Interview with Noah Oliver from Joe Cosentino’s Drama Detective,
the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel
Welcome, Noah. Thank you for talking with us today about the fifth novel in Joe Cosentino’s popular Nicky and Noah mystery series.
My pleasure. It’s wonderful getting out of Joe’s head for a while.
You’re such a popular character with MM and mystery readers. Who do you think should play you if there is a Nicky and Noah Mysteries television series?
Neil Patrick Harris, and Matt Bomer would be terrific as Noah. Joe Manganiello would be perfect as Nicky’s brother, Tony (or any role). Joe wants to play Martin Anderson, my department head and best friend. Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, they should do The Nicky and Noah Mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make Joe some offers!
Why did Joe Cosentino create this series?
Joe combines his past as a professional actor, present as a theatre college professor/department head, infatuation with mystery novels, and wild sense of humor in this series. Even at a young age, Joe suspected that Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson were more than roommates, which we have a lot of fun with in this fifth novel. There aren’t a lot of gay cozy mysteries out there. Joe changed all that with this series.
For anyone who hasn’t read them (and they should!), tell us about the Nicky and Noah mysteries.
The Nicky and Noah mysteries are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College. The clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza (that’s my man!) and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver (me!). In the first novel, Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015), college theatre professors are falling like stage curtains (while Nicky directs the college play production), Nicky and I must figure out whodunit and why. In the second book, Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention 2016), Nicky is directing the college’s bodybuilding competition, and bodybuilding students and professors are dropping like barbells. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and I must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring other college theatre professors from across the US and me. Complicating matters are our both sets of our parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with us. in Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort. Nicky and I need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Our department head and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In each book Nicky and I eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book.
Has the Nicky and Noah mystery series been well received so far?
Who wouldn’t like Nicky and me? We’re an adorable couple. Reviewers called the books hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending. One reviewer wrote it was the funniest book she had ever read. Who am I to argue? The awards have also been amazing.
What do you like about Treemeadow College in Vermont?
Treemeadow College is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and Cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces. It’s also very romantic. Just ask Nicky.
Tell us about the storyline in Drama Detective. But no spoilers please!
Nicky is directing and ultimately starring as Sherlock Holmes opposite me as Dr. Watson in a Sherlock Holmes musical premiering at Treemeadow College, Is Holmes a Homo?, on the road to Broadway. When cast members begin toppling over like hammy actors at a curtain call, Nicky and I use our drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before we get half-baked on Baker Street. As usual it’s a laugh riot, and also a good puzzle with an ending you won’t see coming. As Nicky would say, you’ll love it more than a priest loves new altar boy training.
Joe describes you as tall, handsome with porcelain-like skin, soft blue eyes, and long golden hair. Do your good looks help you solve the murders?
Nicky and I have to flirt our way into some places to get certain information, so I guess it’s a huge asset (no pun intended). Even more, however, Nicky and I use our theatre skills, including playing other people, to get clues. And as in the third and fourth novels, we get some help from Martin and Ruben, joining in with hysterically funny role plays to nab the killer.
Your and Nicky’s parents are also in the latest book.
I think our parents are absolutely hilarious. I love how Nicky’s father relates everything to his bakery in Kansas, and Nicky’s mother’s penchant for gambling. My mom is a riot with her constant picture taking, and my dad is an amateur sleuth like Nicky. As they say, men marry their fathers. Also, both sets of our parents accept their son’s spouse as part of their family. Kudos to them.
Who is your favorite character in Drama Detective?
Nicky of course. He is sweet, kind, handsome, muscular, and he has a very large…manhood, which gets me every time (pun intended). His long sideburns are also deliciious. Nicky is also genuinely concerned for others, and will do anything to solve a murder mystery. Finally, Nicky is a one-man man, and I’m proud to admit that I’m the man. Of the new characters in book five, my favorite character is Mark Melody, the creator of the Sherlock Holmes musical who talks in musical theatre talk and has a wild crush on Corey Sundance a young stud actor member of the company.
Who is your favorite couple in the book, next to you and Nicky?
