Syrie JamesAuthorPhoto2011 - Credit William JamesPlease welcome Syrie James, author of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, as she discusses the joys and challenges of writing her newest novel.

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by Syrie James

What was your favorite scene to write? Why?

There are two scenes that were my favorites to write. They are similar in nature, and they both come near the end of each story. In the Austen manuscript, The Stanhopes, it’s the scene when the hero finally opens his heart and passionately admits how he feels about the heroine. I am exceedingly fond of such scenes. I believe I have included one in every single book I have ever written. There’s something thrilling to me about a man who has adored a woman, often from afar, for very long time, and who at last breaks through all the barriers of his reserve and of social propriety to reveal his love to her with deep feeling and passion. I spend the entire book working up to that moment, and it’s exciting to write it. Austen was also fond of such moments. So of course there’s a scene of that nature at the end of the modern day story, as well.

What was the most difficult scene for you to write? Why?

Rather than a particular scene, I’d have to say that the entire novel (although it was joy to write) was difficult! To try to match (or come close to) Austen’s writing style is a huge challenge for anyone to tackle—which is why I designed this as one of Jane’s early novels, and a first draft at that. Although I wrote to appeal to a modern sensibility, I still had to make sure that every single word I used was actually in the English language in 1800. Perhaps most importantly, I had to write the kind of novel she might have written—in terms of story, situations, locations, character types, and character arcs.

The modern day story had its challenges, too. It was a novella that had to work entirely on its own. The characters had to go through their own arcs, and I wanted the discovery and reading of the lost Austen manuscript to be a meaningful and life-changing experience for them. Samantha and Anthony’s story went through three separate drafts before I was happy with it. I hope readers enjoy the result.

About the author

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 (see our review), Forbidden (see our review), and The Harrison Duet: Songbird and Propositions. Her books have been translated into eighteen foreign languages. In addition to her work as a novelist, she is a screenwriter, a member of the Writers Guild of America, and a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She lives with her family in Los Angeles, California. Connect with her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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