What if you can’t get your two favorite heroes from history to play nice? That’s the problem my main character, art historian May Gold has in my WIP novel The Renaissance Club. She has a plan to get her idol, Gianlorenzo Bernini, the rock star artist of the Renaissance, and his chief rival, architect Borromini, to play nice and work together. Trouble is, she has to travel four centuries to bring it about. Time isn’t giving her much time, and Borromini is out for blood. Here’s an excerpt:
Waiting. Publishing your writing is so full of waiting to hear from an agent or editor that medieval torture begins to seem like a diversion to inflict on yourself while enduring the greater agony. I’m at another waiting stage with my novel-in-progress, The Renaissance Club. I’ve been working on this for so long that I can’t look at it right now without guidance. I need an agent or editor to hold my hand and tell me what I’m reading. I’m waiting to hear from an agent, and the longer I work on this, the slower time seems to go. It’s going slower than for this 19th century girl with her print book in hand.
One of the things I’m doing while waiting to hear from the agent is blog. Here, for example, is my Baroque rockstar bad boy hero, Bernini, in his self-portrait. I’d also add an image of Rome as I remember it on my first day when, like May, I couldn’t wait to get out into one of the most incredible cities I’ve ever seen. And here are my first two paragraphs:
The other thing I’ve done while waiting is to plan a new novel (that’s a no-brainer — if you’re hooked on writing fiction) and to research publishing and its future. Trying to peer into the crystal ball is something it seems few in the industry really want to do. It’s very scary because this is an industry on the brink of The Unknown. A thing far scarier than anything in a Stephen King novel.
If you’re curious, here are two great publishing-futurist gurus who are lively, intelligent, and crazily informed:
WARNING! If you are device-averse and print-dependent, do NOT peruse these. They will make you uts. But I’m the daughter of a rocket engineer and I do love my technology, so I find this endlessly fascinating.
Stay tuned for the future of The Renaissance Club. What will happen when May stops being a realist and encounters her adored genius?
It’s almost like time travel exists! As it does in my new WIP, THE RENAISSANCE CLUB. We now have a new masterpiece by the inventor of the Baroque, seventeenth century artist Gianlorenzo Bernini (and one of my novel’s main characters).
According to the New York Times’ article, the Getty Museum just came upon one of the rarest of finds, a new work by Bernini, one that was thought long ago lost.
The minute you look at it, it’s clear it’s an authentic Bernini. And the provenance makes that positive. What I love is that it’s an early Bernini, the beginning of his ground breaking work in portraiture. This avenue of his sculpting, marble portrait busts and the way he made them seem to live and breathe, figures as part of the plot of my yet-to-be published novel The Renaissance Club that has Bernini as a main character.
I just hope the Getty keeps digging. Who knows what is down there, in that bottomless basement of art they must have, given their incredible amount of funding. Bernini lives! And apparently, is still working, folding time to suit himself, so he can surprise us with new work.
UPDATE: THE RENAISSANCE CLUB, a magic realism novel of love, art, creativity, and time, is moving toward making an appearance and being available to you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put you on the update list.
While I work on my novel in which the great Renaissance sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini plays a leading role, I’m looking at images of his work. I stumbled on a wonderful article on the three major sculptors of the time — really, of all time. Bernini, of course, was one.
The author. Charley Parker, calls him “the mage, the sorcerer, the Vermeer of sculpture”. He says, “If Vermeer was master of light and time, Bernini was master of space.” I love those epithets, especially the mage. He was such a showman, and loved to used theatrical effects that created illusions to make the sculptural subjects live and breathe.
Bernini dominated the Roman art world of the seventeenth century, and he was restlessly innovative, ultimately playing a key role in establishing the dramatic and eloquent vocabulary of the Baroque style. His sculptural and architectural projects combine forms and media in electrifying new ways. A magician indeed.
When I saw Bernini’s statue of David at the Galleria Borghese, I was as struck as if that stone David was winding up had been flung at me. The life in the sculpture is amazing — equaled only by Michelangelo’s Moses, I thought. Both Biblical figures by these master contain a mythic power, and they do it with elegant realism.
The Moses was a revelation. This photo (below) doesn’t capture the quality. In fact, you have to see these sculptures in person to have the full impact. Video is better than stills, but the quality of light, the ability to walk around them and absorb all details puts the whole picture together in a way nothing else can. I was lucky to see them in person. Bernini was lucky to have such a gift.
If you have a chance, go to Rome. There’s no other city like it because of the Renaissance and Bernini.
