I met Rachel Dacus through our debut author group, Authors ’18. We’re a group of 100+ writers whose debut novels released in 2018. If you aren’t already following our Facebook page, now is the perfect time to start. We’ve been giving away book bundles each week for the past two weeks and we’ll keep it up until we’re out of books! You like books, right? Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/authors18/
One of the best things about being part of this group is getting to meet other debut authors, reading their books, and interviewing them on my blog. Rachel Dacus joins me today to talk about her novel, The Renaissance Club. I love historical fiction and this story takes you to the past in a very magical way. I’ll let Rachel tell you about it.
RD The Renaissance Club is the story of May Gold, a young art historian who falls through a fold in time during a tour of Italy. May’s lucky accident brings her face to face with the artist hero she’s specialized in, and dreamed about, 17th century genius sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. The meeting turns her life in the present upside down and forces her to decide if her adventure in time will ruin her life, or lead to a magical new one.
DF How did you come up with the idea for the story?
RD An art history tour of northern Italy, much like the one depicted in my story, kindled a wish to meet some of the great artistic geniuses behind the Renaissance. Though I know in real life, time-travel isn’t possible, I found a way to meet one of the most spectacular artistic geniuses who ever lived—by recreating him as my hero!
DF Is Bernini your favorite character in the book?
RD Though May and Bernini are my main characters, the story couldn’t exist without time travel guide George St. James. Based—amazingly—on a real person (and I won’t say whether he could go time traveling or not), George has his own complicated backstory and reason for helping others to realize their full potentials. The time traveling quirk he developed as a child was something he had to learn to tame, and like the person he’s based on, George became a master at turning unusual ways of looking at life into a way to serve others.
DF If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?
RD I’d certainly spend a day with Bernini. Like May, I’d just watch him work. They said Bernini could chisel marble for eight hours straight without stopping. He himself reported that while working on a sculpture, he was in a state of bliss. I’d like to observe that, though I would need a lunch break! But who knows what would get started by simply observing a charismatic genius. As May discovered, all kinds of delicious complications might arise.
DF How did you get into writing?
RD I blame my mother and a wonderful bookstore in Long Beach, California called Acre of Books, which introduced me to the idea that I could own such books as the Oz books, Nancy Drew, and the rainbow fairytale books. I took the owning one step further and started writing books for myself to read.
DF How long did it take you to write The Renaissance Club?
RD I began with the concept seven years before I sold it to a publisher. That’s a long, long journey, and a nearly gave up toward the end, but because I had such fantastic help from top editors and beta readers, I just couldn’t. I’m really hoping my next book will be a shorter journey!
DF I hope we don’t have to wait that long for your next book! What are you working on now?
RD I’m working on The Romantics, the story of two half-sisters who clash over their inheritance, a cottage in northern Italy, with its resident ghost, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
DF Definitely looking forward to The Romantics! In the meantime, here’s where you can buy The Renaissance Club. Or you can visit Rachel’s website for other purchase options. If you’d like to connect with Rachel on social media, here are her links: