But most people aren't Bill and Susan Hayes.
The beloved duo known around the globe as Doug and Julie Williams on DAYS OF OUR LIVES are back and taking the world by storm with their first fictional book "Trumpet." Set in 1803, this epic novel takes the reader on a roller coaster journey through the highs and lows of a young woman's life, her triumphs, and her shame. Perfect as a gift, and now available for download, you can't go wrong this Mother's Day with giving Trumpet to the DAYS fan you love.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: So glad to speak with both of you about the release of you first nonfiction book. I have been enjoying "Trumpet" very much. What led the two of you to write this fascinating piece of fiction?
Bill Hayes: We are both interested in History. Susan was a History major in college. We both enjoy every aspect of it, and as you know, we both enjoy theater. So for us to go to The Regency Period of the early 1800s was quite natural, although we had to do a lot of serious research. We read more than one hundred books. We went to the actual locations in person to see what was there. We wanted to write a story about a woman in 1803 who people could relate to today.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: What part of the book have you read up to?
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I just read through a very erotic scene that takes place on Lizzie’s wedding night. You two are very good at writing erotica.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Let me tell you about that chapter. It came to Bill in a dream. He got up at 3 am, wrote all the dialogue as he dreamed it, that was how it was written.
Bill Hayes: I copied down the dialogue in my dream. We may have changed a couple of lines, but basically that was all my dream.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I also wanted to ask you about the historical details of the story from the particulars of the performances in the theater, to the specifics about the dialogue and the costumes. How did you know about all these things?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Some of them we already knew because we had been students of History all of our lives. But we really plunged into the era, the period, everything that is described when you get to Egypt, we have seen. We have seen those objects in museums. Most everything we describe comes from research. The interior of Carlton House came from paintings of Carlton House. The descriptions of the furniture, the light fixtures, the clothes. We bought over one hundred books. And as we have been reading, we have been traveling, we have been taking photos ever since we started this.
Bill Hayes: Every time we go into a museum we look for paintings from that period.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: And there will be a squeal of delight, “There’s our period on the wall!”
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: When did you start writing this?
Bill Hayes: We started in 2005 on the work. We wrote back stories for all our fictitious characters.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Everyone has at least two generations back.
Bill Hayes: We wrote down timelines of all the actual people.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: And made sure all the events were historically correct. And then we discovered things that had to be included. For example, the parade of King George and all the sons when they thought the French were across The Channel and on their way over. I read about that in a rather obscure military text. I thought wow, what a picture. And if Lizzie was on the street, of course she saw this.
Bill Hayes: We lucked into one thing that was really great. We learned about a theatrical archive and asked if we could go inside of it.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: It’s a museum library that is attached to the Theater Museum of London. And because we were published authors we were allowed to do research there.
Bill Hayes: And Suzy and I thought, “We’ll just go in for an hour and see what they have.” We ended up spending the whole day and getting thrown out.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: We spent nine hours there without knowing it. We never even went to the bathroom!
Bill Hayes: We wanted to see what was playing at the Sadler Wells Theater in 1803 and 1804 and they had the Playbills! It was amazing!
Susan Seaforth Hayes: You could handle the Playbills, the newspapers with reviews, and make notes.
Bill Hayes: The opening show that we describe in "Trumpet" were actual people from actual shows.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: So the show that Lizzie joins in "Trumpet" was an actual show took place in a real theater?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Yes, with the real songs. Though some of the songs Bill created. He created the songs and created the text of the first play that Lizzie attends in the book. Bill wrote the dialogue in iambic pentameter. We have been married a long time, but there are still heights of Bill’s personality and talent are still a surprise. “Oh, you can do that?” And he doesn’t even need Spellcheck.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I couldn’t help but notice the significance of the names in the book. The lead character is named Elizabeth, and Susan's mother’s name was Elizabeth.
Bill Hayes: And Elizabeth’s parents’ names were William and Jessie.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: "William" and "Jessie" are beloved names in our household. “Sidrack” is a beloved name that came out of Bill’s past.
Bill Hayes: Sidrack is a great great great grandfather of mine. His father was James, and his father was Adam, and they had started a tailor shop called Adam & James. Sidrack traveled all over the world picking up fabrics and tailors and styles, so that part is true.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Are there similarities between the names of people in the book and the actual people in your life?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Yes. In one case Carlo Tomassi is a real person.
Bill Hayes: He’s based on someone we know very well.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: He’s based on someone we adore who is a great fan of historical fiction, an opera singer, and teaches voice.
Bill Hayes: When we wrote dialogue for Carlo in the book we thought about how our friend would say it, and that’s how it comes out.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Even though the story takes place two hundred years ago, the themes feel so relevant for today.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Yes, particularly the cult of personality around the popular performer who becomes suddenly visible, and has to be very cautious about her behavior. Lizzie gets caught up in a mistake. But what would drama be if the characters didn’t make mistakes? She pays dearly for it. A lot of the pathos and sadness that comes to her is something I have seen closely. Also, the mistakes in love along the way and how your values change as you get older. The character does mature from being an adolescent girl to someone who has been through a lot. By the time we get to the closing pages she is much more interesting character than from where she began.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What was the biggest difference in the process of writing your nonfiction memoirs versus this fictional story?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: It was only one voice, so we had to agree on every sentence.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What was that like?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: It was pretty good. It was putting together Bill’s vocabulary and my vocabulary, attempting to bear down on the speech of the age, and being in contact with beloved English fans to make sure we were getting it right. I am always delighted to find a way of saying something that had been around a long long time.
Bill Hayes: It wasn’t difficult. We talked about the story. We wrote it down in a long outline form. In some cases Susan would write something and I would edit her. In more cases I would write something and she would edit me.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: When we presented in to Decadent Publishing it was a finished work. Then they had parameters that we had to follow. They wanted specific things - more sensuality. However, they did give us the grace of understanding that we did know who the characters were. We lived with the material for so long, of course we knew who they were. Every time you write something, you learn. Every time someone critiques it, there is usually a grain of really usable material. So I think the work grew and was enriched with the help of our friends and our editors. We are pretty satisfied about it.
Bill Hayes: When the publisher read our first draft they made one major recommendation.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: It was to enlarge one of the characters’ potential in case we wanted to continue with sequels.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Which character?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: You can almost guess....it’s Roger. Roger has to grow too whether he is every minute or not. Roger’s point-of-view became more of an active point-of-view as the book grew.
Bill Hayes: That was a terrific idea that strengthened the story.
Come back for Part Two in which the Hayes's discuss the future of DAYS OF OUR LIVES, why we still love Doug and Julie, as well as how Bill and Susan have embraced new media to promote "Trumpet."
** You can purchase Trumpet immediately for download at billandsusanhayes.com.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist in New York City who specializes in treating grief/loss, depression, stress management, anger management, addiction, and bullying. He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve," currently available at Amazon.com. For more information about scheduling a speaking engagement, please email him at Shouldless@gmail.com, or check out www.shouldless.com