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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Interview: Author Syrie James of "The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen" and "Songbird"


When Southern California radio deejay Desiree Germain hosts a contest on the air, she is immediately taken by the smooth, deeply masculine voice of caller number twelve, Kyle Harrison. Later that afternoon, the man behind the voice walks into her studio, and Desiree is instantly smitten. Kyle Harrison is not only devastatingly handsome, he is a brilliant, extremely wealthy entrepreneur from Seattle who is used to getting what he wants. Desiree can't help her attraction to Kyle—and if the intense way he looks at her and keeps delaying his flight back to Seattle is any indication, it seems her feelings are more than reciprocated. They embark on a thrilling, passionate love affair that plays havoc with the life Desiree has struggled so hard to carefully control. With a divorce under her belt and her career finally going places, she is concerned that their whirlwind romance is doomed to long-distance failure.

 It might take a Maserati, dozens of red roses, and a lot of airplane tickets, but Kyle is determined to sweep Desiree off her feet and claim her as his own—forever. Can Kyle convince Desiree to risk her heart and her career for love? Sexy, witty, tender, and deeply poignant, Songbird is a page-turning tale that will ignite your senses and bring a smile to your heart.
 The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen “A novel within a novel honoring what we love most about Austen: 
her engaging stories, her rapier wit, and her swoon-worthy romance. James’s pitch perfect, brilliantly crafted prose will have you enchanted and in awe of her mastery until the very last page. 5 out of 5 Regency Stars!” —Austenprose
Forbidden “Hands down the most fascinating book I have read in quite a while... As the characters develop and the story unfolds you will find yourself wrapped up in their world, indulging in every kiss and holding your breath with every twist.” —Luxury Reading Nocturne
“You will love this beautiful and mysterious story, full of love and longing, but with a passion that sizzles through the pages. The characters are bold and imaginative, and our hero Michael is everything a woman looks for in a man, but just a bit more.” —The Romance Reviews
Dracula, My Love “Syrie James weaves a tale of quite a different Dracula: a mouth-wateringly handsome, powerful, cultured, and passionate one. And…I...Loved...It! This is a gripping story, infused with passion, excitement and emotional turmoil. It sheds a whole new light on Count Dracula. In true über-vampire style, he completely outdoes Edward Cullen and Buffy’s Angel in the sexy tortured soul stakes. This vampire can bite my neck any time!”” —American Book Center
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë “For fans of biographical tales and romance, Syrie’s story of Charlotte offers it all: longing and yearning, struggle and success, the searing pain of immeasurable loss, and the happiness of a love that came unbidden and unsought. I did not want this story to end.” —Jane Austen’s World
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen “This fascinating novel will make readers swear there was such a man as Mr. Ashford and that there is such a memoir…Tantalizing, tender, and true to the Austen mythos…highly recommended.” —Library Journal, starred review
Published by:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Pages:  236
Find the book:  Amazon
Syrie grew up in San Jose, California. Her father, Morton Astrahan, was one of the fathers of computer science. Her mother, Joann, told Syrie: "You can be anything you want to be when you grow up. Except maybe a famous model. They need really good cheek bones."
When Syrie was in the sixth grade, her grandparents gave her an old typewriter and she wrote her first book. "I didn't finish it," Syrie says, "because I got stuck in the middle and didn't know how to end it. I learned a valuable lesson that I've never forgotten: Never write without an outline! But I was hooked. Creating stories and characters, and retreating into my imagination, was thrilling to me. I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a writer."
Syrie was Valedictorian of her high school class and graduated cum laude from U.C. Davis with a B.A. in English and Communications, where she was awarded a Departmental Citation for Outstanding Accomplishment in English.
Syrie has long been a fan of British literature of the 19th century. She also enjoys reading in a variety of other genres, including historical fiction, paranormal fiction, women's fiction, biography, memoir, romance, mystery, and the classics.
Two of Syrie's favorite authors are Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë. Syrie's husband Bill, who has joined her in watching all the film versions of Miss Austen's novels several times over and every film version of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights ever made, has come to share her enthusiasm, if not her obsession. Syrie also enjoys writing about brilliant, sympathetic, charismatic vampires ... and the paranormal. It was a truly wonderful experience to co-author the novel Forbidden with her son Ryan.
Syrie lived in Paris when she was seven years old, and had visited more than two dozen countries by age eight, which instilled in her a lifelong love of traveling. Her other favorite pursuits include movies, theater, great food, playing games with family and friends, Scrabble, photography, sewing, and the out of doors. Syrie designed and maintains this website. Like Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, Syrie is very fond of the countryside, and loves taking long walks.

Syrie is a member of the WGA, RWA, and a life member of JASNA (the Jane Austen Society of North America). She spent many years as a screenwriter and enjoys writing both novels and screenplays. Syrie writes practically every weekday from 10 - 6. She says, "Many people can't wait for the weekend to arrive. It's the opposite for me. I truly love my jam-packed weekends, but from the time I turn off the computer on Friday evening to the moment I'm back in my chair on Monday morning, I'm anxious to get back to the characters I left in limbo, who are just waiting for me to continue their story."

