22 March 2019

A Novel Conversation with Bronwyn Elsmore’s Gina

 In conjunction with Indie BRAG
posted every Friday

To be a little different from the usual 'meet the author' 
let's meet a character...
Gina dressed as Arwen
from Lord of the Rings

© Anna Kulisz

Q: Hello, I’m Helen the host of Novel Conversations, please do make yourself comfortable. Would you like a drink? Tea, coffee, wine – something stronger? You’ll find a box of chocolates and a bowl of fruit on the table next to you, please do help yourself. I believe you are a character in Bronwyn Elsmore’s novel Every Five Minutes. Would you like to introduce yourself? You use just the one name, is that right? Are you a lead character or a supporting role?  
A: Ah, yes, I’m Gina. I guess most people would say I’m the lead, but I’d always say that’s Mark. And as for supporting, he’s that as well, because of the way he’s supported me. Do you mind if I pour two cups of coffee? Long black for me, white for him. Yes, I know he’s not with us, but I often do that and drink them both.

Q: Of course. Go ahead. I’m glad you agreed to come – I know it wasn’t an easy decision for you.
A: No. I’m not used to talking about myself.

Q: Well, let’s start with the novel. What genre is it, and what is it about?
A: Bronwyn always says it’s literary fiction and a love story. She insists it’s not a romance and I agree with that.

Q:  Tell me about another character in the novel – maybe your best friend, lover or partner … or maybe your arch enemy!
A: I’ve already mentioned Mark. Electra’s the other main supporting character, and that describes her well. People think I look after her, but it’s as much the other way around. Which is funny when I think about it because I’ve always been very wary of dogs and never thought I’d live with one, let alone feel about one the way I’ve come to do with Electra. Let’s say we need each other.

Q: Is this the only novel you have appeared in, or are there others in a series?
A: Gee no, just this one. A reader wrote and asked Bronwyn if they could hope for a sequel, but both of us agree my story’s best left this way.

Q: What is one of your least favourite scenes you appear in?
A: I don’t like to think back about that. It was the time in the park before I accepted that I could trust Mark completely, and I misinterpreted what he was doing and reacted on instinct. He should have given up on me then, knowing the baggage that came with me. I’ll never forget that he didn’t.

Q: And your favourite scene?
A: Which shall I pick? There are so many lovely moments about times Mark and I shared – such as when we were away on our trip and played at being Rick and Ilsa, then Aragorn and Arwen, and Heathcliff and Cathy. The quiet times in the library we created together. But, no, I think I’d have to go for that day on the beach – the twenty-seventh of February, I’ll never forget that date – when I blew away my past, because that was when I really realised I could move on.

Q: Tell me a little about your author. Has she written any other books?
A: Yes, Bronwyn has written many genres and her books include non-fiction very informative works, children’s books, creative non-fiction and novels. She’s just published her eleventh book, a collection of short stories called These Islands Here – Short Stories of the South Pacific.

Q: Is your author working on anything else at the moment?
A: I believe so. She says it’s another novel but other than that she’s not giving away any clues.

Q: How do you think indie authors, such as your author, can be helped or supported by readers or groups? What does your author think is the most useful for her personally?
A: Look, I’ve seen the work Bronwyn puts in when she’s writing – hundreds, thousands of hours – writing, rewriting, checking facts. Then when it’s published there’s all the time and effort it takes to let people know about it, the marketing – that’s the side she dislikes most. Writers need to know that they’ve touched readers in some way, and they see this through sales and good reviews. They’re pathetically grateful when they get them.

Q: Finally, before we must bid adieu, the novel you appear in has been awarded a prestigious IndieBRAG Medallion, does your author find this helpful, and is there anything else she would like IndieBRAG to do to help indie authors receive the recognition they deserve?
A: The main thing the award gives is the acknowledgement that all the work I talked about was time well spent. For the author, it’s due recognition of their sweat and, sometimes, tears. But it’s helpful for the reader too, because when they see the gold medallion on the cover they can be assured the book is worthy of the time they invest in reading it.

Helen: Thank you, Gina, it was a pleasure talking to you. Would your author like to add a short excerpt?

Gina : Yes, thank you too, Helen. She’s left it to me to pick one. Once again, which to choose?
Okay, here’s an extract from the early part of my story, where I meet Electra – the first time the three of us are together.

Helen : Great  - would you like a refill of that drink…?
Gina : Thanks, Helen, but I think those two cups of coffee are enough.


You told me you had a dog. I didn’t ask what sort, but afterwards I imagined you with something large, brown, a sporting breed probably. I fancied I could even see you in a tweed coat with a rifle resting on your shoulder. Heaven only knows why, because I’d only ever seen you in a business suit and polished black shoes. Perhaps it was because the image I constructed seemed right outside my scope. Deliberately.
     “I’m a cat person,” I said.
     It was true, in that I admire the self-assuredness of a cat, the independence, the idea of the cat that walks by itself. I thought of the tabby in the flat next door that permits me to scratch behind her ears when it suits her but, when it doesn’t, jumps onto the top of the stone wall out of reach. I appreciate her right to choose.
     At the time, however, the statement was a defensive reaction – a sort of ‘you say tomarto, I say tomayto’ shield I placed between us. Then, to your subsequent question, came my follow-up admission that no, I didn’t have one myself, not at that time. A cat is not something that can be thrown into a suitcase and moved at a moment’s notice when the need is there.

CONNECT WITH Bronwyn Elsmore

Website: http://www.flaxroots.com

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/flaxroots

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bronwyn-Elsmore/e/B001JSAPRA

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19 March 2019

Tuesday Talk: I have so much news to tell...

