Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Joe Cosentino for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: An Infatuation
Author: Joe Cosentino
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Christy Caughie
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
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 at their ten-year high school reunion, the old flame reignites. Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.
Prism recently reviewed An Infatuation. You can find the review here.
We are here today to talk about An Infatuation. What can you tell us about it?
Thanks, Brandilyn. AN INFATUATION (an MM Bittersweet Dreams romance novella from Dreamspinner Press) spans twenty years in the life of Harold and Mario, and is full of humor, romance, and drama. It is loosely based on a one-act play I did in NYC a while ago. 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.
Tell us more about Harold and Mario?
While the situation is fictitious, Harold is based on me, so he is perfect. Hah. Actually, 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. I also love his sense of humor!
Mario is a combination of many supposedly straight, perfect guys who gay guys so easily become infatuated with every day. As classmates in high school, Mario opens up to Harold about his troubled family life in a very deep way, and they connect. As opposites, Harold and Mario attract. 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. It’s pretty hard to read the novella and not relate to Harold’s infatuation.
What about An Infatuation makes you the proudest?
I’ve received so many amazing comments from readers and reviewers about AN INFATUATION, telling me it made them laugh, feel romantic, cry, and want more. Readers seem to really love this MM Bittersweet Dreams novella. They tell me reading it has changed their lives. And it’s selling well!
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Write from the heart, and write what makes you happy. If one publisher rejects it, move on to the next.
Will we be seeing more from these characters in the sequel?
It’s funny you mention that because a reviewer who loved it recommended I do just that. I have written another Bittersweet Dreams MM novella, A SHOOTING STAR, that also is a remembrance story, but it isn’t a sequel to AN INFATUATION. As they say, never say never.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
I tend to get immersed in series. Since I love mysteries, I am currently reading the Aunt Dimity mystery series.
Rapid Fire Time
- Country or City? Country in the mountains
- Pasta or potatoes? Sweet potatoes
- Drunk or Sober? Sober
- Long or Short? Short (like me-hah)
- Ice Skating or Ice Hockey? Neither
- Underwear and socks: folded in the drawer or tossed? Always folded in the drawer
- Paper or Plastic? Paper
- Dogs or Cats? Neither (I’m allergic)
- Vodka or Tequila? Neither (I don’t drink)
- Porsche or Prius? Subaru
What are you working on? What is next?
As I mentioned, I love mysteries, so I am writing an MM and an MF (with gay supporting characters) mystery series. The MF series is the Jana Lane mystery/romance series published by Whiskey Creek Press/Start Publishing. PAPER DOLL (Jana Lane mystery book 1) was released on March 5. PORCELAN DOLL and SATAN DOLL should be released in six month intervals. Each is a terrific mystery/romance story centering around Jana Lane (an ex child star) with a shocking ending.
Here is the blurb for PAPER DOLL (Jana Lane mystery book 1 from Whiskey Creek Press/Start Publishing):
Jana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now she’s 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. 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. Can Jana uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future?
I also wrote an MM comedy mystery series, the Nicky and Noah mysteries, premiering this summer from Lethe Press. There are three books so far in the series: DRAMA QUEEN, DRAMA MUSCLE, and DRAMA CRUISE. This one hits close to home as it is about a gay college theatre professor who solves murders on his campus. It is very funny, almost tongue-in-cheek, and has a great deal of romance mixed with a good mystery story in each novel.
When my novels are made into movies (hopefully!), I want to play Mr. Ringwood (the high school principal) in AN INFATUATION, Simon Huckby (Jana’s agent) in PAPER DOLL, and Martin Anderson (the department head) in DRAMA QUEEN.
On a humorous note, here’s a short play I did, JULIE, and posted on You Tube. I think you’ll enjoy it! http://joecosentino.weebly.com/video.html.
One Friday afternoon I accidentally ran into my hero in the boy’s locker room. I’d had enough of the big guys banging me into gym lockers, pushing me into cold showers, and hanging me from the gym ropes. So I was on my way to give Mr. Adoni a note from Dr. Dlorah excusing me from gym class for the remainder of the school year (due to my highly contagious disease being studied by my doctor in Guatemala, where he could not be reached for the next year).
The locker room smelled of an odd combination of soap, cologne, sweat, and desire. Mario was getting ready for football practice, standing at his gym locker without a combination lock on it. Nobody would dare to break into it (Except for me that one time I smelled his jock strap. Okay maybe it was a few times, but not more than ten.). Mario slid his T-shirt (red today) over his thick, black hair and threw it on the nearby bench. No longer harnessed by cotton, his arm, back, chest, and neck muscles swelled to full size. I was half hidden behind the adjoining row of lockers, wearing my usual green and blue flannel shirt and brown corduroy pants. Mario, who wasn’t looking in my direction, said something really beautiful to me that I will never forget. “Hi.”
“Did you just? Oh. Hi. Hello. Good afternoon. Nice to see you. I mean, change with you.” I looked down at the floor (but cheated a bit) as Mario kicked off his boots, slipped off his jeans then threw them in the lucky locker. His red underpants (briefs) revealed ample manhood. This is better than the newspaper’s underwear ads!
“Good gym class today with Mr. Adonis, I mean, Mr. Adoni.” Did I just say that? “Harold High.”
“High.” How can I get my pulse down to 260?
“Hi.” Mario reached into his locker for his sweat clothes.
Shouldn’t people be doing that for you? “Oh, my last name is High. Like a kite.” How can I stop my arms from waving like an airport flagger on speed?
“Mario Ginetti. Like nothin’ else imaginable.” Mario smiled, revealing a row of perfectly white teeth, and held the sweat clothes in his hands as if he was mortal.
“I know. I watch your body play.” Why can’t I stop talking? “I mean, I watch you play … football … on the field … in your football outfit.” I feel like Michelangelo with his David!
As Mario put on his sweats, I continued to sweat.
“I’m voting for your body … I mean I’m voting for you for president of your … our … the student body.” I need my jaw wired shut. “I’m your lab partner in Chemistry class. Ms. Hungry’s class … I mean Ms. Hunsley’s class.”
His olive-colored face glistened as Mario’s face registered recognition—of me! “I thought I knew you from somewheres. Hey, thanks for doing the lab reports.”
“It’s my honor … I mean my pleasure. It’s fine. If you need help putting up posters for your campaign, I can … ”
Having just tied the laces of his sneakers, Mario stood absolutely still. He looked at me as if he was staring into my heart and somehow knew what I was feeling. “I gotta take a wicked piss.”
Can I watch?
“Thanks for helping me out, Buddy.” He slammed the locker door and left.
He called me, Buddy! My heart was as soft and silly as putty that Mario held in the palm of his hand like his soap on a rope.
About the Author:
Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll, the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press-releasing this summer), 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 Porcelain Doll (the second Jana Lane mystery) and Drama Muscle (the second Nicky and Noah mystery).
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Think back to a time when you were infatuated with someone. Who was it? How did it make you feel? What was it about him/her that caused your infatuation? How did it begin? How did it end? Write a paragraph about it in the comment section. The staff at Prism Book Alliance will select the post that tickles their fancy the most, and forward the winner’s name and email address to the author, who will email the prize—an electronic copy of AN INFATUATION. Happy infatuations!
Locally held contests will end 7 days from original posting date at 8pm CST. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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