Thursday, 12 April 2018

CWD Member Interview

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 Anusha Atukorala.

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

1.    I am firstly (and with deep gratitude) a child of God. My primary calling in life I believe is to lover of God and to love others. I’m also called to encourage and bless; to build the body of Christ through my writing and through my life.

2.    I come from the beautiful island of Sri Lanka—a pearl drop in the Indian ocean.  I am fortunate enough to have two places I call home—this magnificent Land Down Under (thank you for having us, Australia) as well as the enchanting Land of my birth. What’s more … I have a third place I call home – the heart of our Father. (Aren’t I blessed?)

3.    I’ve been married for 32 years to an exceptional man, Shan. We are parents to a another exceptional young man of 28, Asela. All three of us love to read. I’ve just counted the bookcases in our home—TWELVE!  Yes, books are our friends.

In Sunny Sri Lanka May 2017

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

I grew up in a family of readers and writers. Mum was a journalist for seven decades years right until she left for heaven’s shores at the ripe old age of 89. My Dad was a Director of a Newspaper company in Sri Lanka. So it seems that writing was in my blood. I write non-fiction mostly though I’ve had a few short stories published in anthologies. It’s hard for me not to express all God’s done for me, so non-fiction suits me to a T. I’m looking forward to writing a novel one day, but for the moment, there’s plenty of non-fiction flowing from my pen and I can’t stop the tide. J

I’ve had two books published so far (and lots more in the pipeline).
1. Enjoying the Journey - 75 little God stories. (Back to the Bible Sri Lanka, June 2010)
2. Dancing in the Rain - words of comfort and hope for a sad heart. 
    (Armour Books, March 2018)

I blog regularly at my website which, (like my latest book) is called:
Dancing in the Rain’.

Writing is an act of obedience to the One I love. But of course it’s much more than that. I write because God has been so good to me that I can’t help but shout it to all the world. I write because my joy takes flight when I make sense of the world using the power of the written word. I write to encourage and bless others. I write to share Jesus with those who have yet to encounter Him. I write because God’s called me to share His love with His world. I write not because I have to but because I have to!

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

The short answer to your question Jenny is that my books are for ANYONE – of any age and gender.

As for the long answer …
When I wrote my first book I assumed it would be mainly women who’d be interested. I was surprised and pleased to discover that many parents used it as devotionals with their young families. Older people have expressed their appreciation of the book as well. I received a heart-warming message one day from a stranger across the seas—a Chinese man who told me how much the book blessed him. It made me very happy.

My second book was released just over a month ago. Dancing in the Rain was written out of life’s stormy seasons, to encourage others who needed comfort. I received feedback from a few readers recently who thanked me for the book, adding that it was exactly what they needed right now to help them through their difficult situations. I was so glad to hear it. 

About a week ago, I had an email from a stranger living in Victoria. She said she was very lonely. She had been about to give up on her faith when she read my website and my latest blog and said they helped her keep going. That for me is what it is all about. God is good, isn’t He? Because after all, it’s nothing to do with us. It’s the Holy Spirit who takes the words we write and uses them to convict, comfort, edify, teach and bless. All praise to Him.

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

Process? Hmmm! I’m not sure I have one.

God prompts me often by what I see around me—so I carry around a little book (as most of us writers do) to fill in when needed. It is a most helpful tool.

My biggest challenge is my health. I’ve suffered from a chronic illness for about 13 years and it has unfortunately affected my productivity. I find it hard to be creative when my body is screaming in pain and fatigue. Often when I have a day free to write—my body doesn’t co-corporate so I can’t get much done. Having said that, I have to add that I have gleaned plenty of golden writing nuggets by journeying through fields of adversity—so I shall not complain. Life is good. And better yet, God is good.

The Holy Spirit is my Helper. I love the editing process.  For me, getting the first draft is the hardest part of writing. Once that is done—I really relish the task of going over my manuscripts over and over again in my attempts to reach perfection!

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

I hang my head in shame. I don’t have one. I’ve been borrowing books from the library over the years and continue to learn the craft through them, but no one book stands out.

But …  perhaps I can lift my head after all? I do have a favourite Writing Book. 

The Bible! The more I read it, the more treasures I glean from it. So even as I acknowledge that it’s not a craft book on writing—I can honestly say it IS the base of my writing journey. What I learn in His Word shapes me as a Christian writer, apart from the treasures of poetry, history, stories and adventure I discover in its pages. And with the Holy Spirit, the Word is my Guide in my writing adventures.

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

Thanks for the opportunity to do so, Jenny. The Bible points to 7 as a perfect number so let me acknowledge and thank 7 fabulous authors today!

1.    Nola Passmore – You are not only an experienced, gifted writer but you also never fail to encourage and help many of us on our writing journeys with your brilliant expertise and friendship. Thank you so much Nola. You are a trooper!

2.    Jeanette O’Hagan - You’ve used your gifts and skills to produce many lovely books (congratulations Jenny) – but that does not keep you from using those same gifts to expend much time and energy to help other writers. Thank you Jenny.

3.    Penelope McCowen – You have been a wonderful blessing in my writing journey and in my life. Thank you Friend. I appreciate you deeply.

4.    Jenny Glazebrook – Jenny, your blogs are always inspirational as are your talks. I’ve really enjoyed your books. I appreciate your passionate spirit and your lovely gift of encouragement. God bless you dear special friend.

5.    Elaine Frazer – You have always inspired and encouraged me by your excellent writing and your caring friendship. I love catching up with you at conference! I appreciate you.

6.    Paula Vince – You are a gifted writer and I’ve loved your books. It’s been so good to work with you on CWD and I look forward to reading your latest work.

7.    Anne Hamilton – You are a gifted writer with many published books that teach, inspire and bless the body of Christ. Thank you. A special thank you Annie for publishing Dancing in the Rain through Armour Books. It’s been great working with you and I am very grateful.

I’d also like to thank  Jeanette Grant-Thompson, Rhonda Pooley, Melinda Jensen, Jo’Anne Griffin, Lesley Turner, Jo Wanmer, Adele Jones, Mazzy Adams, Pamela Heemskerk and Janelle Moore for the special encouragement you have been on my writing journey. Thank you ladies. I appreciate you all.

Omega Conference Sydney 2016

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

As you know Jenny, we’ve spent the last 10 months on a challenging, exhausting, relentless rollercoaster ride of moving house so my writing had to be on the backburner during that time. But now, at last … I’m free to dream and to write again. Hooray!

So these are my goals for 2018:
1.    To Launch—my latest book ‘Dancing in the Rain’ on the 12th of May 2018.
I hope to see many of you there!

2.    To Write/Put Together 2 books
a.     Blessings on the Journey – A book created from my blogs.
b.    The Way that He loves – birthed out of our eventful house move and a God who surprised, led and blessed us way beyond all expectations. My faith muscles have been stretched and strengthened in the process and I have a story to tell of His faithfulness. He truly is an awesome God!

3.    To Find the right Publishers for two of my books
a.     A Frog by any other Name – (A Children’s Chapter Book)
b.    Little Lulu’s Lullaby – (A Children’s Picture Book)

How will I achieve them? I’m thrilled that God’s blessed me with a little den in our new home. I love it. Love it. LOVE IT! I’ve been writing in our family room for the past eleven years with too much noise and distraction around me (never can write with noise), and now I have a perfect quiet retreat to escape to! Yay! How blessed I am.

This new season, God has been calling me to:
1. Pray lots 
2. Write lots

May I be faithful.

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

I write because God has been good to me. Faith is the bedrock under the swirling oceans of my writing life. Everything I pen is a reflection of the amazing God who created me, loved me, saved me and gave me a new song to sing for all eternity. Need I say more?

Thank you Jenny for your interview and thank you my fellow writers for your support and prayers as we work together as Christian Writers to bring God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 

God bless you and (your writing) richly and always.

Anusha’s been on many interesting detours in life, as a lab technician, a computer programmer, a full time Mum, a full time volunteer, a charity director, a full time job chaser, until one golden day (or was it a dark moonless night?) God tapped her on her shoulder and called her to write for Him. She has never recovered from the joy it brought her. She loves to see others enjoying life with Jesus and does her mite to hurry the process in her world through her writing and through her life. The goodness of God is her theme song through each season, as she dances in the rain with Jesus. Please stop by at her website to say G’day to her. She’d love to see you there. Dancing in the Rain


  1. Every word rings true of you, Anusha! You are a delight. So glad you have that 'room of your own' at last.

    1. Thanks so much dear Rhonda. Really appreciate your lovely words. And now it's time to hang my head in shame again. I had meant to add you too to that list of writers Can't believe I hadn't! I'm so sorry. Please re-read the list! Thank you for all your loving encouragement on my journey. Every blessing to you sweet Rhonda.

  2. Great to hear more about you, your live, your faith and your writing, Anusha. Isn't it wonderful to know that people have inspired and encouraged by the words God gives us (often just at the right moment)- that is better than any other accolades. Thanks for the shout out --- such a great collection of names there. I know you are a blessing to many and appreciate your encouragement and support.