Yesterday,  my newsletter subscribers were ‘forewarned’ of this post. (See, it pays to subscribe to newsletters… heavy hint…)

Sea Witch
Buy The Book
Let’s start by rewinding time a little and head back to the Newsletter Archive on my website…

"April 2006
I have so much news to tell.
The publishing industry, understandably, tends to concentrate on books that will sell in their thousands. Sadly that usually means an author's backlist tends to become forgotten. Publishing Houses are only interested in their latest releases - particularly in the scoop of the newest passing-phase celebrity superstar. Because they are not making oodles of money from my books my publisher (Random House UK) has decided not to reprint the Pendragon Banner Trilogy and Harold the King...but …Fear not, a solution is upon us!

I have taken the enormous step of deciding to indie-publish. It will be either the wisest or the stupidest thing I have ever done, but it will mean my books will remain in print for as long as I want them to be. However, the excitement does not end there. I have also decided to indie/self-publish my pirate historical fantasy adventure Sea Witch novel. I am busy doing a final proofread and she will, if all goes to plan, be setting sail in early May 2006…"

Zip back to present day: 19th March 2019...

I simply cannot believe that the above was 2006 THIRTEEN years ago!

There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then, some of it calm and sedate, but a good bit of it somewhat turbulent. The first indie publishing assistant company that I went to turned out to be owned by a crooked con-man, and looking at those early print runs… well, let’s just say they are how NOT to produce books. When the company went bankrupt, I high-tailed it over to Helen Hart’s SilverWood Books – been with the company, most satisfactorily, ever since.

Sourcebooks Inc picked up Harold, Queen Emma and Arthur for traditional/mainstream publication in the US and Canada, with The Forever Queen (retitled from the UK’s A Hollow Crown) making the USA Today bestseller list. (And I’ve just looked, it is still ranked in the Amazon.Com bestseller lists – and there are 99 reviews. Come on someone, make it a round 100 for me!) Then Turkey took it for translation… so I was now in the ranks of authors known as ‘hybrid’ – traditional and indie.

I think most of my followers know the story behind Sea Witch? (If not, click HERE) My ex-agent let me down big-time. She hated it. Sent the draft copy back with red lines and sarky comments scribbled over it… I was gutted. I had put my heart and soul into writing that book, I was thrilled with it – talk about someone chucking a bucket of water over your parade! Fortunately, I had (have!) more faith in my rogue of a pirate (“ex-pirate” … he’s just whispered that in my ear. There’s a distinct whiff or rum in my office… and the fact that he needs a bath…That’s the trouble with fictional characters, they have a habit of becoming very real.)

Anyway… I knew the idea was a good one.

I went on to turn that first Voyage into a series. And I have worked hard at being an indie writer, with all that being an indie entails. Which means doing your own, hands-on, every day 24/7 12 months marketing. I’ve, mostly, enjoyed it.

I set out, back then in 2006, when ‘Indie’ was a relatively new concept – and it bore the mark of being ‘second-class vanity’ publishing. These years later indie authors are far more respected because the good, serious, authors have made a point of producing quality, high standard work. (In point of fact, often better than mainstream!) And we, as authors, have, on the whole, become accepted in the literary world as respected authors – again, because we produce our books with care (and a lot of love!) After all, we invest our own money into it! Being indie is often expensive: there’s professional editing to pay for, professional cover design… professional marketing services if you chose to use them… To produce an indie novel that matches quality mainstream standard takes time and money.

And it is hard slog work to keep yourself and your books going. And after thirteen years of trumpet tootling, I’m getting tired. I want to get back to making writing my priority but needed a boost for my flagging lack of self-confidence and enthusiasm. That little whisper of nagging self-doubt when you are an indie writer is always present. We are on our own and – well, it’s draining to the point of ‘why am I doing this?’  The only thing that keeps us indies going is knowing that our readers out there - you -  enjoy our books.

The big drawback with being Indie, apart from everything I’ve said above, is the limitation of how wide you can ‘spread the word’. All indie writers would like to be the whale in a pond, but the truth is, most of us are tadpoles in the vast ocean of other books and other authors. Although the same is true for the majority of mainstream authors, the difference is, they don’t have to fork out good money for the privilege.

Because of marketing, getting books into stores, translation (or even film/TV) opportunities, mainstream publishers also have the advantage over indies: they have a louder voice, a larger presence. This is so even for the smaller Independent Publishing Houses (not to be confused with ‘Indie’ writers. Think of these publishing houses as the local Community Shop, as opposed to the huge Tesco. Whereas the indie author is the chap with his own barrow in the street market.)

All of which is why even the most prolific and supportive indie writer would still prefer to be with a Mainstream Publisher.

And I am delighted and excited to announce, that after thirteen years of ‘going it alone’, I have just signed a contract with Independent Publisher, Penmore Press, based in Arizona, for the Sea Witch Voyages! Jesamiah is to sail in consort with a new fleet to explore New Horizons!

We are to keep the covers designed by Cathy Helms (www.avalon.graphics.org) and we hope to get these new editions ready to set sail as soon as possible – although they will be out of print for a short while.

In which case, please do celebrate with me – I’m delighted that my Captain Acorne is to sail along with good hands, and that at last, despite the pleasure that being indie can bring, he has the potential to reach the much wider audience that he deserves. Jesamiah really should reach whale status, he isn’t the tadpole type.

However,  if you need to complete your set of e-books or paperback Voyages, and you don’t want to have to wait for them – I’d advise you to plunder them from Amazon now.

Meanwhile, I’ll be getting on, with renewed enthusiasm, with the writing of Voyage Six, Gallows Wake

 Please join me (and that Sparrer Feller) in a toast: 

To Jesamiah – and Penmore Press!