I am thankful for the opportunity to continue with this post as we draw nearer to 2017. I have encountered so many incredible bloggers, readers and writers over these last few months that is impossible not to want to share that experience with others. My life has been greatly impacted, and this is what I like to celebrate during the holidays.
Today I want to ask you to take a moment to meet Brittany Quagan, the author of REN: Awakened. I recently reviewed REN after being contacted by Brittany, and it did not take long to realize that her free spirit was present in her work. Every email and correspondence was an opportunity that I looked forward to. She has an upbeat and positive vibe that is easy to appreciate. I am thankful to know Brittany and REN’s story.
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.
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 novel.
Brittany Discusses Life and REN
What if it were all real? The things we read about in fantasy and sci-fi stories that captivate us, leaving us wishing we could do what our favorite heroes and villains can? Magic. Superpowers. Abilities. What if you could possess those gifts?
Most of us fiction fans dreamed about this as a kid, and probably still do to an extent – having this supernatural capacity to change the world, defy the odds, make things happen that otherwise seemingly normal people couldn’t do. And then reality sets in. No, this is not real; this could never happen. You’re just an anxiety-filled, sensitive, fear-stricken, human who lives in a bubble full of ideas and stories that will never, and could never, happen. Right?
At least that was my life. Up until I was in my early 20s. That’s the age I realized it all was real, and maybe, just maybe, the things I felt my whole life, the crazy stories that played in my head, the dreams I so wish would come true, weren’t all that made up.
Growing up, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, occasional agoraphobia, depression, and hypochondriasis. To sum up, I was a world of fun to be around. I didn’t fear death, but more so how it would come, or worse, when. I felt things inside of my body and around me that sent me spiraling out of control and into a world of panic that something was wrong. I didn’t want to leave the house because I knew when I left I’d feel it … all of the scary things physically, the range of emotions that came out of nowhere, and a deep sadness that had no rhyme or reason to rear it’s ugly face. Medication did nothing for the sensations, but left me entirely numb mentally and once I hit my teens, the cocktail of prescriptions and alcohol only enhanced the anesthetizing effects. Looking back now, there’s a great chunk of my life I have almost no memory of.
While I assumed this would be my life forever, that childhood belief that magic was real and supernatural abilities existed never ceased. The tiniest light of hope still illuminated within me, keeping me going.
“Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing,” quotes Judy from the movie, The Santa Claus. And never has a quote rung more true. Because seeing the magic wasn’t going to make me believe in my ability to heal, but believing in it would create results no fiction story could ever make me fathom.
It was when I was in my early twenties, working a job I hated in insurance, feeling like a swamp creature saturated in mud and barely able to lift my head out of the funk I created for myself, that my life was saved.
A woman working on my team approached me and simply stated, “you don’t have anxiety.”
“Ha!,” I scoffed. “Have you met me? My therapist would beg to differ.”
“No. You’re feeling energy.”
I was no stranger to the notion of energy, what it was, how it worked; heck every one of us has a slight understanding if we’ve ever said/felt, “I don’t get good vibes from him/her.” We’ve all felt awkward tension, we’ve all relished in positive energy and been drained from toxicity. But to feel it to the extent she was implying? Could this be true?
It took me 3 weeks from the day she told me this to explore, to understand, and to call my doctor to get off of the medications I’d been on.
Years of anxiety, years of prescriptions, years of drug and alcohol abuse, living a limited life, and it all boiled down to something that no doctor ever would have concluded – at least not in western medicine.
I was an Empath. An individual who felt energy of others (their physical pains and illnesses, their emotions), but felt it so intently that it negatively impacted my life. I’d absorb it like a sponge, bring it home with me, and dwell in a nest of other people’s crap. It only took me about 2 minutes to comprehend what this woman shared with me, for this bulb to flash on telling me that this was true, this ability was real.
If I could suck up people’s stuff, what else could I do?
So I started to pay attention. With this awareness, came intuitive abilities. I knew when other people were in pain, what they were feeling, what they were thinking. How could this be? And could I help them?
