Our guest today on Back Porch Cyber Chatter is Bronwyn Elsmore and boy! It is a good thing my porch is virtual because Bronwyn lives a continent away in Auckland, the stunning New Zealand ‘City of Sails’. Though she tends to wander the world, at home Bronwyn shares her writing life with one man, one special cat and a box full of fosters. Bronwyn is not a huge coffee drinker and for the first time ever, I’m out of iced tea. So. With no further ado, let’s hear from this very talented writer.
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve always been a writer. My first job after leaving school was a writer for radio. I freelanced for a while and wrote stories and articles, plus two children’s books. After years of study, a second career as an academic bloomed. My next group of books and publications reflect that life. A couple of decades later a pull to full time writing won over the salary, so here I am again, full circle, writing fiction. Thus far, I’ve ten books to date and hundreds of articles, short stories, and stage-plays.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The latest published, Backwards Into the Future, is a novel about growing up in a small town—people, events, hopes,
and what happens to them. Some readers have said it is a ‘novel with the feel of a memoir about it’. Though it is not autobiographical, I have woven into the book a lot of memories of my own upbringing in a similar small town, so readers will likely experience many ‘hey, I remember that’ moments. Writing this story about friendship was, in part, a work of acknowledgement of my roots, with thoughts about past and present.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
When reading about lives of other authors, I often conclude that, if their lives are the norm, mine must be unusual. No periods of insanity so far. No whisky, no drunken binges—in fact I’m quite abstemious. How could I be a writer? I do like coffee, though I limit my daily cups to 1 or 2. And none of that “get up at 4 a.m. business” that some writers talk about! I used to be more disciplined, pushing myself to produce. These days I’m a bit nicer to myself, allowing time off.
What authors or books have influenced you?
One of my favourite poems, Tennyson’s Ulysses, includes a line that’s apt to this question— I am part of all that I have met. While I have not knowingly tried to write like anyone else, given all the reading I have done over all the years, a lot must have rubbed off and helped produce my style.
What are you working on now?
I’ve been promising myself for years that I’d put together a selection of my short stories, and I’m doing that task now. Most have been published, but some will be in print for the first time. There’s a variety, so I expect readers will laugh, cry, and think.
What is your best method when it comes to promoting your books?
The answer to that has to be: the method I’m still trying to find! Writing a book is hard, but marketing it is even more difficult. Along with so many authors, I find the business of promoting myself is contrary to my personality. Currently I’m trying promotions through various commercial websites.
How beneficial is networking to your success?
Being a member of several writers’ organizations, particularly NZ Society of Authors, and Playwrights Association, puts me in touch with the writing community on my home turf. I support other writers by a book review service via my website, so I am in contact with more authors that way. Internationally, on-line networking through such groups as eNovel Authors At Work is great.
Do you have any advice for new indie authors?
Yes! Don’t underestimate the work involved to produce a good book. Savvy, serious authors put in a huge amount of preparatory work before they even start the writing process. Once a draft is produced, don’t be in a hurry to publish. Many indie books are published far too soon, without sufficient time and care. Get professional advice and help. Assessment, editing, and proofing is critical to a book’s success.
What is the best advice you ever acted upon?
Many years ago my father told me to always turn the wheelbarrow in the direction you want to wheel it, before you fill it up. That wisdom has proved itself time and again.
What are you reading now?
During my academic years I read and produced non-fiction. Now I’m enjoying catching up with novels. I have an eclectic appetite for reading material, everything from literary fiction, contemporary, fantasy to science fiction. I also enjoy reading biographies and memoirs.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Fame and fortune would be good. A best-selling novel, just pure magic. A smash hit stage play. Film rights to anything I’ve written. Any of those would be great. It’s a little slow in coming so if anyone can help by arranging for those film rights, or a play on Broadway, that would be awesome. Thanks!
If you were stranded on a desert island name 3 books you would like to have with you. Why?
Only 3? If it’s a true desert island I guess Boatbuilding for Beginners wouldn’t be much help. It would seem the ideal place and time to reread Frank Herbert’s Dune series; I have the lot in two large volumes, so can I count them as one? A volume of Tennyson’s poetry, I think; and I might dust off an old philosophy book or maybe find a woman philosopher whose works I have still to catch up on.
Name one thing you would like for people to know about you.
I have the usual number of limbs, fingers and toes, but I do have an extra rib. I once asked the Auckland Zoo if I could have the jaguar cub they didn’t want. Sadly, they said, NO! I have my box of fosters, instead. #
Wow! Very nice. Thank you Bronwyn for sharing tidbits of your life and writing career with us today. Readers, you can find all of Bronwyn’s books HERE and in the UK: HERE. Unfortunately amazon.au does not offer author pages. You must find the books by name or author. Thank you all so much for stopping by. @Jackie Weger 2016.
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