When Bronwen is not busy working, reading and writing, she spends her free time golfing, hiking, and enjoying movies. You can find out more about Bronwen on her website, follow her on Twitter, and friend her on Facebook.
Time to chat!
Gannon: Welcome, Bronwen! You're in the hot seat now. *g* When did you first know you wanted to write?
Bronwen: I moved to London, England in 1988. When I lived in London I talked a lot with friends about wanting to write but didn’t quite know how to start. I decided I’d love to write romance stories as I’m a big romantic at heart. Then when holidaying in Greece the pension where we were staying in had some Mills and Boons – in Greek. Gosh, I thought to myself, this market is huge. On my return to London I contacted Mills and Boon and got all the information including a cassette tape on how to write romance – it’s a hilarious tape and I still listen to it and laugh. Boy things have certainly changed at Mills and Boon since the 1990’s. Back then you could only kiss! Anyway, I never really did anything about it – life got in the way.
When I moved back to New Zealand in 2005, a very close friend was very ill. I would sit at his bedside and we’d talk about our dreams in life and I mentioned I’d love to write romance novels. So he promptly got me to start plotting one with him. He told me if I was serious I should do it properly. So I joined Romance Writers of New Zealand (RWNZ) in 2006 and took loads of online courses. My writing career had begun.
Gannon: How long did you write before your manuscript was bought?
Bronwen: I have been writing seriously since about the beginning of 2007, but I fell into the ‘new writers’ trap of starting loads of books but never finishing one. In 2009 I decided to get serious. My co-RWNZ author Nalini Singh told me I had to find the time to invest in my career if I was serious. So I did. I took a part-time job at the beginning of 2009 so I could write. It was hard. I am single and I am my only source of income, so it was a risk. I gave myself two years. If I wasn’t published in two years I would go back to full time employment. I finished my first completed manuscript on 30th October 2009.
Gannon: We love call stories. Can you tell us about the day you got "the call"?
Bronwen: At the end of October 2009 I had finished my manuscript, but it was still being read by my critique partners. However I thought I’ll send out some Query letters and see what response I would get – thinking it would take a few weeks to hear back. On about the 10th November, I submitted five query letters. Two to editors and three to agents. They all immediately requested the full book. As I was still editing (from changes my critique partners – all 3 of them suggested) I actually sent them the first three chapters instead. What was the point of rushing f they didn’t like the first three chapters.
In the middle of December everyone came back asking for the rest of the book, but I still didn’t have it finished. So I thought I’d wait and finish the changes over my Christmas break and submit on 1 January. But Megan Records from Kensington (who bought my book) phoned me from New York on 18th December chasing the book, saying “I think I’d like to buy it”. I had to come clean and told her I’d submit on 1 January. She was happy to wait once I had explained what I was changing. Needless to say I was very very excited.
I submitted to all five people on 1 January. On the 3rd January, Melissa Jeglinski from The Knight Agency (who I met at the RWNZ 2009 conference) offered me representation and on the 6th January Megan called to offer me a two book deal with Kensington Brava. I couldn’t believe it! Loads of screams, champers and shaking – I don’t think I slept for a week. I wish everyone could experience a ‘CALL’. Editors must love giving them.
Gannon: I would think that making those calls would be one of the best parts of an editors job. Invitation to Ruin was fantastic, but had a bit of a "dark" feel due to the subject of the slave trade that you hit upon. How did you come up with that subject as part of your plot?
Bronwen: I like intelligent heroine’s and I remember sitting down one afternoon and comparing my life to a woman in the early 1800’s. I have done many things with my life. I have travelled extensively, I have been to University and I have set up and run my own company. I thought, how boring a woman’s life must have been in the early 1800’s, stiffed by Society’s conventions and rules. I realized she wouldn’t have had the freedom to do the things she really wanted to do, and it almost sounded like she was a slave to her father or husband. If you were lucky they treated you well, if not you were their servant. So that’s when I decided that Melissa would realize her lack of freedom was not right, and that she would help other’s in her situation i.e. The Women’s Freedom League who bought slaves and gave them their freedom. Once I’d had that in place it seem logical that the hero should have a slave trading background. I imagined the type of father the hero might have had if the family were slave traders.
Gannon: When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
Bronwen: I’m quite a busy person. I am a writer and I work part-time as Executive Director of a private surgical society in NZ, I am editor for the RWNZ Heart 2 Heart magazine and I run a writing loop called the Book in 50 Days for unpublished authors serious about a career in writing. When I do have spare time, I love spending it with my friends and family. I have a large, diverse group of friends from all walks of life and I love socializing. I play golf and bridge. However, my Sunday afternoons are definitely for reading. I try to read during the week when I can, but Sunday afternoon is always chill out time for me. I set myself up with a cup of tea, the odd biscuit or two, and a fabulous romance novel.
Gannon: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Bronwen: Gosh I have sooooo many!!! I love finding new authors to read. I have just read Eloisa James, When Beauty Tamed the Beast. She is not a new author but it is the first of her books that I have read and I absolutely loved it. I have also just read my first book by the authors Lynsay Sands, Taming the Highland Bride, and Lydia Dare, It Happened One Bite - both fabulous stories. I have also just finished FATED, a debut novel by Rebecca Zanetti and loved it. I have to buy most of my books online as NZ is so small, most romance novels are not distributed in book stores here.
I love anything by - Gaelen Foley, Nicole Jordan, Nalini Singh, Kresley Cole, Natalie Anderson, Anne Gracie, Judith McNaught, Stephanie Laurens, - I could go on and on and on
Gannon: Here's a little something we do called the "quick six."
Milk chocolate or dark? MILK
Beer or wine? WINE
Mountains or beach? MOUNTAINS (WITH SWIMMING POOL)
Early riser or night owl? EARLY RISER
Summer or winter? SUMMER (if you knew a Wellington winter you’d know why – the wind howls and the rains pours - no snow but still freezing and you can’t use an umbrella because of the wind.)
Coffee or tea? TEA
Gannon: Thanks for answering all of my questions, Bronwen. Do you have a question you'd like to ask our readers?
Bronwen: Who is your favorite DARK and TORTURED hero – in a book or on TV and why?
So readers, tell us about your favorite dark and tortured hero. Bronwen is giving away three copies of Invitation to Ruin to three lucky commenters.