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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Meet the Author! An Interview with Brittany Quagan, Author of Ren: Awakened

Ren: Awakened by Brittany Quagan
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Romance)
Date Published:  August 2, 2016
Publisher: Balboa Press

Seventeen-year-old Ren Nagel knows that the strange things she's seen are real--even if no one else believes her. But, when she's locked up in a psychiatric hospital; she loses hope that anyone will ever truly be on her side.

Then everything changes. With the help of a new friend, Ren breaks out. It's when she's on the run that she learns who she really is.

Hunted by evil, Ren must learn to control a power she never knew she had, organize a coalition of people she never knew existed, and remind humanity why fighting the darkness is a big part of being human.

Sometimes, feeling different is much more than just a feeling. For Ren, it means the fate of the world.

Check back soon for a review of this amazing book!

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was old enough to pick up a pen and make sense of what I was seeing in my head all the time. Stories have been playing in my mind for even longer than that. I always knew writing was a huge part of my life path because I found it selfish to see such magical things and not be able to share them with others in some way.  

What inspired you to write REN: Awakened?
The entire REN series was this story that I pretty much lived and wrote along the way. It was in my head forever, but I didn’t have the logistics down. It was actually a road trip a few years ago with real-life Kiki (another main character in the series) that really launched it from an idea into an actual story. 

What was the weirdest thing you had to google while doing research?
What is actually happening to your teeth when you chew on tinfoil hahaha

Would you ever want to turn your book into a movie?
Without a doubt. 

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
You know, I feel like each character is very much one facet of my many personalities. I am a Gemini, after all. Gage has this anger and hostility because he just can’t let go of the past, and I feel like that’s something so many people battle in different areas of their lives – and that was a HUGE lesson for me – letting go of the past and just being present.
Ren is so me. Anyone who knows me and who has read the book always says, “YOU’RE HER. WHEN I READ, THAT’S ALL I HEAR AND SEE IS YOU!”
She’s snarky, she’s sarcastic, she’s petrified, yet she wears this mask of courage, and she’s faced with learning really hard lessons about herself and the world that forces her to find strength she never knew she had. That was my entire life growing up. 

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
Ooph, this is a great question. To be honest, I try really hard not to have any secrets because I hid who I really was from the world for so long and I think it’s so important to embrace all aspects of yourself – even the shadow side. So I let my freak flag fly high, no matter what. But, I guess a secret would be that I still sometimes get social anxiety and I get really weird and awkward whenever people talk to me about “successful” things I’ve achieved or congratulate me on things because I feel like I haven’t done anything great. But that’s only sometimes. Other days I’m like, “You go girl!” And I high five myself. I’m just a human still learning self-love and empowerment, and I’m not afraid to admit that. 

If your real life as a teenager was a Young Adult book, what would you, the main character, be like?
Oh boy. At first, I was going to say, “Pshh you already got it with Ren!” But then I realized you said “as a teenager.” Ren’s life is the PG version of my teenage years. Her anxiety and fears are all very real. But my coping mechanisms during my teen years were drugs and alcohol. I was depressed, battled eating disorders, anxiety up the wazoo. And I used to think I was a badass, so I would fist fight people. Sometimes I’m convinced I’m actually an Obtruder like Kiki … because the difference between where I was then and where I’m at now are light years apart, just an entirely different … no I’ll say transformed … person. 
So my main character would be a teen struggling exceptionally hard to function as a person, who has zero self love, esteem, or empowerment, but in the end, proves that change and overcoming anything is possible when you actually want and choose to.  

What book have you read too many times to count?
This is a toss up between Harry Potter (so cliché) and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. 

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
When you think you’re done, you’re not. You’re never done. Even after it’s published, you’ll still want to change a million things. Perfectionism is a bitch. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How much I’ve actually dealt with in my life in such a short amount of time. So much of the series is really an autobiography with just added fiction. And how much I can actually achieve if I want to. I didn’t think I could do it. But then I did. And that was freaking awesome. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I have an amazing business in CT for my big kid job. I own an intuitive development and healing center where I do Intuitive Life Coaching & Counseling, help people develop their intuitive abilities, and heal from wherever they’re struggling in their life. It’s so fulfilling and gratifying, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Plus I’ll admit, it’s super cool being psychic. Childhood dreams DO come true!
And I also love to go on adventures, travel, hang out with my friends and family – all that normal stuff since my life is pretty abnormal.

Are any of the things in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
The majority is based on real life. I call it my autobiography on fiction steroids. 

Brittany Quagan, known by family and friends as "Brittles," was born in Connecticut, twenty-something years ago and spent most of her life day dreaming like the stereo-typical Gemini she is.

Growing up, she wanted nothing more than to live a life of magic, mayhem, and writing, never knowing her dreams were being manifested into a reality with every wish and intention.

As a teen, her anxiety-riddled existence became nothing less than a burden, but she was determined to escape it and convinced there had to be more going on than just "being anxious." It wasn't until she met a new group of friends who guided her down a path of understanding energy and intuition that her life changed and she was able to overcome this.
Today, Brittany owns Journeys: School for the Soul, LLC in Windsor, CT.; an anxiety relief, intuitive development & healing center to help others who suffer from anxiety/panic disorder, those who believe in the unseen to tap into their intuitive selves, and to help people grow, find empowerment, manifest like a boss, and heal from wherever it is they feel stuck.

Ren's story isn't one that just came to Brittany; it's a story she lived. Most of what you read about in the adventure-filled series are experiences that are very real, that actually happened as it is entirely based on Brittany's life, and people she has met along the way. The series is one that's dwelled inside Brittany since she was a child, but couldn't be told until she finished living it for herself.

When Brittany isn't teaching, counseling, or writing, you'll find her traveling with friends  & family on a quest for adventure wherever she can, dying her hair every color of the rainbow, playing with her three nephews, trying craft beers, ruthlessly rating buffalo wings from all over the country, and talking to the moon. Most recently, she traveled to Alaska to dance on a glacier and bike down a mountain crying from hysterical laughter and extreme fear of plummeting to her death.

REN: Awakened is her first published book.

To learn more about Brittany Quagan and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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