Interview with Joe Cosentino about “Drama Dance”

Author Joe Cosentino Interviews Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, the leading characters in Drama Dance, the eighth Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino


Joe: Hi, Nicky and Noah. Welcome to the interview.

Nicky: Thanks, Joe. It’s nice to get out of your head for a while.

Noah: It can get pretty crazy in there.


Joe: The novels in your series have been called “laugh out loud funny,” “sexy shenanigans,” “brilliant brain teasers,” “sweet romances,” and “a combination of Murder She Wrote, The Hardy Boys, Hart to Hart, and a British farce.”

Nicky: They like us. They really like us!

Noah: But we didn’t do it alone.


Joe: Thank you, I—

Noah: Nicky and I would also like to thank our best friend and department head, Martin Anderson and all the other characters in our books.

Nicky: And they are certainly characters.


Joe: Why are your books called cozy gay mysteries?

Nicky: The novels include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy with lots of hot cocoa by the fireplace. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect whodunit. So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning faster than a closet-gay politician running out of a gay bar in November.

Noah: Many of the novels take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Treemeadow College is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces.

Nicky: Noah and I get cozy together, which is my favorite part of the books.

Noah: And the readers get cozy with us by reading the books.

Nicky: Most of all, I think the books are cozy because no matter what is thrown in our path, Noah and I always end up on top.

Noah: No comment.


Joe: Nicky, how would you describe Noah?

Nicky: Noah is kind, sensitive, gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed, lean, handsome, smart, and devoted to his family and friends. He’s also the perfect Watson to my Holmes. Finally, Noah has amazing improvisational skills as we create wild and wonderful characters for our role plays to catch the murderer. And he’s a terrific father to Taavi.


Joe: Noah, how would you describe Nicky?

Noah: Nicky is handsome with dark hair and long sideburns, emerald eyes, a Roman nose, muscular, smart, and charming. He has a never-give-up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. And he’s genuinely concerned for others. Finally, Nicky would do anything to solve a murder mystery. Oh, he’s also a one-man man, and I’m proud to be that man. Nicky’s also a terrific father to Taavi.


Joe: Noah, do you like Nicky’s parents?

Noah: They’re absolutely hilarious. They’re goal is to feed everyone and protect their children. Like my parents, they fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing.


Joe: And Nicky, how do you feel about Noah’s parents?

Nicky: I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how his father is an amateur sleuth like me. As they say, men marry their fathers.


Joe: For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, talk briefly about the first seven novels in the series.

Noah: In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel of the Year) college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains at Treemeadow College, and Nicky and I have to use our theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit while Nicky directs the college’s play production. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and I don our gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells in Nicky’s bodybuilding competition. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and I must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring college theatre professors from across the US and me. Complicating matters are our both sets of our wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with us. In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort, and Nicky and I need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts.

Nicky: In Drama Detective, I’m directing and ultimately co-starring with Noah as Holmes and Watson in a new musical Sherlock Holmes play at Treemeadow College prior to Broadway. Martin and Ruben, their sassy office assistant Shayla, my brother Tony, and our son Taavi are also in the cast. Dead bodies begin falling over like hammy actors at a curtain call. Once again Noah and I use our drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before we get half-baked on Baker Street. In Drama Fraternity, I’m directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Noah, our son Taavi, Martin, and Shayla. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the quarterback, jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Noah and I once again need to use our drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before we hit the final reel. In Drama Castle, I’m directing a historical film co-starring Noah and Taavi at Conall Castle in Scotland: When the Wind Blows Up Your Kilt It’s Time for A Scotch. Rounding out the cast are members of the mysterious Conall family who own the castle. When hunky men in kilts topple off the drawbridge and into the mote, it’s up to Noah and me to use our acting skills to figure out whodunit before we land in the dungeon.


Joe: Which brings us to your current release, Drama Dance.

Nicky: Now in Drama Dance, I’m directing The Nutcracker Ballet at Treemeadow. Dance students and faculty with bountiful dance belts cause more things to rise than the Christmas tree. When cast members drop faster than Christmas balls, Noah and I once again use our drama skills to figure out who is trying to crack the Nutcracker’s nuts, trap the Mouse King, and be cavalier with the Cavalier before Noah and I end up in the Christmas pudding.


Joe: And you both take on roles in the ballet.

Noah: Nicky co-stars as the Mouse King opposite me as the Cavalier. Our son Taavi plays Fritz, and Martin is Drosselmeyer. Since it is Treemeadow College, there are lots of cracked nuts as characters, and the yule tide is definitely gay.


Joe: Can you give the readers a run down on some of the other characters?

Noah: Besides Nicky and me, old beloved cast members are back, including our best friends the comically cantankerous Martin and Ruben, Martin’s sassy office assistant Shayla, and our riotous parents.

Nicky: New characters include Thomas Bighorn, the muscular student cast as the Nutcracker. Everyone at the college wants to be in his Christmas stocking. Thomas’ understudy and ex, Piero Lamas, is just as hunky and makes everyone’s bells jingle. Only Piero’s sister, Caterina (Clara), knows Piero’s secret, and he knows hers.

Liz Canton (Clara’s understudy) is an abstinence-before-marriage advocate with more than holiday gifts hiding in her closet. The dance faculty members playing the other roles and Otto Dietrich the choreographer with a secret past have just as many hidden roasted chestnuts in their drawers.


Joe: Who was your favorite new character in Drama Dance?

Noah: Nate Owen, the student stage manager. He never stops talking, yet he is incredibly sweet and caring. His crush on Piero is adorable.


Joe: Which new character do you like the least in book eight?

Nicky: Anya Dietrich, the Dance Department Head playing the Sugar Plum Fairy, starts off quite rigid and demanding. However, Shayla to the rescue and Anya certainly gets a big surprise or two by the end of the novel.


Joe: I’m a college theatre professor/department head, so I’m definitely writing what I know about. I’ve written a teleplay of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels.

Nicky: Come on, TV producers, make your offers to Joe for The Nicky and Noah Mystery Series!


Joe: How would you cast the TV series? Are there two actors good looking, charming, and charismatic enough to play you two guys?

Nicky: I think Matt Bomer should play me.

Noah: And Neil Patrick Harris can play me.


Joe: I’ll play Martin Anderson.

Nicky and Noah: Nepotism!

Nicky: Speaking of which, Noah, tell everyone about Joe’s other mystery series: The Jana Lane Mysteries, published by The Wild Rose Press.

Noah: Joe created a heroine who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. 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. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art. Nicky and I aren’t in this series.

Nicky: Though we should be.


Joe: And with all the plugs finished, we’re out of time. Except to say the blurb and purchase links for Drama Dance are below, as are my contact links, including my web site.

Nicky: Joe tells us everything, so message us through him.

Noah: Nicky and I love to hear from readers!

Nicky: It is our joy and pleasure to share this eighth novel in our series with you. So take your seats. The curtain is going up on Clara, the Nutcracker, the Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Cavalier. And of course hilarity, romance, and murder!

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