Joe Cosentino, congratulations on the release of your ninth novel in the award-winning Nicky and Noah mystery series.
Thank you. I owe it all to Nicky and Noah who tell me what to write.
How did you become a storyteller?
I’ve always had a wild imagination. My parents always feared what I’d make up and tell neighbors about them. And they still do! I appropriately majored in theatre at college. Then I went on to act opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint musical 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). Finally, I began writing plays and ultimately writing novels. Since I’m a cozy mystery reading fanatic, and there are so few gay cozy mystery series out there, I was happy to fill the bill—or in this new novel, the tights.
For anyone who hasn’t yet ventured to the land of Nicky and Noah (and they should!), what makes this series special?
It’s a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, and there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning (as Nicky would say) faster than a priest facing an altar boy with a robe malfunction. At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as we fall in love with them). Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said I’m “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue?
You’re a college theatre professor/department chair like Martin Anderson in your series, has that influenced the series?
As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, I know first-hand the wild and wacky antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. My books are full of them! I never seem to run out of wild characters to write about. My faculty colleagues and students kid me that if any of them tick me off, I’ll kill them in my next book.
You and your spouse have travelled to Alaska, Hawaii, and Scotland, just like Nicky and Noah. Did those trips inform those novels in the series?
Since my spouse and I have travelled extensively to gorgeous locations, those situations often pop up in my books. I hear other things pop up as well when the readers read Nicky and Noah’s love scenes.
Why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there?
Most MM novels are erotica, young adult, dark thrillers, or supernatural. While that’s fine, I think we’re missing a whole spectrum of fiction. In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, they include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy with lots of hot cocoa by the fireplace. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect whodunit. So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning faster than a conservative politician giving a tax cut to the top 1% (as Nicky would say). No matter what is thrown in their path, Nicky and Noah always end up on top. At least Nicky ends up on top, which is just fine with Noah.
How are the novels cozy?
Many of them take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Fictitious Treemeadow College (named after its gay founders: couple Tree and Meadow) 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.
Which brings us to your current release, Drama Faerie.
In Drama Faerie, a Globe Theatre replica is built at Treemeadow College for an all-male (as in Elizabethan days) production of my favorite Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Did I mention it’s a musical version of the show called, It Takes a Fairy for Love in the End? With an all-male, skimpily dressed cast and a love potion gone wild, romance is in the starry night air. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah need to use their drama skills to figure out who is taking fencing to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. Since it is Treemeadow College after all, there are lots of comical hijinks, particularly among the theatre students cast in the show—with their muscles rippling out of their tunics, and bulges expanding their tights. Gender role reversals and comical musical numbers add to the hilarity. Oh, and of course there are more murders than (as Nicky would say) anti-gay politicians in the back room of a gay bar during a blackout. Once again Nicky and Noah use their theatrical skills to trap the murderer in a shocking climax—no pun intended.
Why did you pick A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Don’t you love a good faerie story? Obviously Shakespeare did when he (or the openly gay Christopher Marlowe) wrote my favorite play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Who can go wrong with a rollicking romantic comedy featuring the King of the Faeries, the Queen of the Faeries, and their perfect Bottom? Years ago I performed in the play, which also featured a then young actor Bruce Willis. Bruce, I, and the entire cast had the time of our lives asking, “What fools these mortals be?” As my mother never lets me forget, while Bruce moved on to movie stardom, I did not. However, after I acted in television movies, soaps, and commercials, I became a college theatre professor/department chair. I also created the Nicky and Noah mystery series.
Are our favorite characters back?
Of course Nicky directs and co-stars (as Oberon, the Faerie King) opposite his husband Noah (as Titania, the Queen of the Faeries), and son Taavi (Oberon’s mischievous servant Puck). Other beloved cast members are back, including Nicky’s best friends the comically cantankerous Martin and Ruben (Hippolyta Queen of the Amazon and Theseus), Martin’s sassy office assistant Shayla, Nicky’s droll nemesis Detective Manuello, and Nicky and Noah’s both sets of riotous parents.
Who are the new characters/suspects/victims for book nine?
New characters include hunky theatre majors Ray Zhang (Demetrius), Elliot Hinton (Lysander), and graduate assistant Yates Aldrich (Lysander’s understudy). True to the play, the three guys are all hot for raven-haired Braedon Walsh (Hermia) to the chagrin of Braedon’s best friend Enoch Grayson (Helena). Rounding out the cast are punk rocker Talvin Moore (Demetrius’ understudy) who has caught the attention of Ganesh Ghosh (Titania’s boy). Add to the mix a clumsy prop girl who can’t keep the swords (or the actors) straight. Not to mention Detective Manuello (Bottom/Pyramus) may have an admirer in Associate Professor of Fencing Hank Brickman (Flute/Thisby). With Congressman Christian Evangelica determined to close down the show for including faeries and bottoms, havoc certainly ensues.
When you wrote Drama Queen, did you envision this as a series?
Totally. Though each book has its own complete story and ending, I wrote the first three books together. When they were so popular, I kept writing.
Did you forget certain things about the characters and their environment?
I keep really good notes on everything for continuity. Also, the regular characters are like family to me. I know them so well. I love watching them and their relationships grow and develop. It’s also great fun developing minor characters from earlier books into major characters later on, like Martin Anderson’s husband Ruben. It’s equally fun creating important new characters like Nicky and Noah’s son Taavi. Finally, I enjoy creating new suspects in each book. I laugh out loud when writing these novels, and the endings still surprise me—even though I wrote them!
I’m sure you’ve been told that the books would make a terrific TV series.
Many many times. Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so-called reality shows, I would love to see them do The Nicky and Noah Mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers! I’ve written a teleplay pilot of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels!
How would you cast the TV series?
