Kidzone had a chat with Cosentino about his new book and his magical journey!
What was the inspiration for the book series?
I wanted to create a book series that everyone—but especially reluctant readers—could engage with and enjoy. A book series that I would have loved to read when I was a kid.
How did you come up with the idea? I had all these crazy ideas for a children’s book bouncing around in my head. Unique characters, lands and a world where magic is banished. I thought that would make for a great story. So the ideas came from my everyday life and I just exaggerated them.
Why do the characters have special abilities? It’s to show the reader that we all have special qualities or abilities. Every- one is unique and different and that’s a wonderful thing. When we come together the impossible is achieved.
What sparked your interest in magic?
I was a kid that had a lot of learning difficulties. I was shy and couldn’t read my first words until I was 12 years old. My mother used to take me to libraries to try and get me engaged in books and learning. One day by chance, I came upon the Encyclopedia of Magic on the library shelf. The book featured a classic shot of Harry Houdini, bound and shackled. The headline stated ‘Nothing on Earth can hold him prisoner’—I was instantly fascinated with the image and the headline. I had to find out who this man was and why nothing on Earth could hold him. My mother and I would sit down each night and read chapters from the book and this was the process that finally taught me how to read and began my lifelong passion for magic.
What was the first trick you ever learned?
It was called the ‘French Drop’. It is sleight of hand with a 20-cent coin. Through some very simple moves you cause the coin to vanish. I remember showing my father the trick (who is a genius in my world). He replied “How did you do that?” I was shocked, because I managed to fool him. As a 12-year-old to be able to do something better than my father was very powerful; it built my self- esteem and I continued to practise. It really was a turning point for me.
How long does it take for you to master a trick?
That varies depending on what the trick or illusion is. For instance, my escape ‘Dropped’ required me to undertake four months of physical training to prepare. It involved me reaching elite levels of cardio fitness and lung expansion to enable me to hold my breath for over five minutes.
What is your favourite trick/illusion/escape?
That’s a tough question. Magic effects leave the audience spellbound and in wonder and the stunts and escapes make people gasp with excitement. However, I do love the huge stunts. It takes months of planning, preparation and intense training to execute an underwater escape. All that work for just two minutes of success. But the pay-off is huge. So I have to go with that.
Can you describe a time when things went wrong?
I’ve been in some pretty dangerous positions. Knocked myself out, rushed to the emergency room, stitches in my head, sprained ankles and every bump and cut in-between. However, when I’m on stage I have to put all that behind me and perform with no fear. Fear is a motivator but it can also play havoc with your mind. I really have to psych myself up for my stunts and escapes so that nothing goes wrong.
What’s next for Cos? In the series and in real life?
The upcoming books in The Mysterious World of Cosentino series will feature more action-packed story lines and brand-new characters—good and evil—will be unveiled! In real life, 2018 is going to be a big year! I will be performing my new live show across Australia, New Zealand and a number of international countries. I will have a brand-new TV series called The Elements on air and you can catch me in Jackie Chan’s new movie Bleeding Steel.
The Missing Ace is the first in a new book series by Australia’s favourite illusionist, Cosentino. This is a story full of imagination, action and fun, with original and unique characters brilliantly illustrated by Kidzone’s favourite illustrator James Hart (do you recognise that style?).
The story follows Cosentino the Grand Illusionist who lives in Magic-Land—a land divided by an evil two-headed king. In Silver City the privileged citizens live among clean streets and magic but in Coppertown, the citizens are neglected and magic is banned.
To keep the people of Coppertown entertained without breaking the rules, Cosentino performs magic tricks, illusions and daring escapes at his run-down Copperpot Theatre. Here Cos is assisted by his faithful friends; Locki the skilled lock picker; Professor Camouflage—a master of disguise, and Snuggles, the permanent resident of Cos’s hat.
But Cos’s performances attract the wrong kind of attention when the Ace of Spades rushes through the door begging for protection from the king. Captured by the king’s ruthless guard, Hollow, Cos is thrown into the dungeon at the bottom of the castle. Escaping will be the greatest trick of his life...if he can do it.
With trick cards and instructions included and some of Cos’s own secrets shared throughout, this is a great book for all Kidzoners!