Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Joe Cosentino for stopping by today.
Title: A Shooting Star: the second In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella
Author: Joe Cosentino
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: LC Chase
On the eve of the best night of his life, winning an Academy Award, Jonathan Bello thinks back to his one great love, David Star. Flipping back the pages of time, Jonathan recalls his handsome, muscular, and charismatic college roommate. Since Jonathan was a freshman and David a senior in the Theatre Department, David took Jonathan under his wing and molded him, not only as an actor but as a lover. With every wonderful new adventure, David left his joyful mark on anyone with whom they came in contact, but Jonathan soon uncovered David’s dark past, leading to a shocking event. Undaunted, Jonathan celebrates the captivating man who will always hold a special place in his heart.
Release Day Spotlight with Joe Cosentino
We are here today to talk about A SHOOTING STAR. What can you tell us about it?
After my Bittersweet Dreams novella, AN INFATUATION, was released by Dreamspinner Press, I received numerous requests from readers telling me they laughed, cried, and had a life-changing experience. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Many of them also asked for a second novella in the In My Heart series. Since AN INFATUATION was loosely based on my high school days through adulthood, I thought back to my days as a theatre major in college, and A SHOOTING STAR was born.
Like most college theatre departments, mine was full of comedy, romance, mystery, and of course drama. The flames of love were kindled and hearts were broken while we put up play after play for delighted audiences who never knew the personal secrets behind the stage curtains. There was the star student who got the leading role in every show. Everyone, male and female, was in love with him, and he was in love with himself. There was also the class clown, the manipulator, everybody’s best friend, and (as they say on Gilligan’s Island) the rest. As we learned our acting craft, we learned solid lessons about life. It was an experience none of us will ever forget, and one which spurred me to write A SHOOTING STAR.
In the novella, new college theatre major Jonathan meets the gorgeous, muscular, tantalizing, and mysterious upper classroom and theatre department star aptly named David Star. As David grooms Jonathan for college life and for stardom, Jonathan falls deeply in love with him. This leads Jonathan on an inner and outer journey, where he learns some shocking secrets about David, and about himself. As a remembrance story, the novella begins with Jonathan having just received the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Film, as he thinks back to the person who was responsible for his win.
Tell us more about our main characters?
Like Harold in AN INFATUATION, Jonathan in A SHOOTING STAR is loosely based on me, though I haven’t won an Academy Award—yet. He is ingenuous, funny, warm, gullible, and has an open heart. As is the case with Stuart in AN INFATAUTION, Barry, Jonathan’s loyal scene partner in A SHOOTING STAR, is loosely based on my spouse. Similar to Mario in AN INFATUATION, David in SHOOTING STAR is a combination of a number of young men I met as a theatre major in college and as a young actor. They were gay, bi, closet-gay, or straight. Each was handsome, muscular, charismatic, sensuous, and almost other-worldly like Greek gods. Though they appeared to hold the world in the palm of their strong hands, they each had a secret weakness. The acting professor, the hysterically hypochondriac Professor Katzer, is a lampooned version of an acting professor I had in college who has since passed away. I want to play him in the movie version!
What about A Shooting Star makes you the proudest?
Just as I believe we left our New Jersey college community a better place when we graduated, Jonathan and David leave their Colorado college community members in an exalted state. Theatre is a very powerful medium to change lives on stage and in the audience. I hope readers are moved and changed by Jonathan and David’s story. I also hope everyone who reads A SHOOTING STAR finds his/her life changed for the better having known Jonathan, David, Barry, Professor Katzer, and their community.
Both our main characters are actors. Can you tell us some about why you chose these two characters?
Jonathan and David are both Theatre majors, but they couldn’t be any more different. Jonathan has incredible spirit. He is likeable, gullible, and wears his heart on his sleeve. David is magical, an enigma, incredibly sexy, and the star of every production and every heart. They were both fascinating to write about, and I love their story.
What is the nicest thing a reader has said to you in a review, email, in person, or on social media?
A reader wrote this review of AN INFATUATION. It touches me to this day.
If we’re lucky, we get to read a book that blazes a trail through us. Whether they make us laugh, cry, or even think a little differently, these books still leave a mark on us days, maybe even weeks after we’ve read it. For me, this was one of those books. It did everything I ask of a book: it took me away on a sweet journey about two high school boys, made me feel about their relationship, and gave me an ending I’ll never forget. This book made me think. It affected me, and that’s what writing and authorship is all about.
Mr. Cosentino, you should be very proud of what you created here. You gave me beautiful characters, real and flawed, who are memorable and who made mistakes. They could’ve made better choices, but they didn’t because they were human. Authors strive to make characters who are as close to humanity as possible. They hope to make character-driven stories, not plot-driven stories. You’ve done exactly that. Thank you for Harold. Thank you for Mario. Thank you for writing this book. And please, don’t stop writing.
How do you choose names? If you decide to change a name, do you feel that it alters your perception of the character?
