This week’s installment of the Weekend Name Drop features a New Zealand writer with an impressive resume and an indomitable spirit who continually challenges herself in new genres and works to support her fellow writers. Meet Dr. Bronwyn Elsmore.
Name: Bronwyn Elsmore
Creative field: Author – multiple genres
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Best known for: Authoring the novel, Every Five Minutes; founder of Flaxflower, a Flaxroots Production featuring reviews of New Zealand books; winner of multiple short story and playwriting competitions; Senior lecturer and teacher of creative writing,
My connection: I first discovered Bronwyn when I found her book, Mana From Heaven, which I have yet to read, but I know would have been a brilliant source for my first novel. Her book led me to find out Bronwyn had just launched a new initiative to review New Zealand books on her website. In fact, my novel, Redeeming Brother Murrihy, was the second book to be reviewed on Flaxflower. Without my knowing, Bronwyn also completed my NZSA manuscript appraisal for my second novel, a fact I did not discover until she saw me selling Te Kauhanga at the Auckland Independent Book Festival in 2014 where we met in person. Since then, we have maintained contact via Facebook and Twitter and she has just last week posted a review for The Chain on Flaxflower. So, in different ways, Bronwyn has had some involvement with all three of my novels.
Inspiration for this writer: Despite her decades of success as an academic and playwrite, Bronwyn continues to push her own creative limits, venturing into novels in recent years and working tirelessly on social media to promote, not only her own books, but those of other New Zealand writers in need of exposure via reviews. Mana From Heaven remains on my list of must reads. Like me, she also networks with other independent writers in New Zealand. Read her blog post here promoting the Writers Plot Readers Read book shop in Upper Hutt which stocks both mine and Bronwyn’s books.
Why you should check her out and share with others: While I have not read any of Bronwyn’s books, she has collected almost nothing but five star reviews for her recent fiction. You should check these out on Goodreads: Every Five Minutes, Seventeen Seas, and her new release, Backwards into the Future. If you are a New Zealand author, you should definitely contact Bronwyn to arrange a Flaxflower review.
Sample of work:
Mary looked at the name-badge pinned over the woman’s left breast, then up to the face.
“Amiria. I know you, don’t I?”
The woman laughed. “Kia ora Mary.”
“Amiria…” She searched for a name to follow the first.
“Waihape when you knew me. I heard you were back in town.”
“Amiria, of course. You lived in Ruakumara Road.”
“Still do. I haven’t gone far. Same road, about half a kilometre closer to town.” She pressed the foot pedal so the belt brought the next items to hand.
“You’re Ana’s cousin.”
“Now you’ve got it.” Amiria laughed again. “Her little cousin. The little nuisance you two had to look after when my parents went off to tangis up north and I stayed at Kui’s.”
Mary thought back. There was a distant memory of straining to ease an old pushchair over the banks of shingle on the road between the two houses, but she couldn’t come up with a clear picture of the child in it. Then glimpses of another girl, getting progressively bigger but always younger than they were, sitting watching them play during interval at school, being doubled on the carrier of Ana’s bicycle, tagging along to the pictures on a Saturday afternoon.
“Do you know where she is?” There wasn’t an immediate reply, so Mary carried on, “I’ve been trying to find her.”
Amiria scanned the pack of espresso coffee and didn’t appear inclined to answer.
“I need to find out. She has to come back.”
Three items from the greengrocery section passed from Amiria’s right hand to the left and into the waiting bag before she spoke again, “Ana hasn’t been back in all this time.”
“She’s got to come.”
Amiria’s head moved from one side to the other and back again in a slow sign of disagreement. “She won’t.”
“I’ve got a message for her.”
“She didn’t even come for Nanny Peka’s funeral.” Amiria’s voice was even, but there was an undertone – disappointment perhaps, or censure?
“Do you know why?”
Amiria looked into a paper bag containing half a dozen lemons.
“You don’t want these,” she said, putting them behind her on a ledge that already held another item waiting to be returned to the proper place down one of the aisles.
“But I do.” Mary was surprised at the other woman’s action – it’s one she’d never encountered in a supermarket before. She started to say what she was going to do with them, but Amiria over-ruled her.
“They’re imported. Trust me. They’re not as good as real ones, Waimamae lemons. I’ll bring you some from off my tree. A welcome home present. You can make me a cup of that coffee. And we’ll talk.”
Here’s a video promo for Bronwyn’s novel, Every Five Minutes:
The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.