Thursday, 29 March 2018

Meet Our Members: David Rawlings

Each Thursday in 2018 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.

Today we interview David Rawlings

Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.
  1. I’m a freelance copywriter with my own business. I’ve worked for myself for 13 years and have always put words on the page (and now the screen) so I could put food on the table.
  2. I come from a writing background, having been in journalism and corporate communication for 25 years. I've also written songs, poetry and short stories since I was six. Now it's fiction's turn.
  3. I was born and bred in southern Adelaide. I lived in Sydney for a while – the Shire was great  – but moved back to raise a family five minutes from the beaches, five minutes from the bush, and ten minutes from the picturesque McLaren Vale wine region. 
Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why? 

I write contemporary fiction with a message. I enjoy writing stories that don’t just entertain or provide escapism, but also leave the reader sitting back and thinking deeper about their lives. So I talk about contemporary issues – TV and the media, relationships, transparency and honesty, the concept of friends in social media or balancing work with life. In them, I’m encouraging people to dive a little deeper into life by looking at what makes the world around them tick. In doing so, they might find a little of themselves as well.

My first manuscript (Pastor Swap) was an ACFW Genesis finalist and OCW Cascade finalist in the USA, and addressed the concept of churches and reality TV. My second manuscript (The Baggage Handler) also semi-finaled in the Genesis comp and explores the concept of dealing with emotional baggage.

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it? 

I’ve been working with James L Rubart as my mentor, so it’s mind-blowing to have the guy whose books you are reading suddenly reading your work. I’ve now signed with the Steve Laube Agency, so it was a buzz to have Steve read – and love – The Baggage Handler. He made it to the end of the story, which I count as an achievement considering his reading workload.

And recently I've been blogging on, which meant I had the chance to have work in front of some really big names in Christian fiction. Did they like it? I don't know. But it was good to at least have the chance.

Who would I like to read my writing? People who would benefit from diving a little bit deeper into life. And, like any wannabe debut author, as many of those people as possible!

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most? 

I’m a pantser trapped inside a plotter’s body. I remember meeting Robert Ludlum at a book signing in Adelaide when I was 17, and he told me that he plots his entire book, and knows the start and end point of each chapter. Then, putting that aside, he writes the story to get to that point. Considering he’s my literary hero, I’ve adopted that – and I've found it works really well for me.

I’ve also developed a two-speed process that works for my timing and the way I create. I’m a big dictator (not in the political sense), so I will often dictate entire chapters and then, in transcribing them, edit as I go. That allows me to be free (like a pantser) but also focussed (like a plotter). It also means my first draft is almost a second draft because I fix things along the way. It’s not conventional, but it works. And it means that in downtimes in my freelancing business when I’m able to focus on my writing, I can churn out up to 8,000 words a day when I’m flying.

Oh, and I often write in my hammock.

I wasn't kidding about the hammock ...

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why? 

I was given a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style when I studied journalism (back when journalism was still journalism) and I still use it. I know that I’m getting things right. (Although now that I’m focussing on the USA, the Chicago Manual of Style means I don’t completely come across as a failed 4th grade English student from Boston).

I’ve also had some good use out of Shawn Coyne’s The Story Grid – just another way of looking at story and structuring it in a way that keeps the pace moving.

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be? 

Wow. Way to get me in trouble with those I don’t mention … these are but a few of the people I’ve come to know on CWD. Here goes:
  • Ian Acheson – the Sydney guy I met at ACFW in Nashville. One of the most encouraging Christian men I’ve ever met. 
  • Iola Goulton – one of the first people I met in Christian fiction through ICFW and a Genesis winner herself. 
  • Narelle Atkins – who helped me with some advice when I was in negotiation with Steve Laube, who is now my agent.
  • Mira Pankiw – who always provides great feedback to my writing.
  • Carolyn Miller – who I’ve gotten to know through ACFW as well and has just released her debut novel. 
  • Peter Sewell - I like following his posts as he travels around the planet like a CWD Getaway travel show presenter. 
So I met this great Aussie in Nashville ... with Ian Acheson at the ACFW Awards Gala in 2016.
Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2018? How will you achieve them? 

To have what I've written published and to add to the two manuscripts I've finished with one of the many stories I've already storyboarded.

How will I get there? By working hard on the story, the platform and the prayer, and now that I’m working with an agent, enjoying this part of the process.

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing? 

It drives all of my writing. I believe that all creativity comes from the Creator, so it follows that my stories are from Him as well. My faith is also something I explore, with questions about everything. That comes through in my writing as my characters often have the same questioning approach.

Based in South Australia, David Rawlings is a sports-mad father-of-three with his own copywriting business who reads everything within an arm’s reach.  He has published in the non-fiction arena and is now focused on writing contemporary Christian stories for those who want to dive deeper into life.

His manuscripts have finalled in competitions for ACFW and OCW and he is currently represented by The Steve Laube Agency.


  1. Thanks David. I really enjoyed reading about your write-life. Congratulations on being represented by the Steve Laube Agency. It sounds like writing's in your blood - and this does sound a very exciting season in your life. All the best to you and may God continue to use all you write for His glory and to bring meaning and purpose (in Christ) into your readers' lives.

  2. I love the idea of dictating then doing your own transcribing/editing. I can see that working ...

    I wish more journalists read and obeyed Strunk & White. What is it with all these TV news stories talking about past events using the present or future tense?

    Great interview, and thanks for the shout-out!

  3. An excellent interview--so good to hear more about you and your writing journey, David. As I read your story, I was struck again at how God weaves the skills we learn in one part of our lives into the next adventure with him--and also brings about those 'God connections' we need, such as those you have had with with Ian, as well as with James Rubart and Robert Ludlum! May God guide and enable, as your writing journey unfolds further.

  4. Hi David! That’s so exciting about James Rubart and Steve Laube, and where this writing journey is taking you! So much is about God’s timing, isn’t it, and having prepared all you can for when the green light happens. God bless you!

  5. Loved the interview! I like Adelaide btw. Nice streets in squares. Great for someone who 'mislays' herself, unlike Perth where the next turn won't bring you back, instead take you out whoop-whoop.
    Your writing journey sounds exciting, may God continue to bless you. :)

  6. Thanks for your post, David. Wow, I would be stoked too I’d Jamrs Rubart was reading my work. It certainly sounds like things are happening for you. All the best for the future.

  7. G'day David ... thanks for the shout out,mate. Not a bad photo of us either!

    Dictating ... hmmm, funny, I was only reading a post from Jo Penn who now does the same thing. I don't think I could do it. Well, I could describe images I guess but I'm not sure there'd be many decent sentences in my words. But maybe that's what happens in the transcribing/editing stage ... fixing the sentences.

    So proud of what you've achieved in such a short period of time and how you've gone about it. You've been focused, intentional while allowing the Lord to guide you. I'm excited for the release of TBH and for everything else the Lord has planned for you.