Syrie James is the author of nine critically acclaimed novels, as well as a screenwriter. Our conversation explores Syrie’s creative process, which involves a deep immersion in the lives of the real women writers who are the heroines of some of her most successful novels. Steeped in research about the lives and times of her characters as well as an abiding belief in the power of romantic relationships, Syrie’s novels explore the inner lives of the women at their center. Her novels about the writers Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte explore what inspired these mother’s of the novel to write. In our conversation I attempt to turn this question on my guest to explore the story behind the story in her work.
Cecily Young’s husband, John Ruble, underwent a bone marrow transplant as treatment for leukemia in 2005. Cecily talks about providing for her husband’s wellbeing, as well as that of their young son, during his treatment and recovery. Using the metaphor of herself as a ship’s captain, she envisioned herself as charged with maintaining morale and keeping the everyday concerns of their lives afloat. Cecily also delves into the devastating conflict she experienced with her sister while caring for their mother, as well as the feelings of resentment engendered by the significant professional sacrifices she made as a result of being persistently pressed into service as a reluctant caregiver.