Here’s my wish list: Matt Bomer as Nicky, Neil Patrick Harris as Noah, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as Noah’s parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as Nicky’s parents, me as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla, and Joe Manganiello as Nicky’s brother, Tony.
How can your readers get their hands on Drama Faerie, and how can they contact you?
The purchase links are below, as are my contact links, including my web site. I love to hear from readers! So do Nicky and Noah!
Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today.
It is my joy and pleasure to share this ninth novel in the series with you. So take your seats. The curtain is going up on faeries, bewitched lovers, an Amazon queen, a hungry Bottom, and of course hilarity, romance, and murder!
DRAMA FAERIE (the 9th Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO
Paperback: 227 pages
Genre: MM, contemporary, mystery, comedy, romance, Shakespeare, college
Cover Art: Jesús Da Silva
It’s summer at Treemeadow College’s new Globe Theatre, where theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. With an all-male, skimpily dressed cast and a love potion gone wild, romance is in the starry night air. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining ninth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on star-crossed young lovers, a faerie queen, an ass who is a great Bottom, and murder!
Excerpt of Drama Faerie, the ninth Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino:
After we showered (together), we rested under our white satin sheets with our heads on our hypoallergenic pillows. Noah wrapped his legs around mine. “How do you think tech week is going so far?”
I sighed. “The same as usual. Like a mental institution during a three-alarm fire at the site of an earthquake during a world war.”
“We’re lucky to have the new theatre.”
“Thank Martin and Ruben. And the Chinese.”
He placed his head on my chest, and I ran my fingers through his hair. “You look so sexy in your Oberon costume, Nicky.”
“Right back at you as Titania.”
“And Taavi is the perfect Puck.”
“Martin and Ruben are having a blast as Hippolyta and Theseus.”
“I know! Their arguments have been even more robust than usual.”
“Don’t say the word ‘bust.’” I chuckled. “I’ll never forget the sight of Martin’s lopsided bosoms. He looked like a woman who had burned only half her bra.”
Noah smiled. “I still can’t believe Manuello is understudying Egeus and Bottom/Pyramus.”
“Neither can Manuello.”
“Dante is doing a fine job in the role, despite not knowing what his character is talking about.”
“They can probably hear him in Stratford. And he sure fills the costume.”
“Dante’s a good colleague.” Noah sat up and rested his back on the oak headboard. “Why did he leave his college in Pittsburgh?”
My ego surfaced—as usual. “It must have been to work in one of my productions.”
“At the party for the cast in the dorm last weekend, Dante had a bit too much to drink. When you were talking to a group of students, he sat beside me on a loveseat, telling me how helpful I was to him his first year at Treemeadow. And how much he likes me.”
My spine stiffened. “Did he come on to you?”
I joined Noah at the headboard. “What does that mean?”
“He asked if he could somehow help me in return.”
“Did you tell him you have a husband for that?”
“I sure did.”
“Good.” I kissed his cheek. “Did he take the hint?”
Noah nodded. “But there’s something mysterious about him, as if he’s hiding some kind of secret.”
“Most people have secrets.”
“He was nice enough to offer Enoch Grayson his office hour to talk.”
I felt like a gossip columnist on daytime television. “It seems that plain Enoch is interested in hunky Elliot Hinton and our studly grad assistant Yates Aldrich.”
“I saw the three of them at that dorm party. Our Demetrius, Ray Zang, was with them too. Elliot, Yates, and Ray all seemed interested in Enoch.”
“But according to Enoch, their ‘interest’ ended after the party.”
“I wonder why?”
“Enoch said Elliot gave him a pity lay, Ray didn’t want Elliot showing him up, and Yates saw Enoch as the closest thing he could get to his real target—Braedon Walsh.”
“College can be a rough place.”
“Nicky, aren’t Enoch and Braedon best friends since grade school?”
I nodded. “But it’s a sticky situation.” No pun intended. “It appears Elliot and Yates, and probably Ray, are fighting over cute little Braedon.”
“Which one does Braedon prefer?”
“None of them from what he told Enoch.”
“Do you think Braedon is trying to spare Enoch’s feelings?”
“Could be. Braedon’s a good friend to Enoch. He seemed really upset that Enoch was hurting, and he offered to help.”
“Did Enoch take him up on it?”
I shook my head. “Enoch threw Braedon’s popularity in his handsome face.”
Noah rubbed his forehead. “Nicky, I just realized something. Our cast member’s lives are like their characters in the play at the start of the show. Elliot and Yates who play Lysander, and Ray who is Demetrius, desire Braedon who is cast as Hermia. And nobody desires Braedon’s best friend, Enoch, who plays Hermia’s best friend Helena.”
“But the difference here is that Braedon isn’t interested in Elliot, Yates, or Ray. At least he says he’s not interested.”
“Nicky, a professor with a mysterious past, a college student enamored of three other students who all have eyes for the student’s best friend.” Noah rested his knees against his chest. “Secrets, unrequited love, jealousy. They’re all motives for murder.”
I pulled Noah down, and spooned him into my chest. “I hope that doesn’t happen.”
“Me too. Good night, Nicky.”
“Good night, Noah.”
As we lay together drifting off to sleep, I wondered who in our cast or crew would turn out to be a murderer.
Giveaway: Post a comment about why you love faeries. The one that tickles our tights and tunics the most will win an audiobook of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe.
Praise for the Nicky and Noah mysteries:
“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.” “the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” 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
“Every entry of the Nicky and Noah mystery series is rife with intrigue, calamity, and hilarity…Cosentino keeps us guessing - and laughing - until the end, as well as leaving us breathlessly anticipating the next Nicky and Noah thriller.” 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
About the 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, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland with Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, 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 he is happily married. Joe’s books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com