Eleanor Chance - Historical Woman's Fiction set in Renaissance Italy
Eleanor Chance is an award-winning suspense, thriller, and historical women's fiction writer who thrives on crafting tales of everyday superheroes. Her debut novel, Arms of Grace, is a finalist in consideration for production by Wind Dancer Films, a silver medalist in the Readers' Favorite Awards, and a recipient of the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Eleanor has traveled the world and lived in five different countries. She currently lives in the Williamsburg, Virginia area with her husband, is the proud mother of four grown sons, and Nana to one amazing grand-darling. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Delicate Brushstrokes.
Please give us a short introduction to what Delicate Brushstrokes is about.
As the story opens, Celeste Gabriele has risen from being an impoverished servant to being a Duchessa and recognized female artist in the late fifteenth century. Believing she has attained all she’s ever desired, her life begins to unravel as she struggles to balance the demands of her family against furthering her budding career in a world not ready to accept her as an artist.
Why did you pick Renaissance Italy as the backdrop for your story?
Since I read The Agony and The Ecstasy by Irving Stone when I was young, I’ve been fascinated by that era and place. Though I have no artistic abilities whatsoever, I appreciate the masterpieces created during that time and have researched art history a great deal. The Italian Renaissance is such a unique and intriguing period in human history. It was a time of beauty and grandeur but also one of brutality, warfare, and immense class divisions.
How much research did this book require from you? What was the most interesting aspect of this research?
As I said, I’ve researched the Renaissance period for many years. I sometimes jokingly say that I feel like I have a Ph.D. in the Renaissance. I also spent hours studying specific aspects directly related to this project. I wanted to make sure I included the history of those whose names aren't included in the history books, such as most women and the peasant and servant classes. Occasionally I got so caught up in the research that I had to stop and remind myself that I had a book to write.
Why did you decide to become an author? Was there a specific aha moment where you knew "this is what I want to do"?
When I was ten, we did a poetry unit in school. I was instantly smitten with it! I was one of the only students who enjoyed it, and my teacher encouraged me to pursue writing. I started with poetry and even won some awards and contests, and had a poem included in an anthology. In high school, I had another teacher who steered me toward writing prose. I knew from the moment I started, that I had to be a writer. It’s my passion just as Celeste’s is painting. I feel so fortunate to have a career doing what I love.
This is book 2 of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the books tie in with one another?
I did my best to write this book to be read as a standalone, but I believe readers will have a much richer experience if they read Shades of Brilliance first. Delicate Brushstrokes picks up roughly eighteen months following the end of the first book in the trilogy.
What was your greatest challenge when you wrote this book?
Celeste travels to many cities in Italy during the story. It was challenging to include information about those places to make them come alive while continuing to move the plot along. It was also important to keep the historical information as accurate to the period as possible, though I admit I made use of slight artistic license at times to fit the plot.
Any advice to an aspiring writer on how to go about planning a character's traits and quirks, and then sticking to their personality the whole way through?
This is a difficult question for me to answer because characters come into my mind as fully formed people. They are who they are, just as people I know in real life. I see the way they look, hear the way they speak, and know their quirks and character flaws. I even dream about them.
I write thorough character sketches of each character before I even begin outlining the story. That gives me something to refer to as I work on making sure the characters have growth over the course of the story but also stay true to the core of who they are.
Do you ever have days when writing is a struggle? If so, what do you do to combat this?
Yes, as I believe most authors do. The causes can range from something as minor as having low energy that day to a major life event like the loss of a loved one, world events (like a global pandemic,) or personal health problems. For instance, I had to have a major surgery while writing this book. It was successful, and I’m fully recovered, but it took a huge effort to get back into my daily writing routine afterward.
To get past the difficult days, I just plant myself in my desk chair and write something, even if it isn’t related to my current WIP (work in progress.) That almost always works to bet me creative juices and enthusiasm flowing again. I’ll also read snippets from books by my favorite authors. Another way is to go for a long walk on a nature trail and let my thoughts flow. That gets me excited to go home and get back to work.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently writing Book III in the trilogy, entitled The Last Masterpiece, which comes out later this year.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Readers can find me in the following places: Website: www.eleanorchance.com, where they can join my VIP Club newsletter.
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: VIP Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/authoreleanorchance,
or Page: @eleanorachance
Eleanor_Chance Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/eleanor-chance