Joe Cosentino’s a favourite here at Love That’s Out of This World. He’s always up for a nice interrogatio little chat about his latest book — in this case, Finding Giorgio the first novella in his new Found At Last series published by Dreamspinner Press. And while I’m awed by his output (Joe’s a far faster writer than I am!), I obviously don’t have his stellar work ethic. So I shall continue to admire and exclaim, in the full knowledge he has me beat. Anyhow, here’s a Q&A with Joe about his book, followed by more info, excerpt etc. Scroll on down, or use the handy-dandy links to navigate:
Q&A with Joe Cosentino, author of Finding Giorgio
Welcome, Joe, and congratulations on the release of Finding Giorgio
It’s released at last!
What propelled you to write Finding Giorgio?
Actually, I shied away from writing it for years.
Why is that?
For many years I’ve wanted to write a story about lovers separated over decades with a chance to reunite at last. However, I didn’t feel I had the maturity as a writer and as a man to do it.
So you wrote your MM romance novellas while you matured?
Yes, I wrote my In My Heart series: An Infatuation which was loosely based on my high school years and A Shooting Star which was loosely based on my college years. Thrilled when those two novellas won awards and were so well received, I continued writing with my Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories about distant cousins who meet in Capri, Italy, fall in love, marry, and adopt a son. Next, I wrote my Tales from Fairyland comic gay take on my favorite fairytales.
All the while, my yearning to write a story about separated lovers with the hope of reuniting at last continued to haunt me. Yet, I still didn’t feel ready to do it. So, as a cozy mystery buff, I wrote my very successful Nicky and Noah mystery series and my Jana Lane mysteries. Still, my original idea beckoned to me. My gay serial, Cozzi Cove, included gay couples of all ages, but I still didn’t feel ready to tell my original story.
What finally led you to write it?
On a significant birthday, I looked myself in the mirror and said, “I’m ready. At last!” And I was.
Tell everyone the story of Finding Giorgio.
In Finding Giorgio, Theo Stratis, an unlucky in love young accountant, registers at his upstate New York LGBTQ Center to visit an elderly gay person. Theo is matched with Nolan Downes who lives in a local nursing home. The young man is charmed by the eccentric ex-pharmacist and his wisecracking caretaker Tanisha. However, Theo is shocked at Nolan’s request for him to find the love of Nolan’s youth: Giorgio Roberto. Upon questioning Nolan, Theo finds out Giorgio’s parents had separated Nolan and Giorgio at eighteen after their romantic summer at a Poconos resort. Nolan had kept Giorgio’s picture and his love for Giorgio in his heart ever since. Theo is also surprised to meet the gorgeous Jamison Radames, a medical director, who is visiting the same nursing home. Theo and Jamison embark on an exciting adventure to find Giorgio. Their search takes them to an old neighborhood, a veterans’ center, a homeless shelter, and all the way from New York to Boston. Along the way, Theo and Jamison uncover a great deal about Giorgio and about themselves. By the end of the novella, two brothers are reunited, and two couples emerge in an emotional climax that will leave you overjoyed but also tear at your heartstrings.
Would you call Finding Giorgio an MM romance, a mystery, an adventure, a comedy, or a drama?
All the above. That’s one of the reasons it’s so special.
What’s another reason?
The story spans many decades in an incredibly emotional yet realistic way with humor, pathos, and of course romance.
Is the story told through Theo’s perspective?
Yes, but the other characters also shine through as full, three-dimensional characters who will warm your heart.
Do Theo and Jamison fall instantly in love?
Not exactly. The two get off to a rocky start, but eventually they find their way into each other’s hearts.
What else is special about this book?
Nolan and his caretaker Tanisha are quite comical. The story’s locations are gorgeous, including the Walkway Over the Hudson, upstate New York in fall with its stunning views of the rippling water, white church steeples, multicolored leaves, and sun-kissed mountains. I especially like that the story includes a few older characters, a rarity in MM literature. These characters are quite fascinating.
Who are the supporting characters in Finding Giorgio?
Theo’s Greek parents and sister, Jamison’s Egyptian/Swedish parents and sister and her family, Giorgio’s Italian brother, and the various colorful characters Theo and Jamison meet along the way as they search for Giorgio.
Who is your favorite character?
Nolan Downes. As an elderly man in failing health, he keeps his sense of humor, strength, and will. The ex-pharmacist grieves his long-deceased husband. At the same time, he yearns for the true love that was taken away from him. Nolan believes if he can reunite with Giorgio, his spirit will be made whole.
Which character was the hardest to write?
Some of the members of Giorgio’s family were difficult since they didn’t fully understand Giorgio’s struggles and what was in his heart.
Which character is the sexiest?
Definitely Jamison. He is kind, sincere, handsome, muscular, stalwart, loyal, smart, and successful. In reading the story, you completely understand why Theo is falling in love with him.
Many of your characters in Finding Giorgio are of various ethnicities and sexual identities. Is that deliberate on your part?
