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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Writer’s Inspiration: A Guest Post by Syrie James

Syrie James has written a guest post for us here at The Maiden’s Court where she discusses her inspiration for writing her novels, and specifically her newest, The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, which released on December 31, 2012.  Follow along to the end of the post for a giveaway opportunity. 

A Writer’s Inspiration

Guest Post by Syrie James, Author of
The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James

Syrie James, author of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, discusses the authors that have inspired her work blending the contemporary with the historical.

What authors have inspired your work?

Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë have both served as great inspirations to me. Both women lived in an era when it was almost unthinkable for a woman to become a writer. Both were clergymen’s daughters who lived in relative obscurity with no connections to the publishing world. Yet they had a dream to write, to create stories—and they pursued that dream with a passion. Both (except for brief stints at school) were educated primarily at home, at a time when very few women received any kind of formal education; yet both were self-motivated and went far beyond the basics of language, deportment, music, and needlework that comprised most ladies' curriculum. They both took advantage of their fathers' libraries to become incredibly well-read. Both wrote beautiful prose, developed unforgettable characters, and were brilliant story-tellers. I greatly admire Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, and love their work with all my heart. Their journeys, passion, and devotion to their craft inspire me every single day.

You like to blend the contemporary with the historical? Why is that?

Actually this book was something new for me. I’ve written three historical fiction novels (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen; The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë; and Dracula, My Love) and two contemporary novels (Nocturne and Forbidden.) When I first conceived of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, I thought I would just write Austen’s "lost manuscript," which would therefore be entirely historical. And I do love writing a historical! But as I considered the idea more and more, I decided it could be even more fun if I included a contemporary story to frame and add context to the Austen novel.

Including the modern day story with the historical sets up a mystery: is there a lost manuscript? If so, what is it? Where is it? And why did it go missing in the first place? The modern day characters—and therefore the reader—have the fun of solving those mysteries. Blending the two time frames also allowed me to have those characters comment on what they were reading, which I hoped would add an interesting dimension to the book. I knew, going in, that this structure would prove very challenging, and was I ever right—I was obliged to write two books instead of one, and had to make sure they both meshed. I hope readers enjoy the result.

You can learn more about Syrie James and her works at her website or on her Facebook.

Syrie JamesAuthorPhoto2011 - Credit William James
Photo Credit: William James

I have one copy of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen to offer to one lucky reader from the US.  Giveaway ends January 27th.  Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I like Ms. James' answer regarding why this book is a blend of present day and historical times. It seems like it was a really compelling way to tell the story!

    1. I think it can if done right. For me I prefer lesser amount of the contemporary story and more of the historical story.

  2. I am a huge Syrie James fan - thanks for the giveaway!

  3. So envious you got a guest post with Ms. James!! I'm less of a fan of the modern-and-historical novel but I'm so curious about this book that I'm going to toss my prejudices aside! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  4. Thank you for the chance to win this book. This looks like a good book and I enjoyed the interview.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  5. I would really like to win this for my daughter, she loves Jane Austen books. Thank you for hosting this giveaway.


  6. My wife loves Jane Austen, I'm sure she would also love this tribute. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Hi Heather,
    Thanks for hosting me on your blog! Good luck to everyone, and thanks for your comments. Happy reading!

  8. I like the blend of history and mystery. Plus I adore Austen and enjoyed your previous Austenesque work, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. I just wanted to hug the characters in that book. Congrats on this novel and look forward to reading it.

  9. i so need to read this book!!
    congrats to Syrie!!!

    thank you for the giveaway!!!

  10. Ms. James seems very knowledgeable about Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. I agree that they are both very inspiring. They did what many women did not/could not do in that era.

    Thanks for the giveaway!


Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!