How did the Story of Us Trilogy come about? With regards to this final book, as it is quite different from the other two, when did the idea come into your mind?
The Story of Us took shape over 20 years ago. It wasn’t until I stumbled across Twilight and was introduced to Edward that a light bulb went off. I was drawn to the promise of protection and limitless power but also captivated by his vulnerability; his love for Bella made him weak at times and, ironically, less able to protect her. Conceptually, Ayden experiences something similar in TouchStone for play in a more urban context, but only through Beth’s capacity for goodness and compassion, is he able to resolve that difficulty.
Then Mr. Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey) came along and the possibility of endowing upon Ayden super powers of a more carnal nature. With the fervour of Doctor Frankenstein, I reanimated Ayden and TouchStone for play was born.
Next came TouchStone for giving… This is largely Ayden’s book; his secrets are revealed and both he and Beth find it within themselves to forgive each other and themselves for their sins. Their love deepens and Ayden begins his transformation from player to prince.
TouchStone for ever is Beth’s book; she’s faced with an unthinkable dilemma and must give everything to save the one she loves. It’s the culmination of a modern fairy-tale that embodies self-sacrifice, betrayal and, ultimately, redemption. It’s the book I always intended to write but it took two books to get to the point where both readers and characters were ready to face the unthinkable.
When did you realise Henry would make a perfect Ayden Stone?
As anyone will tell you who has known me from the very beginning of this TouchStone adventure, I had a dark haired, blue eyed, good looking model in mind because I couldn’t find anyone to meet my expectation in terms of looks, obviously, but the total package. Then I spotted Henry Cavill when he was photographed at the Immortals premiere; sparkling eyes, cheeky smile, and the navy suit – all it took was one look and I was smitten. The rest is history, as they say.
From that point on, I have visualised him in every chapter; readers will recognise his mannerisms and even his speech pattern. Like Henry, Ayden Stone is a well-educated Englishman with impeccable manners and a great sense of humour. Who better than Henry Cavill to feature as my muse… it’s been a difficult job but someone’s had to do it!
If someone gave Henry a copy of your three books and you knew he’d read them, what would you want him to say about your story?
Firstly, the idea of that happening gives me chills. Ha! I’m not sure how much adult romance Henry will have read but, my initial request would be for him to consider The Story of Us Trilogy as a contemporary fairy-tale. Essentially, Elizabeth Parker is Sleeping Beauty and the male protagonist, Ayden Stone, is her Prince Charming. The fairy-tale illusions are many, drawing on the parallel narrative to create drama and tension but, at the end of the day, Ayden is seen as a multi-facetted character who is lover, protector and hero. I think Henry would be drawn to that notion.
I’d also hope Henry would recognise in Ayden characteristics associated with literary heroes; as Elizabeth has qualities associated with her namesake Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice), so is Ayden more Darcy than Grey. To outsiders he appears proud and condescending but with Beth he reveals his true nature. He confesses, “You have humanised me, Beth.” She doesn’t tame him, as such, but shows him what it is to love, unconditionally. They are “star-crossed lovers” and their fateful romance is not assured. Many obstacles are thrown in their path, resulting in moments of heart-stopping drama, tears and sexual encounters that are hot enough to melt your kindle. Ha! (Or so I’m told)
Ayden might be classically drawn but, in the bedroom, he’s very hands on. I’m sure Henry could rise to the challenge.
Did you accomplish everything you wanted to do in this trilogy? Was it difficult to say goodbye to your characters or will you write more about them in other fashions, like short stories or novellas or even another book in the future?
It breaks my heart to let Ayden, and especially Beth go. The three of us have been living as one for two years and have become very close; life-long friends, in fact. I have laughed and cried with them; felt their pain and revelled in the romance but, all good things… having said that, there are issues left unresolved in TouchStone for ever and only my readers can decide whether Ayden and Beth move on to the next chapter in their lives. They have the soundtrack to their lives as a reminder of the journey they have taken through a world populated by ‘monsters’- of one kind or another, so putting everything behind them will take some doing. Their future looks bright and there is magic in the air, but only time will tell if this fairy-tale has a happy-ever-after.
What will you write next?
I have nothing planned but I have a head full of ideas. The concluding part of The Story of Us is unpredictable and that in itself presents all kinds of possibilities. For those who have read TouchStone for ever, they will know exactly what I mean. For those who haven’t well, you’re in for one hell of a ride! The TouchStone world is larger than life and epic in proportion – anything and everything is possible.
Sydney would love for you to enter her Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes, including signed copies of Touchstone for ever.
TouchStone for ever – the Soundtrack
I Only have Eyes for You — The Famingos
True Love Ways — Buddy Holly
Strange and Beautiful — Aqualung
Still — Daughter
Many a Horror — Biffy Clyro
Kiss Me — Ed Sheeran
Empire — Shakira
Crying for no Reason — Katy B
Skyscraper — Demi Lovato
Everything — Lifehouse
Simply Beautiful — Al Greene
From Where you are — Lifehouse
I’m Thinking of You — Katy Perry
Sweet Disposition — Temper Trap
So High — John Legend
Cannonball — Damien Rice
Burning Desire — Lana Del Ray
I Won’t Give Up — Jason Mraz
Air That I Breath — Alexis Jordan
Holding Onto Heaven — Foxes
Hurt — Christina Aguilera
1000 Years — Christina Peri
Sweet Nothing — Florence Welsh
Let's Never Stop Falling in Love — Pink Martini
I am a Teacher of English in a Grammar School in England. I have written creatively for years, having worked as a commercial journalist and a copywriter.
TouchStone for play is my debut novel and the first installment of the Story of Us Trilogy.
I am nocturnal by nature and love nothing more than stopping up late, listening to music and being inspired to write. I find music stimulates the senses and helps me to visualise the scenes I write.
I have few interests outside of teaching, reading and writing and would consider myself a home-bird. Although, having said that, I will allow myself to be entertained by Mr. Cavill should he appear on my radar.