I’ve always thought a name says a great deal about a person. For example, in the Native American culture, someone could be named Running Brook, Moonbeam, or Starburst. In my Italian-American culture, you could be called Jimmy the Baby Face, Johnny the Liar, or Tommy Knuckles. Hah. Seriously though, I choose names that to me reflect the characters persona. In A SHOOTING STAR, Jonathan Bello is the everyman, beautiful inside and out. David Star is King David, the star in the heavens. Barry is the loyal friend who sets the bar for goodness. David’s ex, Terrence, is the terror. Professor Katzer is the funny, endearing, cat-like teacher.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
Since I also write mysteries (DRAMA QUEEN the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press, and PAPER DOLL the first Jana Lane mystery from Whiskey Creek Press), I’m rereading all of the Agatha Christie novels. I love them dearly. I wish she was still alive so I could tell her!
Rapid Fire Time
- Tardis or DeLorean? DeLorean (somebody should buy it for me)
- Electronica or Jazz? Jazz
- Jocks or Nerds? Jocks (though I’m a nerd)
- Drunk or Sober? Sober (I never liked the taste of booze)
- Harry or Draco? Draco (love the white hair)
- Pickup Truck or Sedan? Sedan
- Hugs or Kisses? Hugs (big ones)
- Sweet or Savory? Savory (as long as I don’t have to cook)
- Apple or Android? Apple (I love fruit-no pun intended)
- Underwear and socks:folded in the drawer or tossed? Folded (I’m neat)
What are you working on? What is next?
In December my beautiful little holiday short novella, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, is released by Dreamspinner Press. It’s about a young American who travels to gorgeous Capri, Italy to meet his Italian relatives, and falls in love with his Italian cousin, Paolo. In February Dreamspinner Press is releasing THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND (funny, touching, and romantic gay fairytales).
In 2016 I will continue the Nicky and Noah mysteries from Lethe Press with DRAMA MUSCLE, where Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department of their college while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE, Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship. As the series progressing, Nicky and Noah fall deeper in love, and the readers hopefully fall deeper in love with Nicky and Noah.
My Jana Lane mysteries will also continue from The Wild Rose Press. In PORCELAIN DOLL, ex-child star Jana Lane makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL, Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL, Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Through the course of the books, Jana not only solves the mysteries, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.
Finally, my new gay romance series set on the beach, COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, will also premiere in 2016.
And I will continue being a college professor/department head!
As an Italian-American, I subscribed to my mother’s theory that if someone doesn’t want you to see something, he will hide it in a locked vault covered with cement. So I inadvertently took a quick look at my roommate’s things on the other side of the room. He was incredibly neat. Numerous theater textbooks and play scripts lined his bookshelf in alphabetical order. The bulletin board above his desk displayed artistically arranged programs from various comedy, drama, and musical college productions listing the same male lead in each show: “David Star”.
“Do you always look at other people’s things?”
I nearly got whiplash as he entered the room.
Stammering like a kid caught masturbating by his parents, I said, “I… w-was… ad-m-miring y-your… r-room.”
Though it was a fall September day, he took off his scarf (violet) and rested it on a tall coat-rack, which held scarves in various colors like a department store window display. He was taller than me, with a chiseled, handsome face, and straight, shiny black hair, which fell down his thick neck. I admired his perfectly sculpted muscles, housed in a turquoise designer dress shirt. But what captivated me the most were his piercing crystal-blue eyes—and the enormous bulge in his skin-tight, designer beige pants.
“What’s your name?”
He looked at me like a surgeon examining a tumor. “No, it’s not.”
“It’s Jonathan Bello.” He opened a bureau drawer, pulled out a bottle of hair gel, and tossed it to me. “You should gel your hair.” He opened his closet, revealing a multitude of color-coordinated shirts and slacks, and lay some on my bed. “And you can wear these.”
I looked at his perfectly pressed designer clothes. “Where did you get all these things?”
“They were gifts, mostly.”
“You must have some generous friends…. Sorry, I don’t know your name.”
“I’m David Star.” He took a bow.
Looking back at his play programs, I said, “You must have starred in every play at the college over the last three years.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“What happened to your last roommate?”
“He went to LA over the summer break and started auditioning. He got cast in a new TV sitcom. I hope it takes off. It’s called Cosby.”
“At the orientation session, they said freshmen are housed with other freshmen. How did I get a senior for a roommate?”
His eyes twinkled. “Just lucky I guess.”
“Do you think it was some kind of an administrative error or something?”
“Or something.” He added matter-of-factly, “I asked for a freshman roommate.”
Post a comment response to Joe’s interview. The one that tickles our fancy the most will win a gift ebook from the author of AN INFATUATION, the first In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press.
About the Author
Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe 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 A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press short stories novella), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press), and Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press). http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
9/1: Because Two Men Are Better Than One & Anne Barwell
9/2: Prism Book Alliance, Molly Lolly, Diverse Reader, & Charley Descoteaux
9/3: The Novel Approach & Chrissy Munder
9/4: Scattered Thoughts and Words & GGR Reviews
9/5: Boy Meets Boy Reviews
9/7: Charlie Cochet
9/8: Bayou Book Junkie
9/9: Rebecca Cohen
9/10: Hearts on Fire & Are Cafe
9/14: Chris T. Kat
9/16: Zipper Ripper
9/23: Man Love Confidential
10/2: Nautical Star Books
10/8: Joyfully Jay
10/13: Are Cafe
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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