"The queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings." —Los Angeles Magazine
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 Bronte, Nocturne, Dracula My Love, Forbidden, and The Harrison Duet: Songbird and Propositions. Her books have been translated into eighteen foreign languages.
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 exactly 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 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.