Bleeding Heart is the first book of the Medici Protectorate series. Book two, Mind Control, is coming out in May. These stories wouldn’t take place if not for the mysterious benefactor of the Brotherhood, Michelangelo.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born March 6, 1475 in Florence, Italy. His name is often mentioned along with Leonardo daVinci’s as the quintessential Renaissance man, as he mastered many arts (painting, sculpture, poetry) and sciences (architecture, engineering).
Occupation: artist, sculptor, painter, poet, architect, engineer
Religion: devout Catholic, whose faith deepened at the end of his life
Personal Habits (via direct quotes): “However rich I may have been, I have always lived like a poor man.” Regarding food and drink— “more out of necessity than of pleasure.” And regarding social companionship, he mostly maintained— “monklike chastity.”
I don’t know how I managed it, but Michelangelo agreed to talk with me on his birthday. Of course, not in person. No one but Mike—not even any of the Brothers—ever got a face-to-face with the man who was called “Il Divino” (the Divine One) back in the 1500s. If the world at large knew he was still alive, I shudder to think what would happen.
We had corresponded via email numerous times, but I had never “spoken” to him before, and I was nervous. My hand trembled when I picked up the phone. I knew how precious a commodity time was to him. I didn’t want to be early, and I didn’t want to be late. At precisely 3:00 p.m., I dialed. He answered on the first ring. His voice was not gruff and raspy like I expected, but rather smooth, like whiskey and honey.
Me: Mr. di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (I mean, it’s Michelangelo, you have to be formal, right?), thank you for agreeing to speak with me.
MdLBS: (laughs) Please. Call me Michel.
Me: Uh, okay. Michel. (I kind of giggle a little.) I wanted to wish you a happy birthday. It’s a big day for you.
MdLBS: Well, after your five hundredth birthday, they kind of all blend together.
Me: Are you doing anything special today?
MdLBS: Special? I cannot really celebrate a birthday with so much going on.
Me: What’s going on?
MdLBS: I just received intelligence that the enemy is planning a move on the Notaros. We need to make sure the girls are safe, but they do not seem to understand the serious state of affairs. You would think after everything that has happened…
Me: Their parents raised them to be independent.
MdLBS: And look what that got them.
Me: You don’t mean to say that women shouldn’t be strong, liberated, free-willed individuals, do you?
MdLBS: That is not what I am saying. But in my day, things were simpler. Women listened. That made it a lot easier.
Me: In your day, women had no rights. We do today.
MdLBS: (sighs) I know. And I suppose I would not have it any other way. But it makes things harder. I love the twenty-first century. It has inventions that we only dreamed of during the Renaissance. And seeing some things come to fruition that we designed tickles the fancy. But there is also a great burden in this time. This century is fraught with dangers. I gave my word to protect the Medici line, and the Notaros are in danger. Grave danger. Their independence is a liability. They are headstrong. Willful. It makes them hard to control. Which makes them hard to protect. It is a weakness. Which our enemies can and will exploit.
Me: Can you tell us more about the enemy?
MdLBS: Ah, Staci. As an author, you should know better than to reveal too much to your readers too early. It is not time yet.
Me: You’re right. But I get so excited. It’s a juicy detail.
MdLBS: That it is. Be patient. Learning when to reveal the details is what keeps your readers interested. You will get there in due time.
Me: You’re right. I know you’re right. In the meantime, what do you think is safe for me to tell them?
MdLBS: Book two is coming out soon, right? Vinnie and Jo’s story. Why not talk about them?
Me: Uh, because this is a character interview with you.
MdLBS: Staci, I am the driving force behind the entire series. You said so yourself, you cannot have the series without me.
Me: But the Brothers and sisters never even get a face-to-face with you. Or a phone conversation.
MdLBS: And you know why.
Me: Yes. But they don’t.
MdLBS: They will. Eventually.
Me: Michel, this is frustrating. And a terrible interview. It’s hardly worth printing. At least give me a tidbit that my readers will find tantalizing. Something about you, or about the series.
MdLBS: How about both? In Mind Control, coming out in May, you will learn why Vinnie was so angry with Gianni about the box in Bleeding Heart. It is a pretty big deal. And about me? I do not stay hidden forever. Before the series is over, the Brothers and the Notaros will get their face-to-face meeting. Not just a phone call, but a true, in-the-flesh meeting. How is that for a tidbit?
Me: Wow! I didn’t think you’d reveal that much! That’s enough to keep me turning the pages.
MdLBS: You have to write them, first!
Me: Good point. I better get to it, then.
MdLBS: That you better. And I, too, have matters that need attention.
Me: Thanks for the interview, Michel. And again, happy birthday.
MdLBS: Thank you for the kind wishes, Staci. Until our next conversation.
He hangs up the phone, and I began to transcribe our conversation and take frantic notes. I mean, come on, I’ve just had a conversation with Michel-freaking-angelo. A man who, through alchemy, conquered death and still roams the earth, protecting the secret legacy of the Medici because of a promise made to his friend and benefactor centuries ago. We learn about this amazing miracle in Bleeding Heart, and more is revealed in Mind Control. I look over my notes and sigh. This man blows my mind. Painter, sculptor, poet, architect, engineer. I’m impressed when I manage to write a blog post a week and a chapter of a book. He painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and sculpted David out of a rejected piece of marble. I think I need to push myself harder.
So there you have it. The part-fictionalized/part-realistic portrait of Michelangelo, who is a character in the Medici Protectorate series, part two of which, Mind Control, is releasing in May. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.