Character Interview and Excerpt
Author: Joe Cosentino
Publisher: Lethe Press
Type: Start of a Series
Blurb: It could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!
It is my pleasure to welcome Noah Oliver, one of the central characters in Joe Cosentino’s Nicky and Noah comedy/mystery/romance series. Noah is premiering on June 6 in his first novel, Drama Queen, published by Lethe Press. Hi, Noah. Thanks for joining us today.
It’s great to take a break from being inside a book.
What do you look like and how old are you?
I’m twenty-seven, tall, with blue eyes, blond hair, and as Nicky says, his body is the bread and mine is the butter.
Where are you from?
Wisconsin, as my parents never let me forget. Actually they are both hysterically funny. You’ll get to meet them in the second novel, Drama Muscle.
How did you come to star in Joe Cosentino’s new comedy/mystery/romance series, the Nicky and Noah mysteries?
Joe was a professional actor and is currently a college theatre professor. He’s also an incredible mystery novel fanatic, and a really funny guy. He was thinking about all those things one day, and Nicky and I popped into his head. Joe thinks Nicky and I are funny, sexy, smart, and terrific guys. That works for us, so we help him come up with good stories for the series.
Tell me about Treemeadow College?
Treemeadow was originally founded by a gay couple, Tree and Meadow. It’s a quaint, Edwardian style, liberal arts college in New England. Actually, it’s totally made up in Joe’s head, but so I am I! As an Assistant Professor of Acting, the Theatre Department at Treemeadow has been my home for a few years. Before that my life is a bit of mystery, which you’ll find out about if you read Drama Queen.
How important is getting tenure to you?
Incredibly important. I’ve worked for this most of my life.
Why is it you are the top suspect in the murders, and the one to always find the dead bodies?
You’ll have to read Drama Queen to find out.
Nicky is directing your students in a play in Drama Queen. What kind of play is it?
A murder mystery of course.
Is life imitating art?
As my students say, “Totally.” My theatre professor colleagues are dropping like stage curtains and the beefy junior detective on the case is more interested in trying to get into Nicky’s pants than solving the case.
Speaking of Nicky’s pants, is it true he would give Catherine the Great’s horse a run for its race?
Nicky would put him to shame.
How did you first react to that?
Terrified to delighted. I have a great sense of adventure.
You’ve sparked my interest. Any chance of getting Nicky to show and sample?
No way. Nicky, like me, is a one-man man, and that man is me, Noah Oliver, Assistant Professor of Acting at Treemeadow, and unfortunately the top suspect for the murders.
Ouch. That must be a bit touchy.
On the positive side, it forces us to play Holmes and Watson and eventually solve the case.
How do you do that?
We use our theatre know-how to eavesdrop, impersonate people, and even flirt with others when necessary to get our clues.
What is it about Nicky that floats your boat?
Nicky is loyal, caring, clever, and absolutely gorgeous with dark hair and eyes, a Roman nose, and a killer body thanks to the gym on campus. He also has a hidden secret or two, which make him all the move captivating.
Nicky is thirty-five and you are twenty-seven. Does that bother Nicky?
A little. Actually a lot. But I hold his hand and tell him age is only a number.
Drama Queen is a comedy/mystery/romance novel. That sounds like a lot to ask from one novel.
My life is a page-turning whodunit with plot twists and turns, enticing clues, riotously funny encounters, and a few sexy interludes if I say so myself.
Are there other novels coming in your series?
After Drama Queen is Drama Muscle, where Nicky and I have to find out why Physical Education faculty are dropping like dead weights while Nicky and I direct the students in a Bodybuilding Competition. The third novel is Drama Cruise, where Nicky directs and I star in a college theatre professors’ murder mystery dinner theatre production onboard a cruise to Alaska. Did I mention the professors are dropping overboard like life rafts, and Nicky and I have to find out why? I’m sure we can help Joe come up with more ideas for future novels in the series. Each novel in the series offers a good brain teaser mystery with lots of fun, frenzy, and frolic. As Nicky would say, try staying that three times fast.
I wish you and Nicky a long, happy life together of sleuthing, laughter, and romance, and many successful books.
Joe would like that. Check out Drama Queen and give us a try. Then contact Joe via his web site, Facebook page, Twitter page, or Goodsreads page. He loves hearing from readers. It gives him a break from listening to Nicky and me.
Surrounded by darkness, I sat tensely watching as a young, beautiful man lay on the floor with blood dripping off his six-pack abs. I held my breath. Another muscular young man stood over the first and looked down with a vengeful gaze and devious smirk. My heart pounded as he strutted through the quiet street in his long flowing cape, weaving from corpse to corpse. His knife, erect, poised. “The Lord is vengeful and strong in wrath. And revenge is oh so sweet,” he said.
“Blackout then lights up!”
Tyler, the technical theatre graduate assistant running the lighting board, hit a button, and our Treemeadow College theatre once again sported its Victorian proscenium, cream-colored walls, maple wood wainscoting, bronze wall sconces, and ruby red stage curtain.
Sitting behind the director’s desk (actually a wooden plank temporarily set up in the center of the audience seating area) I scribbled a last note before shouting, “Good work, everyone! Please get out of costume and make-up as quickly as possible and join me in the first two rows of the house for notes.”
Students scurried about: the actors off the stage; the technicians behind the set securing lighting and prop pieces.
Since it is tech week for my show, I have been working in our Edwardian style theatre every evening alongside our workaholic technical director. Tyler Thompson is our technical theatre professor’s graduate assistant, who like all good technical directors, eats, sleeps, breathes, and basically lives in our Scene Shop behind the stage. Standing at five feet tall with mountainous shoulders, a broad back, powerful arms, thick hands, and stick legs, Tyler rules over all things sound, lights, projections, set pieces, and props at Treemeadow College. When he leaves, we will be at a total loss to find or do anything technical in our theatre.
Sets for plays used to consist of wooden flats screwed together to create the walls of a room or a slide projection of a building. Nowadays no set is worth its weight in a Tony Award if it doesn’t include moving film projections of farmland, urban settings, fireworks, or whatever exterior is called for in a given scene.
“I’ll fix the video of the street scene for tomorrow night, Nicky.” Tyler slumped in a chair next to me as the familiar smell of pepperoni, his staple food, and sawdust stung my nose. He wore his usual techie attire: a soiled white T-shirt under frayed overalls above worn workboats. This look was accented by a gold cross around his neck, tattoos on his arms (like an illustrated book with words, numbers, and pictures), and long, stringy, unwashed hair. Tyler scratched at his beard, a result of him not having shaved (or washed) since we started tech. “I also want to fix the sound cue for the siren, and change a few gels for the red wash across the stage during the murders.”
Before I could thank Tyler, David Samson, Professor of Technical Theatre and our show’s Scenic Designer, barreled down the theatre aisle like a bull in a field of tomatoes, shouting, “Tyler!” David is an imposing six feet two inches tall, weighing about a hundred and eighty pounds with a shaved head.
Tyler froze, and replied like a convicted chemical dumper facing an environmental lynch mob. “Yes, David?”
Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), 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 Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery.