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The Author Spotlight will focus on a different author every few weeks – it may feature an experienced writer who has a long history of published books, or a new author who is destined to be a future star. Today our Author Spotlight will be on Joe Cosentino. You can keep in touch with Joe at the links following the interview!
NOTE: I received a copy of An Infatuation from the author for review purposes.
Author Spotlight: Joe Cosentino
First off, I want to thank Joe for taking the time to answer these questions for me. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comment section below!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
What is the title of your newest or upcoming book?
What publisher is this book being published by?
What is the publication date?
An Infatuation by Joe Cosentino
An Infatuation REVIEW:
Heat Rating: 1 Star Rating: 4.5
I truly do not know what to say about this book. An Infatuation is unlike any romance book I have read until now. It’s unusual for me to get sucked into a book in the first chapter but it grabbed me early and I read the whole thing in one day.
There is a bit of time jumping in this book. An Infatuation begins when Harold and Stuart have been happily married for years. I was confused because Harold was waxing poetic for Mario, his first love from high school. We soon jump back in time 20 years to learn more about Harold and Mario’s past. A sweet, angst filled and somewhat tragic high school crush between the geek and the captain of the football team. I loved both characters. Prayed that Mario would follow the path he was meant to take but knowing that Harold was due to have his heart broken.
The next few chapters fast forward a bit a and we catch glimpses of both Mario and Harold as they lead their own separate lives. Harold’s happy and stable, Mario lives in turmoil and longs for what he could have had but chose to throw away. They catch site of each other from afar periodically but keep to themselves.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I will tell you that you will truly FEEL every emotion bubbling inside these star crossed lovers. But Harold has found true love in Stuart, but Mario was his FIRST love. I cried. Horrible and ugly tears at the end of the book.
This is not your average romance book. There is no heat and passion and no crimes to solve. Harold and Mario seem to have a bond that never seems to whither completely, no matter the distance. The ending was both sad and bittersweet….I wasn’t sure how I WANTED it to end, but the author wrote it the way is SHOULD end.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this book at first but it was truly very well written. I will be following this author and looking for his next work!
THE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press), and Drama Queen (Lethe Press, releasing this summer). 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 a musical theatre adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals), and 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 Porcelain Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Drama Muscle (Lethe Press).
Can you give the readers a brief summary of your latest book?
With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.
What genre does it fall in?
Will you share a few words about your latest book, other than the usual blurb?
I was thinking back to my high school days, and how difficult it was back then for a gay teen before GLSEN, PFLAG, and Will and Grace. Lab partners, gym locker rooms, and club meetings where super important. At my high school reunion, I realized things weren’t what they seemed back then. A story was born. It began as a one-act play, which I expanded and morphed into a novella. So it took many months to write. The story is personal and important to me, so I wanted to get everything just right.
Give us a little insight into your main characters! Who are they?
While the situation is fictitious, Harold is based on me. I really admire Harold’s resilience, honesty, intelligence, wit, and ability to keep going in trying situations. His heart may be broken, but his spirit always stays intact. Harold’s devotion to his spouse, Stuart, is admirable, as is his honesty about his teenage infatuation with Mario. Mario is a combination of many supposedly straight, perfect guys who gay guys so easily become infatuated with every day. I love that the story spans twenty years so we see Harold (and Mario) develop and mature in their special relationship. I also love that Harold and Mario come full circle at their high school reunion. Stuart was great fun to write, because he is based on my spouse who is totally organized and a real list maker, but also sweet, creative, and caring. He creates an itinerary for our trips in ten minute time blocks!
Will we be seeing these characters again any time soon? Is this book part of a series?
No, however, I just finished writing another novella, A SHOOTING STAR, which I believe will be a great companion piece to AN INFATUATION.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style. When and where is your favorite time/place to write?
We designed our house. So I have a cozy study with a fireplace, window seat, wall sconces, and a huge cherry wood desk. Since I am a college professor and busy during the day, I write late at night. I find being a little tired helps me not to stifle my thoughts, and allows for open creativity. Sometimes I’m surprised the next day at what I’ve written!
What sort of book do you enjoy reading in your free time? What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
I just finished the last TALES OF THE CITY book. Armistead Maupin has an amazing flair for writing eccentric, loveable characters with engaging and realistic dialogue. I strive for that in my own writing.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Have you held any interesting jobs while you worked on your books?
When I told my mother I wanted to be an actor, she said, “Take this knife and stick it through my heart.” I did it anyway, and acted 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 playwriting a try and eventually fiction writing. When I told my mother I wanted to write fiction, she said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?” I wonder if Shakespeare’s mother said that? I knew my first novella would be a bit autobiographical, but have a universal theme.
What does your writing process look like?
Since I was an actor, the first thing I write for a story is the character breakdown, listing each character and his/her characteristics. I enjoy writing stories with engaging characters who I want to spend time with every day. Then I ask myself, what if … . Before I know it, dozens of situations and plots enter my mind. So it’s time for me to pick the best ones. Next, I write an outline, knowing I will no doubt deviate from it once I start writing. Since I was a playwright, I love dialogue, and try to use it as much as possible in my stories. I let my characters talk to one another and see what happens. I always keep in mind that a romance story needs more than romance. So I include humor, twists and turns in the story, and a bit of mystery. Finally, until LGBT people have equal civil rights, a little politicking never hurt. So I make sure to add a bit of activism.
Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance? Why not another genre?
I have written both MM and MF novels. However, there are so many untold MM stories. In the case of AN INFATUATION, hasn’t everyone been infatuated with someone? Think about your first infatuation. There’s nothing more powerful. This story had to be told. I think it would make a terrific film. I want to play Mr. Ringwood!
One last questions…totally unrelated to books! I am a passionate foodie. Is there one thing in your pantry that you would be horrified for people to know that you eat?
I’m a vitamin junkie. You wouldn’t want to see my vitamin shelves.
Thankyou so much for answering my questions. I think my readers will enjoy learning more about you! Good luck in your future writing!