Interview with Lauren Wagner, author of speculative fiction Awaken
Natalia has embraced the choice of her people. She is honored to have been chosen as their human sacrifice and will surrender her life to the Gods. She awaits the call of her people for that final moment, living a life of solitude until it’s time. But then her death is stolen from her—she is kidnapped by her own guards and forced into an eternal slumber.
Hundreds of years later—now—Natalia is woken in a world that’s completely unfamiliar. The archaeological team was not looking for her. They were looking for Estancia, the lost city of gold, and Natalia agrees to guide them.
While they journey through the treacherous jungles of Argentina, Natalia stumbles upon the alarming truth of her past. Her life’s prophecy must be fulfilled to restore balance to her people, but only she can decide whether that balance is worth her death.
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Excerpt from Awaken
They groomed me as a child. They taught me how to look, how to listen, and even how to die. They prepared me to live entirely for others. Die for others. I am destined to be the queen of Estancia, to live in a noble house filled with my own personal court and guards sworn to protect me at all costs, right until the moment of my death. Even as they tear me from my bed in the dark of night, I must remember this is their purpose, just as much as it is mine.
“May I say goodbye to my father?” The confidence in my voice covers the fear trembling in my gut.
“No, milady. There is no time.”
The guard throws a musty cloak over my soft linen nightclothes. The stale smell overpowers the eucalyptus of the lotions on my skin, making my eyes water in disgust. I feel no better than a horse being led by the reigns.
I grip my golden slippers and run out of the house. My bare feet touch the wood of the floor and memorize the soft pitter-patter that vibrates in response. The same guard places me on top of the nearest horse. Black as midnight, silky as the hidden clothes under my cloak. My hands fumble for the reins as I lean forward and fight for my balance. I am not accustomed to riding horses.
An Interview with Lauren Wagner
-What inspired you to become a writer?
When I first started writing, it was in a journal. It was a place for me to jot down my thoughts and explore feelings I needed to understand. When I became pregnant with my son, I started having vivid dreams I would write down instead. The writing was a way to try and remember them. I slowly started taking those dreams and turning them into a story scene. One scene turned into two, and two led to three. It was almost as if I became a writer by accident.
– If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
If I visited my book’s world for a day, I would spend it with the dragons. I would run my fingers down their scales. Savor the magic in their breath. I would talk and know they would understand everything I had to say without a doubt. Although I am not sure I would have the courage to ride one in flight, watching them soar into the sky would be a dream. Simply being next to such grand magnificence would be enough magic to last a lifetime.
-It’s two in the morning; what does your protagonist reveal in confidence?
It is no secret that Natalia faces disappointment at the beginning of Awaken. She had expectations to die for her people, and when those events didn’t play out as she had planned, she was left feeling angry, empty, and a bit like a failure. But what she doesn’t talk about is the dragons. She was not surprised to see one in those first few scenes. Although she didn’t anticipate being held captive by one, she had known they existed. She had always known they existed. She also knew the dragon wouldn’t hurt her. How? Perhaps just a gut instinct.
-What character would you go out to drink with?
I would go out with Bailey for drinks if I had the chance. He would have mounds of stories that would be far more entertaining than I could ever imagine. From his past explorations to his lost wife, even the years he spent teaching at the university, I could listen to him for hours.
-You are in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do I do?
I would, of course, accept the challenge knowing full well I stood no real chance. While fighting, I would talk the dwarf’s ear off and try and distract him from my terrible swordsmanship skills. It would be an epic failure, and I would like to think I would be able to run away with my life.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I could never write romance. When I started writing, I decided that I would want my father to read everything I write. I don’t think I could write a scene with romantic details without making it personal and at the same time want my dad to read it. That would be too much for me. Although I have read several great romances, I think I will leave the writing to someone else.
About Lauren Wagner
Lauren Wagner’s love for reading started as a young adult after discovering her town’s public library. After carrying out piles of books at a time, and re-reading them over and over again, she discovered her love for writing. She writes fantasy and science fiction as well as post-it notes about her future stories. Awaken is her debut novel.
She grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago where she presently resides with her husband and two children. She currently teaches upper elementary students to love and obsess over written works of art.
Lauren Wagner will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.