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.
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.