Monday, June 13, 2016

Please Welcome Back Mystery Author Joe Cosentino

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Joe Cosentino

We are delighted to welcome back author Joe Cosentino to Omnimystery News today.

Joe has a new Jana Lane mystery out, China Doll (The Wild Rose Press; May 2016 trade paperback and ebook formats), and we're pleased to present a conversation he recently had with its leading characters, Jana Lane and Brian Otley.

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Joe Cosentino
Photo provided courtesy of
Joe Cosentino

Joe: Thank you for joining us, Jana and Brian.

Brian: It's nice to get out of the books and stretch.

Jana: And to talk to the author who puts all those interesting words into our mouths.

Joe: Jana, you were America's most famous child star with movies like Daddy's Girl, Jungle Girl, School Spy, The Littlest Detective, Pink Ballerina, The Cutest Scientist, and many more. Then at middle age, you made a film comeback in the steamy His Obsession and Madame Senator — for which you won a well-deserved Academy Award!

Jana: You sound like Simon, my agent.

Joe: Good. I want to play him in the TV series.

Brian: Who should play Jana's devoted husband?

Joe: Brad Pitt.

Jana: I'd like that.

Joe: Down girl. Jana, you are still gorgeous at forty-one with your petite figure, layered blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, and porcelain skin. Do you have a beauty regime?

Jana: I work out in my home gym each day —

Brian: In our amazing Hyde Park, New York estate while I often have to travel for business.

Jana: But I miss you dearly, and I talk to you on the phone each night to tell you all about the suspects and clues in whatever mystery I am currently trying to solve.

Brian: Tell me about it, Sherlock.

Jana: You'll always be the love of my life, Watson.

Joe: Back to your exercise regime, since the novels take place in the 1980s, what music do you play while exercising?

Jana: Songs like "Maniac," "What a Feeling," "Gloria," and "Cover Me."

Joe: And your clothes are in perfect 1984 fashion with chic business suits and dresses, shoulder pads, lace gloves, leggings, and scrunchies.

Jana: Joe, how do you know so much about the 1980s?

Joe: I do lots of research before writing each Jana Lane mystery. Of course I'm too young to have been around in the 1980s myself.

Jana: Right. And my hair is naturally blonde.

Brian: And I'm thrilled that Jana has to kiss her leading men while making movies and plays.

Joe: On with the interview. Please tell the readers about your mystery series, Jana.

Jana: In Paper Doll at thirty-eight I live with my family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. My flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in my future. So I venture back to Hollywood, which helps me uncover a web of secrets about everyone I love.

Brian: Jana also embarks on a flirtation with the son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto.

Jana: Brian, you know I only have eyes for you, my beloved husband and father of my three children, all of whom I absolutely adore!

Brian: Serves me right for marrying an actress.

Joe: Moving on to the next Jana Lane mystery.

Jana: In Porcelain Doll I make a comeback film and uncover who is being murdered on the set and why.

Brian: And her heart is set aflutter by her co-star, America's heartthrob Jason Apollo.

Jana: Who is also one of the suspects. The other suspects include my James Dean type young co-star, my older John Wayne type co-star, my children's Eve Harrington type nanny, the film's gossipy makeup and hair artist, a local reverend trying to stop the film's production, and Jason's pushy agent.

Joe: Satin Doll is next.

Jana: In the third novel my family and I head to Washington, DC, where I play a US senator in a new film, and become embroiled in murder and corruption at the senate chamber.

Brian: She also embarks on a romantic flirtation with Chris Bruno, the ex-football player detective.

Jana: I'm ignoring this. I also rub elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter.

Joe: How have the reviews been for the series so far?

Jana: Amazing.

Brian: How else could they be with my adorable wife as the star?

Jana: They like me! They really like me!

Joe: Tell them about your current release, Jana.

Jana: In China Doll I head to New York City to star in a Broadway mystery.

Brian: And Jana becomes enchanted by her matinee idol co-star Peter Stevens.

Jana: But when bodies start dropping like stage curtains, and the local detective is more interested in going to musical theatre than solving the crime, it's up to me to once again use the skills I learned as a child star to solve the case.

Joe: Tell them about the suspects.

Jana: It is old home week and nepotism in action as the play is produced and written by the same producer (Stanley Rothman) and author (Katrina Wright) who produced and wrote my first Broadway play when I was five years old, Sweet Nothings. I co-starred with the aging but still gorgeous and mysterious Savannah Stevens, who is also co-starring in China Doll. Rounding out the cast are Rothman's granddaughter Bella, my nephew Brad.

Brian: And our youngest son B.J. who unfortunately seems to have the Lane gene for show business.

Jana: And the play is directed by Katrina's new husband. The young studly Tony Cuccioli. Also in the cast are Sally Chen a recent Tony Award winning actress, and Tate Moonglow a transplant from Off-Broadway.

Joe: Who is your favorite character in China Doll? And why?

Brian: Jana Lane of course.

Jana: Besides Brian, I really enjoyed Gary Royale, B.J.'s over anxious new nanny, and of course the Broadway musical buff Detective Douglas was great fun.

