Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Special Guest Post: Syrie James, author of Jane Austen's First Love


And now, Lady Vee has the pleasure of introducing you to...

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by Syrie James
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Jane Austen at Fifteen
By Syrie James

Greetings! I am delighted to be here today as part of the Pemberley Ball blog party. I love dancing at a Regency ball (as did Jane Austen), which is why a ball is prominently featured in my novel, Jane Austen’s First Love. As Jane says to her sister Cassandra in the novel:

“Dancing is such a glorious activity! It exercises both the body and the mind, all while moving with spirit and elegance to lively music.” Holding out my arm as if to an imaginary partner, I curtseyed, then practised my dancing across the field, making several turns.
Cassandra smiled. “You are an excellent dancer, Jane—so much more elegant and animated than I could ever be.”
“You are too modest. I love nothing more than watching you dance, dearest; except, perhaps, dancing myself.”


Jane Austen’s First Love is about Jane’s romance at age fifteen with Edward Taylor, who she met while visiting her brother and his fiancé’s relations in Kent during the summer of 1791. Although Jane is not yet “out,” her mother allows her to attend all the family parties and celebrations, and Jane is in seventh heaven—especially as she gets to know Edward Taylor, a fascinating, wealthy, well-read, well-traveled, extremely accomplished young man, who is heir to a neighboring estate.

Even more exciting for us, Edward Taylor was a real person who Jane Austen mentioned several times in her letters and truly adored. While researching my novel, I uncovered a trove of new information about Edward Taylor, and had the great fun of bringing both him and a young Jane to life in my novel, and to showcase their budding romance. Jane Austen’s First Love is a memoir, as Jane looks back on that glorious summer:

At that point of my life when this history occurs, I had attained my fifteenth year. I was young, I know it; but does age matter? Did Juliet, not fourteen, love her Romeo any less? What of Pyramus and Thisbe’s burning passion? Ought we to discount their raw and overpowering feelings, simply because of their youthful age? I think not. When he was near, at times my heart did not beat to its regular rhythm; in so many ways, I thought he was my perfect match.


At age fifteen, Jane is whip-smart and well-read, having been educated side-by-side with her brothers and the other boys at the home school run by her father. She has already written many lively and comical stories, short plays, and a novella, and hungers to write more. She is vivacious, filled with excitement about the future, and very ready to fall in love:

“Oh, Cassandra! Every night I dream of meeting a worthy young man who incites all my passions—a gentlemanlike, pleasant young man who is intelligent, thoughtful, kind, and accomplished, who shares my enthusiasm for literature and music and nature, with whom I can converse on any topic at length with spirit and debate—if he be good-looking, all the better—”
“Where are you to find this paragon of virtue?” asked Cassandra.
“I have no idea—but I have conjured him in my imagination. He must exist.”


Jane, who has been fond of dancing from an early age, looks forward to the ball at Goodnestone Park, home of the Bridges family, where the engagements of two Bridges daughters are being celebrated. She is thrilled when Edward Taylor asks her to dance:

I happily took Edward Taylor’s arm, we moved into line, the music started up, and the set began. From the very first moment—the graceful manner in which he danced and held his arms, and the commanding way his eyes held contact with mine through every step and rotation—it became clear that he was a far more skilful and experienced partner than anyone else with whom I had engaged that evening.


The ball is somewhat different from anything we’ve seen in Jane Austen’s novels and films, because this is not the Regency era; it is 1791, the Georgian era, and men and women alike still powder their hair for festive occasions. When Jane learns that everyone will be powdering their hair, she begs her mother to let her wear her hair in the same fashion—but the experience does not turn out quite as she expected, and proves to be a learning experience for Jane—as does that entire summer in Kent.

I loved writing from the point of view of Jane Austen as a teenager. I hope you enjoy Jane Austen’s First Love, which was truly a labor of love to compose!

~end

Guest post created by Syrie James, author of Jane Austen's First Love
© 2014. All rights reserved.

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website
Facebook
Twitter @SyrieJames
YouTube

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by Syrie James
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--~ Blog Tour Giveaway ~--


Are you ready to WIN great prizes? Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour is giving away the Grand Prize shown above ($180 value) as well as four more prize packages filled with an amazing selection of Jane Austen-inspired gifts and books.

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any of the stops on the Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour. Increase your chances of winning by visiting multiple stops on the tour. Contest closes at 11:59 pm PT, December 21, 2014. Five lucky winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments on the tour, and announced on this page on December 22, 2014. The giveaway contest is open to everyone, including international residents.

FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF PRIZE PACKAGES, CLICK HERE.

Good luck to all, and enjoy the tour!

~*~

Mr. Darcy
played by Vincent Kartheiser
Pride and Prejudice (2013)
Guthrie Theater's production, Minneapolis

Mr. Darcy wants to know…

Upon looking at other works written by Syrie James here, which book(s) captures your interest?

