Title: AN INFATUATION
Release Date: February 4
Author: Joe Cosentino
Author Website: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM romance/comedy
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.
1-Welcome Joe Cosentino! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your release.
Thanks, Chris. I started as an actor then a playwright. I have also written a mystery/romance novel, PAPER DOLL, published by Whiskey Creek Press. I knew my first MM novella would be a bit autobiographical, but have a universal theme. Here’s the blurb for AN INFATUATION:
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.
2-In what locale is your book set? Why did you choose this setting?
AN INFATUATION spans twenty years in the lives of Harold and Mario. The initial years are set in New Jersey, and the later years are set upstate New York. As they say, write what you know about. I was born and raised in New Jersey, and currently live upstate New York.
3-How long have you been writing?
Since I was a kid. When I told my mother I wanted to be an actor, she said, “Take this knife and stick it through my heart.” I did it anyway, and acted on stage and screen with stars like Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, Jason Robards, and Nathan Lane. You can see me on You Tube in the ABC-TV movie, MY MOTHER WAS NEVER A KID, about a third of the way through. As my students say, “You were cute when you were young!” Anyway, it occurred to me that acting is storytelling in the same way that writing is storytelling, so I decided to give playwriting a try. I wrote plays for many years. When I told my mother I wanted to write fiction, she said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?” I wonder if Shakespeare’s mother said that?
4-What compelled you to write this particular story?
Hasn’t everyone been infatuated with someone? Think about your first infatuation. There’s nothing more powerful. 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.
5-What gave you the courage to submit your story to a publisher?
I am an avid reader and knew Dreamspinner Press was the perfect publisher for this novella. Turns out I was right!
6-When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
While the situation is fictitious, Harold is based on me. 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. Stuart was great fun to write, because he is based on my spouse who is totally organized and a real list maker, but also sweet, creative, and caring. He creates an itinerary for our trips in ten minute time blocks! Mario is a combination of many supposedly straight, perfect guys who gay guys so easily become infatuated with every day. I love that the story spans twenty years so we see Harold (and Mario) develop and mature in their special relationship. I also love that Harold and Mario come full circle at their high school reunion.
7-Why did you start writing m/m? Is there something special that draws you to this genre?
There are so many untold MM stories. I think AN INFATUATION would make a great film. We need more gay-themed films in the malls!
8-What are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite author or genre?
I just finished the ninth and I’m sad to say final Armistead Maupin TALES OF THE CITY novel. He has an amazing flair for writing eccentric, loveable characters with engaging and realistic dialogue. I’m also a huge mystery buff and have read every Agatha Christie and Greg Herren novel.
9-What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing a sequel to PAPER DOLL called PORCELAIN DOLL. It’s about an ex-child star, now middle aged, making a comeback film, and finding herself at the hands of a murderer as well as a handsome co-star. I am also writing a new MM mystery/comedy series taking place in the world of academia (which I know well): DRAMA QUEEN, DRAMA MUSCLE, and DRAMA CRUISE. Thankfully nobody has been killed at my college—yet.
10-When you're not writing, how do you like to spend your time?
I’m a college professor and department. That obviously takes a great deal of my time. My spouse and I recently finished designing and building our new home, which was quite an undertaking.
Would you like to share an excerpt from “An Infatuation”?
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.
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 novels are Porcelain Doll and Drama Queen.
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KRPXJP6