Author Interview & Kindle Fire Giveaway: Wating Rita by Elyse Douglas

Welcome to Elyse Douglas

Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Columbia University. She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a speech-language pathologist. She and her husband, Douglas Pennington, have completed three novels: The Astrologer’s Daughter, Wanting Rita and a Christmas novel to be released later this year.
Douglas grew up in a family where music and astrology were second and third languages. He attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and played the piano professionally for many years. With his wife, Elyse, he has helped to pen The Astrologer’s Daughter and Wanting Rita.
When asked how they write a novel together, Doug often answers, “Well… If Elyse is dismissive and quietly pacing, then I know something’s not working. If I’m defensive, dramatic and defiant, then I know Elyse will soon be scowling and quietly pacing. We remind ourselves of Rita and Alan James in our novel, Wanting Rita. How the books get finished, I don’t know.”

Elyse Douglas live in New York City.

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

Doug:  Most certainly the future.
Elyse:  Most certainly the past.  I would like to experience NYC before electricity and cars were invented.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

Doug:  Benjamin Franklin, William Shakespeare, Dolly Madison, Abigail Adams and St. Teresa of Avila

Elyse:  Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Mary Oliver, William ButlerYeats, and Richard Wilbur.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Doug:  Definitely vanilla.  It’s smooth, it’s simple, it’s easy to eat.  
Elyse:  Doug has sung the praises of vanilla ice cream for so long that he’s made me a convert.  But of course, I add chocolate sauce, whipped cream, walnuts, and cookie pieces to it.

Night owl, or early bird?  
Elyse:  We’re both night owls who wish we were early birds. 

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Elyse & Doug:  Rita and Alan are characters who jump off the page and into your hearts; as you follow their journey, you will relive your own first love and your own desires for a mature love that survives tragedy and separation. 

What inspired you to want to become a writer?

Elyse:  I’ve always been an avid reader, and every time I’m moved by a poem, short story or novel, I want to write one in response.  I started keeping a journal when I was eight years old, probably because I was lonely.  My mother was a painter (in fact we used one of her paintings for the cover of Wanting Rita) but I was the only person in my family who was a reader of poetry and literary novels.  I had so many impressions and feelings that I needed to express, and there was no one else in my family with whom I could share them.  I created an imaginary friend and wrote my journal entries to her.  If you want to learn about Doug’s epiphany about wanting to be a writer, go to his blog on our website:  “Writers: Beware of Angels.”

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?  
Elyse:  I absolutely loved LITTLE WOMEN and wanted to be like Jo.  Since I’ve been working with children as a speech-language pathologist, my favorite book is THE POP-UP MICE OF MR. BRICE by Theo. LeSieg, illustrated by Roy McKie.  Every child I know wants to read it over and over and over again.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?  
Elyse:  I always fantasize about living in the Caribbean or the French countryside, some place where it’s quiet and beautiful all the time … but then I start thinking about the insects and the heat and the local politics, and then I imagine life without the conveniences we enjoy in New York, from the great restaurants to the public transportation … and then I think about the quirky characters here and the energy and the art… the theatre and dance and concerts and opera and museums…  oh, there are so many things I love about New York that I think I would miss it too much.  Doug also loves New York, especially its architecture (“Would you really want to be surrounded by shopping malls and convenience stores?!?!?” he asks every time we visit Florida).  We both believe it is the best place for us to live.  We can survive without a car.  We are surrounded by interesting people.  There is art in every form just a subway ride away.  We can keep our lives simple, giving us more time to write.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?  
Elyse:  A teacher and a writer.  
Doug:  A baseball player and a bomber pilot.

If you were a bird, which one would you be?  
Elyse:  I’d be a robin.  They have a pretty song and distinctive colors — and a song about them that reminds me of spring.  I sing it every year after I’ve made it through another dreary winter. “When the red red robin comes ba-ba-bobbin’ along….”  Doug would like to be a cardinal.

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?  
A week’s vacation for us and all our friends at the Old Gin House in St. Eustacius.  After that, I’d book a flight to San Jose, CA in late June, so I could buy some apricots from Candy Cot farm in Modesto.

Favorite music?  
Elyse:  Right now I’d have to say “Les Chansons des Roses” by Morton Lauridsen.  I listen to it almost every morning.  Doug loves Bach, Bach and every note written by Bach.  At dinnertime, we listen to music from the American Songbook, everything from Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter to Diana Krall singing “I’ve got you under my skin.”

Wanting Rita

When his high school sweetheart experiences a devastating tragedy, Dr. Alan Lincoln reluctantly returns to his Pennsylvania hometown to see her. It’s been 15 years. Rita was a small town beauty queen—his first love whom he has never forgotten. He was a nerd from a wealthy family. Her family was poor. They formed a strong connection during their senior year, but Rita married someone else, and the marriage ended tragically.
Alan’s marriage of three years is disintegrating, and he sees in Rita the chance to begin again with the true love of his life. Rita has been mentally and emotionally shattered, but she reaches out to Alan and fights to build a new life with him. During a passionate summer, however, the past and present converge and threaten their rekindled love, as Alan and Rita must struggle with old ghosts and new secrets.

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