~*~

* image source: regency lady silhouette Caroline Wiggett - inspiration for Fanny Price in Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

* guest post and images courtesy of blog tour


~~- Pemberley Ball schedule -~~

66 comments:

  1. To be fond of dancing & oh I am! That's why I love the ball scenes in Jane Austen movies so much. The music, the beautiful dresses. The bright eyes & smiles of thise who dance... Love it!

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  2. The images portrayed in this excerpt are beautifully written. In answer to Mr. Darcy's question the book that interests me is and the book is The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. I have it but haven't had a chance to read it.

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    1. Hi Deborah Ann! The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen was my very first Austen novel--I do hope you enjoy it, and that you'll love my newest book, Jane Austen's First Love, as well!

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    2. As soon as I finish Jane Austen's First Love I will read The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.

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    3. Forgot to add my email address....

      skamper25 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  3. Pretty pictures. I enjoyed this post very much.

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  4. My answer to Mr. Darcy's question is that Syrie is a new author for me. So, ALL of her books have captured my interest! I enjoyed this article. :)

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  5. Sounds like teenagers in Jane Austen's time are similar to those today!
    In response to Mr. Darcy's question, I'd love to read "Songbird"!

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    1. Susan, I'm excited that you said "Songbird"--it's the very first novel I ever wrote and it's somewhat autobiographical, so it has a very special place in my heart. :)

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  6. The guest post is a great delight, Syrie. I think The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen is an interesting proposition, Mr Darcy.

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  7. Jane Austen at 15! Such a difficult age, even in Regency times, but her high spirits, love of dancing, and earnest desire to do good are endearing. Which other novel appeals? Actually one she hasn't written yet, but I hope she does, and that would be Cassandra's story.

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    1. I've had the same idea for another novel, ever since I wrote "The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen," when they discovered that trunk of lost manuscripts in the attic... :)

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  8. A wonderful post and fascinating author. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. The answer to Mr. Darcy's question is that I have yet to read any of her works but The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë sounds intriguing.

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. I spent several years immersing myself in the lives of the Brontës, which I find utterly fascinating! My novel is the true story of Charlotte's romance with the man who loved her from afar for many years, and her journey against all odds to become the famous author of Jane Eyre, which is inspired in part by her own life. You can learn more about The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë here: http://www.syriejames.com/CBsummary.php

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  10. I have enjoyed all her books, but I love reading about Jane Austen the most.

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  11. Syrie is a new author to me, I am looking forward to reading her work.

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  12. Mr Darcy, The lost memoirs of Jane Austen and The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte are Syrie James' books that intrigue me most.

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  13. I haven't read any but they all sound great...and the TBR pile grows.
    Thanks for the giveaway

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  14. It was a delight to stop by your blog today, Lady Vee. Thank you so much for hosting me. And thank you everyone for your lovely comments!

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  15. You are a new-to-me author but I look forward to reading all your books!

    Pat Cochran

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  16. I love the point that this a Georgian ball and not a Regency ball. What a wonderful detail. Jane Austen’s First Love is on my reading list :)

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    1. I'm so happy to hear it, and hope you love the book!

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  17. Fascinating peek into Jane's younger years. I love that reference to the powder not going according to plan. I had a similar contretemps when I tried make-up my first time.

    As to the books, this one has my interest of course, but her Lost Memoirs grabbed my attention too. Thank you for visiting and offering such a fabulous prize, Syrie!

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  18. I would definitely want to read the Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.

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  19. Loved all of her books, especially the Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.

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  20. I love Syrie's books and have read the majority of them. I am participating in the holiday book tour and cannot wait. Jane Austen's First Love promises to be enchanting!

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  21. I've said this before elsewhere, but my dancing skills make Mr. Collins (thinking of David Bamber here) look a bit like Fred Astaire, so my dancing master would definitely have had a challenge on his hands if I'd lived in Georgian/Regency times.

    The mention of hair powdering really makes me cringe! How did they get it all out again? Or did they bother? No modern hair products for washing and styling then.

    Finally, to answer Mr. Darcy's question, I'd love to read The Lost Manuscript. I've read quite a number of your books, Syrie, the latest being First Love, but I have to give a shout out for your contribution to Jane Austen Made Me Do It. I have it as an audiobook and was listening to it whilst driving to work recently. It made me laugh out loud! Hope none of the other rush hour drivers noticed a mad woman apparently laughing at nothing.

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    1. Just realised I mixed up two titles there. I think I meant Missing Manuscript not Lost Memoirs. Or did I perhaps mean both?

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    2. Anji, the two novels you're referring to are The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, and The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen... two very different novels about my favorite author...but I can understand why the titles sometimes get confused! Thanks for the shout out about my short story "Jane Austen's Nightmare" in Jane Austen Made Me Do It! I had great fun writing it, and am proud to be part of the anthology (edited by Laurel Ann Nattress)-- it is a fabulous treat for Janeites!

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  22. I love Jane Austin! Thank you for the giveaway!

