Author Interview: Joe Cosentino

-What inspired you to start writing, especially your novel, Paper Doll?
            As an actor I worked on stage and screen with stars like Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, Jason Robards, and Nathan Lane. It occurred to me that acting is storytelling in the same way that writing is storytelling, so I decided to give writing a try. I knew my first novel would be a show business story, since show business has always been such a huge part of my life. As an avid mystery reader, it was clear to me that my novel would be a page-turning murder mystery with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, humor, and lots of clues leading to a surprising conclusion.
– Can you tell us readers a little bit about, Paper Doll?
PAPER DOLL is the fictitious story of Jana Lane, America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present.
The local suspects include Jana’s down-on-his-luck husband with a dislike for living off the fruits of his wife’s young labor, Jana’s sister and male friend (who both have eyes for Jana’s husband), Jana’s show business father, her deranged loyal fan, and Jana’s young Guy Friday who covets her fame and shares an uncanny resemblance to Jana.
            Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.
– Who is your favorite character from your novel? And why?
     Jana’s agent, Simon, is my favorite character for five reasons. He is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, loyal to Jana, and most importantly, I want to play him in the movie version!
– Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write? And why?
     Jana’s sister, Tamara, was hardest to write since, unlike most of the other characters in the book, Tamara does not have a sense of humor. Tamara is a tortured soul with a secret and painful past. She loves her sister yet at the same time envies her. It was difficult for me to get into her mindset, but once I did, I believe I represented her well.
– Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most? And why?
     Jana’s best friend Jackson was the most fun to write because he is so funny, smart, charming, and devoted to Jana (and her husband). I also like that Jackson is a gay activist back in 1980 when it wasn’t so popular.
– What advice would you give to other writers in your genre?
     I love reading and writing stories with engaging characters who I want to spend time with. I recommend letting your characters talk to one another and seeing what happens! An outline is simply an outline. Don’t be afraid to deviate from it.
– After reading your novel, I found the suspense to be perfectly thrilling. What tips would you give other writers, when creating suspense their own novels?
     I prefer mystery suspense novels that drop lots of clues leading to the murderer. I also recommend incorporating many other characters with secrets into the story. A writer should create an entire world of suspense above and beyond “who done it.” When a reader finishes a book, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equaled the whole, rather than the author pulling an ending out of the hat.
– What is the latest project that you are currently working on?
     Dreamspinner Press is publishing my romance novella, AN INFATUATION, in February 2015.
     I am currently writing a comedy mystery series set in the world of academia. Since I am a college professor, I know that world quite well. I have completed the first two novels, DRAMA QUEEN and DRAMA MUSCLE. I will begin the third, DRAMA CRUISE, soon.
– Who is your favorite author? And why?
Armistead Maupin has an amazing flair for writing eccentric, loveable characters with engaging and realistic dialogue.
– What books have you read besides your own?
I’ve read all nine TALES OF THE CITY books by Armistead Maupin, every Agatha Christie novel and short story, and numerous other mystery writers like Greg Herren, Mary Higgins Clark, and G. A. McKevett.
– Did you always know that you wanted to be an author?
My career path has led me from acting to teaching to writing. I think I will continue writing for quite some time.
– Where can readers find your novel the Paper Doll?
PAPER DOLL is available in paperback and electronic versions at Amazon. Here is the link:
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at
– Can you tell us readers a little bit about your next book?
AN INFATUATION is a humorous and touching story about Harold and Mario. Muscular, sexy, and tantalizing, Mario was Harold’s hero and obsessive infatuation in high school. At their ten-year high school reunion, both men are happily married: Mario to a woman, and Harold to a man. Will they reignite the old flame and set their comfortable lives ablaze? The novella will let you know, as well as bring you back to your crushes of the past, and passions of the present. Look for it in February 2015 by Dreamspinner Press!

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