Good morning, Susan and Bill . It’s so great to have you here!
(1) Could you start by telling us some background information on the hero and heroine from your latest release? TRUMPET is our debut historical novel. We are lifelong professional performers and the characters are—you guessed it—actors! Actors of the British stage in 1803, the Regency. Lizzie Trumpet is the innocent daughter of a popular performer, longing to follow in his footsteps. Jack Faversham, her love and nemesis, is hardly a hero, rising out of the London slums to fame and misfortune. The story is epic, embracing two decades of eventful history. Lizzie crosses paths with the glittering personalities of the age, including the real-life Giovanni Belzoni, whose Egyptian adventures she shares.
(2) What three features do you think are important for her to possess? Lizzie has grace and talent, but her ability to overcome tragedy and recreate herself is paramount. Thirdly? She has a strong sense of humor, that quality that makes life bearable and a friend unforgettable.
(3) Do you base your characters on people you know in real life? Of course. We’ve known some pretty colorful types amongst show folk. Their traits and foibles pepper the book. The creative life hasn’t changed much over the centuries. To be famous, to be a failure. The world has always been fascinated with celebrity. We found a hundred parallels to modern times in the age of Napoleon, when the world was constantly at war, and the future so uncertain.
(4) Do your friends and family read your work? They may see themselves flitting through these chapters. We love our very big family, and Lizzie loves hers as well. For their sake she steps into a dangerous life and bears it all to keep them going. Sounds pretty contemporary, doesn’t it?
(5) Do you have a critique partner, or belong to a writing group? Hayes and Hayes are thirty-seven years married, and have been acting together on DAYS OF OUR LIVES for over forty years. We are truly partners, not to say famous for it. Our only writing group is our collection of editors. God bless ’em.
(6) What is the best part of writing in your genre? Seeing it in print. We enjoy historical fiction, and TRUMPET is just that, with a romantic glow about itself. After gobbling a thousand books it feels glorious to see our own in a reader’s hands.
(7) Do you watch or play sports? We are fascinated with basketball. Bill had a childhood filled with baseball, as most American boys do.
(8) What has been your best ever vacation? Our honeymoon in Italy. And...the trip to Italy with our children and grown grandchildren last year, and…all the dozen trips to Italy in between.
(9) What are your hobbies? Opera. Watercoloring. Tap-dancing. Bill is currently doing interviews for a documentary film on his career, and we both are still hard at it on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. Keeping the house, garden and a family of four children, twelve grandchildren and eighteen great- grandchildren leaves precious few hours to indulge in scrapbooking, roses, barbershop harmony and singing in the church choir…but we try!
(10) Do you have any pets? An imaginary dog named Scraps, who is very clean and barks excitedly when we come home.
Thanks so much for allowing me to interview you today! It’s been fun! Say hello to Scraps for me!
“Elizabeth, you must perform. I will teach you a style of acting that is revolutionary. You have seen my work. You understand the art I worship.”
She took a step closer. “Since I was a child, watching my father on stage, I longed to be there with him.” Jack watched Lizzie struggle to go on. “You have just described the dream of my life. There is nothing I want more, but…Mr. Faversham—Jack…I am not free.”
He reached for her hands and pulled her down beside him on the stump. “Explain why you are not free.”
In a long and tearful soliloquy, Lizzie told her story of the past year. She was too candid for propriety and too wrought-up by his presence to withhold anything. In this soulful state, she was so beautiful and vulnerable that Jack had to fight to keep his hands off her.
“You need, as in a play, an ailing uncle to leave you a great inheritance,” Jack suggested with sympathy.
“Indeed, I have just been offered ‘protection’ by a gentleman.”
“It must be Dampere, the creature! I guessed as much! That’s why I broke in upon your privacy in such haste. Listen to me, Elizabeth. I promise you a weekly income, not of shillings, but of pounds. From the sound of it, your first concern is caring decently for your family. Join me and you will be able to provide for your father and aunt and whoever else you are carrying on your lovely back.”
The emotional girl looked at him as though he were a god.
Jack turned on his serpent-of-Eden charm. “Why take up with that toad Dampere? Come with me and live your passion while you keep your reputation. I can turn you into a real princess, Pocahontas—a princess of the stage.”
That did it. Dazzled, Lizzie said something irrational that meant yes: “The honor…do all I can…prove your faith.” It was the grateful garble of a person saved.
Satisfied to have gotten his way, Jack sealed the bargain by taking her head in his hands and kissing her full on the mouth. “Gad, we’ll be good; I know it.” He bowed and strode to his hired horse. “I have urgent business in the city. Be glad, Elizabeth. I certainly am.”
He leaped into the saddle and cantered away. Actually, he was off to a backstage intrigue at Covent Garden. Waiting in his dressing room, another would-be actress, of no performing ability whatsoever, was ready to audition what talent she did have on the chaise lounge.
Lizzie watched Faversham until she could see him no more. A freshening breeze lifted the leaves of the oak tree. She touched her tingling lips and thanked God for escaping a sordid life. He is my savior. Now I won’t have to do as Octavia does.
Brilliant and sassy Elizabeth Trumpet fantasizes starring on the London stage, but to become an actress in 1803 is tantamount to losing her virginity in the most debasing way.
After watching her mother die and her father lose his mind, the courageous sixteen-year-old must find a way to save her family. She scores her first acting job as a fencer - the deadly skill she learned from her brother training for the military. Blessed with talent and a rare singing voice, Lizzie pursues her career, learning from theatrical characters high and low.
When reckless actor Jonathan Faversham sets eyes on Miss Trumpet, he knows he's found the partner of his life. But Faversham carries ruinous baggage from a dark past. Entangled in lust and ambition, Lizzie gives him her heart and they reach the heights together. Until Lizzie gets more applause than he does...
From the magnificence of Regency palaces and the Theatre Royal Covent Garden to the sun-baked pyramids of Egypt and the arms of a real-life Samson, Lizzie is never far from trouble. As her brother rides to glory with Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars, great events threaten her survival. Danger lurks behind stage curtains, when a madman sets fire to take her life and she lifts a sword in revenge.
Will this once innocent girl, with her rise to stardom, be remembered for her art? Or for her shame?
Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes
Bill and Susan, it's been a privilege to be able to host you here today. I wish you every success with your novel, and with future books.
Until next time, take care!