I’ve got Joe Cosentino in the hot seat today, waiting for the thumbscrews while I interrogate him to find out more about him, his new release, and his writing generally.
Hi Joe, Delighted to have you here today and I promise the interrogation won’t hurt. We’ll start out with the horrid question first, though, just to get it over with. What inspires you to write?
My mother says I’ve always told tall tales, so it’s no wonder I’m writing novels. The Cozzi Cove beach series came about as I recalled my family’s annual summer trip to my aunt and uncle’s bungalow on the New Jersey shore. We swam and made sandcastles at the beach, waded in the bay, played miniature golf, ate salt water taffy and jumped up and down on trampolines until we (literally) saw green, and dined at our favorite seafood restaurant with a colorful player piano. One day I discovered a cove. A cove forms when softer rocks are worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This creates a gorgeous bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.
All those places and experiences are in the novels set in a fictitious place I call Cozzi Cove, a gay resort of eight bungalows in a private cove on the Jersey Shore. Each bungalow is based on my aunt and uncle’s, and is furnished with hand-carved nautical furnishings, and 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. As Cal Cozzi opens his seven guest bungalows in a gay resort on a cove at the New Jersey Shore for the summer, we are treated to four interwoven stories per book about Cal and his guests. The stories are full of romance, humor, drama, and in some cases surprise endings. Nothing is what it seems at Cozzi Cove. After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back released, many readers and reviewers praised its romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. Their kind and wonderful praises inspired me to write Cozzi Cove: Moving Froward. As with the first book, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove in book two, and nothing is what it seems. So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head to Cozzi Cove. Cal’s welcome mat is out. I hope to see you there!
Why do you write M/M stories?
Go to the mall and look at poster after poster of movies with no gay or lesbian characters in them. I worry about the self-esteem of the young gay teens spending time in those malls with their friends. There are so many untold M/M stories. I’m telling at least some of them in my books.
Great answer, and I couldn’t agree more about how invisible LGBT people are in society. Since there is always another story to tell, what are you working on now?
A third novel in the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out.
Out of all these lovely characters, who would you most prefer to snog, marry or avoid?
If I weren’t already married to the perfect partner, I’d want to marry my leading character Cal Cozzi. He’s on both book covers. Cal dabbled as a professional football player then restaurant owner, but neither was a good fit. After Cal’s parents died in an automobile accident, he found his calling: managing Cozzi Cove in the New Jersey shore town named after his great-grandfather. Sensing Cal’s sexual orientation as a boy, Cal’s father had turned Cozzi Cove into a gay resort. Cal is honored to follow in his father’s footsteps. Cal is honest, kind, hardworking, and a no nonsense kind of guy. You know where you stand with him. And Cal is a one-man man.
I had written a novella loosely based on my life in high school and my ten-year high school reunion, An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press). It won Second Place in Divine Magazine’s readers’ poll for favorite LGBT romance of 2015. So many readers told me they loved that story, and they wanted more of a minor character in it. So that character, Mario, is the first guest in book one of Cozzi Cove. Mario is tall, muscular, with olive skin, a Roman nose, and dark, dreamy eyes. He’s a college student who is smart, loyal, and caring. If I were younger and single, Mario is someone who would interest me. Chuck Caliber, the porn star in book 1, is captivating for the obvious and some not so obvious reasons. Michael’s study buddy, Carlo, in book 2 is incredibly sexy. The two bodybuilders in book 2, Zeus and Jarek, would also be on my radar. Mysterious Bruce in book 2 is also quite enticing. I could go on and on.
Mario’s brother shares a bungalow with him in book 1. Harold is equally good looking and well built, but he’s the exact opposite of his brother Mario. Harold is conniving, insecure, and quite the player. He’s someone I’d avoid.
Which is your favourite character? Who was a joy to write (and why?) and who were you glad to see the back of (and why!)?
Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Rome, Paris, Wall Street, or Palm Springs in both books. As a tough as nails top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. I also admire her devotion to her brother. Taylor gets a huge surprise in the second book. I still laugh out loud when reading Taylor’s scenes, so she’s a favorite character for me who was a joy to write.
Also after my novella A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press) was released, many readers wanted more time with two of the leading characters, college theatre majors Jonathan and Barry. So two of the guests at Cozzi Cove in book 2 are loosely based on how Jonathan and Barry might be as middle-aged men. I call them Rodney Maxwell and Dennis O’Halloran. They are a quite funny older theatre couple. Writing their dialogue was tricky since they have a love/hate relationship. I was quite pleased with the result, but happy when they left.
If I were a Hollywood producer about to put your book on the big screen, who would you want me to cast as the leads?
Since I’m also an actor (and a college theatre professor/department head), I’d like to play Sean Guile (a virgin romance author captivated by a porn star) in book 1, and Gil (who sees a vision of his first love at the beach) in book 2. The Rock could play the local bartender, Tommy Malone. Julia Roberts would be a good Taylor. Corbin Bleu could play Michael, Cal’s young boyfriend. I’d want Matt Bomer as Cal. I know he looks nothing like Cal, but who cares? It’s Matt Bomer!
No, seriously. I’m calling dibs on Matt Bomer to play my Shield Captain Bennet. I suppose it would be bad form to fight over him–we’ll just have to bicker over the shooting schedule!–so instead tell me something about yourself that will surprise me.
After college I was an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. My 1982 ABC-TV movie, My Mother Never a Kid, and NBC’s Another World are still internet favorites.