Joe: With her gorgeous violet eyes, do you think Savannah Stevens is based on Elizabeth Taylor?

Jana: Savannah is a smart, strong, talented woman like Elizabeth Taylor, however, she doesn't have anywhere near as many husbands or such a troubled life.

Brian: But as is the case with all of the characters in China Doll, a major secret is revealed about Savannah's past. I hear all about it on the phone with Jana.

Joe: Do you think Katrina Wright, the highly successful mystery writer, is supposed to be Agatha Christie?

Jana: They are both very successful, older female writers, but Agatha Christie wrote many novels and a few plays, Katrina has written many many plays and no novels. Also unlike Agatha Christie, Katrina has a young stud husband who just happens to get the job as director of Katrina's play — to the producer's (Stanley Rothman's) chagrin. Now I have a question for you, Joe. Since you were an actor, like us, did you use your acting background to write China Doll?

Joe: I wrote, directed, and acted in a number of plays including playing opposite some pretty big stars as noted in my biography. I used those experiences many times in China Doll when writing about the role of the playwright, director, stage manager, producer, actors, designers, and technicians. I know first-hand what it's like to do a read through, a blocking rehearsal, rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and performances, and I believe the book is better for it. Though thankfully nobody was murdered in any of my plays.

Brian: Jana and I also gave Joe a great deal of information. We are constantly talking in his head.

Joe: In the novel Katrina and Stanley use their religious beliefs as a weapon to try to fire one of the cast members. I'm so proud of you Jana for defending Tate.

Jana: I'm a Christian who tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and help victims of discrimination. I stand up to Katrina and Stanley because I believe that the freedom to worship as you choose is far different from the freedom to discriminate against others.

Joe: And you go through a major personal event.

Jana: I love that part of the story. It still brings tears to my eyes when I read it.

Brian: Mine too.

Joe: And, Jana, you are reconnected with your nephew.

Jana: Who has changed his name and become a hungry for fame actor.

Joe: Since the book takes place in 1984, it includes a great deal of history, music, fashion, and locations from the era.

Jana: Though China Doll is a fictitious play, I like how you were able to place our theatre between the marquees of real shows playing at the time: Hurlyburly starring William Hurt and Christopher Walken and The Rink starring Chita Rivera and Liza Minelli.

Brian: And how New York City is prominently featured in the novel with its luxury hotels, Central Park, Washington Square Park, Little Italy, and of course the theatre district. As is the still new AIDS epidemic and the devastation it caused when ignored by our political representatives, as once again Jana sponsors a benefit for AIDS research.

Joe: Which scene in the novel did you each enjoy the most? And why?

Jana: I loved the only scene I'm not in, the hospital scene. It's so touching.

Brian: I didn't enjoy Jana's carriage ride and dinner with Peter in Little Italy, and their lunch at New York City's most famous theatre district restaurant.

Jana: Simon and Cornelius were with us!

Brian: I knew I really liked them. I also really like how each Jana Lane mystery is its own story. Readers get a complete mystery with each novel, full of revealed secrets.

Jana: I like the clues, plot twists and turns, and white knuckle shocking endings, though sometimes I fear I won't come out alive.

Brian: Thankfully you always do.

Joe: Will you two be jealous if I tell the readers about my other mystery series?

Brian: Go for it.

Joe: They are the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press. Each novel is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since I am a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine's Favorite Mystery Novel of 2015) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky's intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department 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.

Jana: And don't forget your hit MM romance novels and novellas: In My Heart (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); and the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStarPress).

Brian: I have a question for you, Joe. Who is your ideal reader of your books?

Joe: 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 a book.

Jana: Me, too. What is my next mystery?

Joe: Rag Doll, where you are offered the leading role in a TV pilot about an amateur sleuth. Again, life imitates art and you have to use the skills you learned as a child star to figure out the secrets and capture the murderer. You are also captivated by a sexy man from your past.

Brian: Ugh!

Jana: That sounds like fun. I can't wait!

Joe: So, everyone, enjoy the Jana Lane mysteries. And let me know what you think at my website.

Jana: Please do it. Joe loves hearing from readers.

Brian: It gives him a break from listening to us.

Joe: Thank you Jana and Brian, husband and wife team from the Jana Lane mysteries, with your latest release China Doll by Joe Cosentino, published by The Wild Rose Press. Curtain going up!

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Actor, playwright, and author Joe Cosentino 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.

For more information about the author, please visit his website and his author page on Goodreads, or find him on Facebook and Twitter. More information about China Doll may be found, below, or on the OmniLit website.

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China Doll by Joe Cosentino

China Doll by Joe Cosentino

A Jana Lane Mystery

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)

Jana Lane is back on Broadway in 1984—starring in a murder mystery …

Life imitates art when members of the company are murdered. As Jana investigates, it's clear she may be the next victim. Complicating matters is Jana's uncontrollable infatuation with her leading man, gorgeous and muscular Off-Broadway actor Peter Stevens.

Will Jana find the murderer before the curtain comes down on her?

China Doll by Joe Cosentino. Click here to take a Look Inside the book.


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