) ending. Since I come from a funny Italian American family, humor has always come naturally to me. Just ask my mother who said to me, “Don’t you have anything better to do than write books? Do people really read them?” I have a cozy (no pun intended) home study with a window seat, fireplace with a cherry wood mantel (like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah mysteries), a huge cherry wood desk, and cherry wood bookshelves. I approach my writing in the same way as acting. I start with character biographies and ask questions about each character. Who do they love, hate, fear? What do they want? What is standing in the way of them getting what they want? What was their history? Then I get them talking to one another and the magic happens. I write an outline, but I deviate from it constantly. My spouse reads my second draft then I write my third draft, which goes to the publisher.
If your house is on fire, what book do you rescue? (Forget about your loved ones, they can save themselves…) My Agatha Christie and Armistead Maupin novels.
Finally, let’s pay it forward. Recommend one gay-lit writer we should be reading right now. Scott Hess, and he’s a great guy too.