Author Interview: Joe Cosentino

Mystery author Joe Cosentino brings us PAPER DOLL, a story plenty of suspense, intrigue, humor and romance.

1. How do you imagine the ideal reader of your book? 
            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.
2. How was the writer inside of you born? 
            As a kid I played make believe constantly. “Let’s put on a show!” was my motto. Thankfully my parents and teachers indulged me (rather than committed me-hah). Eventually I became an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Morphing into writing plays and now novels seem like the perfect progression.
3. What genres do you work with and why are you attracted to these forms of writing? 
            I read and write mystery romance novels that are far more than who-done-its. Humorous, engaging, complex characters in interesting locations captivate me. Every one of my characters has a secret, sometimes more than one! I have used my knowledge of show business to tell shocking, riveting, and entertaining stories.

4. As a reader, what elements of a story do you love, or do you hate? 
            When I read a great novel, I feel as if I am the leading character, going through the story and experiencing all of the emotions right along with him/her. A terrific mystery lays out all the clues and culminates with only one possible ending, unveiling various secrets along the way. I don’t appreciate mystery novels, where authors lay out clues then arbitrarily pick a murderer. 
5. What inspired you to write Paper Doll and what do you hope your readers will take away from this book?
            In Paper Doll I share my love of movies and moviemakers with my readers. I have always been fascinated with ex-child stars like Hayley Mills, Shirley Temple, Patty Duke, and Brooke Shields. My heroine, Jana Lane, is an ex-child star who has lost her self esteem as an adult. Through the course of the book, Jana not only solves the mystery of her past, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. This is an important message for all of us.

6. How long did it take you to write this book and what did you do the day that you finished it?
            Generally I write very quickly, however, this book took me years to write and rewrite. It was, and is, so important to me that I wanted to get everything just right. Once I was confident that I had achieved just that, I announced to my spouse, “It is finished!” I have not had a better night’s sleep before or after that night—until I saw Holly McCabe’s gorgeous book cover!
7. What would you like to say to your readers? 
            I have been doing author talks/readings/book signings at libraries, bookstores, and book clubs. I love talking to my readers. So my hope is that everyone who reads and enjoys PAPER DOLL will email me via my web site and tell me what they liked about the book. I also love answering questions about the novel, so let them fly. My web site is:

8. Tell us about PaperDoll, and tell us which is your favorite character.
Paper Doll is the fictitious story of Jana Lane, America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks turn into murder attempts.
The local suspects include Jana’s down-on-his-luck husband with a dislike for living off the fruits of his wife’s young labor, Jana’s sister and male friend (who both have eyes for Jana’s husband), Jana’s show business father, her deranged loyal fan, and Jana's young Guy Friday who covets her fame and shares an uncanny resemblance to Jana.
            Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.
            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!

9. Lastly, a direct message to the readers, about why they should read Paper Doll.
            Make sure you have a good block of free time before beginning Paper Doll. Once you start, you will be reading until you finish. The mystery/romance novel is full of quirky, endearing characters, a captivating story, and more plot twists than a maze. The Hollywood background will entice you, and the time period of the story (1980) will bring you back to better days. Prop your feet up, grab a Shirley Temple, and enjoy!