We are thrilled to share a lovely interview with one of our favorite authors, Sydney Jamesson!
She’s been very kind to us by accepting our invitation to be featured as our Author of the Month.
She honored us with a heartfelt interview that I’m pretty sure you’ll all enjoy. We wanted to really know Sydney, and together, we’ll discover this amazing, passionate and hard-working woman. She opens up to her fans and she even talks about the importance of Sylvain Reynard (another favorite in the house ;)) and her fans in her career as a professional writer.
And in case you missed it, we reviewed The Story of Us Trilogy. Check them out!
Without much further ado, we’re glad to introuduce you to the talented Sydney Jamesson. 🙂
We know you’re an English teacher, how and when did your love for literature starts?
I’ve always loved the idea of immersing myself in another world, being someone else for the duration of a novel is what attracted me to literature. As an only child, there were times when I’d be gone for hours reading and writing in my bedroom, traveling to faraway places and different eras, becoming someone else until my mum would call me down for dinner or it was time for bed.
I had an English teacher at senior school (high school for Americans) who seemed ancient at the time. She loved literature and spoke of it with such affection that it made me think it must be something wonderful. English became my best subject at school and through that teacher, my enthusiasm grew. She was also very encouraging of my writing, suggesting I take up a career as a journalist – which I went on to do.
I believe that’s why I side-stepped away from commercial journalism and copywriting to teach – and then returned to writing. I try to enthuse my students in the hope they’ll go on to pursue their ambition, and create something of beauty. There’s a lot of young talent out there in need of encouragement. Who knows, at least one of them might well have a bestseller taking shape in their imagination right now. All it takes is little self-belief to put yourself out there and share your stories with readers.
Which was your favorite book as a child? As an adult?
I never took to The Famous Five or any other of the Enid Blyton books or even Judy Blume as a child, (they were popular when I was a young) but I went straight from magazines to the classics: Austen, Bronte, Hardy, Shakespeare and Dickinson to name but a few. I think the lyrical nature of the words and the imagery captured my imagination and made me feel that anything was possible. If you could dream it and write it down, that’s when the magic happens.
I have a brilliant guest blog on my website that makes an interesting comparison between Ayden and some of the classic romantic heroes like Mr. Darcy. It’s certainly worth a read: http://sydneyjamesson.com/a-new-mr-darcy-comes-out-to-play/
As an adult, I have an eclectic taste. I am always drawn to character driven plots. Having said that, I prefer plots that have twists and turns and are full of surprises. I hate the predictable.
One of my favourite authors is Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire is a work of genius. I love Anne Tyler, her portrayal of misfits and disconnected families can make you laugh and cry in the same paragraph.
I’ve always loved Stephen Leather, Stieg Larsson for crime or suspense. Ian McEwan for ingenuity and character development, and more recently, Gillian Flynn for Gone Girl. In the romance department, Tiffany Reisz is incredibly talented; her stories have so much heart. They are sexual but so well written that the most surprising act seems like an everyday activity. That takes some doing. More recently, I have enjoyed Sylvia Day; she is mistress of steamy writing and quite rightly so after years of perfecting her art. I have also enjoyed reading Jason Luke, You by Caroline Kepnes and The Girl in 6E by Alessandra Torre.
We read that it took you 20 years to finish TouchStone for Play. Why did it take you so long?
When I released TouchStone for Play, it was barely recognisable as the book I’d written twenty years previously. I considered the original as a series of notes, a starting point which I could built upon. TouchStone for Play became a reincarnation, a transformation of a basic love story into something deeper and more meaningful. There was a wealthy guy with a playboy reputation, but ‘Beth’ was not a teacher and Dan was not so much a stalker as a jealous lover.
What I did carry forward was the intense attraction and the loyalty that soon became apparent between the central characters. They were from different worlds, but something had brought them together – fate. That is the essence of The Story Of Us Trilogy and in the series, what keeps them together.
Sylvain Reynard’s writing had a very important influence in your life as an author. Can you share with us why?
