Guest Blogger Sydney Jamesson: Two Centuries of Bad Boys and Gentlemen

Guest Blogger Sydney Jamesson: Two Centuries of Bad Boys and Gentlemen

Romance readers love their book boyfriends. I ought to know because I’m just as much a fan of the genre as a reader as I am a writer. I had a blast creating my own book boyfriend Oliver Sand for The Muse Unlocked, and when I hear from readers about how much they’ve become smitten with my little creation, nothing pleases me more. When I was putting together a wish list of guest bloggers for Summer Blog Takeover 2015, I knew I wanted a guest author to represent this important aspect of romantic fiction…the art of building a captivating book boyfriend. One of the more popular ones I’ve discovered out there in recent years has been Ayden Stone, the lead of Sydney Jamesson’s The Story of Us trilogy, so I thought I’d reach out to the busy author. And she was kind enough to say yes.


In this special guest blog, Sydney gives us a little background to the origins of her popular book series as well as the literary inspirations behind her swoon-worthy leading man Ayden Stone.  You may have even read tales about these other famous book fellas before!


Thank you again for participating, Syd. And to my readers here, be sure to check out the short bio following this guest blog with all of the places you can meet up and connect with the author. ~ Chris



Two Centuries of Bad Boys and Gentlemen by Sydney Jamesson


I believe we are all products of our upbringing. I’m an only child, I enjoy my own company, always have. I read a lot during my teens, loved literature – still do. I even went on to study literature at university. I teach English language and literature to teenage boys and girls, and love it. It’s a perk of the job.


I begin by contextualising a new novel, giving them some kind of hook upon which to hang a classic text. Macbeth is a streetfighter who secretly wants to make a name for himself … Romeo is a member of the football team who stops turning up for training sessions … You get the idea?


Doing that on a daily basis, I wondered what would happen if I wrote a love story that synthesised characters from the classics with modern media elements; threw in a familiar fairy tale, some suspense, hot sex and – hey presto – The Story of Us was born.


In actual fact, The Story of Us had been collecting dust on a shelf in my study for twenty years or more. Like everyone else, I noticed that with the arrival of Fifty Shades of Grey, there was a massive interest in popular romantic fiction. It was then I hitched up my wagon, dusted off my manuscript, gave it a new coat of paint and put it back on the shelf, waiting for the right time to share it. It wasn’t until I stumbled across Sylvain Reynard that the right time arrived. I realised there might actually be an audience for literary romance; one that was not rushed, had a timeless quality about it and, just as importantly, offered the reader a sensory experience.


So…who’s Ayden Stone?


How many of us were introduced to the classics at high school and were mesmerised by powerful, strangely sensual leading men? I, for one, have Emily Bronte to thank for Heathcliff. (Wuthering Heights) I found Bronte’s writing exquisite, I found Heathcliff unforgettable. He has been regarded as the archetypal romantic hero with a tortured soul, and it was he – among others – who was the inspiration for my leading man in The Story of Us – Ayden Stone.


I was drawn to Heathcliff’s rags to riches story. He went from gypsy to gentleman, personifying wildness, that untameable persona that women these days appear to be drawn to. He was the proverbial ‘bad boy’ – no tattoos, no motorcycle, no actual wealth, initially, but motivated by a sense of inferiority and blessed with sexual magnetism. He loved hard and fell hard – the ideal construct for modern romance, with side helpings of danger and suspense, perfect for TouchStone for play.

Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart — you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. ~ Heathcliff.


As is the way with writers, we pick and choose what aspects of an inspirational character we want to expose and develop. Heathcliff was flawed and did not redeem himself, Ayden Stone, on the other hand, goes out of his way to seek forgiveness, as can be seen in TouchStone for giving. Like Heathcliff, he had a childhood sweetheart he loved for most of his life; so pronounced was his love that he couldn’t settle for substitutes. His cruelty was renowned. Ayden Stone follows suit, to some degree. He is the successful billionaire playboy who was once considered to be “unlovable.” It isn’t until he finds the love of his life – his soul mate, Beth Parker, that he accepts the need for change. With his potential for becoming the perfect lover recognised, he redeems himself and goes on to become her saviour when confronted by sociopath Dan Rizler; a dark figure from her past.




Another classic romantic hero I have drawn upon is Mr. Darcy. (Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) He has all the necessary attributes: tall, handsome, rich, arrogant. The man has position, loads of money and isn’t afraid to spend it. In Mr. Stone’s case, he’s a catch and he knows it. As I have shown in The Story of Us, Ayden Stone undergoes a kind of transformation – as does Mr. Darcy. He becomes self-aware, sees himself through a woman’s eyes, re-evaluates and modifies his behaviour. They both become ‘gentle-men.’ The time of writing is different, but the storyline is similar – all narrated autobiographically through the female protagonist.


Unlike the two classic heroes above, Mr. Rochester is very much the Mr. Dark and Dangerous of nineteenth century literature. (Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre). He is raw, wild and moody with a voracious sexual appetite – having slept his way across England. The unsuitability of him as a partner only reinforces Jane’s goodness.The passion between these two characters, past and present, is palpable. It simmers before becoming a bubbling, rippling tide of inflammable emotions. As a reflection of the time of writing, Jane regarded her desire for Rochester as being wicked and sinful; hellish, fire imagery is everywhere in the book. Like Jane, Beth Parker also feels the ‘spark’ and ‘burns’ for Ayden; the difference being that she can – it’s now become socially acceptable, thank God! In fact, it’s what helps sell the book these days.


So, two centuries of bad boys and gentleman and many more reincarnations to follow. Thanks to Chris for inviting me to share my thoughts with you on this, her awesome blog. Such an honour. XX



SydneyJamesson_revSydney Jamesson brings a diverse background to her storytelling. A former journalist and copywriter who eventually found herself at home in the teaching world, she has embraced her love for words all of her life. She wields those words in the romantic trilogy The Story of Us and her latest work, Blue Genes (The Story of Us Series: Into the Blue). To connect with Sydney, you can follow her on Twitter at @SydneyJamesson and on Facebook. Plus, keep up with the latest book news and blogs at Sydney’s website


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