Skip to main content


August 30, 2010


Posted by Dana

In today's post, Syrie James the bestselling author of THE LOST MEMOIRS OF JANE AUSTEN and THE SECRET DIARIES OF CHARLOTTE BRONTË talks about her bringing her latest work DRACULA, MY LOVE into the sunlight.  She talks about how she was able to sink her teeth into the topic and how even her husband got sucked in!  (Just a little vampire humor for you... I couldn't resist!)

dracula.pngMy new novel, DRACULA, MY LOVE, reveals the untold story of Mina Harker's secret, forbidden romance with the most famous, powerful vampire of them all. How did I come to write this novel? I’ll tell you how: I love vampires! Good vampires, that is; the ones who are deeply in love with a human, and struggle daily to rise above their dark desires and thirsts to keep the object of their affection safe. 

Vampire legends have existed in cultures across the globe since ancient times, but it's the image of Dracula, the 19th century European vampire, that's endured and thrived. Anyone, anywhere, can tell you who Count Dracula is, where he lives, and what he wears. But when I re-read Bram Stoker’s classic novel, I knew—I just knew—that he didn’t get the story right. If you were Dracula, and you could morph into a wolf, vanish through a crack, materialize out of mist, and grow younger at will, would you appear to the woman you wished to woo as a fiendish, old monster? I think not. You'd present your youngest, most handsome and charming self.

And if you were Mina—admired and respected by your husband and all the men in your life, considered the epitome of Victorian innocence and virtue—would you—could you—admit that you’d fallen madly, scandalously in love with the vampire that they were all trying to destroy? Not on your life.

I envisioned a passionate love story for Mina and Dracula, a story that even Bram Stoker didn’t realize was taking place in between the pages of his own book. I saw that there existed a wonderful opportunity to fill in the voids that Stoker had created—a way that I could answer the many unanswered questions in his novel, explain away all the inconsistencies, and bring a fresh perspective to this timeless work.

I had a fabulous time writing DRACULA, MY LOVE. One of my primary aims was to flesh out Mina’s character arc, creating a compelling back story for her and a storyline that showcases her evolution as a woman. Unlike Stoker’s Count (an evil predator), my Dracula is young, drop-dead gorgeous, sexy, highly intelligent, extremely well-read, and accomplished. Add to that some truly amazing vampire powers and the gift of immortality (at age 400+, he’s expanded his mind and talents and is good at … everything …)—and I knew Mina could fall in love with him. Admittedly, so did I. Is he the hero or the anti-hero? Does he have Mina’s best interests at heart or his own? Ah, but to reveal that would be telling.

I was so swept away by my characters and story that I kept vampiric hours and habits for many months on end during the creative process. My husband Bill walked around quoting "Please, don't be afraid" and "Welcome to my parlor" so often that I had to put those lines into the book. I was a little worried, though, because the entire time I was writing the novel, Bill kept insisting that he didn't like vampires, and didn't see how I could possibly turn Dracula into a romantic hero. He sat down to read the manuscript on a Saturday afternoon, read far into the night and all day on Sunday, and then he took the day off from work on Monday so that he could finish it! He loved the novel and said it was one of my very best.

I hope DRACULA, MY LOVE will prove to be an exciting choice for reading groups—that the novel will appeal not just to readers who already love vampire stories, but to those who enjoy a passionate, adventure-filled love story, and to those who love historical fiction.  The Reading Group Guide should be a good starting point for intriguing discussions.

It’s not necessary to have read Stoker’s original to enjoy the novel; I designed it to work as a stand-alone story.  You can, however, read it in tandem with Stoker’s DRACULA, to fully appreciate the differences between the two stories and the new explanations I created for everything that takes place. It is my sincere hope that this novel will give you a completely new understanding of the characters and story, and that you’ll never think the same way about Dracula again!

If your book club reads one of my novels, please send me a photo to post on my Book Club page or visit  to leave me some feedback. I’d love to hear what you think!

-- Syrie James, Author (