Welcome to the book tour for The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus. Today she is letting us get to know her book better, as well as dishing out some writing advice and giving some insight into where you should visit if you ever visit San Francisco! Have you ever been? Please leave her more questions in the comments area and then be sure to follow the rest of the tour to find out more about her and her book. Best of luck entering the giveaway!
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What was the inspiration behind this book?
A month-long art history group tour of Italy, capping a year of studying the Italian Renaissance, set me on the path that became this book. I visited Italy’s Renaissance high points, Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice, with a scholar and guide so knowledgeable and charming it seemed he could have met all the artists he was talking about.
What kind of research did you have to do for it?
It took a couple of years to research Bernini and his art. I plunged into his story in a new book on his life. At the same time I was reading time travel novels and was captivated by female time travelers.
Which character was your favorite to write?
Bernini, without a doubt! A rock star artist who dominated his culture and society, and yet was self-doubting, passionate in art and life, and who could astutely navigate the devious politics of his time—that’s the formula for a fascinating life.
What was one of your favorite scenes?
One of the most poignant for me to write was a scene where main character May Gold has to decide whether to give up her relationship with the dazzling and conflicted Bernini. She finds a way to send him a message across time. I cry every time I read it.
Why should we read your book?
The Renaissance Club has been called “Enchanting, rich, and romantic” — Perfect for fans of Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon. Love, art, adventure, and history are the recipe for this story of a 17th century genius artist and his superfan from the present.
What do you hope people will get out of your book?
I hope it inspires writers, especially young ones to believe in themselves. I hope readers will find resonance with the idea of the power of love.
Tell us about your other published works.
I have four poetry collections. The most recent one is Arabesque, just published this summer.
On what are you currently working?
Working now on a prequel to The Renaissance Club.
What is your writing routine?
I’m an every day, come rain or shine, writer. My writing time is first thing in the morning—two hours if I can manage it. After that comes my work day. I make notes of ideas dictating on my phone the rest of the time, so I never have to lose any ideas. Occasionally, I award myself a Do-It-Yourself writing retreat, usually staged at home.
What is the best writing advice you ever received?
Persistence pays. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint.
When not writing, what can we find you doing?
I love to walk my dog and take hikes on the abundant open space trails in the San Francisco Bay Area. I love to go to art museums too, and feel lucky to live in such a beautiful place.
Let’s say I’m coming for a visit to your area. What are some must-see places?
Fishermen’s Wharf and Chinatown in San Francisco are among the most visited stops, for good reason. I also love North Beach. Also the wineries in the Napa and Sonoma valleys.
Would you give up everything, even the time in which you live, to be with your soul mate? That’s what young art historian and teacher May Gold must decide when she slips through time’s folds to meet the man of her dreams and the subject of her master’s thesis — fiery 17th century genius artist Gianlorenzo Bernini.
In her fantasies May is in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man who steered Renaissance art into the Baroque. In reality, she has just landed in Rome with her stodgy boyfriend and teaching colleagues for a tour of Italy. She yearns to unleash her passion and creative spirit.
When the floor under the gilded dome of St Peter’s basilica rocks under her feet, she finds herself in the year 1624, staring straight into Bernini’s eyes. Their immediate and powerful attraction grows every time she meets him during the tour. Passion blossoms, but history says they have no future. Can May thread her way through time, and will she take a perilous risk to begin a magical, exciting new life?
This time travel romance is perfect for lovers of Italy, art, and love stories.
Read an excerpt:
May changed her mind about going into the church and decided instead to climb the tall hill of Assisi and find a shop or two. She passed a small shop tucked under the overhanging, geranium-strewn balcony. Its window bore a sign: “Farmacia.” Pharmacy. She stopped. A morning-after pill was an over-the-counter item in Europe, probably here in Assisi too. She ventured inside. It was a small place, a new shop built inside the ancient stone walls. She looked around at displays of mementos, purses, and perfumes. A small counter had a sign that said “Farmacia.” She was about to call for the proprietor, when the light inside the shop changed. Glass bottles rattled on their shelves. She looked around and saw the shopkeeper emerge. Their gazes held. Earthquakes were familiar in Assisi, and could be frightening after their huge quake. The ground settled again, and he smiled and shrugged in that very Italian way. George called them folds in time. She didn’t feel them any differently than normal quakes, but they made her unsteady. She touched the counter. Her mind raced somewhere else. Could he possibly appear here? She felt the doorway appearing at her sides and overhead. A glimmer all around. Just step through. Bernini came out of the shadows looking different than last time. He had circles under his eyes, and his skin was paler. He wore a flowing white shirt and a black jacket, as he often did, but the slashes in the sleeves were frayed, and the jacket was dusty, as if it had been through many travels.
Buy The Renaissance Club on Amazon
Rachel Dacus is a poet, essayist, and novelist who writes about love and relationships, with a touch of the supernatural. Love and history are the themes of her debut novel, The Renaissance Club, a tale of romance between a young art historian and her hero, the fiery 17th century Italian sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. Praise for her novel — “enchanting, rich, and romantic” — describes the kinds of love and adventure stories Rachel enjoys, preferably set in exotic places. She has traveled to Italy and India and plans to expand her journeys beyond countries that start with the letter “I”.
She’s the daughter of a bipolar rocket engineer who worked on missiles during the race-to-space 1950’s. He was also an accomplished painter.
Her interest in Italy was ignited by a course in Renaissance art history that culminated in tour of northern Italy. She’s been hooked on Italy ever since. Her essay on Italy, motherhood, and infertility was anthologized in Italy, a Love Story: Women Write About the Italian Experience.
Dacus shows off her versatility in four poetry collections. Her newest is Arabesque. Three other collections are: Gods of Water and Air, Femme au Chapeau, and Earth Lessons. She raises funds for arts, human service, and healthcare organizations and takes walks with her way-too-smart Silky Terrier.
Find out more about Rachel Dacus and The Renaissance Club:
Rachel Dacus will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.