Sure. We live in a diverse world. Literature should reflect that.
You currently live upstate New York. Did that play a part in selecting your prime locations for Finding Giorgio?
Sure, as they say, write what you know about. Besides, it’s a gorgeous area with the best nature has to offer, especially in the fall!
I’m sure you’ve been told that the novella would make a terrific movie. How would you cast it?
Here’s my wish list to name a few: Colton Haynes as Theo, Ezra Miller as Jamison, Wanda Sykes as Tanisha, Ian McKellan as Giorgio, and me (a bit of nepotism) playing Nolan—with age makeup of course. Come on, TV producers, make me an offer!
How can your readers get their hands on Finding Giorgio?
The purchase links are below.
What’s next in this new Found At Last series?
Book Two of course. It’s a novella called Finding Armando, and it’s just as wonderful as Finding Giorgio. More on that later!
Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today, and the very best of luck with your new release.
My pleasure. I hope everyone will read Finding Giorgio. I’m sure, like me, you will fall in love with Theo, Jamison, Nolan, and Giorgio and their amazing story. And I love to hear from readers. So contact me at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
About the Book
When young accountant Theo Stratis visits Nolan Downes, an elderly gay man in a local nursing home, he is surprised by Nolan’s request: find the lost love of his youth, Giorgio Roberto. Theo is also surprised to meet handsome and successful Jamison Radames, who is visiting the same nursing home. As Theo and Jamison embark on an investigative adventure to find Giorgio, they discover a great deal about themselves and each other. Solving the mystery of what happened to Giorgio might mean happily ever after for more than just Nolan.
Length: 119 pages
Genre: MM, contemporary, romance, mystery, comedy
Cover Art: Paul Richmond
Release date: April 21, 2020
Excerpt from Finding Giorgio
(Found At Last Book One, by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press)
I slowly walked Nolan out of the room, down the hallway, and into the lounge with large windows overlooking the Mid-Hudson Bridge surrounded by the clear azure sky. After we were settled on a sofa next to a marble fireplace, he tented his fingers. “I want to tell you about a man I once loved.”
Assuming he had forgotten, I replied, “You told me about Frank.”
“Not that man.”
That caught my attention.
“His name was Giorgio Roberto.” Nolan’s face lit up. “I knew him when we were eighteen years old.”
“And you still remember him?”
“I remember everything about Giorgio.” He grinned like a schoolboy.
“How did you two meet?”
Nolan gazed straight ahead as if turning back the pages of time. “My father was a high school history teacher. My mother was a writer. Every summer we vacationed at a resort in the Pocono Mountains: my father, my mother, my sister, and me. We had a wonderful time back then—swimming in the lake, mountain climbing, playing volleyball and checkers, and eating the family-style meals in the dining room.” His eyes brightened and cheeks grew rosy.. “Every summer there was a dance contest. My sister and I won each year.” He winked at me. “I still have a few moves.” He extended his leg, then rested back, recovering on the sofa. “We didn’t have air-conditioning back then. So the summer of my eighteenth year, after Clancy and I took the silver cup, I headed out of the community room to the veranda while all the other boys inside asked my sister for a dance—except for one boy.”
Nolan nodded. “I was standing outside, staring at the gray mountains and the inky lake. Then I saw him, bathed only in starlight as he sat on the balcony railing.”
“What did he look like?”
Nolan reached into his pocket and displayed an old black-and-white photograph of two attractive young men sitting on a large rock. Giorgio was average height. But that was the only average thing about him. He had wavy jet-black hair and a strong Roman nose. A white T-shirt barely contained his rippling muscles, and tight black jeans with a button-up fly housed his bulge. Black boots and a black leather jacket finished the look.
I pointed to the young man next to Giorgio in the photo. “You were quite the looker yourself, Nolan, with your handsome face and cut body.”
“I was what you now call a ginger.” He smiled. “And being with Giorgio made me feel so special. Giorgio gazed at me as if he could look straight into my heart. Though I had never seen him before, he seemed so… familiar, as if we had known each other in a parallel universe. I stared into his dark eyes, and for the first time in my life, I was safe. It was as if I had come home after a long, exhausting journey.” Nolan sat up straight with a grin on his face as if reliving it. “We stayed like that for some time, watching each other, smiling, but not saying a word. Finally, Giorgio said in a velvety voice, ‘Where’d you learn to dance like that?’ I tried to answer, but my voice broke like a choirboy’s. When I found my voice, I said, ‘My sister and I have been dancing together since we were little kids.’ Giorgio unleashed the most radiant smile I’d ever seen. ‘So, she’s your sister. That’s good,’ he said. ‘Why is that good?’ I asked. He came closer and I breathed in the scent of his mint gum. ‘That means she’s not your girlfriend,’ he said. ‘I don’t have a girlfriend,’ I replied. Then I breathed a sigh of relief when he said, ‘Looks like we have that in common.’ He asked me to dance with him, and I did. Giorgio and I stood out there for most of the night, talking about our families, friends, schools, vacations, hobbies, likes, dislikes, fears, and dreams.”
