Can You Dig It, Baby? Rachel Grant Uncovers Concrete Evidence

First I just want to say that all of us at Kiss and Thrill want to acknowledge the tragedy that occurred yesterday at the Boston Marathon. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families, and we are grateful for the emergency responders, bystanders and participants who came to the aid of those in need.

Rachel Grant

Rachel Grant

Today I’m delighted to offer you an interview and giveaway with my friend and fellow Kiss and Thrill mate, Rachel Grant. I first met Rachel at a Romance Writers of America conference where she was already racking up the Golden Heart nominations. Since that time I’m honored to say that she has become a wonderful friend.  I am so delighted to present her to you today with her new release, CONCRETE EVIDENCE.

When I read CONCRETE EVIDENCE, I expected it to be awesome, and I was not disappointed. From the opening scene the thrills and chills drew me in. I love her smart, sexy heroine, Erica. As for the hero, Lee, all I can say is I’m a sucker for brainiacs with pecs 🙂

The secret life of archeologists is deftly woven into the plot, and a look at this fascinating world is a treat you won’t find in many books. I can honestly say I did NOT see the twists and turns coming, and they kept me reading late into the night. This is one of the best romantic thrillers I’ve read…ever. I absolutely loved it, and I know you will too.

Concrete Evidence

A year ago she lost everything. Now she wants revenge…

Accused of stealing artifacts from a five-hundred-year-old shipwreck, underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling is determined to clear her name. She’s concealed her past and taken a job certain to give her access to the buyer of the missing antiquities. She’s finally closing in on her goal when she’s distracted by a sexy, charismatic intern who makes her want something other than revenge.

But Lee Scott is no intern. He’s looking for the lead conspirator in an international artifact smuggling scheme, and Erica is his prime suspect. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her trust and get her to reveal her secrets, even seduce her.

As Erica and Lee struggle to conceal their real agendas, the one thing they can’t hide is the attraction that burns hot between them. When Erica’s quest puts her life in jeopardy, Lee must choose between old loyalties and a woman he never expected to fall for.

Carey: Rachel, you have a fascinating background that greatly enriches your storytelling. I always imagine an archeologist as a dreamy, Indiana-Jones type, but I have little understanding of what the job truly entails. Can you tell us about being a real-life archeologist and how that has influenced your writing?

Rachel: If only archaeology were as exciting as the Indiana Jones movies! Most archaeologists in the United States work in the private sector (i.e. not for a museum or university) in Cultural Resource Management—projects driven by the National Historic Preservation Act and other environmental/historic preservation laws. As a CRM archaeologist, I worked primarily on prehistoric Native American sites in the Pacific Northwest, but I also lived in Washington, DC for two years, and enjoyed working on historic and prehistoric projects in that region. In my books, my characters are usually CRM archaeologists.

I would be remiss in my professional duties, however, if I didn’t point out that as much as the Indiana Jones movies are fun and exciting, sadly, the character is more of a looter than an archaeologist.

Carey: Oh, dear! I suppose so, but he’s a very enticing looter! Rachel you know we want to hear that story about finding “treasure” at a sewage plant.  Spill, please!

Rachel: Ha! Never use the word “spill” in association with sewage treatment.

archaeologyI met my husband on my first professional dig, at the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant, in Seattle. We were excavating a 4000-year-old shell midden site that was found during construction during plant expansion. There was this cute guy who rejoined the dig after working for a summer in Jamaica. One day I was assigned to screen for him, and I knew he was flirting with me when I found gold-colored Jamaican coins in the buckets of dirt I was water-screening.

Yes, this is how archaeologists flirt. 🙂

Carey: What an adorable story! I wouldn’t mind if my husband gave me some gold coins. Why hasn’t he thought of that? What is your writing process? Do you plot, pants it or both?

Rachel: I’m a hybrid. I always promise myself I will plot more, pants less, but the characters and their situations always take over and change the story.

Carey: What inspires you as a writer?

Rachel: Archaeology is a starting point for all of my stories. My husband has an M.A. in Nautical Archaeology and I mine his experience as much as my own. I usually start by asking myself how someone could get in trouble working in a particular region or on a certain type of project, and the story flows from there.

