A couple weeks ago, I hosted Joe Cosentino, author or PORCELAIN DOLL. Joe returns today to talk about his next book in the Jana Lane series, SATIN DOLL.
You were with us last to discuss PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery from The Wild Rose Press. How was that novel received?
Thankfully, readers seem to love Jana Lane as much as I do. In her latest adventure, PORCELAIN DOLL, Jana 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, America’s heartthrob, Jason Apollo. The reviews were amazing. Here are two examples:
“Beautifully written and intensely detailed, Porcelain Doll is one not to be missed. Flirtatiously decadent with a strong moral undertone, set in a decade of extraordinary social change this is a story of its period that is as poignant today as it was then. Joe Cosentino controlled the emotions that the book encouraged with a deft but delicate touch. Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” - Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews
“Murder, mystery, and suspense are high inside of this brilliant masterpiece by Joe Cosentino.” “Every page fills the readers with intrigue.” “Edge of your seat mystery that lures readers instantly.” “Once you read it, you can't put it down.” - Danielle Urban, Universal Creativity Inc.
And now, you are back with SATIN DOLL from The Wild Rose Press. Tell us about the latest Jana Lane mystery.
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. Jana rubs elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter. Her husband also goes through a personal crisis.
I love the way you weave political intrigue with romance. Who was your favorite character to write in SATIN DOLL, and why?
Jana’s agent, Simon, is my favorite character for five reasons. He is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, loyal to Jana, and most importantly, I want to play him in the movie version!
Is there a movie version?
From our mouths to the movie gods' ears.
Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write, and why?
Senator Maxmillion, the Republican majority leader of the Senate, and Benjamin Topower, Maxmillion’s wealthy super pack contributor. I’m not a top one-percenter, so I found it hard to relate to them. However, I found their drive and sense of entitlement fascinating.
With elections coming up, this book is certainly a timely one! Is Senator Cassie Castle, the Democrat senator touted to run for Vice President, based on Hillary Clinton?
Cassie is a smart, strong woman who is deeply involved in protecting the environment, women’s rights, gay rights, education, and creating jobs, like her father before her. She is also quite charismatic. So in some ways she’s very much like Hillary. In many ways, she is different. Cassie seems to wear her heart on her sleeve. And she’s dating the Republican majority leader of the Senate!
That's a sticky situation! Have you always been interested in politics?
I’ve always found politicians like Maxmillion and Cassie fascinating. How they can speak to someone and make him/her feel as if he/she is the only person in the room. I also marvel at Cassie’s will to serve others and to make the world a better place. The issues I am concerned with are Cassie’s and Jana’s issues, so I am clearly on the liberal bent. However, I believe all the political characters in the book are treated equally in showing their good points and bad.
And then there is the studly Senator Sancho Ramirez from New York.
Like all of the characters, Sancho is a man of many secrets that all come to light.
You are certainly unafraid to delve into the darker side of human nature. In the novel, Jana is interviewed on the radio by a Christian host for Jana’s upcoming AIDS benefit. Do you think Christians would be offended by that character?
I sure hope not. Jana is a Christian who prays and goes to church on Sundays. She seems like a true Christian to me since she tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and help the downtrodden and outcasts. The radio hosts who interview Jana use their wealth, power, media chops, and religious affiliations to demean others and try to take away their rights.
As in the first two Jana Lane mysteries, Jana is tempted by a gorgeous man, this time Detective Chris Bove.
Detective Bove was great fun to write given his amazing looks, past as a professional football player, and addiction to good food. I don’t blame Jana for being captivated by him.
Me, either! Meanwhile, Jana’s husband goes through a major personal event.
I love that part of the story. It still brings tears to my eyes when I read it.
And Jana is reconnected with her best friend, Jackson.
Yes, Jackson is a Democratic congressman now. I love his sense of humor, and interplay with Jana.
Jana again uses the skills she learned as a child star to solve the crime. How do you remember all of those movie titles and storylines?
I keep really good notes on Jana’s old movies, and on each room in her Hyde Park, New York mansion.
Since the book takes place in 1983, you included a great deal of history, music, and fashion from the era. I love the Eighties, and your book is full of that flavor.
Yes, Flashdance, “Maniac,” layered hair, parachute pants, shoulder pads, lace gloves. It’s all there. I loved that period! I was also able to include Karen Carpenter’s death, the still-new AIDS epidemic and the devastation it caused when ignored by our political representatives, and dangerous proposed legislation by conservatives like the Protect the Children Act, which was a disguise to try to make gay people second-class citizens.
Which part of the novel did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing Jana’s banter with Bove, and Brian’s banter with Adam.
Did you use your background as an actor to write SATIN DOLL?
Definitely! As one reviewer of PAPER DOLL wrote, I used my knowledge of show business to devilish ends. Actually, I used my background in each of the Jana Lane novels, since I know the ins and outs on a movie set. Thankfully, nobody was murdered on my sets. However, in SATIN DOLL, Jana is in DC to research her upcoming role for Madam Senator. So I was able to include many famous Washington, DC historic settings like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, Smithsonian Museum, Capitol, and the Ford Theatre.
Many of the men in the series are strapping, muscular, good-looking guys - yum! Did you do that intentionally?
You mean since I’m not? Hah. Many of the women are gorgeous, too. I’m enjoying exploring how the other half lives and loves.
Your novels are full of intrigue. Everyone in SATIN DOLL seems to have a secret.
Each Jana Lane mystery is a separate story. Readers get a complete mystery with each novel. The clues are there, and so are the plot twists and turns, and white-knuckle shocking ending.
In CHINA DOLL (releasing late May from Wild Rose Press), 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.
And after that?
I’m writing RAGDOLL now, where Jana stars in a television murder mystery series, and once again life imitates art.
Do you have another mystery series besides the Jana Lane mysteries?
Yes, 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 Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary 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 (not released yet), 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.
Have you written other books besides mysteries?
My M/M romance novellas are published by Dreamspinner Press. They are AN INFATUATION (Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award 2nd Place for Best MM Romance), A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. I also have an M/M series including COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, taking place on the Jersey Shore and published by NineStar Press.
I have a day job, and I find it hard to carve out writing time. As a college professor/department head, your time must be even more limited! How do you do it?
I write at night after my spouse has gone to bed. I have a beautiful cherry wood study with a fireplace, huge desk, bookcases, and window seat. My mother asked me, “Don’t you have anything better to do than write at night?” I wonder if Shakespeare’s mother asked him that? Hah.
If I had an office like that, I would be in it every spare minute! How long does it generally take you to write a book?
About three months, working evenings and weekends. When I complain about my time, my mother says, “Just think how hard you’d have to work if you had a real job like your sister’s (the accountant)”.
Who is your ideal reader of your books?
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 my book.
Buy SATIN DOLL at:
The Wild Rose Press
Barnes and Noble
About Joe Cosentino:
Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino 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. Look for his next novel, CHINA DOLL, in May from The Wild Rose Press.
Joe loves to hear from readers. Contact him at:
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com