Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spotlight/Author Guest Post: Paper Doll by Joe Cosentino


About the Book



Jana Lane was 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.


“Joe Cosentino has utilized his keen knowledge of show business through shrewd celluloid eyes with tight twists, wicked turns, and one stunning surprise after another!”

̶ Jeff Walt, author of “Hex”



“Paper Doll is a delicious concoction of suspense and nostalgia with all the trash of the tabloids and all the style of classic film noir. Romance, glamour, lust, and murder, make a page turning mystery. I can’t wait for the sequel; I can’t wait for the movie!”

̶ Gerald Fierst, storyteller and author of “The Heart of the Wedding”

Amazon –

About the Author

Joe Cosentino 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. He has written and directed many musical plays for family audiences (toured through Encore Performing Arts of NY, and one published through Eldridge Plays and Musicals). His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor were performed in New York City. Another one-act, Swing, was performed by Stageworks of NY and published in the Marquee Literary Journal. He wrote The Perils of Pauline, available on CDROM (through Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe received his MFA from Goddard College in Vermont, and MA from SUNY New Paltz. He is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York. His upcoming novels include An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen, and Nick the Nerd (for children). JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

Author Guest Post

WRITING A FIRST NOVEL IS LIKE GIVING BIRTH
by Joe Cosentino

The experts tell us to write what we know about, so I began my first novel by writing an outline (with actual paper and pencil) for a mystery/romance entitled Paper Doll. Since I watch old movies, my heroine, Jana Lane, is America’s most famous child star of the 1960's, attacked on a Hollywood studio lot at eighteen years old. Twenty years later, as a thirty-eight-year-old mother of two living in a mansion in Hyde Park, New York, her flashbacks turn into murder attempts.

Given my love for the Hudson Valley in New York, the novel includes locations like the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Home, Vassar College, and Hyde Park Elementary School.

In honor of my favorite authors, my novel has numerous suspects and clues with the murderer discovered at the conclusion a la Agatha Christie. As in Armistread Maupin’s Tales of the City books, my characters are quirky but believable and likeable. The suspects include Jana’s down-on-his-luck husband, Jana’s sister and Jana’s male best friend (who both have eyes for Jana’s husband), Jana’s has-been show business father, her deranged loyal fan, and Jana's young Guy Friday who covets her fame and shares an uncanny resemblance to Jana. Like Mary Higgins Clark’s, my novel is a romantic page-turner. So Jana embarks on a romance with the son of her old studio producer, a handsome filmmaker planning Jana’s comeback professionally and personally.

Given my background as an actor, Jana visits her old Hollywood movie studio to investigate her attacks (past and present) and unmask the murderer. In the process, she uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves.

I wrote the outline in a few days, and the first draft in a month. The characters took on a life of their own, as they told me what they wanted to do and say. After I showed the first draft to a trusted reader, my rewriting commenced for months until the book was completed.

Holly McCabe designed a beautiful book cover, and Gerald Fierst and Jeff Walt reviewed the book (both raves) before publication and distribution on Amazon.com. Promoting the book on Facebook and Goodreads brought sales and good customer ratings. Interviews on blogs helped spread the word.

Bitten by the novelist bug, my second book, An Infatuation, (releasing by Dreamspinner Press in February) is a humorous and touching gay romance novella set in my hometown. With my background in children’s theatre, I wrote a children’s book, Nick the Nerd, chronicling a nerdy kid’s transformation into the legendary Santa Klaus. Finally, using my experience in college academia, I am currently writing, Drama Queen, a comedy/mystery/romance novel set in a New England college town.

Writing a novel is a bit like giving birth, incredibly difficult, but amazingly rewarding.

Joe Cosentino has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. He has written and directed many plays, and holds an MFA from Goddard College in Vermont. Currently he is a Department Head/ Professor at a college upstate New York. Visit his website at: JoeCosentino.weebly.com.


MY INTERVIEW WITH MYSELF

1. How do you imagine the ideal reader of your book?

My ideal reader is a lover of mystery, romance, and Hollywood. Someone who craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. My reader loves clues, suspects, and plotlines that zigzag with numerous surprises leading to a shocking yet totally justified conclusion. Finally, my reader relishes in beautiful, lush locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book.

2. How was the writer inside of you born?

As a kid I played make believe constantly. “Let’s put on a show!” was my motto. Thankfully my parents and teachers indulged me (rather than committed me-hah). Eventually I became an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Morphing into writing plays and now novels seem like the perfect progression.

3. What genres do you work with and why are you attracted to these forms of writing?

I read and write mystery romance novels that are far more than who-done-its. Humorous, engaging, complex characters in interesting locations captivate me. Every one of my characters has a secret, sometimes more than one! I have used my knowledge of show business to tell shocking, riveting, and entertaining stories.

4. As a reader, what elements of a story do you love, or do you hate?

When I read a great novel, I feel as if I am the leading character, going through the story and experiencing all of the emotions right along with him/her. A terrific mystery lays out all the clues and culminates with only one possible ending, unveiling various secrets along the way. I don’t appreciate mystery novels, where authors lay out clues then arbitrarily pick a murderer.

5. What inspired you to write PAPER DOLL?

In PAPER DOLL I share my love of movies and movie-makers with my readers. I have always been fascinated with ex-child stars like Hayley Mills, Shirley Temple,Patty Duke, and Brooke Shields. My heroine, Jana Lane, is an ex-child star who has lost her self esteem as an adult. Through the course of the book, Jana not only solves the mystery of her past, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. This is an important message for all of us.

6. How long did it take you to write this book and what did you do the day that you finished it?

Generally I write very quickly, however, this book took me years to write and rewrite. It was, and is, so important to me that I wanted to get everything just right. Once I was confident that I had achieved just that, I announced to my spouse, “It is finished!” I have not had a better night’s sleep before or after that night—until I saw Holly McCabe’s gorgeous book cover!

7. What would you like to say to your readers?

I have been doing author talks/readings/book signings at libraries, bookstores, and book clubs. I love talking to my readers. So my hope is that everyone who reads and enjoys PAPER DOLL will email me via my web site and tell me what they liked about the book. I also love answering questions about the novel, so let them fly. My web site is: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

8. Tell us about PAPER DOLL, and tell us which is your favorite character.

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 turn into murder attempts.

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.

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!

9. Why should readers read PAPER DOLL?

Make sure you have a good block of free time before beginning PAPER DOLL. Once you start, you will be reading until you finish. The mystery/romance novel is full of quirky, endearing characters, a captivating story, and more plot twists than a maze. The Hollywood background will entice you, and the time period of the story (1980) will bring you back to better days. Prop your feet up, grab a Shirley Temple, and enjoy!


11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. Who is your favorite author? And why?

Armistead Maupin has an amazing flair for writing eccentric, loveable characters with engaging and realistic dialogue.

17. 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.

18. Where can readers find your novel the Paper Doll?

PAPER DOLL is available in paperback and electronic versions at Amazon. Here is the link:
http://www.amazon.com/Paper-Doll-Jana...
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

19. 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!

1 comment:

  1. Oh it actually is a paperdoll on the cover, cool

    ReplyDelete

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