“Did you live far apart?”
Nolan shook his head. “My family was in Poughkeepsie and Giorgio’s in Hyde Park.” He recited as if it had all happened yesterday, “Giorgio’s father was a butcher. His mother a seamstress. He had two older brothers. They worked for his father. Though Giorgio had never been on a plane, he was fascinated with them, stopping dead in his tracks to watch every time one flew overhead. Giorgio told me he wanted to be a pilot. I told him I found that exciting. He replied, ‘I like that I excite you.’ When I told him I wanted to be a pharmacist, he asked me, ‘Does a pharmacist work on a farm?’” Nolan smiled nostalgically.
“Did you guys spend a lot of time together?”
He cooed. “Every waking minute of that summer. We played shuffleboard, ping pong, went fishing, and we enjoyed food marathons and walks through the woods. Our favorite activities were swimming and boating. When I saw Giorgio in his tight lemon swim trunks, I nearly fainted. He told me I looked ‘adorable’ in my navy trunks.”
Feeling like a gossip columnist, I asked, “Did anything romantic happen?”
“Not for most of the summer.” Nolan grinned. “But the last week we were there, Giorgio and I were in a sailboat far from the shore. It was a calm summer day, so the boat was barely moving. We were out on the lake for about an hour when he suddenly turned to me and said, ‘I want to see you after we leave here.’ I told him I wanted the same thing. Then to my surprise, he leaned in and kissed me, and I kissed him back. It was as if the lion’s gate had been opened. Once we started, we couldn’t stop. We held on to each other for dear life, hugging and kissing until our mouths ached. After tearing off our swimsuits, we made love, experimenting and learning as the sun’s golden rays surrounded our rocking boat. When we were through, I rested my head on his chest. As we kissed and held hands, we pledged our love to each other. When we got back to shore, we planned to meet the next morning after breakfast. Giorgio went to his family’s cabin as usual, and I did the same. That night, as every night, I hugged my pillow, pretending it was Giorgio, my first love.”
“What happened when you met at breakfast the next morning?”
“We didn’t.” Nolan’s eyes filled with moisture. “That night, our sailboat must have been closer to the shore than we had thought.”
“Somebody saw you?”
He nodded. “Giorgio’s father. He pounded on my family’s cabin door early the next morning, ranting and raving at my father that ‘my son can never see your son again.’ Back then, many Irish and Italian people feuded. Adding homosexuality to the mix, which was illegal and thought of as a mental illness, sent our two fathers over the edge.”
My heart broke for Nolan. “What did your dad do?”
A crease appeared on his forehead. “My father damned me to Hell and sent me away to a Catholic college, where I ironically had to dodge frisky priests.”
“On the day we left the resort, I saw him from inside our car.” A tear slid down his face. “He had a welt on his cheek and a blackened eye.”
“After that, didn’t you try to contact him?”
“I wrote to him every day from college. My letters were all returned to me unopened, I assumed by Giorgio’s father. After my first year at college, I came home for the summer. When I drove to Giorgio’s house, the woman who answered the door was Dutch. She had bought the house from a realtor, and she hadn’t heard of the Roberto family. When I went back to college for my second year, I met Frank. We kept our relationship a secret… at the college and to our families.”
“Your parents never knew about Frank?”
“They knew all right, but they called Frank my ‘roommate’ or ‘friend.’” He sighed. “My parents and I could have been such close friends; instead we were distant relations.”
“And you never saw Giorgio again?”
“Only in the midst of a crowd of people, each time realizing it was just my imagination.” He placed the picture back inside his pocket.
I heard a silky, masculine voice. “Nolan, they let you out of your room? Are the other residents safe?”
I glanced up at the most gorgeous man I had ever seen. He seemed about my age, tall with a peaches-and-cream complexion and jet-black hair. There was a quiet dignity about the man, whose periwinkle sweater and dark slacks housed his muscular physique.
At the sight of him, Nolan giggled merrily. “Darn, you found me! Next time I’ll try hiding under the sofa.”
“You’re so thin, you could fit.”
The two men shared a laugh.
Nolan noticed the confused look on my face. “Theo Stratis, this is Jamison Radames.”
I rose and extended a hand.
Praise for Joe Cosentino’s Books
“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless…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
“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet.” Urban Book Reviews
“The author executed his storyline with a marvelous precision that would be the envy of many authors. He draws the readers into the lives of his characters, they become real and in turn, their emotions becomes yours….If you can only afford to buy one more book this year, buy this one.” Three Books Over the Rainbow Reviews
“I really loved this book and having an ending that made me laugh and cry at the same time is testament to the brilliant writing.” BooksLaidBareBoys
“In true Joe Cosentino style…this cast of characters will have you laughing out loud one minute before ripping your heart out the next.” Joyfully Jay Reviews
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, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, 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/Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Found At Last: Finding Giorgio/Finding Armando; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; 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 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