Syrie James, author of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, a brilliant Austen-inspired novel (my review) , is my guest today to discuss why Jane Austen captures her writing imagination. Take your chances to win a copy of the book using the rafflecopter form below. The contest is for US readers only and ends on January 10th. Good luck!
I love Jane Austen because her books transport us to another world, another time and place—that doesn't seem that far away. Jane Austen doesn't need elaborate plot lines, exotic locales, or a lot of action to create the most engaging, entertaining, funny, and insightful stories I have ever read.
It doesn’t hurt that Austen wrote about the English gentry class at a time when men had impeccable manners and wore tight breeches, tailcoats, and cravats (which are eminently sexy), ladies wore bewitching, gossamer gowns, and the primary social entertainment was to dance at a ball. But it’s the stories themselves that make Austen great, and more importantly, the characters she created.
Austen is an acute observer of people. Although her novels take place two hundred years ago, her characters are people we recognize; they all wrestle with social and emotional problems that we still confront on a daily basis. She sees straight through people’s pretensions, hypocrisies, politeness, and correctness to reveal their true opinions and motivations. Her characters’ inconsistencies and absurdities become fodder for her wit and humor—sometimes, they are so subtly drawn that it can take a while to truly appreciate what makes them so memorable and marvelous—but memorable and marvelous they are.
Austen makes me laugh. She makes me cry. She says the things you wish you had the nerve to say, in a way that's (sometimes) just a little bit snarky. She writes with a brilliant sense of realism, a superb narrative technique, a brilliant understanding of character, and a wonderful sense of irony.
Reading Jane Austen’s novels makes me feel that I’m in communion with a rarely gifted, wise, and subtle mind. But ultimately, what attracts me to Austen is probably what’s been attracting people to her for two centuries: she reminds us of what really matters in a relationship when two people are falling in love. Anyone, at any time, can relate to that.
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, Forbidden, 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
. Connect with her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter. Los Angeles, California