"Jane Austen's First Love"
"The Missing Manuscript
of Jane Austen"
"The queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings." —Los Angeles Magazine
Syrie James is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, including Jane Austen's First Love, The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen,
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, Nocturne, Dracula My Love, Forbidden, and The Harrison Duet: Songbird and Propositions.
Her books have been translated into eighteen foreign languages, awarded the Audio Book Association Audie, designated as Editor's Picks by Library Journal, named a Great Group Read by the Women's National Book Association, a Discover New Writer's Selection by Barnes and Noble,
and Best Book of the Year by The Romance Reviews and Suspense Magazine.
Syrie is a member of the WGA 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. 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."
Syrie was named after a character in a radio show that her mother listened to as a girl. Today, Syrie is thrilled that her name is pronounced the same as Siri, the iPhone personal assistant--even if they spell the name incorrectly. :)
Syrie was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and moved west at age one because her father didn't like shoveling snow. She has lived most of her life in California, if you don't count the two years as a child when she lived in France.
(L to R) With son Jeff, his wife Yakun, son Ryan, his wife Evey, Syrie, and her husband Bill.
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 18th and 19th centuries. She also enjoys reading in a variety of other genres, including historical fiction, paranormal fiction, women's fiction, biography, memoir, romance, mystery, the classics, and graphic novels. She is admittedly a total geek when it comes to Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, and a huge fan of Superman and Batman--she read all the comics growing up, and dressed her sons as Batman and Robin long before it was cool. Her favorite childhood novels were Anne of Green Gables, Charlotte's Web, and The Secret Garden. She is proud to admit that she owns and has read (in both English and French) all the Tintin graphic novels so many times, she's lost count.
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 enjoys researching and bringing to life the stories of real people, whether it be in modern day or from centuries past--the key ingredient being a subject with whom we can sympathize and identify. And just to keep things interesting, she sometimes enjoys writing about brilliant, sympathetic, charismatic vampires...and the paranormal. It was a 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 passtimes (besides reading) include watching great movies, TV, and theater, consuming (as opposed to preparing!) great food, playing games with family and friends (i.e. Scrabble, Password, Trivial Pursuit, poker anyone?) photography,
sewing (she has designed and created all of her Regency era gowns), 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.
When she's not reading, exercising, researching, writing, social networking, or updating this 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 several years ago to welcome two wonderful daughters to their family, Ryan's wife Yvonne, and Jeff's wife Yakun!
Check out Syrie's blog here.