Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Syrie James & Ryan M. James Author Interview

Photo Content from Syrie James and Ryan M. James

Syrie: like the App, only spelled better.
Syrie James is an author and screenwriter who specializes in love stories and romance. Her novels have received critical acclaim, hit the bestsller list, won awards, and been translated into eighteen languages.

A member of the Writer's Guild of America, Syrie has twenty sold and produced screenplays in a variety of genres, and new scripts that have won industry contests.

In all her work, Syrie places a strong emphasis on story structure, ensuring that her characters' arcs take them on a journey of growth and discovery.

Syrie has addressed numerous organizations as a keynote speaker, and has written, produced, directed, and performed in original theatrical productions across North America and in England, including four appearances as Jane Austen.

Syrie lived in France as a child, an experience that instilled in her a lifelong love of language, foreign culture, and traveling. She and her husband currently live in Los Angeles. In addition to her passion for writing, she enjoys reading, theater, great food, board games, costume design, the out of doors, and above all, spending time with friends and family.

Syrie loves hearing from readers, and hopes you will contact her here or on Facebook.

Ryan M James is a writer, editor & director with a diverse range of creative and technical experience in both film and video games. By day, Ryan works as an editor for the games industry. Under cover of night, he conjures stories for print, screen, and web. He has co-written screenplays, directed an independent feature and shorts, and created the popular machinima webseries A CLONE APART.

Regardless of genre or medium, Ryan never tires of the thrill of artistic collaboration on a project. He uses his technical expertise and knowledge of storytelling techniques to direct, edit, and/or write compelling pieces with a visual style and a strong sense of narrative. When working on games, he participates in every stage of narrative production, from script to recording to editing to implementation.

In 2001, Ryan co-founded his production company ILLUSIVE ENTERTAINMENT, where he’s directed an online game demo, the feature film REAL, and several shorts, including the award-winning DREAMTIME and its sequel, WITHOUT WORDS. Ryan has meanwhile spent over a decade crafting trailers, cinematics, behind-the-scenes and recruiting material for game developers small and large, including the former PANDEMIC STUDIOS and now NAUGHTY DOG.

Ryan is currently working on a sequel to his first novel FORBIDDEN, co-authored with his mother Syrie James, as well as several other [currently hush-hush] developments.

Syrie: Tell us your latest news.
Forbidden, the new paranormal romance that I co-wrote with my son Ryan, hit the shelves on January 24th, and we’re excited to report that it’s been flying off the shelves and onto eReaders! The reviews from readers and critics have been incredibly positive. The book is a blend of wit, mystery, suspense, danger, pop-culture, fantasy, and romance, that offers a unique look at angel mythology. We’re thrilled to share it with the world, and that it seems to appeal to readers of any age or gender.

Syrie: This is your first co-authoring book. How did that come about?
Several years back, I had an idea for a book full of suspense, danger, and romance, about a teenage girl who starts getting psychic visions from a mysterious source, who enlists the help of a boy at school to help her figure out who’s sending the messages and why. One day, I was thinking about a screenplay that Ryan and I had written, about a young superhero who was tired of his slayer-like job and dreamt of having a normal life, passing for human. It occurred to me: what if I combined the male character from that story with my psychic girl. Ryan wanted to write the book together, and since he’s extremely talented and imaginative, and has a great sense of story and character, I thought it would be fun to work together again.

Ryan: For those who are unfamiliar with your novel, Forbidden, how would you introduce it?
It's a paranormal romance about a 16-year-old girl whose life begins to implode when she comes into unusual psychic powers—which turn out to have a heavenly source—while the new guy at school with whom she falls in love seems to have special abilities of his own. When her very existence turns out to be forbidden, be becomes her most powerful ally in a confusing and increasingly dangerous world.

Syrie: When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
In sixth grade, my teacher divided us into small groups and had us adapt a children’s book for the stage. Turning that novel from prose into a theatrical piece was a pivotal moment in my life. It was so exciting to bring the story to life and to see the audience’s reaction. I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a writer. I made my first attempt at writing a book in that same year, and became the kid who wrote all the school plays and skits.

If you could introduce Claire to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
RJ & SJ: Can we please pick a play instead of a book? Because Romeo and Juliet could really have used a psychic to warn them to not poison themselves.

…Oops, was that a spoiler?

Did you learn anything from writing Alec and what was it?
SJ: It was fun to get into the head of a superhero make us care about him—to understand his heart and feel his joy and pain. He became very real to us.