It certainly has. Only after reading Gabriel’s Inferno did I feel there was a place for The Story of Us in the publishing world as a piece of literary romance. The romanticism and the lyrical style blew me away – it’s no secret, least of all to SR, that I was inspired. I had a kind of epiphany. I said to my partner, “This is the most romantic book I’ve ever read.” (I loved it that much) It’s so perfectly constructed and written with so much love and devotion. When I saw how readers loved it, I thought there might be a place in their hearts for Ayden and Beth’s love story. I was also aware of the popularity of stories that were more sexual than sensual and so added spice to Ayden and Beth’s love affair. Along with the heartbreak I added hotness and a heap of humour and suspense and, The Story of Us was born.
Who are Ayden Stone and Beth Parker in Sydney Jamesson’s life? Did someone inspired both characters?
I have to confess that as Beth is a school teacher, most people assume that she is me. In her professional life she probably is. In terms of personality, she’s much softer than me. I’m less sentimental and forgiving. Her softness and compassion probably reflects my daughter’s personality. Having said that, we both cried when we watched Beaches. Who didn’t?
I have enjoyed giving Ayden a voice too. He is much more business-like than Beth. He’s had a difficult childhood, but beneath that cool, polished and impenetrable exterior, there’s a heart of gold – a heart that beats for Beth. A lot of readers will recognise that in their partners. The same can be said of mine. Most of the men in our lives are all bark, but they rarely bite … not without permission. Ha!
As for Dan, he is Hannibal Lecter let loose, a sociopath with an obsessive streak. Poor Beth Parker is the focus of that obsession and he will stop at nothing to get his hands on his ‘princess.’
The Story of Us Trilogy introduces us to Ayden and Beth’s love story. How did you choose the titles for each book? Did you design the book cover as well?
I did come up with the concept for the book covers, but had a wonderful designer create them. The covers are clues to what happens in the books. The background is always a significant setting and the foreground represents an important moment in the book. I also wanted them to reflect the fairy-tale concept in that The Story of Us has many fairy-tale elements, and Beth could be recognised as Sleeping Beauty. She has her Prince Charming who rescues her from being attacked and killed by a wolf in sheep’s clothing, Dan Rizler. The entire series has magical elements like prophecy and destiny, the stars, nature and transformation, as well as self-sacrifice and redemption. Fairy-tales tend to be about battles between good and evil, and this series is no exception.
Also the images are very childlike, reflecting the length of time their love has existed, and it isn’t until the couple are fully settled in Blue Genes that the imagery becomes more adult, but still symbolic.
The titles of the books are all variants on TouchStone: a reference point against which things are measured. Ayden Stone is ‘the best’ – he has no equal in Beth’s eyes, he is her TouchStone. Also including his name means that in each book he, plays, gives and then offers her forever. The Into the Blue Series sees them moving forward together into the unknown: Blue Genes, Blue Hearts and Blue Moon will complete their story.
How would you describe Ayden and Beth’s love story? For those who haven’t read this trilogy, what do you think makes your story special and different? Why they should read it?
I would say that The Story of Us is epic. It’s unique in that it crosses genres. From the outset it appears like many other stories out there; a wealthy businessman meets an young, naive woman who is waiting to be ‘trained’ or dominated in some way or looking for a sexual encounter. This story is not that. Beth is shy but smart, beautiful in spirit and it is she who teaches Ayden how to love, even though he is the playboy. He must transform himself into the man worthy of her love.
Over time, readers discover they are soul-mates, their love has been written in the stars. They have been waiting to find each other. After a long and lonely period of twenty-two years, fate looks down on them and brings them together. From that point on, they cannot be separated, even though the forces of heaven and earth conspire to break them up.
In the wings, let’s not forget Dan Rizler, Beth’s stalker who has also been looking for her. Will he get his hands on her before Ayden does? There’s only one way to find out …
You finished The Story of Us Trilogy (TouchStone For Play, TouchStone For Giving and TouchStone For Ever) and now you introduce us to your new series in your recently published book Blue Genes. Why did you decide to continue Ayden and Beth’s love story in this new series?
The Into the Blue Series, is all about Ayden and Beth as they strive to find their happily ever after. That means bringing families together and starting a family of their own. But as ever, there is always someone to rock the boat …
But, knowing their love is worth fighting for, they will do whatever it takes to keep their love, and each other alive. Blue Hearts is releasing in December. In the book their love will be tested, pushed to the limit and readers will have to ask themselves: will Ayden and Beth be able to withstand not only the heartache of separation but the forces that are conspiring against them?
