Celebrate Independence Day with a Kiwi!

Celebrate America!I hope you’re having a wonderful time celebrating our nation’s birthday! It’s a special day for being thankful for our country and for those who make our freedoms possible. If you’re in the military or part of a military family, please know I’m thinking of you.

Each Monday I try to spotlight other authors so today, I’m hosting Bronwen Evans, a New Zealander on my blog. Please give this debut Brava author a hearty welcome.

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Thanks for having a Kiwi as a guest on your blog on Independence Day of all days. I’m honored to be sharing your special day with you all.

I’m a Kiwi (New Zealander) who writes Regency Era Historicals, published by Kensington Brava. My debut novel INVITATION TO RUIN released 1 March 2011 is set in 1808 – before New Zealand had been colonized.  My hero, Anthony James Craven, the Earl of Wickham, may have heard of New Zealand, as he owns a merchant trading company, but I doubt he would have any desire to come here. His father probably would have tried to send ships to NZ, because he ran one of England’s biggest slave trading operations. I’m sure he would have seen the native Maori as merchandise.

INVITATION TO RUIN is a dark and gritty story of forgiveness and surviving our past. Here’s what RT Book Reviewer, Jill Brager, had to say about Anthony and Melissa’s story…

RT Rating 4.5 Stars

Here’s a fast-paced story filled with snappy dialogue, action and a tortured hero that will delight the reader as much as he delights the heroine. A strong heroine, some wonderful secondary characters and a villain who is truly evil help move the story forward. Readers will laugh and cry as they and the protagonists learn that your past does not necessarily dictate your future and that love heals all wounds.

Anthony Craven, the Earl of Wickham, aka The Lord of Wicked, is about to pursue his favorite pastimes, sin and vice. On his way to his assignation he winds up in the wrong room, that of Miss Melissa Goodly, a 21-year-old virgin. When they’re caught, Anthony has no choice but to marry Melissa. Many hope that this is just what Anthony needs to turn him from his current path of self-destruction. Anthony leaves Melissa on their wedding night. Each time they are in the same room Anthony’s attraction for his wife grows, but he has vowed to never father a child in order to end what he believes is the evil in the family bloodline. The only thing Melissa hopes for out of this marriage is a child. She is determined to break through Anthony’s icy reserve. When a dark shadow from Anthony’s past kidnaps Melissa, he might lose her before he has a chance to tell her that he has fallen in love with her. (BRAVA, Mar., 336 pp. $14.00)

There are excerpts from my novel on my website www.bronwenevans.com.

Like America, New Zealand was largely colonized by England and other European’s.  I’m sure if we search back far enough, I’m probably related to some of you! Here’s a little background of our national day – Waitangi Day 6 February.

Compared to the USA, Canada, and England, and just about anywhere in the world, our history is very young.  It wasn’t until around 1840 that the first European settlers ventured this far south from England.  NZ was discovered by Captain James Cook, the English explorer in 1769. But only a few traders and whalers came here before the mid 1800’s.

Prior to European colonization, the native Maori had been here for centuries. The arrival of the settlers created native aggression. To put an end to the fighting with the Maori, in 1840 the European settlers signed The Treaty of Waitangi with the Maoris.

The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document. It takes its name from the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed, on 6 February 1840. This day is now a public holiday in New Zealand. The Treaty is an agreement, in Māori and English, that was made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs).

The Treaty is a broad statement of principles on which the British and Māori made a political compact to found a nation state and build a government in New Zealand. The document has three articles. In the English version, Māori cede the sovereignty of New Zealand to Britain; Māori give the Crown an exclusive right to buy lands they wish to sell, and, in return, are guaranteed full rights of ownership of their lands, forests, fisheries and other possessions; and Māori are given the rights and privileges of British subjects.

Different understandings of the Treaty have long been the subject of debate. From the 1970s especially, many Māori have called for the terms of the Treaty to be honored. Some have protested – by marching on Parliament and by occupying land. There have been studies of the Treaty and a growing awareness of its meaning in modern New Zealand.

It is common now to refer to the intention, spirit or principles of the Treaty. The Treaty of Waitangi is not considered part of New Zealand domestic law, except where its principles are referred to in Acts of Parliament. The exclusive right to determine the meaning of the Treaty rests with the Waitangi Tribunal, a commission of inquiry created in 1975 to investigate alleged breaches of the Treaty by the Crown. More than 2000 claims have been lodged with the tribunal, and a number of major settlements have been reached. It has cost the present day NZ Governments close to $5 billion dollars over the last twenty years.

All and all New Zealand is a multi-cultural society where integration has occurred. There are very few, if any, full blooded Maori left in New Zealand. However, many New Zealanders still consider themselves Maori. Unfortunately, Maori still make up a very high proportion of low income families, and over 50% of our prison population. But the Maori language and culture is on the rise. Maori language is now offered at all secondary schools and incorporated into our early childhood education system.

What’s all this got to do with romance books I hear you ask? Well, I lived in England for close to eight years and traveled constantly. One thing I’ve learned from my travels is that humans are not so very different. The human condition doesn’t care about genetics, where we came from, our faith, race or what sex we are. Every human the world over has a heart, and we are all searching and wanting that Happy Ever After.

