Interview with novelist Rachel Dacus

Romance
author Rachel Dacus joins the blog today.
She’s chatting with me about her new time travel, The Renaissance Club.


During her virtual book tour, Rachel will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes
and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be
entered for a chance to win, use the
form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit
her other tour stops
and enter there, too!
Bio:
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.

Welcome, Rachel, please share a little
bit about your current release.
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.

What inspired you to write this book?
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!

Excerpt from The Renaissance Club:

A
distant clang. The Swiss Guards were closing the outer doors and tourists were
scurrying. Where was The Renaissance Club? In a panic, May dashed toward the Baldacchino and nearly collided with a
man who stepped out from behind a pillar. 
            “Sorry!” she said, backing up.
            Signorina,
watch where you’re going!”
The young man in black frowned and
didn’t apologize. With his long, dark hair and white sleeves rolled up on
muscular forearms, he looked like an art restorer. A black jacket was draped
over his shoulders. He held a long wooden measuring rod, the kind used by
architects centuries ago. Maybe he was rehearsing for some sort of pageant.
“Ladies are not allowed here while I’m
working,” he said stiffly. He aimed the rod at the nearest column and sighted
up along it.
“I know you!” she exclaimed. She knew
him well.
He straightened his jacket and bowed.
“Everyone in Rome knows Cavaliere
Bernini. But you may not be here. I need silence.
I
have a very big work to complete.

His finger pointed up at the four twisted
bronze columns, where May was astonished to see no bronze canopy on top. Tons
of bronze had simply vanished. She looked back at him. Bernini lifted the
instrument and peered up at the nearest column. Her living, breathing idol
moved to one side to get a better angle. Lean and strong, he was even more
handsome than in his self-portrait.
Now he was so intent on his
investigation that he seemed unaware of her and the fact that her pulse was
pounding. How had she come here, and where exactly was she?
He lowered the measuring rod, framed the
air with his hands, and used his fingers to make rapid computations. He stared
at her so intensely that she shivered. She remembered that searing gaze in his
self-portrait.
“You’re disturbing me, signorina.” He turned away, clearly
expecting her to leave.
How could she possibly move? Here was
her genius, his hair curled with wiry energy, materializing the restless mind
under it. His prominent cheekbones gave him the Neapolitan look that had
embarrassed him and made him fabricate a Florentine heritage. He made a few
quick calculations and looked at her again, eyes narrowed.
“I won’t say a word,” she promised.

What exciting story are you working on
next?

My new novel is a contemporary fantasy. In The
Invisibles
, two half-sisters try
to restore their damaged sisterhood while clashing over their inheritance of a
cottage on the coast of Italy, along with its resident ghost, the poet Percy
Bysshe Shelley.


When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
I
wrote my first novel at the age of eleven. It was called The Secret of the Locked Room, and it was all of 100 pages. I was
very proud of its length!


Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?

I do my creative writing for one to two hours every morning, first thing if
possible. Longer if possible. My longest writing stint is probably about six
hours. And then I begin my work day. I’m a self-employed grant writer and
fundraising consultant, so one form of writing flows into the next. I give my
creative writing the best hours of the day – for me, that’s first thing in the
morning.


What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I do my best writing in the shower or walking, memorizing long passages
until I can get to the keyboard. I also dictate on my phone, and considered
getting a waterproof phone – but the memorization is more fun, and challenging.

As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?

I always wanted to be a writer. As they say, be careful what you wish for!


Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I’m
the daughter of a bipolar rocket scientist and I grew up in the race-to-space
Cold War 1950s, and then found myself in counterculture San Francisco in the
1960s. That’s a story I’m working on. My favorite writing spot is my couch,
with my tiny Silky Terrier perched on a cushion near me. I should have named
her The Muse.

Links:

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thanks
for having me! I really enjoyed this interview.


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14 thoughts on “Interview with novelist Rachel Dacus

  1. James Robert says:

    Good Morning! Thank you for the book description.These tours are great and we have found some terrific books so thanks so much.

  2. Rachel Dacus says:

    Thanks, Lisa, for hosting me today on your wonderful blog. I'll be checking in today to see if any readers have questions. Happy reading!

  3. Bernie Wallace says:

    Which book would you like to see a sequel to? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  4. Rachel Dacus says:

    Joseph, I'm working on a sequel to THE RENAISSANCE CLUB. I'd love to see a sequel to UPROOTED by Naomi Novik. Thanks for the congrats!

  5. Rachel Dacus says:

    Thanks so much for hosting me today! You can find more about THE RENAISSANCE CLUB and my writing at racheldacus.net.

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