Welcome to author Joe Cosentino, who’s joining us today with a character interview he put together to celebrate the latest release in his Nicky and Noah Mystery series, Drama Luau. He’s also offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an audiobook copy of book one in the series, Drama Queen, so be sure to check out the details on how to enter.
Welcome, Nicky Abbondanza. Thank you for chatting with us today about the fourth novel in your popular Nicky and Noah mystery series.
Thank you for taking me out of Joe’s brain for a bit. It feels good to stretch my legs.
Does Joe Cosentino tell you everything to say.
I tell him everything to write. He has a soft spot in his head for me.
Before Joe became a college professor/department head and novelist, he was an actor working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Bruce Willis, Charles Keating, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. If there is a TV series version of the Nicky and Noah novels someday, who do you see playing you?
Joe Manganiello. He fits my description perfectly.
But is he as well-endowed as you?
You’ll have to ask Sophia Vergara.
Who would play Noah?
Ah, good choice. Liam floats your banana boat, does he?
I’m a one-man man. And that man is Noah Oliver.
Do you think the novels would make a good TV series?
The best! Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do the Nicky and Noah mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers to Joe (who by the way never stops telling me how much he wants to play Martin Anderson my department head)!
Why did Joe write a gay cozy mystery/comedy/romance series?
The Nicky and Noah mysteries are the kind of books he likes reading: funny, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at its center—and a surprise ending! There aren’t a whole lot of books like that out there if I do say so myself. The ending in book four is especially shocking!
Why did you like being in Hawaii for the fourth novel?
They call it paradise for a reason. Maui is the most beautiful place on Earth. The white sandy beaches, tall and majestic waterfalls, multicolored craters on mosaic mountaintops, palm trees waving in the soft breeze, and laid back and friendly Hawaiians were amazing. Noah and I marveled at the hidden beaches, took the white-knuckle drive to the gorgeous Seven Sacred Pools, gasped at the sunrise at Haleakala, swam in the clear turquoise water, and flew through the crystal blue sky while parasailing. Of course we also went to the luau complete with the boat procession, pig roast, huge and sumptuous buffet of Hawaiian foods, and the hula dancer show. The dancers were amazing! Incredibly muscular Hawaiian men wearing grass skirts, leis (no pun intended), flower headdresses, anklets, and bracelets, gestured with their arms, waved their knees, stomped, and grunted on an outdoor stage masked by a dormant volcano. It was a blast directing them in the show and getting to know them. That is until they were murdered one by one.
Tell us about the storyline in Drama Luau. But no spoilers please!
In Drama Luau I’m directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort. Noah and I need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Our department head and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In addition to the sexy hula dancers, we meet a handsome Hawaiian detective, a Bloody Mary type housekeeper, a cigar chomping hotel manager, the hotel owner and his senator wife who give new meaning to the term family values, and a cute young waiter who wants to be a hula dancer more than an anti-gay politician wants a dark backroom in a gay bar. Noah and I have the time of our lives solving this one, and also find our relationship in for quite a change.
And your and Noah’s parents make a brief appearance in book four.
They’re absolutely hilarious. My mama and papa are pretty outspoken on just about everything. I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how Noah’s father is an amateur sleuth like me. As they say, men marry their fathers. Also, both sets of our parents accept their son’s spouse as part of their family. Kudos to them.
Who is your favorite character in Drama Luau?
Noah of course! He’s handsome, sweet, adorable, affection, and my partner for life. I love how he cares so much about everyone, and always helps me see the other side of every issue. My favorite new character in book four is Mark Iona, the Maui Mist Resort waiter who desperately wants to become a hula dancer in the luau show. I also like his secret crush on hunky island detective John Nohea.
Martin and Ruben are an older couple in love. You don’t see that very often in modern literature.
I love Martin’s paternal instincts toward Noah and me, sense of theatricality, and his inquiring mind. I also like how Ruben keeps Martin in line. Finally, it’s wonderful to see how Martin and Ruben can read each other like a book—no pun intended.
Which character do you like the least in book four?
