In 1942, Ben Williams had it all – a fulfilling job, adoring friends and the love of his life, Pete Montgomery.
But World War II looms over them. When Pete follows his conscience and joins the Army Air Force as a bomber pilot, Ben must find the strength to stay behind without the love of his life, the dedication to stay true and the courage he never knew he’d need to discover his own place in the war effort. Good friends help keep him afloat, until a chance meeting on the home front brings him an unexpected ally—one who will accompany him from the stages of New York City to the hell of the European warfront in search of his love.
Written in the style of a 1940s film, Right Here Waiting pays homage to classic wartime romances from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
An excerpt from Right Here Waiting
They scrambled up to the cockpit, two chairs side-by-side with a small space between them. Pete motioned for Ben to sit in the left side, the captain’s chair, and sat in the co-pilot’s seat. The cockpit smelled of leather seats, hot metal baking in the sun and the pungent tang of engine oil. Ben delicately ran his fingertips over the controls, his hands over the stick.
Stuck in the bezel around one gauge was a small snapshot—Ben recognized it easily. He and Bets and Pete— their arms slung around each other, sitting on a couch at a party. Pete was kissing Bets on the cheek. Bets’ head was thrown back; her mouth was wide open, obviously cackling. Ben was looking straight at the camera, his eyes bright with laughter.
“It’s the first thing on my pre-flight checklist. I put it in in my flight jacket pocket, and every time we land, it comes back out and goes right here. It’s my good luck charm,” Pete said softly. “I told them it’s the best picture I have of my sweetheart back home. It’s the only one I carry of you. It’s what reminds me that I need to come home, every time.”
An interview with K.E. Belledonne
How long have you been writing romance, and what inspired you to get into this genre?
I’ve been writing romance for the past several years. This is my first book to be published, but I have others that are hidden away in notebooks and folders on my shelf. I was inspired to get into the genre because these are the kinds of stories I love to read – and I wanted to write a book that I would want to read.
What gave you the idea for your latest book?
I was thinking about how bleak many LGBTQ storylines in movies, tv and books can be. When I was a teenager, the gay people I saw on TV and in movies were always part of a terribly depressing and traumatizing storyline – there were no happy endings. It seemed the gay characters were always going to meet some horrible fate. Around the same time, I happened to be talking with a friend of mine about the old Hollywood movies we’d loved growing up – and how he said he’d always loved them, but as a gay man, he always thought that wouldn’t be the way his story ended, because they ″weren’t about people like me,″ as he put it. I realized I wanted to write a story as sweeping and romantic as those old movies wherein the drama and action of the story is not because of whom the characters love – but the situations they find themselves in. Their sexuality is not the crux of the story – they are two men who have some extraordinary adventures, who just happen to be in love with each other.
Who are some of your favorite romance writers or other literary inspirations?
I am a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon. Aside from WWII, one of my favorite historical periods is the 18th century and she just writes so beautifully and with such detail and ease about everything under the sun.
Describe your typical writing routine. Where do you usually write? How many words/pages per day? Do you keep set hours? What does your workspace look like?
My typical routine usually starts with pen and paper, as I scribble down ideas or flashes of scenes that I always seem to get at the most inconvenient moments. I have so many ideas noted on the backs of receipts, or in a corner of my day planner, or on shopping lists. Usually, I’ll head to my favorite café in the morning and try to write at least the bare bones of a scene before it slips away. Then when I have enough to go on, I park myself in my chair at home with my much-maligned and beloved laptop and start furiously typing. That’s when I can argue with myself about word choices and trawl my thesaurus for the ″right″ word. That’s also when dialogue gets set down – I can hear the characters talking as the scene plays out in my head, and I type faster than I can write.
I don’t keep set hours. I write when I can, and when I have inspiration. Generally, though, I write best early in the morning, or late at night. Some days I get 5,000 words. Some days, I get 200. It really varies, and I try not to sweat it, because it will all average out in the end.
My workspace is… cluttered! Always my notebooks are piled up within easy reach, with a glass of water, a mug of coffee, and a jar of various pens and pencils nearby. Any reference materials are stacked nearby, with Post-It notes in case I need to mark something or make a note for something in another section. Every once in a while, I try to clean it up and keep it clear, but somehow that makes me anxious. I need the chaos, I think. If it’s too tidy, I start to get antsy and easily distracted.
Do you have any favorite foods or beverages that help keep your creativity flowing?
Coffee and/or tea. And always water. And frequently, a nice glass of wine.
Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals when starting (or ending) a new book?
New book, new notebook and pen. Always. I don’t have to use the pen exclusively for that book, but I just have a ridiculous thing for pens.
What do you think makes for a good romance story?
I think a sense of humor in an romance story is what makes takes it beyond ″good.″ I mean, certainly, we all want to read the incredibly passionate and serious and game-changing love scenes, but for me, what elevates a story is when you’re shown a connection beyond the physical one – when you see the characters playing and laughing together and enjoying each other.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked by a fan? And what was your response?
I really can’t remember anything particularly strange, though I remember receiving several ″play by play″ messages from people written as they were reading. They’d start out something like ″oh, this part is nice. I’m really enjoying this section″ and progress to ″JUST WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING PUTTING HIM IN DANGER LIKE THAT″ and wind up somewhere around the ubiquitous keysmash ″ASDLKJFDALKSDAIHGH.″ And responses like that are the ones that I just cherish. I always appreciate it when people take the time to tell me they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written, but it’s just extra special to see specifically what parts are affecting and provoking response in them.
If you were in charge of adapting a scorching summer romance for the big screen, what book would you like to see made into a movie, and who would you pick to star as the male and female leads?
You know, I would pick a book from a few years back: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig. It’s a really fun and entertaining read, and I am currently re-re-re-reading it for what seems like the millionth time.
If we’re going to be doing ″dream casting″ and defying the laws of time and space, I’d pick Jude Law for Colin Selwick, and Ewan McGregor for Richard Selwick. For Eloise Kelly, Anne Hathaway, and for Amy Balcourt, Anna Kendrick.
About the Author
K. E. Belledonne is a writer, editor and translator based in the French Alps. A native New-Englander, Kat spends her spare time listening to Glenn Miller records, reading history books and cheering on her beloved Red Sox.
Ms. Belledonne describes her story as “like an old friend—the book you curl up with when you’re not feeling well. You know how it goes. You know how it will end, but it just makes you feel better reading it.”
Right Here Waiting is her first novel.
K.E. Belledonne will be awarding a $25 Interlude Press gift card, plus a digital copy of RIGHT HERE WAITING to 10 randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour. Don’t forget to follow the rest of the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! All tour dates can be found here.