Real life supercouple, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes, who have regaled Days of Our Lives fans with their portrayal of soap supercouple Doug and Julie Williams since 1970, have released their first novel, Trumpet. A historical romp through the theatrical world of the Regency Era, the book follows the adventures of heroine Elizabeth Trumpet and explores her conflicts with love and fame. Sounds like a soap opera, doesn’t it? The talented husband and wife team were eager to chat about their latest endeavor and discuss the appeal they think it will have to Days fans.The book sounds a lot like a soap opera. Would you describe it as such?
Bill Hayes: I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you’re right. It is a soap opera.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: A pretty good soap opera. It has characters you care about, romance, action, surprises and some violence. Our character, Elizabeth Trumpet, starts in the bottom of show business... It’s a life changing story. She begins at age 16. Innocent, not dumb. Quite a difference. She becomes a very famous person and, then, loses it all.
The title character’s last name, Trumpet, is a bit unusual. How did you come up with it?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: It’s an anglicized version of an Italian name. Bill came up with it. Bill came up with quite a few of the character names. Some of them come out of our own family.
Bill Hayes: The main character’s father wanted to be an actor. His name was Gilliermo Trumpetta. He anglicized that to William Trumpet. So Elizabeth was the daughter of William Trumpet.
For those not familiar with the Regency Era, how would you describe it?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: It is the Jane Austen period, which I believe is an era that is fascinating to people. It was a time of transition in the theater. It was a time of great actors, like Edmund Kean and Sarah Siddons. It’s a period that is dear to our hearts. It’s the London theater. It’s the Napoleonic Wars. We have that in there, too. The novel covers 18 years of history. You can read the first hundred pages, without committing yourself, on Amazon, if you wish. It’s a 440 page book, seven years of work, and researched on site.
What sort of research did you do?
Bill Hayes: We read over 100 books.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Biographies of the great characters of the day.
Bill Hayes: We went to Egypt, Waterloo, England... We went to London where a lot of the action takes place and walked the streets where we wanted things to happen, so that we could describe it from having seen and been there. We went into the most wonderful theatrical archive where we looked at playbills from 1803; actual theater playbills that were not copies, but the real thing.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: The original playbills were in our hands, which is pretty exciting.
Has anyone at Days read the book?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Only one person. One of the stage managers, Stuart Howard, who has a big theatrical background, read our first draft. He has not read it since the rewrites.
Bill Hayes: David Shaughnessy read our first draft, too. We wanted to have somebody who was really British read it to make sure we were correct in our British dialogue.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Remember David Shaughnessy? Brother of Charles (Shaughnessy, ex-Shane), producer of The Young and the Restless for a while ...
Bill Hayes: And now a director on The Bold and the Beautiful.
What are your hopes for this book?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: I hope that people enjoy it. I would like to bring a little fun into people’s lives. Our appearances on Days have been limited. This is kind of a connection with the fans, the fans who read and like historical novels and romance. It isn’t a romantic novel, but it certainly will appeal to the ladies who read romance.
Trumpet is scheduled for release on May 29. Do you have any book signings scheduled?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: We have one signing set in Traverse City, Michigan.
Bill Hayes: It will be during the Traverse City Film Festival at Horizon Books on July 25.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: We have one up in the air at The Grove in Los Angeles, too.
Trumpet is currently available in ebook format at Decadent Publishing, Bono Books, and Amazon.