Today we’re so pleased to welcome author Joe Cosentino back to The Novel Approach, on the tour for his new novella from Dreamspinner Press, A Shooting Star. Please join us in welcoming Joe, and be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of the book An Infatuation, book one in the My Heart series.
A COLLEGE THEATRE DEPARTMENT: THE PERFECT PLACE FOR DRAMA
Writing A Shooting Star, a Bittersweet Dreams novella, the second the In My Heart series
by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press
After my Bittersweet Dreams novella, An Infatuation, was released by Dreamspinner Press, I received numerous requests from readers 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 temptress, the manipulator, the humanitarian, 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. We met and fell in love, some for a semester, some for four years, and some for a lifetime. Though we now live states apart, we forged friendships that will also continue (thanks to Facebook). Some became famous in films, television, on Broadway, or in the literary arena. Others moved on to other occupations. Still others chose marriage and children. Regardless, we all shared an incredible experience that binds us. An experience none of us will ever forget.
In A Shooting Star, 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.
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 Infatuation, Barry, Jonathan’s loyal scene partner in A Shooting Star, is loosely based on my spouse. Similar to Mario in An Infatuation, David in A 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 funny hypochondriac Professor Katzer, is a lampooned version of an acting professor I had in college who has since passed away. I want to play that role in the movie version!
A Shooting Star isn’t the first time that I wrote about the theatre department at a university. My Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press takes place at Treemeadow College, a fictitious white stone Edwardian New England college. In the first novel, Drama Queen, college theatre professors Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver have to uncover why their colleagues are falling like stage curtains—while they fall in love with one another. Though the novel is a farcical, gay, who-dun-it, I again was able to think back to my college days and incorporate some of the people and happenings from days gone by. I was also able to use some scenarios, though grossly exaggerated, from my current stint as a college theatre professor/department head.
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.
Blurb: 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.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
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).