RJ: However, I wanted to ensure that his voice and thoughts were unique from Claire’s and were the [PG-13] thoughts that young men actually think. It was important to keep him masculine, strong, and not too sappy.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
Forbidden was a chance to tell the type of teen paranormal romance that we would want to read. A story that had: 

-A new, fresh take on its supernatural creatures that acknowledged all of the wonderful, multicultural mythologies of this planet we live on. 
-A grounded romance where the characters actually take time to get to know each other and slowly fall in love based on conversation and personality. 

-A strong amount of humor mixed with newfound love, a little badass action along with the relationship drama, and an intriguing mystery to keep the reader guessing. 

-Characters that—though they are teenagers—are capable of acting and reasoning like adults. And therefore a book that people of all ages would like it because it doesn’t talk down to them. 

-To that end, a story where the kids don’t freak out when they encounter something supernatural. We live in a culture so saturated with films/TV/books/comics/games about vampires and other things that go bump in the night, we believe people wouldn’t be shocked to learn that “X” is real. Instead we believe they’d wonder “is X in reality like the ones I see on TV?” 

Did we succeed in doing this? Who knows, but we tried to do it just a little bit, and we hope folks enjoy it.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
SJ & RJ: The entire last third of the book, which is jam-packed with action and emotion, moving back an forth between Claire and Alec’s point of view at a rapid pace. The final, climactic battle was especially fun to write.

Do you have a book trailer?
No, but if we did, Ryan would be the one to edit it. He’s a video editor by profession, and cut a trailer for my book Dracula: My Love.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
SJ: “Please, tell us what your readers can do to help spread the word about your books in this jam-packed marketplace?”

Syrie: Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, but my father moved us to California when I was one year old because he was tired of shoveling snow. I’ve lived there my entire life, and specifically in Los Angeles for the past 24 years.

Ryan: How would you describe yourself in three words?
Ambitiously stubborn romantic.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
SJ: Anytime my husband asks: “Did you take breaks today while you were writing?”

RJ: Anytime anyone asks: “What time did you go to bed last night?”

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
SJ: The feedback that I get from readers, telling me how much my books have meant to them.

If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?
SJ: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (and all the sequels).

RJ: The Lord of the Rings. Except shorter, with less singing.

What’s the worst job you’ve had?
SJ: My first job fresh out of college was doing advertising & PR for a manufacturer of leather products (like gun holsters and police duty belts). My office was in the smelly basement adjacent to the dyeing department and one day I found a cockroach the size of Manhattan in my desk drawer.

RJ: Refereeing floor hockey in college. Hard cylindrical objects were continually being slapped by my head. I spent entire evenings running up and down the court, trying to avoid losing an eye, while supposedly paying attention to the game.

What do you normally eat for breakfast?
SJ: Eggs, toast, fruit & juice. Then I forget to eat lunch because I’m so engrossed in what I’m writing.

RJ: A green smoothie with protein powder and coconut oil. It’s tastier than it sounds.

What book are you reading now?
SJ: I have a stack of six or seven books on my nightstand. One of them is Second Impressions by Ava Farmer, a sequel to Pride & Prejudice.

RJ: A bunch—check my Goodreads to keep up to date!

A romantic and endearing novel perfect for fans of Rachel Vincent, Julie Kagawa, and Alyson Noel, from bestselling author Syrie James and her son, Ryan.

When Claire Brennan begins to get psychic visions and mysterious warnings that she’s in danger at the start of her junior year, she isn’t sure what to think. But the truth is stranger than anything she could have imagined.

Alec MacKenzie has fled his duties as a Watcher angel and come to L.A. in search of normalcy. He never dreamed he would find a half-angel at his school, or that he would fall in love with her.

Romantic, with a touch of humor, readers will be swept away by this thrilling stand-alone novel from bestselling adult author Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen) and her son, Ryan James.

Praise for FORBIDDEN

"A YA novel that hits all the right notes... the plot and storyline are great, and the characters strong... If you enjoy angels, 'forbidden' romance and dashing heroes, then this should be added to your TBR." —USA TODAY

"This new entry into the angelic fiction genre is written in both Claire and Alec's voices. Both main characters are well-drawn, with believable motivations and reactions to their situations. The ending leaves enough room for a sequel, and fans of the genre will definitely demand one." —School Library Journal

"Forbidden has the best trio since Harry Potter! I loved it! It had plenty of humor, romance, action, mystery, and suspense. The villain was totally badass. What truly drives this story is its amazing characters. Oh! and the cliffhanger - SO cruel. But in that I can't flippin' wait to read book two kind of way. 5 stars!" —The Book Slayer