I’m coming down the home stretch (= two-thirds through) of what I sincerely hope is the final revision of my time travel novel, The Renaissance Club. I’m past fallen-in-love with Gianlorenzo Bernini — I’m in the forming-a-fan-club stage. If only for this sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, made early in his magnificent career as a sculptor. He was also the official architect of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome under two popes.
When I say buried I really mean it. Buried in research, juggling plot lines and character growth steps in my ever-expanding memory, metering out metaphors to enrich but not overburden the narrative — all while dancing to the tune of my clients’ fundraising needs and juggling all THAT sea of information. I feel like the Beach Blanket Babylon lady wearing the hat containing all of San Francisco, but thank God I have some props and poles to lean the weight on. Thank God for the Internet, or the pile of books near my bed and couch would be even worse. Thank God for laptops. Oh, and thank God for the Renaissance. And for the wise and comprehensive advice from my editor, Arielle Eckstut of The Book Doctors. Even while juggling all this, I’m sort of relaxed because I have a handy list of What Needs to Happen Next.
Today I’m working on my time travel novel set in Renaissance and present-day Italy, featuring the genius sculptor and architect who invented The Baroque style, Gianlorenzo Bernini. Of this sumptuous sculpture of Bernini’s beloved, Costanza Piccolomini, art historian Jonathan Jones wrote: “He has made an intimate monument to secret moments, a sculpted memento of his lover, whose marble reality dissolves, when you chance on her among the stony dead, into breath, life. Bernini’s genius for motion is dedicated to making his lover live for ever. Her wild hair and loose clothes speak of energy and passion. He has caught her mid-glance, mid-conversation, perhaps before or after sex.”
What was the truth of the Bernini’s relationship with his assistant’s wife? We may never know, though if you read my book, you could learn the secrets. Wikipedia tersely sums up the interesting facts: “… Costanza Bonarelli, with whom [Bernini] fell in love when her husband was working as Bernini’s assistant in 1636. The normally polite Bernini openly insulted the husband, which led Pope Urban VIII to intervene before anyone was killed. He advised Bernini to get married, which he did, in 1639, to Caterina Tezio. Their marriage lasted 34 years and produced 11 children.”
I like that term better than “paranormal romance,” which sounds like it should involve bending spoons, which is only slightly weirder-sounding than the term I ran across in Wikipedia searches of literary genres: “monster erotica.” Alrighty then.
It’s true that I am writing a time travel romance involving the great Baroque sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini (great is the adjective he insists on accompanying his name, like some people insist on their middle names). It’s set in contemporary AND 17th century Rome, Assisi, Siena, Florence, and Venice and was liberally researched in an intensive art history tour of those cities I took awhile back. Plus many hours/months/years of fascinating research reading. I can’t seem to stop reading about Italy. And I get to make an excuse for doing it by needing to know exactly what kind of wine glass my heroine might have sipped wine from in a tavern in 17th cent. Assisi while having a chance time-encounter with the great artist.
So how did this Rocket Kid start writing about time travel? My father was friends with Isaac Asimov in Philadelphia in the 1940s when they were both rocket engineers and neither one wrote science fiction. That’s how I grew up: in a rocket scientist household liberally stocked with science fiction, especially Asimov’s. And Fred Hoyle’s The Black Hole. I developed an early interest in such things as time travel, black holes, and alternate universes. But what did I want to read? I wanted to read about girls, of course. Girls in Oz, girls solving mysteries, and girls in Gone With the Wind. It only took me a few decades to figure out about putting the two together. Fantasy/SF + girls = paranormal romance.
Who knew that the Twilight series would catapult this seemingly oddball genre to prominence. Actually, I didn’t know until the other day, when I researched literary genres to see how my novel fits. I haven’t read Twilight and think the vampire craze is silly. But time travel — I think it’s possible. If only in some of the most entertaining fiction I’ve read. (The Time Traveller’s Wife, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life After Life, and of course Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair.) My favorite time travel device: a genetic disorder. Second favorite: a golden pen.
I’m only a few days late but still in time to celebrate the birthday of one of the main characters of my novel and play (both in the works): Gianlorenzo Bernini, the genius of the Baroque, the tempestuous sculptor who they say shaped the face of Rome and who sculpted one of the most talked-about (even today) sculptures of a saint ever made.
Bernini’s passionately gorgeous art transformed sculpture and created the style they now call the Baroque. He made marble “flutter and stream” and he was famous for catching his subjects at the moment of speaking, when their expressions are most revealing. This documentary shows some of the best pieces, and makes Bernini the fascinating bad boy of the Renaissance. Enjoy. Simon Schama’s The Power of Art: Bernini is like a great potboiler novel, a page-turner. I guess Bernini’s life was something of a page-turner too.