Hello Joe and welcome to The Hat Party! Thank you so much for subjecting yourself to the RANDOMNESS that is a Raine O'Tierney interview! Please don your best hat, and let's get started!
You’ve been given the opportunity to go back in time and give your 13-year-old self a message. What do you say?
You were terrific as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol in your school play. Thankfully you won’t grow up to be a penny-pinching, selfish, lonely miser. You’ll have a terrific spouse, home, family, friends, and open and affirming church. You won’t look down on anyone, and you’ll have compassion for those in need.
So, you were editing along and zombies attack. And they are on fire! What do you do?
Nothing stops me when I’m editing my writing. I edit until my back breaks and my eyes see double. So without taking my eyes off my computer screen, I spit the fire out, kick the zombies out my study’s bay window, and keep editing!
You have 200 words—Make. Me. Swoon. (PLEASE!)
Here’s an excerpt from my new MM comedy/mystery/romance novel, Drama Queen.
Before I left the house I had tried on three different shirts and settled on my favorite purple button down with tight, but breathable, black slacks and blazer. Noah looked adorable, as usual, in a turquoise button down shirt, gray slacks, and white sweater. Sitting across from Noah, I picked up my menu and couldn’t help salivating. Not over the menu items, but at Noah’s blond curly locks bouncing on his smooth neck like foamy waves on the white sand. We were seated in a corner table next to a gray stone fireplace with nautical items encased in sea netting dangling over us. As we sipped our hot apple ciders (keeping our heads clear for the discussion ahead), I looked up at an antique ship’s wheel and steered the conversation to us.
Noticing the candlelight illuminating his clear blue eyes, I said, “Noah, you look terrific tonight.”
His smile was infectious. “So do you, Nicky.”
“It’s nice to spend some time away from the college.”
“It sure is.”
What makes you inexplicably happy?
When another state signs on to same-sex civil marriage equality.
What is your biggest, most-wild writing dream? (Nothing is too outlandish!)
For An Infatuation to become a major motion picture with me playing Mr. Ringwood (the principal), and winning an Academy Award for Best Screenwriter, Best Picture, and Best Featured Actor. You gotta dream!
What is your favorite literary quote?
“Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people in the dark.” (Sunset Boulevard 1950)
What one food item do you consider to be your arch nemesis?
Biggest mistake you’ve made in your writing career and what you’ve learned from it.
Waiting so long to write fiction
And finally, for THE most important question of all: what kinds of dachshunds are the BEST kinds of dachshunds?
The gay ones!
~ ~ ~
BLURB: 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.
EXCERPT: 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.
Available from: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
*What inspired you to write An Infatuation?
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.
*Is there anything special you’d like us to know about your book?
It began as a one-act play, which I expanded and morphed into a novella. While the situation is fictitious, Harold is based on me. 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 love that the story spans twenty years so we see Harold (and Mario) develop and mature. I also love the novella’s message about the dangers of bullying in schools.
*What are your hopes for this title?
A Lambda Award, Rainbow Award, and an Epic Ebook Award. Not to mention millions of sales. Seriously, while fame and fortune are great, what I’d really like is for as many people as possible to read this story. It’s so funny, touching, sweet, and moving. And I hope each reader contacts me to tell me about his/her experience reading it!
About the Author: Joe Cosentino is the author of the acclaimed mystery novel, Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press). 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 a musical theatre adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals), and 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 novel is Drama Queen.