Ayden Stone has the face of Henry Cavill. How did Henry influence Ayden’s character?
Right from the start I had an image of Ayden in my head and struggled to find an actual picture of a man who could live up to my expectations, and then … I saw Henry Cavill at the Immortals premier and I called out to my partner, “There’s Ayden.” Of course he rolled his eyes, but from that moment, Henry has been Ayden, not only for me but for all my readers. He would make an awesome Ayden. Not only because he could portray him physically, but I think he has the wit and the intelligence to pull it off. Ayden is a complex character, and it would take someone who has both the screen presence and the sensitivity to bring some of the softer moments to life. For instance, when Ayden says,
When I lean back and look at him, he’s still and serious, lost somehow.
“I don’t deserve you, Beth,” he mutters, stroking my hair so softly it feels more like petting than caressing. “What happened last night was, what can I say, unexpected, especially as we didn’t get off to a very good start. It was more than I deserve. I felt so relaxed and turned-on. It was a new experience for me.”
Also he could handle the sex scenes, who can forget The Tudors?
“With grasping hands, he fists my hair urging me to respond to his impassioned kisses while his tongue licks and penetrates me: he’s unstoppable.
Using his free hand he lowers me beneath his Herculean body so I can feel the full weight of him flattening me to the mattress. It’s all bump and grind: silk material against hard muscle, nails on bare skin, my saturated flesh up against his hard cock. Every nerve in my body is tingling, every breath a fight for survival. I want him so badly.”
I know I’d pay to see that. Ha!
Do you consider yourself a #CavillAddict? 😉
In answer to your question, am I a #CavillAddict? I would have to say yes. I find him intoxicating and rarely a day goes by when I’m not doing something with him – in terms or writing or sharing a photo, I mean. 😉
We have published authors among us and aspiring writers. As a very successful author, do you have any words of advice for them?
Always make sure that whatever you publish is your very best work. Don’t be pressured to follow the crowd, find your own voice. If you have an idea for a story and it’s something you’d like to read, the chances are others would too. Get friends or someone you trust to read it objectively and, whatever you do, take no notice of negative reviews. You can’t please all the people all the time.
How important are your fans for you? Describe your fans in three words.
I can’t tell you how much my fans mean to me. We have a family of fans from all over the world and we congregate on the TouchStone Family Circle page on Facebook. Of the many things I have set myself and achieved, I am most proud of the fact that The Story of Us has brought so many lovely people together. The ladies in the circle are my second family and it’s for them and readers who believe in romance and true love that I write. It is they who continue to make this journey so enjoyable for me.
Three words: passionate, loyal, devoted.
I won’t lie and say it’s all been a bed of roses, it hasn’t. There have been times when I have been tearful and exhausted. I have taught all day then wrote all night, and done that on four hours sleep for months. To be a writer you have to be so dedicated and believe in what you’re doing or it will become too much like hard work. Knowing I have the love and support of so many readers, motivates me to keep at it, and to produce stories they can laugh, swoon, and cry along with.
What’s next for Sydney Jamesson?
I want to finish the Into the Blue Series with Blue Moon which is going to be the most amazing HEA anyone has ever read! #Justsaying Ha!
After that I have lots of ideas on bits of paper, in notepads — literally everywhere. I think I will take a break and think about finding an agent who can introduce The Story of Us Series to a wider audience. I would love to have it translated into other languages, just so people everywhere can experience love in its purest form and fall in love with Ayden and Beth as my readers and I have done.
They are so special to me, I actually tear-up when I think of not having Beth in my life, she is so pure of heart and an inspiration to so many of my readers. What she has been through and how she has handled herself, has inspired so many of us. And, as for Ayden, well, it goes without saying that he will be missed, but I will always have Mr. Cavill to remind me of him and make me smile.
Thanks so much for having me as your author of the month. It’s been a treat reading your reviews and having this chance to introduce The Story of Us to fellow romantics around the world.
It was truly our pleasure!
We hope you all enjoy this interview. Certainly, Sydney Jamesson is someone to watch closely. Don’t miss her extraordinary work. Good luck, Sydney!
Thanks for reading. Until next time!