Hi there, Susan and Bill Hayes. It’s great to see you here. We’d love to hear more about your new release TRUMPET from Decadent Publishing!
Can you briefly tell us about the relationship between the central characters in your latest release?
Lizzie Trumpet, struggling to become an actress on the London stage of 1803, falls for the talented and dangerous Jack Faversham. Their relationship leads to mayhem for Lizzie. Outlawed in England, she flees to Egypt, where fate plunges her into unforeseen adventures with the real-life strongman, Giovanni Belzoni. Her beloved brother George fights the war against Napoleon, whom she meets as well, along with the most glittering, gritty and memorable people of the age.
What qualities do you most admire about the heroine in your book?
Physical courage, acting talent and a beautiful soprano voice. The story arc covers eighteen years. In that passage, from innocence to worldly wisdom, Lizzie Trumpet faces each change of circumstance with strength and humor. Like a good soap opera heroine (which is where we come from), despite mistakes, she carries on.
Which of your characters from this release would you most like to invite to dinner, and why?
The supporting cast! Lord Dampere, a great noble booby with a lust for Lizzie stuffed into his corset. Carlo Tomassi, her slightly bent voice coach with a hearty appetite for life. Octavia Onslow, the advice-giving courtesan who once had Lizzie’s father for a client. Captains Irby and Mangles, the Navy men who worship Lizzie’s performances and literally sail her into the heart of the story.
What food would you cook for them?
The roast beef of old England. Strawberries for delight, and a mess of ful madamas for Egyptian flavor. (5) And what setting would you choose for the meal? London. Backstage in the green room of The Royal Theatre Drury Lane.
What would your ideal career be, if you couldn’t be an author?
Just what it is: acting! We have been professional performers all our lives, and we intend to keep at it till they carry us away.
If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?
We started with a double memoir—LIKE SANDS THROUGH THE HOURGLASS—and discovered we had a flare for writing. TRUMPET is our debut novel, another type of animal entirely, and much more fun than just telling tales about ourselves. Do differently? We wouldn’t waste a minute waiting for inspiration, but just hurry to the keyboard and let the story fly. We will do this again, because creating a world together, Lizzie’s London has made our thirty-seven years of marriage even richer and happier.
A. Favourite word? Luminous.
B. Favourite food? Chocolate, dark and rich.
C. Favourite animal? The dog.
D. Favourite TV show? UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS, the old series we quote constantly; we hang upon every episode of the new version, too.
E. Snow or sun? Sun. And ocean, too, please, with a parade of clouds changing and moving overhead.
F. Slippers or sox? Slippers for him, sox for her.
G. Flats or heels? What a question. Flats, to scurry everywhere at top speed.
H. Walk or drive? Walk for joy. Drive to go the distance, as far as possible.
Thank you, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes.
Here is an excerpt from TRUMPET:
“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.
Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes
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.
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 Giveaway!
We have autographed copies of our memoir (LIKE SANDS THROUGH THE HOURGLASS [New American Library, 2005]) and my CD (THIS IS BILL HAYES [with the John Rodby Trio, 2004]) as prizes for our giveaway. Two names will be drawn randomly from those who comment at each blog stop. The drawing is open to overseas readers.