Fast forward to the present. As I sit in my office at my business, Journeys: Holistic Wellness & Anxiety Relief Center, I can’t help but smile reminiscing about the past. The journey from anxiety to healing, not only myself, but others with this “superpower,” this “ability” so many of us have, but haven’t unlocked or realized it yet has been unexplainable; an adventure to say the least and one I plan to continue on for as long as I possibly can.
This story may sound all too familiar to you, especially if you’ve read REN: Awakened, the first in my series.
I am Ren. Ren is me. There is a little bit of Ren and all of her fellow Implements in all of us. I love writing her story because it’s one so many of us can relate to. We all have gifts. Some of us are aware, some of us not so much, but our abilities go far beyond anything we can ever imagine. These books we read and love aren’t based on eccentric hopes, but the reality we have yet to allow ourselves to experience.
REN’s premise is based on a truth we all know too well – that over time, humanity has crumbled. We’ve lost a sense of unity, created more fear, violence, and divide.
So what do we do about it?
Insert the Implements. Individuals who are here to make change, but many aren’t awake yet. Rather, they suffer with mental and emotional illness, but once their power is unleashed, they find themselves, they find each other, and they work together to change the energy of the earth and its inhabitants before it’s too late.
Unfortunately, Ren is responsible for finding these Implements all over the world to help them Awaken, but struggles with her own beliefs in herself and separating what she’s been told her whole life with the reality of what is.
This is my favorite concept in Ren’s story. In most fiction, the hero/heroine find out who they are and * poof, * they magically step in to their calling and master their leadership skills. Ren, on the other hand, doesn’t. Is her power real? Very. Does she have the ability to save the world? Absolutely. But you can’t erase a lifetime of beliefs or doubts in yourself. Readers get to watch Ren grow in real time; battling her thoughts and self-doubt, all while battling the evil around her. Ren’s story allows readers to not only believe in their own ability, but recognize that you can still be a hero/heroine and have your own ups and downs. I remember reading as a young adult and these heroes would suddenly be so brave and confident because they have power, and I would think to myself, “Jesus, I’d be scared sh*tless, even if I did have powers! Where does this bravery even come from?” In REN, you get to transform with her.
The first of the series, Awakened, is all about understanding what Ren’s mission is, introducing some of the main characters, and her relationship with herself, but it’s mainly about her journey to becoming this individual who’s meant to save the world from imploding. It was such a fun story to write, but even more so to live because so much of the story is based on real experiences and real people in my life. Even Kiki is real! People LOVE Kiki’s character. She tends to be the fan favorite, so I always laugh and send real-life-Kiki screenshots of readers reviews on her.
I get that “girl saving the world” story lines are played out, but REN is different in the sense that it’s so applicable to the world today and leaves readers wondering, “is this real or is this fake?” which was a focused intention of mine. I want readers to contemplate their own abilities because I feel that we are all just Implements trapped in meat sacks with untapped power.
Danielle of Books, Tea, and Vertigo beautifully quoted , “it’s a story revolved around revelations,” and I feel that goes for both Ren and her readers.
I won’t lie, though. While I love the first book, the second book is my absolute favorite. REN: Reposed takes readers on an intense backflip into the past of all of the characters, you meet more Implements, discover some horrific truths of deception, and, of course, Ren’s love triangle gets a little more complex (because what’s a story without a little love in it, am I right?) I’m aiming to have that one ready for release in March 2017.
The power of thought alone can alter our existence. This magic or this superpower we read and wish for dwells within each and every one of us. I’m a living example of it, and now I’ve gotten to bring Ren alive as an example, too.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my story, both in this blog, and through REN. I hope you all enjoy reading it and can’t wait to hear what you think! Tweet me, Facebook me – I’d love to hear from you!
Ren is on social media now, too so be sure to follow her through her story!
Brittany’s Twitter: @bittyinwndrlnd
Ren’s Twitter: @RenNagel
Ren’s Facebook: @RENSeries
Ren’s Instagram: @RenagadeNagel