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Joe Cosentino | On Writing Mysteries

Paper Doll
Joe Cosentino



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Jana Lane Mystery #1

March 2016
On Sale: March 5, 2016
Featuring: Rocco Cavoto; Jana Lane
253 pages
ISBN: 0149954417
EAN: 2940152914955
Kindle: B00KMZUM4C
e-Book (reprint)
Add to Wish List

Also by Joe Cosentino:
Rag Doll, November 2016
China Doll, June 2016
Satin Doll, May 2016
Moving Forward, April 2016


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. It occurred to me that acting is storytelling in the same way that writing is storytelling, so I decided to give writing a try.

I like playing and writing engaging characters who I want to spend time with. If acting or directing, I do improvisations with other actors to flesh out the backgrounds or back-stories of the characters. When writing I let my characters talk to one another and see what happens!

Also, by having read hundreds of them, I’ve learned a great deal about mystery writing. I write mystery novels that drop lots of clues leading to the murderer. I also incorporate many other characters with secrets into the story. I create an entire world of suspense above and beyond “who done it.” When a reader finishes my books, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equaled the whole, rather than the author pulling an ending out of the hat. 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.

So I knew my first novel would be a show business story, since show business has always been such a huge part of my life. As an avid mystery reader, it was clear to me that my novel would be a page-turning murder mystery with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, humor, and lots of clues leading to a surprising conclusion.

In my mystery/romance novel, PAPER DOLL (Jana Lane mystery #1), 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.

At the beginning of the first novel, Jana has lost the courage she had as a child. Throughout the novel, she finds the old Jana Lane and recaptures her confidence. I love Jana’s determination, wit, and compassion for others. Since she was a child movie star in adventure films, as an adult Jana uses the skills she learned as a child to investigate and solve the mystery of who attacked her then and who is after her now. Along the way, she uncovers amazing secrets about everyone in her life.

I also admire Jana’s love and devotion for her husband, Brian, while at the same time she finds herself infatuated with her producer, Rocco. Her honesty in this love triangle is humorous and totally realistic.

Jana’s best friend Jackson was the most fun to write because he is so funny, smart, charming, and devoted to Jana (and her husband). I also like that Jackson is a gay activist back in 1980 when it wasn’t so popular.

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!

Jana’s sister, Tamara, was hardest to write since, unlike most of the other characters in the book, Tamara does not have a sense of humor. Tamara is a tortured soul with a secret and painful past. She loves her sister yet at the same time envies her. It was difficult for me to get into her mindset, but once I did, I believe I represented her well.

Since the novel takes place in 1980, I have a great deal of fun with the current events, fashion, and music of the time period.

Jana continues to evolve, and solve mysteries, in the next two Jana Lane mystery novels, PORCELAIN DOLL and SATIN DOLL, coming soon. The wonderful thing about a series is you can watch the characters grow and change through time. It’s like meeting up with an old friend.

Next, I am using my background as a college theatre professor for a new comedy mystery series premiering this summer by Lethe Press: the Nicky and Noah mysteries, beginning with DRAMA QUEEN. Following will be DRAMA MUSCLE and DRAMA CRUISE.

After that, come on movie producers, let’s turn them all into movies!


Jana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now she’s a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present.

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. Can Jana uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future?

About Joe Cosentino

Joe Cosentino is the author of AN INFATUATION (Dreamspinner Press), PAPER DOLL, the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press-releasing this summer), 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 PORCELAIN DOLL (the second Jana Lane mystery) and DRAMA MUSCLE (the second Nicky and Noah mystery). Connect with Joe at his website.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon


Joe also wrote a popular MM Bittersweet Dreams ebook novella from Dreamspinner Press, AN INFATUATION. Below is the information. Have you ever had a powerful infatuation? What were the circumstances? How did it begin? How did it end? Write a paragraph about it in the comment section. The Fresh Fiction staff will select the entry that tickles their fancy the most and provide the author with your email address. Joe Cosentino will then email you the ebook novella of AN INFATUATION!


With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. 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, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.




8 comments posted.

Re: Joe Cosentino | On Writing Mysteries

I really love your thought process regarding putting a book
together, and know that I'll enjoy reading your first book!!
Congratulations on what I know is going to be the first of a
big seller, and I'm sure will be a movie, if it's anything
like you described!! I wish I had a copy in front of me
now, so I could get started!! It will be on my TBR list,
and I'll have to put it on my list of items to pick up on my
next trip to town. Since I live out in the country, it's
not something I do every day, since those trips are quite a
long distance. Anyway, I enjoyed your posting, and know
I'll love your book!!
(Peggy Roberson 11:40am March 23, 2015)

Mysteries writing are healthy. They crave more attempt than
a delusion. Ever the subsequent is just me achievement
essay from
(Bradenbond Bond 8:17am March 24, 2015)

It's unfortunate, but I've never had a powerful infatuation. I'm fresh out of college, so I'm more obsessed over getting a job than finding a boyfriend...Though does celebrity crushes count? xD
(Lisa L. 1:05pm March 24, 2015)

I also am infatuated with books. Mine began when I read The
Secret Garden and hasn't stopped.
(Mildred Mayo 7:35pm March 24, 2015)

(Renae Kelly 1:00pm March 25, 2015)

I've been amazingly infatuated before. I love the
intensity and all the excitement which comes along with it.
Makes a girl swoon and I felt like I was going to lose my
mind. I couldn't stop thinking about the person- it
borders on obsession.
(Michelle Tweedy 5:07pm March 25, 2015)

I was infatuated with a man for a year I finally got brave
enough to talk to him and we ended up being together for over 5
(Denise Austin 5:37pm March 25, 2015)

Awesome! Writing is a action that affect at least four
definite steps perorating, draft, compare, and alter. It is
known as a circular process.
college essay
(Bradenbond Bond 9:10am March 26, 2015)

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