Posted on June 28, 2017
Published by El Dorado News-Times
EL DORADO — Pen-L Publishing has announced the release of “In Those Dazzling Days of Elvis,” the second novel in the Days of Elvis series by Josephine Rascoe Keenan, a former resident of El Dorado.
The book tells a story of human anguish and betrayal, love and loss, recrimination and regret and shows how choices, once made, can change one’s life forever. Keenan recreates the “golden days” of drive-in movies, screen wire petticoats and flashy American cars, when the world seemed brighter and more innocent than today.
In the days when Elvis Presley dazzled the nation, his “good luck charm,” Julie Morgan, a small town girl bound by the social code of the 1950s, makes a serious mistake in a bungled attempt to cope with her dysfunctional home situation. A seemingly innocent decision to attend a concert proves to be a misstep which leads from one bad decision to another, another and yet another, ultimately catapulting her into a terrible dilemma with no apparent way out.
In desperation, Julie agrees to a scheme that Carmen, her lookalike, insists will be Julie’s salvation. Their plan is risky, and Julie’s resolve wavers, but Elvis’s long-distance friendship and support give her strength. Renewed, she moves on, until fate intervenes in this “perfect plan” to turn back time and restore her innocence, leaving Julie alone in the heap of rubble that was once her life.
Keenan’s debut novel, published in May 2016, animates the social scene of small-town, 1950s Arkansas. “As Julie navigates love, family and friendships, she faces difficult decisions still applicable to teens today. While slang terms anchor the text firmly in the ’50s, the in-crowd’s conversations about sex prove some things never change. Julie’s friendship with Elvis is a useful window into a broader national narrative. His letters and appearances provide a glimpse of the changing tastes in music and the impact of cultural touchstones such as The Ed Sullivan Show. Elvis’s letters also provide lighter moments that counter the somber themes of infidelity and unwanted pregnancy. The King of Rock and Roll presides over this tale of youthful loss and longing,” according to Kirkus Reviews.
Keenan was born and raised in El Dorado and her family descended from pioneers in the founding of El Dorado and Union County. She attended Yocum Elementary, El Dorado Junior High and graduated from El Dorado High School in 1958. From there she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and a master’s degree from the University of Colorado.
After working many years in theatre and film as a director and as an actress, with membership in the professional unions, SAG-AFTRA, and Actors’ Equity Association, she expanded her writing efforts from diaries and journals, kept from age 11, to novels and short stories for young people.
Two of her stories have appeared in the teen magazine, “Cricket,” and her poem, “A Ride on Grandpa’s Foot,” appeared in “Modern Maturity” magazine. Her plays have toured with Artreach Touring Theatre; and one was chosen as a winner of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati’s New Play Contest.
One day as she sat at her computer, she was inspired to tell a story of what life was like in the 50s, when Elvis first came on the scene. Since he had performed a couple of concerts in El Dorado before he “hit the top,” she decided to write a story that would center around a young girl who met him before he became “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
The author also enjoys oil painting, square dancing and cooking Southern dishes, such as hot water cornbread, little lady peas and grandma’s peach cobbler, for her Yankee friends. She and her husband, Frank, live in Cincinnati, Ohio. The cover art for her books is her own work.
Visit her at www.keenannovels.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Her books can be ordered online from http://www.pen-l.com/InThoseDazzlingDays.html or from Amazon at www.amazon.com/Those-Dazzling-Days-Elvis/dp/1683130774.