Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
In a past life, Bronwyn Elsmore was an academic – hence the variation in the sorts of books she has written – 10 of her own to date, with a few more shared with others, or edited. But it’s the writing career that came first, and as well as books her hundreds of published works include articles, short stories, poetry, and stage-plays. Currently, she spends most of her writing time on fiction. Home is Auckland, New Zealand’s stunning City of Sails, though she is rather inclined to wander other places in the world.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
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, Bronwyn has woven into the book a lot of memories of her 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?
From what I have read about the lives of many other authors, particularly some big-name males from the past, I’ve often wondered if I am unusual. No whisky, no drunken binges – in fact I’m quite abstemious, how could I be a writer? I do like coffee, though I usually 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 than I am now – sitting down and pushing myself to get on with it. If I didn’t have an external deadline, I’d set one for myself, and make up rules about how much to produce. Then I’d pretty much keep office hours. These days I’m a bit nicer to myself, allowing myself to take time off.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I really can’t single out any one book or author. There is a line from one of my favourite poems that springs to mind here – Tennyson’s Ulysses – I am part of all that I have met. I think that must be particularly apt to this question. While I have not knowingly tried to write like anyone else, given all the reading I have done, a lot must have rubbed off and helped my style.
What are you working on now?
After years of promising myself, I am getting together a volume of my short stories. Most have been published before, but some will be seen in print for the first time. There’s a variety, so I expect readers will laugh, cry, and think.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
It’s the one I’m still trying to find! If writing a book is hard to do – and it is, believe me – marketing it is much more difficult. Along with so many authors, I find the business of promoting myself is contrary to my personality. Online sites such as this make the task a little more bearable, so THANK YOU for this opportunity!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Yes – do not be in a hurry to publish. Too many books are published far too soon, without sufficient time and care. Get professional help – assessment, editing, proofing.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Well, my father told me decades ago to always turn the wheelbarrow in the direction you want to wheel it, before you fill it up. That’s still good practical advice!
What are you reading now?
For so many years while I was writing non-fiction, that’s what I mainly read. Now I’m enjoying catching up with novels – literary fiction, contemporary, fantasy, science fiction. But I also enjoy reading biographies and memoirs.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Fame and fortune would be good – even if moderate. A best-selling novel. A smash hit stage play. Film rights. Any of those would be great.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Gee, how can I pick one over others when I’ve read so many that I’m grateful that their author took the time to write. I will say that, when I look at my bookshelves, there are some authors who stand out, and I must read their works again – Patricia Grace, Charles Dickens, Amy Tan, Salman Rushdie being just a few.