Renaissance Music and Romance with Karen Bedore

I first became aware of Karen Bedore’s work earlier this year, when her novel “The Bard” beat “Acre’s Bastard” to make the short list of the Illinois Library Association’s annual “Soon to be Famous Author” competition. When we finally met at a library author event, I swallowed my petty spite and hateful envy enough to chat with her, and learn she has a new book out. That would be, “Another Lifetime.”

Turns out that when she’s not writing, she teaches middle-school music. You’ll see she has her denial firmly in hand…

So let’s learn about Karen Bedore…

On a typical day, one could find Karen in the throngs of adolescent wonderment, trying to create harmonious music-making to these next-generation superstars. From the first squeaks of “Hot Cross Buns” to the lavish lyrical sounds of “Danny Boy,” there is much magic that occurs within the four walls of the band room.

After being fueled by many cups of coffee to sustain the never-ending insanity of middle school energy, she arrives home to the role of wife (to a wonderful husband) and mother (of an amazing little boy), cherishing every moment (okay, perhaps not the whining…).


Secretly (well, not so secret any more), she is an undercover author, who laces up her trainers for a run to build endurance–not just for running–but to escape from this world to an alternate one, where history and romance meet, fueled by suspense–and of course–wonderful music.

Well, if the whole “secret identify” thing works for you and helps you deal with the most evil of Nature’s creations- tweens- God love ya. What’s your latest book about?

Twenty-two-year-old Aria Carucci was getting nowhere with her research of the obscure fifteenth-century artist Enzo Benenati.  A recent discovery of one of his works was a monumental breakthrough, but the accompanying sketch of a woman who could be her twin left her completely stunned. She vows to discover who this woman was, but nothing can prepare her for the path her research takes—back in time to 1459 Florence.  Frightened but thrilled, she must adapt to a time not her own.   Thrown together by chance, Aria and Enzo fall in love, only to be at the mercy of the hands of fate.      

You’re the second author in a row here who’s tackled the Renaissance as their theme. What is it about that time period that’s so interesting to you? 

I have always been fascinated by the early Renaissance period, ever since I can remember. The humanism movement—especially in Italy—has transformed the visual and musical art world, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without that ingenuity. I have family roots in Italy as well, and am in love with the language and culture.  If I were a character, I would be Aria. Many people who have read the book have noticed that I pretty much inserted myself into the book.

The arrogance of some authors (completely disregards his own work where he is Byron, Willie, Lucca, and probably the snarky old guy in most of the short stories). Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

Ooh, this is hard! I would have to say the first kiss. –dreamy sigh-

I think those middle-schoolers are rubbing off on you, but what the heck. Where can we learn more about your work (including the one that beat mine out… not that I’m bitter or anything)?

My website:

Twitter: @Lady_Alcinia



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Reformation, Faith and Heresy with C.L.R Peterson

By now, it’s abundantly clear from Acre’s Bastard that I have a complicated relationship with organized religion. Still, any student of history knows that little else has moved the levers of power in every corner of the world like faith and people’s reactions to it. Case in point:  CLR Peterson’s new novel about the Renaissance, the Reformation and the line between conscience and heresy. “Lucia’s Renaissance” comes from the author’s own academic interest in the topic. Here’s what she has to say:

What’s your deal?

CLR Peterson is the author of Lucia’s Renaissance

Renaissance history came to life for me during a semester of study in Italy. Then Martin Luther’s bold stand against the Roman Church and its pleasure-loving Pope Leo, a classic David-versus-Goliath battle, hooked me on the Reformation. I’ve pursued my passion for the Renaissance/Reformation era ever since, earning a PhD in Early Modern European History at Stanford University. Research for my debut novel, Lucia’s Renaissance, included reading heresy trial transcripts in Venice’s State Archives.



Geeky but cool. What’s Lucia’s Renaissance about?

Heresy is fatal in late sixteenth-century Italy, so only a suicidal zealot would so much as whisper the name of Martin Luther. But after Luther’s ideas ignite a young girl’s faith, she can’t set them aside, even when faced by plague, death, and the Inquisition.

What is it about that time period that is so fascinating to you?

For years, I’ve been intrigued by the relationship between the Italian Renaissance, with its vitality, creativity, and focus on humanity, and the religious Reformation sparked by Luther.

While reading heresy trial records from this era, I found a microcosm of this Renaissance/Reformation tension. A bare-bones portrait emerged of a Renaissance-educated Italian physician so devoted to Martin Luther’s ideas that for years he smuggled the reformer’s writings into Italian lands, leading to three trials before the Roman Church’s Inquisition. My novel fills out his family’s story (using literary license when necessary) from the viewpoint of the physician’s daughter, Lucia.

What’s your favorite scene or event  in the book?

When Lucia unlocks a hidden drawer in her father’s desk, she makes a shocking discovery: a book by Martin Luther, the arch-heretic her priest railed against. Questions flood her mind. Why was the book placed in the drawer? Does her father, a strict follower of the Church’s rules, know about the book? Could he be a heretic?

Lucia must decide whether to report her find to the priest, lock the book away and pretend she never saw it, confront her father, or read the book and make her own judgment.

Where can people learn more about you and Lucia’s Renaissance?

My website:

My book’s Amazon link: B076GKJY2V

My book’s Goodreads link: book/show/36339179-lucia-s- renaissance?from_search=true