Ruben and Martin are based on Joe and his spouse. I love Martin’s paternal instincts toward Nicky and me, sense of theatricality, and his inquiring mind. I also like how Ruben keeps Martin in line. Finally, it’s wonderful to see an older couple so much in love (uncommon in the entertainment field), and how they can read each other like a book (no pun intended).
Which character do you like the least in book five?
I started out not liking handsome Rev. Tommy Hawk for his discrimination against Nicky and me under the guise of Hawk’s “religious freedom.” However, when things took a turn in the story, my feelings changed.
Which character is the most misunderstood?
Corey Sundance is a handsome, muscular, and sexy young rebel with a cause. His inner secret makes him behave in a self-centered manner, but he’s masking the heart of a frightened child yearning for love.
Which character was the sexiest?
Tony, Nicky’s macho, muscular, Italian-American, younger brother.
Tell us about Joe’s Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.
Nicky and I aren’t in them, but here goes anyway. Joe created a heroine who 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. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. 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. She also embarks on a flirtation with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll 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 Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s agent and best friend are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.
Joe’s Dreamspinner Press novellas (In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland) were so well received as books and audiobooks, winning various awards. What do you say to people who loved them and might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?
I’d say variety is the spice of life and ask them to give the Nicky and Noah mysteries a chance. As my mother said to me as a kid about nuts, “Just try one, you may like it.” Okay, bad analogy. I’m allergic to nuts.
And how about Joe’s New Jersey beach series?
NineStar Press published Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings about handsome Cal Cozzi’s gay beach resort on a gorgeous cove. I spent my summers as a kid on the Jersey Shore, so it’s a special place for me. The first novel was a Favorite Book of the Month on The TBR Pile site and won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. I love the intertwining stories so full of surprises. Cozzi Cove is a place where nothing is what it seems, anything can happen, and romance is everywhere. Some reviewers have called it a gay Fantasy Island.
Back to Drama Detective. How can readers get their hands on Drama Detective, and how can they contact you?
The purchase links for Drama Detective are below. Readers can contact Nicky and me through Joe’s web site. We’re always in his head. I guess we’re the men inside the man. And we love to hear from readers!
Thank you, Noah, for sharing with us today.
It is Nicky’s and my joy and pleasure to share these stories with you. So put on your Sherlock Holmes coat and hat, grab your pipe and program, and take your front row seat. The curtain is going up and the game is afoot in Drama Detective!
DRAMA DETECTIVE (a Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO
Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a Sherlock Holmes musical in a professional summer stock production at Treemeadow College, co-starring his husband and theatre professor colleague Noah Oliver as Dr. John Watson. When cast members begin toppling over like hammy actors at a curtain call, Nicky dons Holmes’ persona on stage and off. Once again Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fifth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up, the game is afoot!
Excerpt of Drama Detective by Joe Cosentino:
The Victorian, lamppost-lined London street was forebodingly dark. Prostitutes in low-cut, shabby dresses dug their heels into the dirty gray pavement. A heavy-set man in an expensive suit signaled to an older, small man with a knowing grin. The jeweler locked up his shop and hurried down the street. One of the prostitutes raised a dagger to the jeweler’s throat, grabbed his bag, and disappeared into a smoky alley, as the prostitute transformed into a well-dressed man with a long nose and beady eyes. Another prostitute screamed. The inspector and his men hurried onto the street.
Suddenly, a honky-tonk piano introduction led each of them to face front and belt out, “Acting Butch on Baker Street,” a rousing opening number featuring spinning members of the underworld and a Scotland Yard kick line. At the conclusion of the number, everyone ended with a frozen smile, looking like a pack of right wing politicians entering a ghetto.
“Good energy, everyone! Let’s take a ten-minute break,” I called out from my front row center seat in the audience.