When she's not reading, exercising, researching, writing, or updating her website, Syrie's preferred activity is to spend time with her husband and family. Syrie married her college sweetheart, Bill James, and she considers their sons Ryan and Jeff to be her finest achievements. Syrie and Bill were thrilled to welcome two wonderful daughters to their family, Ryan's wife Yvonne, and Jeff's wife Yakun!
Check out Syrie's blog here.
Welcome, Syrie!  A Bookish Libraria is delighted to have you here today to answer some questions both professional and personal.  I know our readers are going to enjoy getting to know you better.  Many of us love your books, and look forward to reading this early, republished book of yours!  So, let's begin:

1)       Tell us something about yourself, please.  How do most people describe you?

I’ve loved to write ever since I can remember! I hope that people would describe me as imaginative, hard-working, dedicated to my family and my craft, fun-loving, and fun to be around—when I’m not writing, that is. I have eight published novels that have been translated into 18 languages, and I can’t imagine doing anything else!

2)      Where is your favorite place to write?  Any special gimmicks, writing tools or keepsakes that you keep near you when you write…I hear authors can be superstitious!

I have an office upstairs in my house, with windows overlooking our back garden and the treetops and rooftops of the neighborhood. The room is lined with bookcases and includes a couch for thinking and a big L-shaped desk. Because it’s at the back of the house, it’s very quiet—in every way, the perfect environment in which to write.

3)      Who first told you you could write well, and how did it affect you?

I’ve been writing ever since I was a little girl—but I do remember the first person whose praise inspired me to write professionally. I’d been married for seven years and my kids were very small when I took a fiction-writing class for fun. The teacher said I was an excellent writer and that my writing style would suit romance novels. I’d never heard of romance novels—I’d majored in English in college and studied Austen, Brontë, and the classics. She said I could find romance novels at the grocery store. I couldn’t imagine how a book could be good, if you could buy it at the grocery store—but they were! And I thought: I want to try this!

A Romance Writers of America conference opened the door to an exciting new world. I realized that everything I’d learned as an English major was theory and analysis; but here were the practical pointers I needed to craft a novel of my own. Inspired, I wrote my first romance novel, Songbird, about a female disk jockey who falls in love with a man she first meets on the air—and I sold it. That book was followed by Propositions, book two in the series The Harrison Duet. I still love those first two books so much that I’ve just re-released them.

4)      Which contemporary authors do you most admire?

Just a few of the many contemporary authors whose work I enjoy reading are Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series), Deborah Harkness (Discovery of Witches), Ken Follett (especially Pillars of the Earth), Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind), and anything by Maeve Binchy.

5)      Which are your favorite classical authors?

My favorite author is Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is one of the most perfect love stories ever written. Every time I re-read Austen’s novels, I learn something new—which is why I love to write novels about her (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen) or inspired by her (The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen). Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books, and it was such a thrill to write the story of Charlotte’s own fiery romance and journey to becoming a published author in The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë.  I also admire J.R.R. Tolkien, Agatha Christie (she is so clever), and L.M. Montgomery (I have loved all the Anne of Green Gables books since childhood).

6)      Jump into any book~which character would you be?

Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. She’s smart, witty, lively, strong, accomplished—and in the end, she marries Mr. Darcy. What more could anyone ask for?

7)      If you could have 5 historical people to dinner, who would they be?

Jane Austen, Abraham Lincoln, William Shakespeare, Elizabeth I, Marilyn Monroe, Leonardo da Vinci, Jesus, Michelango, Cleopatra, and Elvis Presley. Okay that’s ten, but it makes a better dinner party. J

8)      Ocean or Lake?

I love walking on the beach and the sound and smell of the sea, but at times the ocean can be so rough and intimidating. I adore the mountains and the smell of the pines; there’s nothing quite so beautiful or serene as a calm, pristine Alpine lake. So I guess I enjoy them both equally.

9)      Favorite two TV shows:

At the moment, Downton Abbey and Elementary.

10)  Favorite movie of all time:

Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version). Runners up: Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson), Groundhog Day, and Love Actually.

11)  Are you working on a new book?

Yes. Details will be coming soon. J

12)  Anything else I forgot to ask you?

I am thrilled to share with you my first two published novels, Songbird and Propositions, in newly edited editions, both very romantic love stories that Christina Boyd of Austenprose.com rated five stars and said kept her “turning pages well into the wee hours of the morning.” Both novels feature strong, intelligent, talented women who meet men who are every bit their equals, and who experience a love so deep, immediate, and profound, it forces them to rethink their future and the very meaning of romance. You can find out more about them and read excerpts on my website. Thank you so much for hosting this Q&A today, it’s a pleasure to be here!


Again, Syrie James is the bestselling author of eight critically acclaimed novels, including The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë, Dracula My Love, Nocturne, Forbidden, and The Harrison Duet: Songbird and Propositions. Her books have been translated into eighteen foreign languages. Syrie lives with her family in Los Angeles, California. Connect with her on her website, facebook, and Twitter.
Please find my recent review of her nove "The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen" here: 



Deborah Batterman

I'd like to come to that dinner party . . .


So would I!! Syrie James is one of today's most interesting fiction authors, I think. What an imagination...


What a fantastic interview! Thanks, Deb, for sharing!

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