Interview with Nicky Abbondanza, the leading character in Joe Cosentino’s "Drama Pan"

By Joe Cosentino

Interview with Nicky Abbondanza the leading character in Joe Cosentino’s Drama Pan, the 12th Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel now also an audio book performed by Brian Cheney:

Congratulations on the release of the twelfth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy comedy mystery series.

Thank you. I bought Noah a dozen roses to celebrate.

Since the readers can’t see you, tell them what you look like.

Noah says I’m totally hot. Now you know why I love him so much. I’m tall with dark hair and long sideburns Noah loves to kiss, a cleft chin, Roman nose, emerald eyes, and a hunky body thanks to the gym on campus I call the torture chamber.


Noah says I have a huge heart. Among other huge organs, which is just fine with Noah.

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Tell us about Drama Pan, the twelfth novel in your popular, award-winning series.

It’s all about me (smile). In Drama Pan my merry theatrical crew at Treemeadow College create our own musical version of Peter Pan entitled, Every Fairy Needs a Big Hook! Enter the belligerent Couture family of avant-garde technical designers as guest artists. In no time the Coutures are hung out to dry by a mass murderer. For the twelfth time we thick as thieves thespians (Try saying that three times fast while eating peanut butter) use our drama skills, including playing outrageous characters, to catch the killer before they get thrown to the crocodiles.

As usual, calamity ensues.

Of course! I do triple duty as director, Mr. Darling, and Captain Hook. (See, it’s all about me. smile) Noah gets the title role of Peter Pan. He slept with the director. (smile) Our witty and wild best friends Martin Anderson, Theatre Department Chair, and his husband Ruben camp it up as a tiger of a Tiger Lily and swarmy Smee the pirate respectively. Our stagestruck son Taavi tries to steal the show as Michael Darling, and Martin and Ruben’s cocky son holds his own as John Darling. Martin’s sassy secretary Shayla plays Mrs. Darling, and longsuffering detective Manuello hits the ground as Nana and the Crocodile. I have my hook full as technical dress rehearsals for the show get off to a start more rocky than Captain Hook’s boat, and Taavi and Ty fall unrequitedly in love with the same person.

Who are the new characters in book twelve?

Graduate assistant and technical director Jax Jun insists the play violates his “religious freedom.” Santino Thirio, senior theatre major and stage manager, pumps his muscles while pumping others to invest in his dream to become a producer. Twink Tripp Taleb, the sophomore theatre major playing Tinker Bell, has his fairy dust aimed at Santino. Oscar Romero, tall and brawny sophomore theatre major with the loud singing voice playing the Merman, has his fins in the water over Tripp. All of the actors are exasperated over the avant-garde technical aspects of the show, none more than Tiara Moore, junior theatre major playing Wendy.

 Who was your favorite new character?

Oscar Romero, the student who plays the Merman, wearing a g-string and fins. He has a song in the show called “What’s Between My Legs.” His affection for the student playing Tinker Bell is really sweet.

 Which new character do you like the least?

All of the Coutures! The family of technical designers are egotistical (I wouldn’t know about that. smile), arrogant, predatory, and opportunistic. It’s great fun to watch them get the hook.

Which new character was the sexiest?

Dark-eyed muscleman Santino Thirio, our student stage manager who knows how to work a lighting board—and work everyone around him.

And now Drama Pan is available as an audio book. How do you feel about that?

Jealous of Brian Cheney. He’s totally terrific! Try saying that three times fast while whistling. Brian has perfect coming timing, amazing character voices, and totally gets inside my head. No pun intended. He really brings my story to life.

 What makes the Nicky and Noah mystery series so special?

Me! I’m a legend in my own mind. Actually, it’s a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, and there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning “faster than a Super PAC buying a conservative politician.” At the center is the touching relationship between Noah and me. You watch us go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other. Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said Joe is “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue? Even though I tell Joe everything to write.

How are the novels cozy?

Many of them take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Fictitious Treemeadow College (named after its gay founders, couple Tree and Meadow) is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces.

Why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there?

The majority of MM novels are erotica, young adult, dark thrillers, or supernatural. While that’s fine, I think we’re missing a whole spectrum of fiction. In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, they include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy with lots of hot cocoa by the fireplace. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect whodunit. So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning over “like an anti-gay politician in the back of a pick-up truck.” No matter what is thrown in my path, I always end up on top, which is just fine with Noah.

For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us the titles of the first eleven novels in the series.

