Interview with Elyse Douglas, authors of WANTING RITA + WIN FREE KINDLE FIRE!

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.To learn more about Elyse Douglas, go to their website: 

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

We like to say that Wanting Rita was a gift book.  It seemed to come from the ether: plot, emotion, images and setting.  The idea came in one night – actually, early one morning.  The story was like an anxious friend, who kept saying “stop messin’ around here, and finish this thing.  Here it is, take it down.”  It was waiting for us every morning, and we worked on it 6 days a week, 6 hours a day.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing a novel is one of the hardest things you can do.  It requires discipline, faith, and persistence.  You have to keep believing in your characters, even when they seem to wander off on their own.  Sometimes you have to rein them in.  Sometimes you let them guide you.  The only tip we have is this:  Write every day, even if it’s just for an hour, at least six days a week.  Keep your subconscious mind engaged.  If you do, it will present you with gifts.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

We self-published.  We’ve probably written 12 books between us, and had six agents through the years.  The most recent was a very well-connected NYC agent, who still loves Wanting Rita but was unable to place it with a traditional publishing house.  Since he believed in the book so much, we decided to self-publish.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

After the initial excitement wears off, you realize that there are thousands of books competing with yours to grab the attention of a limited number of readers.  You have to reset your expectations and be patient.  Even dear friends won’t necessarily have the time to read your book right away.

Q: Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?

We felt the pride of a parent whose child has just appeared on stage.  “That’s my kid.  I hope she’s well-received.”

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

We are working on two Christmas books which we plan to release in September and October.  Both are about strong women who own their own businesses and think they know themselves -- but need a little Christmas magic to help them discover the secrets of their own hearts.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Our only aim was to make the story of Rita and Alan so engaging that readers would relive their own first love, and reaffirm their belief that a mature relationship can survive tragedy and separation.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

As Joseph Campbell said:  “Follow your bliss.”  Your journey may not be the one you envisioned when you set out, but taking it is the only way to live peacefully with yourself.  Follow your bliss.  Go where your nature leads you.

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