DAYS's Hayeses Come Home for the HolidaysBy Janet Di Lauro Posted: Dec 7, 2009
Christmas is just around the corner, which means DAYS OF OUR LIVES veterans Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Doug and Julie) will be popping up in Salem. Soap Opera Weekly caught up with the twosome at the show's recent Day of DAYS event at Universal Studios in Hollywood. The pair discussed Salem life, as well as the new novel they've just finished writing.Soap Opera Weekly: So is it safe to assume you two will be back in Salem this holiday season?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Yes, we've done the Christmas Eve show, and Billy has two more scripts.
Weekly: What kind of a reception do the two of you get at fan gatherings like this?
Bill Hayes: We have been [on the air] a lot from 1968 to 1970, and under contract to 1982. Then we went away and came back. The people who are new viewers do not know our characters very well. The old viewers know us very well.
Seaforth Hayes: There are those who know us as Hope's parents; that's one age bracket. There are those who know us from the cradle, who, of course, are more enthusiastic. Then there are cast members who...yesterday, the day I worked for the Christmas show, somebody said, "Who's MacDonald Carey?" I've never seen jaws drop on the crew like that. And this lady has been on the show for a year and a half. It's all what you bring to it. We hope to be entertaining to any generation. We're happy to be seen. We're perfectly happy with any appearance at all.
Weekly: One thing all generations seem to like is Bill's rapport with Kristian Alfonso (Hope). It's so real. Wouldn't you agree?
Hayes: It's like she is my daughter, like Kristian and [I] are related.
Seaforth Hayes: Kristian really loves Billy. In that long-ago story when they killed him...that was very hard on Kristian. Almost as hard on her as it was on me. And Billy is the father of daughters, so he really understands [that father/daughter relationship].
Hayes: Three of my five kids are daughters.
Weekly: Word is the two of you have written a new book on the heels of your last one, Like Sands Through the Hourglass. What can you share about it?
Seaforth Hayes: We've written a [book of] fiction.
Hayes: Historical fiction.
Seaforth Hayes: We've completed the novel; we're searching for a publisher now. We only devoted four years of our lives to it. It's about show business, but historical fiction. I think it's good.
Hayes: It takes place in the early 1800s.
Weekly: Why that era?
Seaforth Hayes: Our editor told us what era to write in and what to write about.
Hayes: Our editor recommended the Regency period...a female protagonist...
Seaforth Hayes: ...England. It's pretty juicy.
Hayes: I suppose we read 80 books. We've been online at Wikipedia and Google. We know them very well from doing our research.
Seaforth Hayes: We traveled all over. We've done a lot of research.
Weekly: What disease is going on in your book?
Seaforth Hayes: Ours is not driven by pandemics. The storyline is driven by sex. And let me tell you, nobody gets kidnapped in our book, so it's not like life in Salem. No children are endangered in our story.
Weekly: How do you write together?
Seaforth Hayes: Very smoothly.
Hayes: When we wrote our memoirs, I wrote for myself. Susan wrote for herself. We did not fix each other's dialogue or whatever we were writing. In this, it's a combination. We talk about what story we want to do. We may write an outline for a sequence.
Seaforth Hayes: We're lying in bed discussing a plot, having ideas, exchanging ideas...
Hayes: Most of the way we worked was I would write a scene and Susan would rewrite it.
Seaforth Hayes: I'm a better editor. I look at a blank page and become a bit nervous.
Hayes: And [her edited version] is better. It was an improvement. I narrate easily, then Susan adds to it or improves it.
Seaforth Hayes: The book is about acting and success and failure, and it's about the role of sex in that and making the wrong choices.
Hayes: The villain does get a disease. He does some bad things.
Seaforth Hayes: Same old disease that's been around since Rome, honey [laughs]. It's just the disease you're thinking of.