Thursday, 25 October 2018

Meet Our Members: Raelene Purtill

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 interview:

Raelene Purtill ( writes as R.A.Purtill)

Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.

I have been married to Steve for 25 years. We have three children in their twenties at home which is in the northern suburbs of Brisbane.

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?

I have written all my life and I’ve written everything – journals, poems, plays, shorts stories, blogs and I’m now dipping my toe into the longer form of the novel. I am drawn to speculative fiction and love the imagination on which these stories thrive. As a Christian, I am aware of something greater, more than just this world and I enjoy the ability for these stories to explore the human condition. But I also like real stories too about real people and while I don’t write them, they are the stories I like to read.

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

Nobody and everybody!

Seriously, my editors and mentors and the members of writing/critique groups. My short stories have been selected for anthologies, so I must be doing something right!

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

I like to write longhand in pencil first. This gets it all out of my brain. I also make scrapbooks with images of places and people and things, and research. This is my reference tool. Then I type up what I’ve written – I use Scrivener. I do the following edits in the same document. I don’t keep various versions until I am well into late drafts, then I print them out and work on the hard copy. I share with my writing group before sending it to a professional editor.

My challenges are that in the real world, I care for our son and my creative time is limited. I overcome this by getting up early and making the most of the ‘edge of the day’ as someone has called it.

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

Zen In the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. He was my first author. He introduced me to sci-fi.

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

I must acknowledge the input of our Omega chapter members who have nurtured and supported my writing and the lovely Christian editors who have given me advice and feedback. It’s a wonderful community and nice to know we are not only fellow creatives, but sisters in Christ too.

Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2018? How will you achieve them?

I achieved a long-time goal in 2018. I entered and was shortlisted in the CALEB prize for unpublished manuscript with my fantasy story ‘Asteros Rising.’

For 2019 I plan to continue writing my next book. An historical story based around the pearling industry of north Queensland at the time of Federation. Another ambitious project and through which I have had to deal with much Resistance – but at least the house is tidy!!

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

It keeps it clean. I am sure that I could easily slip into worldly thinking and writing if I did not have it. ‘Asteros Rising’ deals with a number of Christian themes: what it is to be human – there are android characters; healing and where the power to do that comes from; people of faith vs those with pagan views.

I pray and journal as part of my writing process.


Raelene enjoys all sorts of creative writing and she loves connecting with other writers at conferences, retreats and workshops.

She facilitates a local writing group and is a member of the Writers Anthology Group which produces an annual anthology.

She lives with her long-suffering husband and three millennial offspring in the northern suburbs of Brisbane.


  1. Great interview Raelene. Enjoyed hearing about your writing. Well done for getting up early and making the most of your time. Sounds the right way to go. Well done on getting your MS into the CALEB finals. That is very exciting. You seem to write a variety of genre which is great. All the best to you as you pursue His heart for your writing.

    1. Thanks Anusha. I find it hard to stick with one genre when my interests are so eclectic. Perhaps it more a case of themes which recur throughout my stories.

  2. You are very prolific with your writing Raelene. And the covers are intriguing too.
    All the best for your historical. I am interested to hear that besides WA, QLD had a pearling industry also.Should make for a good read.