Wow! Impressive! That’s an amazing life to look back on, and it must have given you some rich experiences to underpin your writing. It seems almost anticlimactic to ask, but tell me about one place you’d love to visit and what you’d do there.
I visited the gorgeous and romantic island of Capri in Italy to write my holiday novella, A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press) about an American law student who visits and falls in love with his Italian third cousin. I’d love to go back there. It was magical. I would go up on the lift at sunset and look out at the gorgeous views of the water, mountains, rocks, villas, and Italians.
My Nicky and Noah comedy mystery series (Lethe Press) is about a couple of college theatre professors who solve whodunits. The first novel, Drama Queen, won Best LGBT Mystery Novel and Best LGBT Humorous Novel of 2015 in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll. Drama Muscle followed. For the third novel, Drama Cruse (not yet released), Nicky and Noah solve a mystery while doing a murder mystery dinner theatre show on a cruise to Alaska. So I did one as research, which was lots of fun. I’d like to go on a riverboat cruise next, perhaps up the Rhine, and wile away the hours reading and looking at the gorgeous scenery.
So, finally, after that rich and varied life is over, what do you want them to write on your tombstone?
http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com. Check it out!
Thank you, Joe! You withstood the thumbscrews very well (but you still can’t have Matt Bomer). Now let’s hear more about your new release!
On Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey shore, handsome Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are open for summer and love. Mario and Harold are brothers and college students who happen to look alike, but couldn’t be more different: Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. Josh and Greg, a wealthy older couple, are matchmakers for their son, Christopher. When it comes to Connor, the maid, packed with muscles and a roving sponge, anything can happen. Opposites attract as wild Tim with the secret past meets shy Mark, and porn star Chuck Caliber connects with Sean, a virgin romance novelist. And what will happen when computer-game designer Arthur has a midnight sea rendezvous with a merman? Even married Cal faces an emotional upheaval when a gay bashing turns into something quite unexpected. What secrets and passions lie in magical Cozzi Cove?
Publisher: Nine Star Press
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Cover Design: Arai TanISBN-13: 978-1-911153-35-1
Wordcount: 60,000 words
Praise for COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK:
“I loved this story. It carries you through the full range of emotions, from joy to sadness, from happiness to anger. The characters are beautifully written.” “I look forward to a return visit to the Cove.” TBR Pile
“Heartbreaking and heartwarming, sweet beginnings for some, sour endings for others, emotions jumping off the page as you turn eagerly to read more, welcome to Cozzi Cove. The author measured his scales to perfection in delivering the perfect balance of love, laughter and tears in this sexy, fun filled holiday romance entwined with some sadness. Summer magic waved it’s wand at all who visited and stayed at Cozzi Cove and I was one of those who wanted to stay.” Three Books Over the Rainbow
Alone together in the parking lot, the two young men smiled at one another.
Suddenly Chris’s throat tightened. “I’m Julie. I mean, I’m Chris Tyler-Hampton.” He extended a clammy hand.
“Nice to meet you, Chris. I’m Mario Ginnetti.”
“I’m gay.” Chris replayed in his head what he’d just said. “I mean, I’m on college break.” Chris noticed Mario’s bulging pectoral muscles in his polo shirt. Mario returned the favor by openly checking Chris out. Looking into Mario’s dreamy dark eyes, Chris asked, “Are you on college break too?”
Mario nodded. “I go to Princeton. I’m a psych major, and I play football.”
Chris admired Mario’s strapping body. “I’m in engineering at Yale. I know, the whole Asian stereotype thing.” He tried to focus on not sounding like a lunatic as his heart raced like a Saturday-night driver. “Are you staying here with your parents too?”
“I’m parentless in Bungalow One.” Mario unleashed luscious dimples and a row of straight white teeth. In an obvious attempt at seduction, he posed on his car, but slipped on its smooth finish and fell to the ground.
Chris helped him to his feet.
With his face as red as a ripe strawberry, Mario said, “My father’s dead and my mom ran off with a mobster.”
Chris gasped. “I’m sorry.”
“You asked if my parents were here. They’re gone. My mother paid my college tuition first. It happened a while ago.”
Chris understood. “I’m sorry about your folks. I complain about mine, but they’ve always been there for me. We generally spend the summers in Europe, but Dad read about this place. Since I have one week off before my summer internship, they booked us in here for a week before they leave for Switzerland.” Chris hoped he didn’t sound snobby. “Well, I better get back inside and make sure Julie is using her best manners.”
Clutching his grocery bag to his chest, Mario said, “And I should refrigerate this stuff.”
Chris took a step away and then stopped and turned back to face Mario. With a throat drier than the Sahara Desert, he said, “Would you like to visit the main bitch with me tomorrow?”
Mario did a double take.
“I mean, would you like to go to the ocean beach … with me … tomorrow?”
Mario ran a shaky hand through his jet-black hair. “Is tomorrow supposed to be a good beach day?”
Chris replied, “I’m not sure. If there’s a hurricane or something, we can go inside.” Chris wiped the sweat off his neck with his handkerchief. “And if a shark comes along, we can always swim to shore.” Chris made a desperate attempt at swallowing and said, “I’ll knock on your bungalow door at ten a.m. If that’s indeed okay.” He had never said the word indeed before.
Mario nodded. “Ten a.m. is good.”
“I look forward to seeing you then.” Chris couldn’t stop himself from looking back at Mario and smiling as he walked toward his fathers’ bungalow. When he banged into the trash can, he barely felt the pain in his knee or the gash in his calf.
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Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (NineStar Press), Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals).
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. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers).
Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press), Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press). Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015!
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com