Sure. My life in rainbow-colored fiction. The titles are Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Dance (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Faerie (Rainbow Award First Honorable Mention), Drama Runway (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Christmas.

Joe is a college theatre professor/department chair like Martin Anderson in your series. Has that influenced your series, Nicky?

As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, Joe knows first-hand the wild and wacky antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are full of them! He never seems to run out of wild characters to write about. His faculty colleagues and students kid him that if any of them tick me off, he’ll kill them in his next book. And he probably will. The little guy is fearless!

What do you like about the regular characters in the series?

I like my never give up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. I’m genuinely concerned for others, and I’ll do anything to solve a murder mystery. I’m also a one-man man, and I’m proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver. Noah is blond, blue-eyed, lean, handsome, smart, and devoted. He makes the perfect Watson to my Holmes. (I always thought Holmes and Watson were a gay couple.) Noah also has a large heart and soft spot (no pun intended) for others. Finally, like me, Noah is gifted at improvisation, and creates wild and wonderful characters for our role plays to catch the murderer. I think it’s terrific how Martin and Ruben throw riotous zingers at each other, but they’re so much in love. You don’t see a lot of older gay characters in books nowadays. Of course, Martin’s administrative assistant, Shayla, thrives on her one-upmanship with Martin, and he thrives right back.

How about your and Noah’s parents?

They’re hilarious. 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. My parents’ goal to feed everyone and protect their children is heartwarming. My mom’s gambling addiction is also a riot. Both sets of parents fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing.

I’m sure Joe has been told that the books would make a terrific TV series.

Many many times. 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! Joe has written a teleplay of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels!

How would you cast the TV series?

Here’s my wish list: Matt Bomer as me, Neil Patrick Harris as Noah, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as Noah’s parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as my parents, Joe as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla, and Joe Manganiello as my brother Tony.

Tell us about Joe’s other mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.

Noah and I aren’t in them. So, take it away, Joe.

Joe: I created a heroine who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. In Satin Doll Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art. Since the novels take place in the 1980s, Jana’s agent and best friend are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

And how about Joe’s New Jersey beach series?

Noah and I aren’t in those either. So, you’re on again, Joe.

Joe: A reviewer compared them to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books. I was incredibly humbled and flattered. I love those books, and they are incredibly cinematic (hint-producers)! They are: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings. The series (NineStar Press) is about handsome Cal Cozzi’s gay beach resort on a gorgeous cove. I spent my summers as a kid on the Jersey Shore, so it’s a special place for me. The first novel was a Favorite Book of the Month on The TBR Pile site and won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. I love the intertwining stories of Cal and his family and the guests as Cozzi Cove, each so full of surprises. Cozzi Cove is a place where nothing is what it seems, anything can happen, and romance is everywhere. Some reviewers have called it a gay Fantasy Island.

How can your audio book lovers get their hands on the audio book of Drama Pan, and how can they contact you?

The purchase links are below, as are Joe’s contact links, including his website. I love to hear from readers via Joe! He tells Noah and me everything you say about us!

Thank you, Nicky, for interviewing today.

My pleasure. I know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling new audio book with more plot twists and turns than a congressional hearing to impeach a treasonous ex-president. I’m more excited than a Republican governor banning drag to share this twelfth audio book in the series with you. So, take your seats and throw the fairy dust. The stage lights are coming up in Never Land on a lad who won’t grow up, a pirate with a huge hook, a twink called Tink, a Lily who’s a tiger, a Merman perplexed at what’s between his legs, and murder!

Drama Pan (the 12th Nicky and Noah mystery novel) by Joe Cosentino now an audio book performed by Brian Cheney

Listen to an excerpt:

It’s spring break at Treemeadow College, and Theatre professors and spouses Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, their best friends Martin and Ruben, and their sons Taavi and Ty are sprinkling on the fairy dust in an original musical extravaganza of Peter Pan entitled Every Fairy Needs a Big Hook! Pirates shout more than “Yo, ho!” when a family of visiting technical designers, the Coutures, drop like yesterday’s fashions. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer before they get the hook. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining twelfth novel in this delightful series. So take your seats and believe in fairies. The stage lights are coming up in Never Land on a lad who won’t grow up without Viagra, a pirate with quite the hook, a twink called Tink, a Lily who’s a tiger, a Merman surprised at what’s between his legs, and murder!

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV, Drama Oz, Drama Prince, Drama Merry, Drama Daddy (novelette), Drama King; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college emeritus theatre professor residing in New York State.







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