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.
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of Right Here Waiting, who would play your main characters? Why?
As my book is written as a love letter to Old Hollywood, I'm going to go with the classic Old Hollywood movie stars I had in the back of my mind while I was writing the novel.
For the role of the tailor turned USO singer, Ben Williams, I'd go with Gary Cooper. Tall and muscular, he's a bit more intense, a bit more guarded. He's perhaps a bit stoic and reticent, except with people he loves.
For the bombshell USO siren, Gwen Andrews, I would cast Rita Hayworth: sexy and smart, but with a very approachable sweetness. She gets in trouble from time to time, but no one can hold it against her for long.
Ginger O'Reilly is Pete and Ben's neighbor, and one of their closest friends. She's definitely Betty Grable. Very much the girl next door—perhaps a bit hapless and clumsy at times, she's loveable and funny.
Bets McCaffrey is Ginger's roommate, and also a very close friend of Ben and Pete. I would cast Jane Russell—just a really savvy and confident woman who is comfortable with herself, and rather forward.
“And now, coming to you from a secret location, pre-recorded earlier today, in cooperation with the Armed Forces Radio Network, we are proud to present one of our brave young men, United States Army Air Forces Captain Peter Montgomery, performing a special song from all our troops here to all of you folks back home.”
Ben gasped and rushed to the radio to turn up the volume. He closed his eyes and pictured Pete standing in front of the microphone in his freshly pressed uniform—khaki, the color of his eyes when he laughs—standing surefooted and strong. Crowds never made Pete nervous; singing for millions of people over the radio wouldn’t be a problem for him. When they’d sung duets during Ben’s shows at the Black Cat supper club, Pete was always so smooth and sure, never a tremor or nerves. And now, Ben could just picture him: Pete’s eyes would be closed; he’d have a slight smile; his hands would be either gently folded behind his back or holding the microphone stand.
The honey sound of Pete’s voice singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”—a voice Ben hadn’t heard in two years—poured from the radio, simple and unaccompanied. He sank to his knees in front of the set and turned the volume even louder. He reached out with one finger to caress the wood, stained golden-red because Pete swore it was the same color as Ben’s hair in the summer. The set reverberated under his fingers. Ben put his entire hand on the set, feeling the vibrations of Pete’s voice through the wood in almost the same way as he’d felt Pete’s voice through his chest when Pete would sing him to sleep, Pete’s naked chest under Ben’s palm, their legs tangled and bodies satiated.
Ben didn’t feel the tears streaming down his face and ignored the pain in his knee as he knelt there—he only felt Pete. Pete’s happiness and joy in the world, Pete’s kindness and generosity, Pete’s caring and love—Ben was enveloped in thoughts of Pete. For this short song, a song of longing and dreams of home, which he knew Pete had picked as a secret code of their own, he and Pete were together, just as they’d be together again, someday soon.
After the song ended, Ben heard Pete whisper, “Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas,” Ben whispered back. “Be safe, darling. Come home soon.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links
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.
Connect with the author at http://www.kebelledonne.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KEBelledonne, on Goodreads at http://www.Goodreads.com/kebelledonne and on Twitter at @kebelledonne.
K.E. Belledonne will be awarding a $25 Interlude Press GC to a randomly drawn winner and a digital copy of RIGHT HERE WAITING to 10 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Interlude Press GC to a randomly drawn host.
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