#WritingWithPurpose: Intimate Conversation with Bridgett Renay

06 Apr

Intimate Conversation with Bridgett Renay

The only thing best-selling author Bridgett Renay loves doing more than writing is breathing. If you let her tell it, the first spoken words from the quiet but observant Navy veteran were, “I should really write this down”.

As a young girl she undoubtedly had the gift. Everything from poetry to short stories filled her PeeChee folder with fantasies as well as the realities of life growing up in south central Los Angeles. And her talents didn’t go unnoticed. A Thanksgiving poem she wrote in elementary school found its way into the neighborhood newspaper, but it wasn’t a sign of what was to immediately come.

Before pursuing her dream of becoming an acclaimed novelist, the pragmatic Bridgett Renay believed she had to first make good on a promise she made to God. That promise revolved around the pursuit of higher learning and community service and was made after He healed her from a traumatic childhood incident.

The years of personal triumphs earning a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication and a Master of Business Administration, as well as professional growth as a corporate operative and Navy Reservist, tells the story of a journey that took her to faraway places, introduced her to intoxicating people, and shaped the way she viewed the world and her place in it.

Now that she has reached the top of her pyramid, per se, Bridgett Renay is ready for the novelistic spotlight. The pen is back, the passion never left …another journey begins.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?

The United States Navy motivated me and has played a huge role in where I’m at today. Before 9-11, I was a regular Navy Reservist – a weekend warrior – who was also very comfortable in my cushy, corporate job. But after 9-11, I was recalled to active duty where I served in the Middle East as a security patrolman. Not only did I spend ten months seeing first-hand how other cultures lived in dire straits, but I also saw a lot of my military comrades either lose their lives or lose their ability to function normally. It reminded me how fortunate I was to have so many opportunities in America that I made a promise to myself and God that if he returned me home in one piece, I would follow each and every dream I’ve ever had. I can honestly say that I have. 

Since returning home I’ve earned a B.S. and a Master’s degree, purchased my own home as a single black woman, finished out my military career and retired with twenty-four years of service, and I’ve written and published my first novel, best-selling Corporate Thugs. And every day is a new journey in pursuit of my true calling.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?

My work speaks to black Americans and the challenges we face in our pursuit of happiness. And yes, I definitely consider authors as role models. I admire the way some take risks and trail blaze into new territories. I admire how they’re unapologetic with their words. That’s what I’ve strived for in this new release.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

We’re in campaign season and I wanted to write a drama based on the political mayhem that goes on behind the scenes. LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions is actually based on an incident that happened to me in the work place that I considered office politics. I was letting off a lot of steam by making a mountain out of a molehill and penning a book based on that incident. And honestly, this book is more non-fiction than it is fiction because when it comes to being black in corporate America, there’s a lot of inequalities that should be brought to the forefront.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed learning the truth about corporate America. It’s only when we truly understand our environment when we can make change. This experience has taught me what my life was destined for and I’m absolutely positive that it’s just the beginning of an extraordinary journey because everything I’ve done in my life has led to this spectacular moment in time.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?

I’m an observer of human behavior and I pay very close attention to how people handle their drama. This book is more character-driven because I love taking interesting characters through their life’s drama in a way that would mirror how I handle my own mess.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? 

LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions lightheartedly explores the political lives of black America within three distinct principalities – corporate America, romantic relationships, and government itself. It’s available Super Tuesday on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 on Kindle and Nook.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

The main character, Essence St. Clair, is a rich daddy’s little girl who grew up in a conservative environment. She believes that based on her upbringing, she’s entitled to a life where she calls all the shots. The novel takes us through her trials and tribulations as she discovers that the world does not revolve around her. What makes her unique is that she’s also trying to learn how to fit in as opposed to expecting everyone to go against their convictions and live by hers.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

Essence St. Clair being a black conservative definitely falls into the category of being under-represented. In America, there’s a stigma against black conservatives and my goal was to change that – giving my readers an opportunity to look inside their worlds and realize that we’re basically all the same; everyone wants to be acknowledged, accepted, and respected. We are so focused on the wrong things that it hampers us from living our best lives. This book brings that point to life – it focuses on what we should really be talking about and the changes we should really be making within our communities.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
I currently work in corporate America so I know what I speak of. There are so many wonderful opportunities for blacks, but there are also too many stigmas to have to tolerate – equal pay, promotional opportunities, but mostly respect. Corporate America gives a lot of us very comfortable standards of living, but much more has to be done before we can say with confidence that we’re mutually represented.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?

What I’ve learned is the exact same thing I learned with my first book – that you don’t have to be famous to have a voice. The reality is in the majority of cases, you don’t become famous until you let your voice be heard. I’ve learned that my voice is just as important as anyone else’s and I plan to use it to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. I’ve learned that I don’t have to always sit in the stands. I have the talent and courage it takes to be center stage.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

My journey over the last year has allowed me to meet black women of true distinction. I have met women like Lisa Nichols, Dr. Venus Opal Reese, Vicki Irvin, Cassandra Bradford, Tamika Newhouse, and Nicole Roberts Jones who are playing a huge role in shaping my tomorrow. The influence they’re having on my writing and my being are immeasurable. Every day I wake up with an amazing sense of purpose.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

Black Americans contributed to every aspect throughout history to build what should be a great nation, but we’re still underappreciated throughout enough entities that I wanted to express my feeling towards. Writing is the absolute best remedy to relieve frustrations and bring about awareness.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

I am currently transitioning into non-fiction writing. I have been so inspired by the above-mentioned women that my true calling has emerged. There are so many women I see on a daily basis that are in pain and I want to see them through it. There’s enough abundance for each and every one of us and I am destined to play a role in leading those distraught women into their greatness.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? Share all of your social media links.

Instagram: Bridgett Renay (@undistractedbridgettrenay) 

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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in #PowerReads


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