Q&A with Syrie James discussion

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The Art of Writing

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message 1: by Syrie (last edited Jan 21, 2011 10:13PM) (new)

Syrie James | 44 comments Mod
Hi everyone! I'm here to answer any and all questions you might have about my writing. i.e. my writing schedule, writing process, inspiration, research, character development, do I use an outline, when I started writing, how I got published, writing books vs. screenplays ... whatever springs to mind!


message 2: by Amber (new)

Amber (ambeezy10) | 8 comments Hi Syrie! First of all, thank you so much for doing a discussion group on here! This is awesome!

How long did it take you to research for The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen? You wrote so well from her point of view & the time period.


message 3: by Megan (last edited Jan 21, 2011 04:06PM) (new)

Megan Hello Syrie!

My question is one of your settings - does that house/estate/retreat/paradise really exist in the Colorado mountains or was it the invention of your imagination? (Either way - it is amazing!)


message 4: by Syrie (new)

Syrie James | 44 comments Mod
Amber wrote: "Hi Syrie! First of all, thank you so much for doing a discussion group on here! This is awesome!

How long did it take you to research for The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen? You wrote so well from ..."


I'm so glad you liked that novel; I adore Jane Austen and had a great time researching and writing it. I would guess I spent about 6 months doing the initial research, which involved reading many dozens of Austen biographies and books about the Regency period, and rereading all of her novels and letters. My research continued throughout the entire writing process, which included a Jane Austen tour of England. It took a year to write the screenplay (which came first; I still hope it'll be a movie someday) and another 9 months to adapt it into a novel.


message 5: by Syrie (new)

Syrie James | 44 comments Mod
Megan wrote: "Hello Syrie!

My question is one of your settings - does that house/estate/retreat/paradise really exist in the Colorado mountains or was it the invention of your imagination? (Either way - it is a..."


I love this question! My publisher asked the same thing when I turned in the manuscript for NOCTURNE!

Michael's Colorado estate/retreat is entirely a figment of my imagination. But the story, characters, and setting have become so real to me, that I "almost" believe it really happened, and that Michael’s beautiful house really is perched up there high in the Rockies on that bend of on Highway 40, nestled between the pines.


Jana at ThatArtsyReaderGirl.com (miss_jana) Hi Syrie! Thanks so much for being here to answer questions!

What made you choose Steamboat Springs, Colorado? I've never read a book that took place there, or even near there. Steamboat holds a special place in the heart of my family. My mom and her parents owned and lived in a ski lodge there for several years way back when. It was so much fun to connect with the book right away! I've been to Rabbit Ears Pass! So fun. :)


Jana at ThatArtsyReaderGirl.com (miss_jana) Oh, I just thought of something else I wanted to ask you.

Nocturne is the only book I've ever read with so few characters, and I really felt like I got more attached to them for that reason. Was it difficult writing a story with only two characters, or did you enjoy being able to focus more on each one individually?


message 8: by Syrie (new)

Syrie James | 44 comments Mod
Jana wrote: "Hi Syrie! What made you choose Steamboat Springs, Colorado? I've never read a book that took place there, or even near there. Steamboat holds a special place in the heart of my family..."

While doing research for this novel, to make my plot work, I needed to find a very remote spot where a reclusive person could own a fabulous spread and beautiful home, yet was not too far from a ski resort ... and where it was believable that Nicole could actually be snowed in there for four days. For some reason I just knew it had to be in Colorado. An expert on all things Colorado (my cousin, in fact) suggested that particular location, and I am so grateful. I thought it worked perfectly.


message 9: by Syrie (new)

Syrie James | 44 comments Mod
Jana wrote: "Nocturne is the only book I've ever read with so few characters, and I really felt like I got more attached to them for that reason. Was it difficult writing a story with only two characters, or did you enjoy being able to focus more on each one individually?"

I LOVED writing about just two characters. As a reader, with many books, I become so interested and invested in the main characters and their stories, that I'm tempted to skip all the scenes with minor characters and just get to the main plot. I've felt that way as a writer, too. I thought, what if I just write a book about the two main characters? Could I do it? The challenge was to make them complex enough to keep the sexual tension and the twists and turns of the plot going. I hope you enjoyed the result.


Jana at ThatArtsyReaderGirl.com (miss_jana) Steamboat did work perfectly! I absolutely loved it, and the descriptions of the scenery were wonderful! Did you visit there for any inspiration?

I also really enjoyed reading about the two characters alone. They were extremely complex and very well-written. Depending on my mood, sometimes I have a hard time keeping track of too many characters. I could just jump into this book and stay a while, and the story seemed so much more intimate--like they really were in their own little world. I loved it!


message 11: by Megan (new)

Megan I thought the two character story was wonderful and very real. The situation (trapped together)made the relationship center stage with no escape. It made every action more intense and accelerated - nothing to distract. And the story is so much more than just the two individuals - it is all the history coming together in one place and time.

(Can you tell I really really liked the book?)


message 12: by Amber (new)

Amber (ambeezy10) | 8 comments Syrie wrote: "Amber wrote: "Hi Syrie! First of all, thank you so much for doing a discussion group on here! This is awesome!

How long did it take you to research for The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen? You wrote s..."


OMG - I would love to see this story as a movie!!! How long were you on your Jane Austen Tour of England for? Was it something that you put together yourself?


message 13: by Syrie (new)

Syrie James | 44 comments Mod
Amber wrote: "How long were you on your Jane Austen Tour of England for? Was it something that you put together yourself? "

I did put the tour together myself. We spent three weeks in England and half of that time was spent visiting all the Jane Austen sites including her home at Chawton Cottage (where you can see her writing desk), 3 lovely days exploring Bath, an afternoon at Netley Abbey (featured in my novel), the spot in Southampton where her house used to be, walked the Cobb at Lyme Regis, visited her grave at Winchester, and were allowed an amazing private tour of Godmersham Park in Kent, her brother Edward's gorgeous estate. (It's privately owned now and leased as a optometry college; we were so lucky to be invited for a tour as part of my research.) I'd love to write another Austen novel based at Godmersham.

We took a similar tour to research my Charlotte Bronte novel... such unforgettable experiences!


message 14: by Amber (new)

Amber (ambeezy10) | 8 comments Syrie wrote: "Amber wrote: "How long were you on your Jane Austen Tour of England for? Was it something that you put together yourself? "

I did put the tour together myself. We spent three weeks in England and ..."


That is so cool that you were able to visit all of these locations & for us as readers to know that they are all real. Thank you for sharing!


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