Thursday, June 13, 2019



After seven years of faithfully following her spiritual teacher, Renee Linnell finally realized she was in a cult and had been severely brainwashed. But how did that happen to someone like her? She had graduated magna cum laude with a double degree. She had traveled to nearly fifty countries alone before she turned thirty-five. She was a surf model and a professional Argentine tango dancer. She had started five different companies and had an MBA from NYU. How could someone like her end up brainwashed and in a cult? 

The Burn Zone is an exploration of how we give up our power―how what started out as a need to heal from the loss of her parents and to understand the big questions in life could leave a young woman fighting for her sanity and her sense of self. In the years following her departure from the cult, Linnell struggled to reclaim herself, to stand in her truth, and to rebuild her life. And eventually, after battling depression and isolation, she found a way to come out the other side stronger than ever. Part inspirational story, part cautionary tale, this is a memoir for spiritual seekers and those who feel lost in a world that makes them feel like they don’t belong.

Book Details:

Title: The Burn Zone: A Memoir

Author’s name: Renee Linnell

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: She Writes Press (October 9, 2018)

Print length: 299 pages


A few of your favorite things: coffee, my surfboards, my car, my house, my friends, my health, my body (in no particular order).
Things you need to throw out: all the cat food I saved when my cat died (because I thought she was going to reincarnate soon), clothes I feel ugly in, anything I haven’t used in the last year.

Things you need in order to write: quiet, alignment, my computer, a sense of something wanting to be expressed.
Things that hamper your writing: noise, irritated or sluggish mood, a full schedule. 

Things you love about writing: the flow, the feeling of it moving through me as if I’m a channel, the contentment I feel when finished.
Things you hate about writing: self-doubt.

Easiest thing about being a writer: perfect excuse for an introvert to stay home. 

Hardest thing about being a writer: self-doubt, forgetting that I’m doing it because it feels right and accidentally getting swept up in the “I hope people like this” drama.

Things you love about where you live: it is SO quiet and so beautiful. The deer, elk, foxes, chipmunks, squirrels, birds, and occasional moose that visit me. And the seasons.
Things that make you want to move: Sometimes I feel landlocked. And sometimes the winter seems very long. And sometimes I miss the ocean and all of the opportunity in a city.

Things you never want to run out of: love, health, friends, happiness, joy, desire, passion, creative ideas.
Things you wish you’d never bought: The house I tried to turn into an ashram. 

Favorite foods: coffee, chocolate, tequila, cheeseburgers.
Things that make you want to throw up: mushrooms, sea urchin, wild game.

Favorite music: Dancehall reggae, calypso, soca, and devotional chanting.
Music that makes your ears bleed: anything with anyone whining or complaining (but, sometime I really do like very loud, very offensive gangster rap).

Favorite beverage: water no ice, coffee, tequila.

Something that gives you a pickle face: soda.

Something you’re really good at: dancing.

Something you’re really bad at: anything with a ball

People you consider as heroes: anyone who uses her/his strength, power, intellect, and opportunity to lift others up.

People with a big L on their foreheads: anyone who uses her/his strength, power, intellect, and opportunity to push others down.

Last best thing you ate: a kale/spinach/chard/berry/almond butter/flaxseed/nutritional yeast smoothie. 
Last thing you regret eating: the airplane chicken lunch.

Things you’d walk a mile for: love, friends, to help someone, to be in nature, to feel better.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: gossip, complaining, very loud talkers, anxious mean nervous energy.

Things to say to an author: “I love your book.”
“It was a page-turner.” 
“Your book helped me so much.”
“You are a great writer.”

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “I just haven’t gotten around to reading it.”

Favorite places you’ve been: Fiji, Buenos Aires, Bhutan.

Places you never want to go to again: I can’t really think of one. South Florida comes to mind. Lol But, my twin lives there so I have to go once or twice a year.

Favorite books: I love Lee Child’s books!

Books you would ban: None. I think we all need to express ourselves how we want to and I think there is a market for everything.

Favorite things to do: surf, dance, snowboard, yoga, hike, bike, write, meditate.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: gossiping, small-talk, ladies lunches.

Things that make you happy: quiet, serenity, live reggae music, being on a boat, being in nature, snowboarding down an empty mountain.

Things that drive you crazy: too many people swarming around.

The last thing you did for the first time: A new version of my book talk: instead of being “cult survivor” I decided I was ready to simply be “Renee with a wild story; Renee who went through exactly what she had to in order to bloom.” I realized I wanted to stop dragging the past with me and focus instead on all the wisdom gained; to simply be an example of thriving after tragedy.

Something you’ll never do again: Join a cult. 


Renee Linnell graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double degree, traveled to nearly fifty countries before she turned thirty-five, was a surf/bikini model and a professional Argentine Tango dancer, started five different companies, and got an MBA from New York University. She also spent close to seven years in a Buddhist cult and ended up severely brainwashed. In her new memoir, The Burn Zone, Renee discusses her journey into "deranged and damaged" and her awakening on the other side. Her key message is: “Our difference is our destiny, and that when we stop trying to hide the parts of us that make us different, we will truly soar!”

Connect with Renee:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble