Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world, spinning fantastical tales to encourage people. She has worked for a variety of organizations, from Realm Makers, to The Christian PEN, to Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for freelance clients. The first edition of her debut novel, Bellanok, which is being published as a five-part serial, released this month.

When her head’s not in the publishing world, Ralene is a wife to a veteran and a homeschooling mom to their three children. She and her family make their home in Kentucky.


What started you on your writing journey?

Well, that’s kind of a long story. Let’s just say it involved my high school bus driver (who I hadn’t seen in years), my boss at the time, and a very odd idea. Seriously, though, I’ve always wanted to be a writer and have always written in one capacity or another. But that particular day kicked off the journey I’m on now.

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The Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist ultimately blessing us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?

Oh, I cannot list the number of times my life has gone down a different path and ended up a bigger blessing! One of the biggest, and most recent, had to do with my husband and his career change. We both grew up with dads in the military, and my husband joined the military as well. The plan was for him to enlist the full twenty years, but he ended up being discharged for medical reasons after only fourteen. Talk about a leap of faith! We had no idea how to be civilians — or what it meant to stay in one place. But, oh the blessings that have poured over us since then — from making a house a home to better opportunities for our passions/careers to the new people in our lives.

BellanockLet’s talk about Bellanok (Amazon Digital, October 2015). Please tell us about it.

Bellanok, an inspirational fantasy, is a haven for myths and legends . . . until a demon finds a way in. Now, Fauna, the Fairy Queen, must venture beyond their borders to the modern world to find the savior for their kingdom.

Brian, on the other hand, is a down-on-his-luck pastor, who is ready to give up on God, when a strange blonde woman shows up trying to convince him he’s some kind of savior. Not likely.

They have to find a way to work together or Bellanok will be destroyed, and the last bit of innocence taken, which will bring on the apocalypse.

What led you to write this particular story?

I think it started as a dream. And then the dream wouldn’t leave me alone. I was actually working on something else at the time — but the story kept bugging me. So, finally, I sat aside the current WIP for a day and wrote the original opening chapter to Bellanok.

After that, I put Bellanok on the back burner so that I could finish the current WIP. It wasn’t until I signed with an agent and she suggested I finish Bellanok so I could self-publish it that I was able to come back to it.

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A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Chocolate? Or cake. Or cheesecake. Or chocolate cheesecake . . . with raspberries. Why? Because God created me that way. Actually, when the words aren’t flowing, there is often dark chocolate M&Ms or Gummy Bears involved with the solution.

If you had to describe yourself with one word, what would it be?

Shiny. My whole philosophy on life and all that I stand for is that we should shine before all men. I’m all about being a beacon in this world — whatever our calling, God’s light should shine through us so that people can see His work in our lives.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

I don’t know what others would say, but I’ve always seen myself as the girl next door — the part before she becomes anything else in the story. Just ordinary, friendly, but with that little something extra that nobody knows yet.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

I have four monkeys. What? Are you saying my husband and kids don’t count? Currently, we don’t have any pets because I am NOT a pet person, and no one else in this house is responsible enough yet no matter how much they beg for a dog. But, in the past, we have had some elaborate fish terrariums. And we had geckos once.

As a child, we had several dogs. I did get a cat for my tenth birthday. He was a mean thing, but he loved me and my dad. So, he slept with me and would sit with me, but then we learned I was highly allergic. He got sent to live with my cousin, which meant I still got to visit occasionally.

Thanks, Ralene! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

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For more information about Ralene, visit her website or on Facebook or Twitter.

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