"Quite effective paranormal suspene and intense-but-quixotic high-school romance... Genre addicts will enjoy it." —Kirkus Reviews

"Young adults who enjoyed the TWILIGHT series will be intrigued with what I hope will be a new series. A YA paranormal fantasy gem! I loved it!" —Book Reader's Heaven

“Hands down the most fascinating book I have read in quite a while. It has wit, humor, action, mystery, and is filled with just the right amount of tension. As the characters develop and the story unfolds you will find yourself wrapped up in their world, indulging in every kiss and holding your breath with every twist. Simply magic!!" —Luxury Reading

"An addictive read. It isn't like the other angel paranormal books out there. This will make you want more more more." —Beneath the Cover

"Like angels meet X-Men … The characters had a lot of depth and they were easy to like. The next novel in the series has a lot of potential.” —Books: A True Story

"A must read. My top 24 of all time favorite books. The characters were very unique and will grow on you … By the way it ended, it only promised that the following book would contain more action and the move to be more intense. Highly recommended." —JeanBookNerd

Syrie & Ryan James’ Forbidden was an interesting take on the Angel genre. Its about the story of Claire who, once again, in on the move with her mother. She never thought she would ever make friends but finally has at her new school. She then meets Alec who would ultimately change her life.

The characters were very unique and will grow on you. The love triangle between Claire, Alec, and Neil was fun to read. Its not because I like to read about jealousy but it was a nice change to read it from the guys’ point of view. The paranormal aspect of the story was different from the norm. I loved reading about the strict lives of angels and how they cope with it.

The conclusion offered a really great twist. By the way it ended, it only promised that the following book would contain more action and the move to be more intense. The events are fast paced and exciting and is highly recommended to young adult/teen readers. This is a must read. It has definitely been added to my top 24 of all time favorite books.

You can purchase Forbidden at these following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SYRIE JAMES AND RYAN M. JAMES for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive one Copy of Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan M. James.
2 Winners will receive one Bookmark by Syrie James & Ryan M. James.


  1. The one question I always answer in a lie is probably who I like XD hehe
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  2. When the hubby ask what time did I go to bed after reading...

    Sometimes its wayyyyyy to late an I have to lie to not get in trouble lol

    Thanks for this giveaway Jean! Ive had my eye on this book for a while now :)

  3. When my hubby asks if I'm going to bed... I tell him yes... but I'm really going to read in bed hehe and end up staying up later then I should have :P Especially when you've gotta get up at 7-7:30am with the kiddos.... going to bed at 4am is NOT fun!! But when your so caught up in a book... it's hard to put it down!!

    Thank you for this great interview and giveaway Jean!! Always nice to learn about all these different authors!


  4. i can't say I answer any question with a lie but the most frequent is when my daughter asks if I have had a good day. How do you tell your kid your day was crappy and she always looks so happy while saying it!!

    Thank you for yet another amazing giveaway!! You are so full of them!!

  5. I have to agree with Tiffany... I think that the only time I really lie is if my husband or my kids ask me if i had a good day and I didnt... luckily bad days are few and far between!

  6. I'd have to say if I receive a gift that I don't like and someone asks if I like it. I will always say yes simply because I feel grateful that they even thought of me.

  7. This is hard, in general I try for a policy of honesty, maybe omission. I guess that is the biggest lie I tell, anytime I go shopping and don't want my husband to know I lie by omission or if he asks if something is new I usually lie.

  8. Do you have a pencil I can borrow?

    because I know it will fall into the black hole after that.

  9. Here is the QUESTION: Sorry I had to delete it :)

    "When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?"

  10. the one question i always answer with a lie, is "how are you feeling?" that one is always answered with "i'm fine"
    thanks for the giveaway

  11. thansk you for this international giveaway

    all the best

  12. I agree I always lie about how late I stayed reading, my fiance thinks it destroys my eyes and health to stay up to finish a book. But he always knows when I lie and he always let's go with a smile.

  13. Thanks for the giveaway! I can't wait to read this. I find it really interesting that it was a mother and son that wrote it! Although it makes sense like she said to have a male brain make the male lead character more realistic and manly.

  14. Thanks for participating in the hop and for the giveaway opportunity. I love the giveaway choice since I love reading Syrie James' books and can't wait to see how teaming up with her son changes the work.

    I usually answer 'I'm fine' when someone asks how I'm doing or feeling especially when I'm not fine.

  15. thansk you for this international giveaway

  16. i love teh gift you got and then i would like to
    keep them for myy collection i have authors stuff

    desi the blonde at msn dot com