That’s why romance sells the world over. Love brings people together. Long may it continue.

Tell me an interesting fact about the history of American Independence Day and your name will go in the draw to win a signed copy of Invitation to Ruin.

Thanks for having me.

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It’s my pleasure to have you here, Bronwen. And now it’s the readers’ turn! Tell Bronwen something about American history and you may just win a copy of Invitation to Ruin! (In case you need a little help, check out my Top Ten Obscure July 4th Facts at Brava Authors today!)

16 thoughts on “Celebrate Independence Day with a Kiwi!

  1. Nynke says:

    Thanks for this post, Bronwen – I had no idea New Zealand’s history started so recently and relatively peaceably! Although, wow – topping 50% of the prison population is a lot for a group that’s only 14.6% of the total population, according to Wikipedia…

    Being Dutch and a little lazy, I don’t have any interesting factoids to share about Independence Day, although when I was in Boston on the 4th of July once, I saw the most beautiful fireworks of my life! So far, anyway. ;)

    1. Hi Nynke

      Our statistics are not good when it comes to Maori – true. I’ve been to Holland several times. I miss the flat for cycling. Wellington is way to hilly.

      1. Nynke says:

        Cycling downhill is great, but uphill not so much, I agree. :)
        also: yay, I actually won? Wow, thanks Bronwen, Mia and DH+hat! :)

    2. Mia says:

      The annual Boston Pops concert is a national event! Fortunately, we have a clear view of the fireworks from our veranda so we don’t have to battle the over half a million people who crowd both banks of the Charles.

  2. Maria D. says:

    Congratulations on your new release Bronwen!
    Some interesting facts about Independence Day are:

    1. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both signers of the Declaration of Independence and Presidents of the U.S., died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

    2. The only President to be born on July 4th is Calvin Coolidge – the 30th President.

    3. The first public 4th of July celebration at the White House wasn’t until 1804.

    Happy 4th Everyone!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I didn’t realize there was a president who shared my dad’s birthday, Maria. Thanks for the tidbit!

  3. Barbara Britton says:

    Hi Bronwen,

    Your storyline sounds intriguing. I also like the New Zealand info. One of our friend’s daughters went to college there for a year and said it’s beautiful.
    Captain James Cook also discovered the Hawaiian Islands, which he named the Sandwich Islands. He certainly got around!

    1. Hi Barbara

      It’s amazing the number of American’s who have visited, or know of people who have visited here. NZ is such a long way from anywhere.

      I’ve been to Hawaii. When I was at University, my boyfriend’s father lived there. It’s a beautiful place to live!

      Captain James Cook discovered some wonderful spots. What a life he must have lived. I’m sure there is a story in there somewhere.

  4. Hi Bronwen. Since I’m also in New Zealand I don’t have any facts to add, except to say the fireworks are fun to watch or at least they were during our visit to the US, which coincided with 4th July. I have Invitation to Ruin on my reading pile and look forward to finding time to start reading.

    1. Hi Shelley

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s pretty cold in Wellington at the moment but at least there’s no wind for a change. Where are you based, Shelley?

  5. Deb Hinshaw says:

    Bronwen, your book sounds wonderful. Thank you, too, for posting about NZ. I would love to visit there some day. A cousin of mine did and loved it.

    Hmmm, interesting fact…”Yankee Doodle” was a song the British soldiers sang to make fun of the colonial soldiers, but the Americans proudly claimed it as a song of fun for America.

    Other interesting fact: most Americans grill burgers and hot dogs on the Fourth. But, tonight, we are having beef and homemade noodles because my daughter requested that for supper! :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      We don’t have the ability to grill out in our condo. I’ll confess I took the lazy woman’s way out today. A bucket of KFC goes a long way!

  6. Na says:

    What an interesting look into the history of New Zealand. It is a beautiful country to me and one I want to visit one day. I am Canadian but I found some interesting facts about American history that I learned online:

    It turns out the Fourth of July wasn’t such a great day for horses, back in the day before there were cars, that had to face some needling and torture from children who threw firecrackers at them.

    Also learned that there are five places in the USA that are named America. I think I would love to visit one of these places, very patriotic.

    Each country has a part history to be produ of and this should be remembered and celebrated. Happy Fourth of July!

    1. Hi Na – my Dad lives in Edmonton and has done for over 20 years. I love your country. I’ve enjoyed skiing at Lake Louise and whale spotting on Vancouver Island and Whistler I could go on.

  7. Dani Harper says:

    Hi Bronwen! It’s interesting – and deeply sad – how the struggles of aboriginal peoples are so similar in different parts of the world. Here is Alaska, native peoples represent 16 percent of the population at large, but 38 to 40 percent of the prison population. Humans are alike the world over in their challenges and struggles. But as you point out, we are similar in our quest for love too! Thanks for a fascinating glimpse into your beautiful country. Your latest release sounds like a must-read!

    1. Alaska – sigh – it’s on my list of places I must visit. It looks so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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