    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement, support and prayers on my writing journey Jenny. Really appreciate it. And you are spot on. If someone's helped or touched in some way by our words - that is far greater than any accolades or awards. Thanks Jenny for giving me an opportunity not just to share, but also to reflect on my writing journey and give thanks to God and those who bless me.

  3. How lovely to 'know' you as more than your name... which in itself is lovely.
    Very inspiring and encouraging post. :)

    1. Thank you Susan for your encouraging words - and glad you like the sound of my name too. :) So glad you liked it. Many blessings and thanks.

  4. I remember well the day I first met you face to face. So friendly, loving inspiring, encouraging and I could go on and on. Your faith in God is such an example to us all. Thanks for being the wonderful person you are! Great post, thanks to Jenny as well for the questions asked. I have just received your latest book and looking forward to reading it. Loved your first one too! See you at the launch! Blessings dear friend!

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    2. Awww dear Lesley! You are very kind. I too remember so well the day we met and our conversation at Koorong. It was so good to hear all about how God called into this writing journey and how He made sure you said yes! :) Thank you so much for your encouragement on my journey dear friend. Thank you for buying my book and so promptly too. Bless you Lesley and I look forward to seeing you at the launch. Will send you a proper invite on email. Many blessings right back and many thanks too for your friendship and encouragement.

  5. Wonderful interview. It warmed my heart reading it as though you were right there in front of me. I heard your sincerity and passion through every word. I'm so excited you are continuing to write and can't wait to be blessed and encouraged through your books as each one is published. Even my 10 year old daughter loved 'Enjoying the Journey' and still keeps it by her bed. Your books truly are for everyone. And I love that the Bible is your favourite writing craft book. Such rich, deep treasures to learn there, and such and amazing author to know! May God use you to bless and encourage many more! I miss you dear friend, and long to see you again in person, but for now, your words still bless and encourage my heart.

    1. Thanks so much dear Jenny. Bless you for your kind words. I posted your copy of Dancing in the Rain so it should arrive soon I hope. I'm so glad your 10 year old loved Enjoying the Journey. That makes me so happy. I miss you too and will look forward to the day we can connect again. Thank you so much for the blessing you are to me.

  6. I think I just deleted my own comment. I'm working on a new computer! thanks for a great post - I identify with a lot of your feelings and callings. Best wishes for your new book! Love, Jeanette

    1. All the best with that new computer Nettie. Hope it's not too troublesome. Thank you so much for your prayers for me. And it's great to hear you identify with much of my callings and feelings. Thank you Nettie. All the best to you too and God bless you.

  7. You have been, are, and continue to be a constant source of encouragement to me and a wonderful example of persevering faith. It is my absolute privilege to be counted among your friends and advocates.

    1. Thank you Mazzy. Your words are very encouraging. Yes, you Toowoomba lot are very special and I am blessed to know you. (Is it the water in Toowoomba that creates such special beings I wonder? :) ) Looking forward to connecting with you again - I was really sorry I didn't have sufficient time with you at conference 2016. Hope you are coming to Adelaide this year. Blessings my friend.

  8. I enjoyed reading this sooooooo much. It brought a little tear to my eye here and there, remembering how much you've supported and encouraged me...not just through your books but through your personal correspondence with me. You might think of Sri Lanka as a pearl in the Indian I'm sure it is...but I think of you as THE pearl FROM Sri Lanka. (And pearls just happen to be my most loved 'jewel'.)

    And when you speak of older people being blessed by 'Enjoying the Journey'...well...I have intimate knowledge of that. My mum took your words with her as she left this earth and I'm so incredibly grateful for the strength and grace you brought to her life...the ending of this life as we know it, and the beginning of the next.

    And as you know, I also have intimate knowledge and understanding of your health issues. In that respect, you remain an inspiration...a shining light. When I think of you and all that you've achieved, I think...'goals, Melinda! Goals. If I can be half the woman of God you are...I'll be content. xo

    1. Oh lovely friend Melinda. Thank you so much for your heart-warming response. Made me tear up too. So glad you enjoyed it - there I was feeling a trifle guilty for writing too much - so your words blessed me. Thank you for calling me a pearl from Sri Lanka. I too love pearls and wear them often (some our imitation pearls). It so warms me that your dear Mum was blessed by my book at the end of life's journey on earth.

      Yes, you do understand my health issues very well (such a comfort it is too because it's very hard for those who don't struggle with fibro/CFS to know the challenges.) - bless you my friend. You fill my cup - thank you so much for your warm words of appreciation. As I said to Mazzy - that Toowoomba water must contain some unique ingredients seeing there are so many special ladies in that place. You are certainly one of them!