I am pleased to offer this interview with Author Bronwyn Elsmore for your reading pleasure. By reading about the lives of other writers, you may find strategies to improve your own writing life. As well, other people are just interesting! That’s why we read fiction and watch movies–to find out about a life unlike our own. Read on . . .
Guest Post by Bronwyn Elsmore, Author
You’re a New Zealand writer – how does that affect your writing? The fact that I’m a ‘Kiwi’, born and bred, certainly affects my work. In the past I have written non-fiction books on very New Zealand subjects, but my fiction works also reflect the culture and geography of my country – as is the case for every writer.
Just New Zealand? We’re a South Pacific nation, part of Polynesia, and the cultures of those islands are also part of a more general NZ way of life. They’re also places I love to visit, so some of my stories are set in places such as Samoa, Cook Islands, and Tahiti.
What’s your favorite genre? Tough one! Being a professional writer all my adult life, I’ve written across a wide range. These days, though, I’m most immersed in writing novels and short stories. As a consumer, I like reading those too. But I’m also a playwright and theatre reviewer, and I also like going to good plays.
So when did you decide to be a writer? At least by the age of ten. I wrote to Enid Blyton and told her I was going to be a writer and I never wavered from that plan. Over the years I’ve been a copywriter, freelancer, contract writer, education writer, playwright, editor, writing tutor and mentor. For sixteen years I was also an academic but always considered myself a writer first.
Enid Blyton wrote for children. Have you done that? Yes, way back I wrote a lot – stories, plays and poems. The first two books I had published were for children. Then I moved on to weightier non-fiction. Now I’m enjoying fiction more.
Your novel Every Five Minutes, where is that set? In Auckland, where I live. If you know the city you can follow the main character’s steps as she walks to work, and there are references to other places here too. But the background is not crucial – the story could be set in many other countries.
But you’ve also written a travel book – is that right? You mean my book Seventeen Seas. A travel book, a novel, creative non-fiction, humor – it crosses genre boundaries, so I don’t mind how people categorize it. That one’s set on a cruise ship. It follows several characters on a journey halfway across the world and tells stories about what happens on board and in the various ports they stop at.
What’s coming up next? I’ve just completed another novel – still deciding on the title. This one is set in a small town much like the one where I grew up.
Is it autobiographical? No, the characters and story are fictional, but the background setting in relation to places and times is realistic.
Your website is called Flaxroots. Can you explain the name? That goes back to the question about New Zealand. Our native flaxes are attractive and popular plants, and they were very important culturally in past times. I’ve used ‘flaxroots’ in a sense similar to ‘grassroots’. My book review page, FlaxFlower, is my contribution to helping promote the work of fellow Kiwi authors.
Paper or ebooks? Ha, for me it’s no contest! Give me an ebook anytime. I love my Kindle. I’m also a tree-lover and try to keep my paper consumption down. But I understand people who still like the feel of a paper book, so my recent titles are available in both. Every so often I get queries from people who want one of my past books that’s no longer in print and I’m sorry when I can’t help them. That’s another reason I love e-books – they’re so easy to keep available.
Tell us more about one of your books. Every Five Minutes is a novel. It’s a love story but not a romance – there is a difference. I’ve been delighted at the wonderful reviews it has received so far. It is such a great feeling for an author to know they have touched people with their words – that’s why we write.
Gina, if that is her real name, wakes to an autumn morning and, against her better judgment, selects a light dress to wear to work. Deliberately, she misses the bus and walks into the city, then turns and walks back home. This is not a day for work. Tomorrow, in her navy pantsuit, she will be there, but today she will spend with a white dog and a remarkable man.
Every Five Minutes is also about the color cornflower blue, beaches, parks, city streets, exotic places, coffee, flowers, polished stones, a unicorn and a swan, words, theatre, movies, music, and love. But most of all it’s about Gina, the dog, and the man.
Reviewers say –
“I adored this book” “I hated the story to end. Read it and you’ll see. It’s a lovely, lovely book.”
“A masterpiece…perfect in its style and delivery”
“Her writing brilliance showed on each page as she pulled it off.”
Every Five Minutes is available as a paperback or ebook at
And please see my website at http://flaxroots.com
Thanks for reading this far!