The hotel owner and his state senator wife are quite vocal about their religious freedom, in their case meaning their right to discriminate against gay people. Religious freedom means you are free to practice whatever religion you like, not take away someone else’s civil rights. But as is always the case in the Nicky and Noah series, everything is not always what it seems, and Mano and Joanna Kapena offer lots of humor and surprises.
Which character was the hardest for you to relate to?
Kal, one of the hula dancers, is incredibly in love with his amazing good looks and muscles for days. He is also quite manipulative. That kind of thinking is foreign to me.
What’s next for you and Noah?
Drama Detective, book five, which releases in six months.
Thank you, Nicky, for sharing with us today.
It is my joy and pleasure to share my stories with you. So grab your plate at the buffet table, and take your front row seat for the luau show. The grass curtain is going up on Drama Luau!
About the Book
Theater professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls. Things erupt faster than a volcano when Nicky and Noah, along with their best friends Martin and Ruben, try to stage a luau show. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the grass curtain down on male hula dancers—before things go coconuts for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and aloha!
Martin shooed him away. “Akela already took our order.”
The waiter stared at me. “Aren’t you the director of the luau show?”
I puffed up my chest and offered my best profile. “That’s me. Nicky Abbondanza. I’ve been working with the dancers on staging, costumes, and special effects.”
Noah wanted his curtain call too. “And I’m his husband and the luau show acting coach, Noah Oliver. The dancers and I have been working on characterization, emotion through dance, and stage presence.”
“How fascinating!” He appeared ready to dance on his order pad. “I’m Mark Iona. I auditioned to be one of the dancers, but Walter, clearly not a patron of the arts, felt I wasn’t ready yet. I’ve been watching the other dancers at your rehearsals, and I’ve been practicing. Can I audition for you sometime?”
Martin glared at him. “We’re only here for this one show. You can audition for Walter or American Idol for all we care.” He focused back on me like an alcoholic in a brewing factory. “Go on with your story, Nicky.”
“Will you be at the opening night luau tomorrow night?” Mark asked me, clearly not picking up on Martin’s hint.
I nodded proudly. “The four of us will be at the front table.”
Mark’s dimples appeared. “Great! Akela and I will be waiting on the front section.”
Suddenly interested, Martin asked, “Are you and Akela an item?”
Mark laughed. “We’re good friends. Akela and I fish in different streams.” He winked at us. “If you gentlemen know what I mean.”
Having gotten the scoop on the personal lives of the wait staff, Martin rose, put his arm around the boy, and ushered him away. “We’ll look forward to seeing you at the luau. Tell Akela to take her time bringing our dinners. We’re in no rush.”
“Is there anything I can get for you?” Mark asked.
Martin made the hang loose sign with his fingers. “We’ll call you if we need you.” He returned to the table like a gambler at the roulette wheel. “What else, Nicky?”
I continued my report on the hula dancers like a nurse administering methadone to an addict. “Keanu, the dancer helper, cheated on his lover, sweet little Ahe, with lead dancer Kal, whose star spot Keanu covets.”
Mark placed the drinks in front of us. “Four virgin piña coladas.” He bent his knees in preparation. “May I show you the dance to the virgin goddess of—”
“Sorry.” Akela was at Mark’s side. “He beat me to the drinks.”
Mark said to Akela, “I’ll take care of these gentlemen.”
“This is my table.”
“And I’m your best friend and I need to do this for my career.”
“Your career?” Akela asked with her hand on her hip.
“How many times have I told you how much I want to be a hula dancer?” Mark asked Akela.
“Well I want to be a police officer, but I don’t take tables away from you when a police officer comes in.”
“You would if the police chief dined here.”
Akela replied, “No I wouldn’t.”
Having finished all the bread, Martin raised the empty basket. “Aloha?”
Akela took the basket. “My apologies.” She glared at Mark and left.
Mark smiled victoriously. “Now for my dance to the goddess.”
“We don’t need another hula dancer, Mark,” I said. “But if anything changes, I’ll let you know.”
“But can’t I just—”
Akela came back with the bread. Putting her arm around Mark, she said, “Sorry for the unexpected floor show, gentlemen. Since you didn’t order ham, I’ll take him away from your table.”
When they were gone, Martin raised his glass. “To Nicky and Noah’s next opening.”