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  23. The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte and The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen are definitely on my list! Thank you for the giveaway.

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  24. What a fun giveaway - I just love all things Jane Austen griperang at embarqmail dot com

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  25. Thanks for the giveaway and the Austen education I don't know that I knew enough to differentiate between the eras!!
    Very interesting

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  26. This and Dracula, my love are Syries James' book that I want to read! It's funny to think about Jane Austen or other authors in their fifteen!

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    1. Dracula My Love is my husband's favorite out of all my books--I hope you enjoy, too. I fell madly in love with my version of Dracula while writing it--he is quite sexy and unbelievably accomplished and charming--much like an Austen hero! And I had such fun writing about Jane Austen at fifteen. :)

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  27. I prefer the Regency to the Georgian era. I don't like powdered hair! I liked the pictures. Sounds like a good book.

    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  28. My mother introduced me to Jane Austen at the age of 13 in the early 1960's and I visit my friend every year to renew my acquaintance. Her books are old friends and I am an avid reader and there are many books once read I do not read again. I look forward to reading Jane Austen's First Love.

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  29. Amazing post and amazing giveaways! I hope I am lucky enough to win some of these adorable prizes xD Thanks so much for the giveaways and the chances to win :3

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  30. This book looks great and it so amazing that the author wove a real person JA knew into the story to be a love intersect.
    betta_grl(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I had a wonderful time researching and writing this novel, and hope that you love it! Thanks for commenting!

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  31. Was it a challenge to write about a 15 year old Jane Austin? Either way, great post and great giveaway! And really, thanks for giving more insight into the life of Jane Austin!

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    1. Hi Sabrina! Sorry it's taken me so long to answer your question--I've been super busy writing all the other guest posts for the JAFL Blog Tour. I loved writing about the teenage Jane. I took all that I knew about her as a grown woman and mature author, combined that with the personality she shares in her letters, and with the madcap exuberance of her juvenilia--and came up with a vision of Jane at 15. I hope you love her! There's still time to comment on other blogs on the tour if you wish, before I pick the prize winners on Dec. 22. Happy holidays!

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  32. I'm so excited to read Jane Austen's first love! I first met Syrie James in Portland at the JASNA convention where she signed some of her books for me. This is such a fun give-away!

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    1. I'm thrilled to know that we've met, Artzy Heart! I hope you love Jane Austen's First Love! Thanks so much for commenting.

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  33. Great guest post! Definitely felt like I learned a lot of good information from it!
    kimbers10[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  34. Mr. Darcy, though several of Miss James' book caught my interest and imagination, I think that "Jane Austen Made Me Do It" sounds absolutely delightful! Thank you for asking.

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  35. Jane and Edward in a ball,sounds exciting.Out of all the books by Syrie James Jane Austen Made Me Do It seems collection of amazing stories!

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  36. It is nice to have learned the difference between a Regency ball and a Georgian ball.

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  37. Put in that context, Jane strikes me as having much in common with Marianne from Sense & Sensibility (which I suppose makes her older, wiser, post-romance self Elinor). Interesting!

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    1. I think Jane put a little bit of herself into all of the heroines in her novels (and maybe some of the heroes!) I hope you love Jane Austen's First Love. :)

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  38. So many books to read and so little time ! I have only read two books of Syrie James so far but would love to read more, certainly Jane Austen's first love but also The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë. Thank you for this giveaway. =)

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Assya. It's been a fun blog tour. I'd love to hear your thoughts on Jane Austen's First Love and The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë. They are both works of my heart. :)

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  39. I have to start reading your Jane Austen series. I just loved your book Nocturne. Are you going to write a sequel? Thanks for having this giveaway.

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    1. I've had so many requests for a sequel to Nocturne! Nicole and Michael are never far from my thoughts. I do have a sequel brewing in my mind, and I intend to write it one day.

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  40. I love these pictures, makes me want to have lived back then

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  41. I would love to win this package and this book looks amazing.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Beth! I hope you enjoy the rest of the tour!

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  42. Learning about Jane Austen as a teenager is great :) I can't wait to pick up this book and read it - might grab it tonight! Thank you for hosting a stop :)

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    1. I hope you did "grab" a copy of Jane Austen's First Love--and that you enjoyed it as much as I loved writing it! Happy holidays!

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  43. I haven't read the Memoirs of Jane Austen, but I've heard that its good! So since I am a big Jane Austen fan, I can't wait till' I get my hands on that book!

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    1. I hope you put Jane Austen's First Love on your holiday Wish List--or that you treat yourself to a copy! LOL! :)

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  44. What an exiting tour and giveaway idea for the season (rickjess@sbcglobal.net)

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  45. cuanto me gsutaria poder lleerlo! me encanta este post, me anima a seguir amand mas a Jane !!

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  46. Books like this are a treat to Jane Austen fans !! Can't wait to get it in my hands !!

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  47. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Missing Manuscript :)

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