I’m Nicky Abbondonza, Associate Professor of Directing at Treemeadow College, a quaint college in Vermont named after its benefactors, couple Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow. Or as we call them, Treemeadow’s Adam and Steve. Since you can’t see me, I’ll tell you I’m tall, pretty muscular, courtesy of Treemeadow’s gym and my insomnia, with dark hair, green eyes, and a Roman nose. If you’ve read my other four stories, you know I generally wear a dress shirt, blazer, and slacks. You’ll also know that murder is on the menu as are an assortment of characters (and I mean characters)—suspects and victims—as I try to figure out whodunit. So let’s get the game afoot. Ah, speaking of a foot, you newcomers should know another little tidbit of information. Well, not so little actually. I’m referring to my penis. It would make a porn star blush. My nickname in the gym locker room back home in Kansas was “Donkey Donza.” Yes, I’m from Kansas, a true friend of Dorothy’s.
Back to the story. Since it’s summertime, our cozy New England campus is full of multicolored flowers, babbling brooks, warm sunshine, and peace and quiet. So quiet that my department head and best friend, Martin Anderson, Professor of Theatre Management, decided to transform our college theatre into a professional summer stock venue for the tryout of a new Sherlock Holmes Broadway bound musical. True to Martin’s nature, he also took on a role in the play, Langdale Pike (society informer).
Martin, short, thin, bald, and somewhere between seventy and six-feet-under, stood downstage center (meaning closest to the audience for you non-thespians) in his Victorian gray suit. “Nicky, do you think I should act more like a gossip in the opening number?”
“You couldn’t act more like a gossip if twenty closet-gay actors from Hollywood left their beards and asked you for advice on whom to date,” Martin’s husband said sitting third row house left.
I’ll explain. Though Martin is a terrific department head and professor, his brainstorms generally end up as headaches for Martin’s long suffering spouse, Ruben Markinson, who Martin convinced to be our show’s producer. To raise needed funds for this venture, Ruben, the CEO of a gay rights organization, interviewed Broadway chorus boys about their peccadilloes, and then hit up anti-gay Republican legislators to buy shares of the show (and their silence). Next, we held auditions in New York City and found our cast. When our budget had been spent, Ruben (having been bitten by the acting bug in our previous capers) agreed to be understudy for one of the characters in the show, Porky Johnson (agent in the criminal underworld). The rest of the understudies (including yours truly understudying Sherlock Holmes), as well as the ensemble, designers, and technical crews, all came from our college population (including the kids whose parents didn’t want them loafing around at home over the summer).
Like all of us who love Martin, Ruben is well aware of Martin’s “inquisitive” nature. Ruben called out to his husband, “Martin, you and gossip go together like an HMO customer service representative and the words, ‘not covered.’”
“No comments from the peanut gallery,” Martin replied from the stage.
Ruben glared over the laptop on his knees. “Don’t make me fire you, Martin.”
“You try and I’ll bring you up on charges with Equity.”
“Touché, Martin.” Ruben blew him a mime kiss.
Martin caught it and placed it against his heart.
The true sanctity of marriage.
“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his use of farce, along with his convoluted plot-lines, will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven't discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine
“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…
Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” Optimumm Book Reviews
“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews
“For fans of Joe Cosentino's hilarious mysteries, this is another vintage story with more cheeky asides and sub plots right left and centre….The story is fast paced, funny and sassy. The writing is very witty with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour….Highly recommended.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“This delightfully sudsy, colorful cast of characters would rival that of any daytime soap opera, and the character exchanges are rife with sass, wit and cagey sarcasm….As the pages turn quickly, the author keeps us hanging until the startling end.” Edge Media Network
“A laugh and a murder, done in the style we have all come to love….This had me from the first paragraph….Another wonderful story with characters you know and love!” Crystals Many Reviewers
“These two are so entertaining….Their tactics in finding clues and the crazy funny interactions between characters keeps the pages turning. For most of the book if I wasn't laughing I was grinning.” Jo and Isa Love Books
“Superb fun from start to finish, for me this series gets stronger with every book and that’s saying something because the benchmark was set so very high with book 1.” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“The Nicky and Noah Mysteries series are perfect for fans of the Cozy Mystery sub-genre. They mix tongue-in-cheek humor, over-the-top characters, a wee bit of political commentary, and suspense into a sweet little mystery solved by Nicky and Noah, theatre professors for whom all the world’s a stage.” Prism Book Alliance
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective, and the upcoming Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, and Drama Dance; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, and the upcoming The Perfect Gift; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and the upcoming Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose 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. Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com