Cool news for fans of Days of Our Lives' John and Marlena...they're coming back! Only you won't find 'em on your TV. The legendary supercouple — played by Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall, who were axed in 2008 to cut production costs — will be among several MIA Days characters who appear in a new potboiler novel called Salem's Secrets, Scandals and Lies (Sourcebooks, Inc.). Due in November, just in time for the soap's 45th anniversary, the book is by former Days head writer Sheri Anderson, who will reveal what's been happening to Jarlena since the characters split town. She'll also bring us up to date on such other Salem expats as Belle, Shawn, Patch and Eric.
"I love this kind of writing because it gives me total freedom with the characters," says Anderson. "I can take them to any lavish locale in the world and I don't have to worry about budget restrictions or actor contracts!" She'll focus the book — the first of at least three — on a brand-new character, teen heiress Charlotte "Charley" Gaines, who is the daughter of a notorious Bernie Madoff-type crook. Or so she thinks. After her mother dies in a car crash in Monaco, Charley finds out that her true birth parents hail from Salem. "Charley is gorgeous, spirited, independent and still a virgin —for the moment anyway," Anderson says.
The books will take place in the same basic time frame as the current Days plots. "I keep the show up to speed on what I'm doing so I don't contradict their storytelling," she says. "As a fan of soaps, it drives me crazy when continuity is wrong." Might Charley actually appear in the flesh on Days some day? "I would love it," says Anderson. "But I understand as well as anyone that head writers don't want to be told that they have to use a character. If they read my books and decide they'd like to use Charley I'm all for it. The needs of the show come first."
Anderson doesn't consider her sexy tomes to be romance novels. "Those tend to be a bit on the soft side," she says. "These books are a little more daring and edgy than that." And they may get a rise out of certain Days fans. Case in point: Anderson will have Charley develop an attraction for the very married Shawn!