Carey: If you could travel to any location for a dig, where would it be?

Rachel: Will it sound terrible if I say that I’m done with fieldwork? I loved fieldwork, but after getting carpal tunnel in both wrists and other digging-related ailments, the excitement is gone. I LOVE visiting sites, though and would like to travel and see more World Heritage Sites.

Carey: Rachel, you have achieved something amazing: You are a four-time Golden Heart finalist. Congratulations! I understand your upcoming release, CONCRETE EVIDENCE, is one of your GH finalist manuscripts. I had the honor of reading an early version of CONCRETE EVIDENCE as well as the current one, which is out today.  It’s fabulous! I can’t wait for our readers to get the 411.  Was there a special inspiration or an original story question that led you to write this particular story?

Rachel: Thanks, so much, Carey! I’m so thrilled you loved CE!  As far as inspiration goes, yes. When I lived in Washington, DC, I worked for a large, multi-national engineering firm, a lot like the one Erica works for in CE, and I had to write an Environmental Assessment for a unique house made out of a strange, yeasty concrete that no one knew anything about…

Carey: Do you have a playlist for CONCRETE EVIDENCE?

Rachel: I listened to a lot of  Third Eye Blind (all their albums) when writing the first drafts of this book. So much that when I read it now, I hear lyrics.

Carey: Can you tell us what makes the hunky hero of CONCRETE EVIDENCE, Lee Scott, tick?

Rachel: Lee is deeply loyal. Once he meets Erica, he’s conflicted about the role he must play, but that loyalty drives him to see his job through.

Carey: What about the brainy and brave heroine, Erica Kesling?  Did I mention I adore brainy heroines?

Rachel: LOL – I’m so glad you liked Erica! She’s a little reserved, but she has her reasons. 🙂 She’s very driven, wanting to make up for her past mistakes and regain a sense of safety. To protect herself, she tries to keep everyone—especially Lee—at arm’s length, but he’s too taken with her to allow that. He is exactly the person she needs to pull her out of her isolation.

Carey: There are so many fascinating details and inside information woven into your plot. What’s all this about a deck of cards?

Rachel: The cards are so cool! In 2007, the DoD issued them to American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to educate them on the need to protect archaeological and historic sites in the Middle East.  For more information on the cards, you can visit my website: Rachel-Grant.net. I have a few decks and plan to give one to a reader on my (currently nonexistent) mailing list, but it will have to wait a few more weeks, when my website update will be complete and all the planned bonus content for CE will be up.

Carey: What can we expect from Rachel Grant in the future?

Rachel: I have another book coming out, GRAVE DANGER, in late-May. GRAVE DANGER is set in the Pacific Northwest and isn’t connected to CE. Further down the line, I have other books set in the same world as CE. Lee shows up in at least one. 🙂

Carey: I certainly hope so! I love Lee! Looking forward to reading GRAVE DANGER! Rachel thank you so much for your wonderful answers. I know everyone is going to adore CONCRETE EVIDENCE as much as I do!

Rachel: Okay, now I have a question for our readers, what is your favorite movie that incorporates some type of archaeology in the story? (It’s okay to say Indiana Jones – I loved those movies too! – but it’s not my favorite…) I’m giving away a signed copy of CE to one commenter.

About Carey Baldwin

Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award winning author of edgy suspense by night.

Posted on April 16, 2013, in Author Interview, Carey Baldwin, Rachel Grant and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 60 Comments.

  1. The evil unleashed on innocent people in Boston by loathsome cowards is inconceivable. My heart is broken for everyone involved. And at the same time, my spirit is uplifted to see, once again, how people come together to help complete strangers. Seeing first responders running towards a bomb instead of away from it gives me shivers. It also reminds me why I choose law enforcement heroes in my books. They are honorable, strong, amazing people and I thank God for them. We must look to the future and what is good in life, and I’m so happy to be uplifted today by the news of Rachel’s debut. Rachel is a wonderful author and a true delight to know. Congratulations on your debut, Rachel. I’m so very happy for you, and I’m grateful to be able to dive into your wonderful story to escape reality, if only for a little while.

    • Thank you so much, Lena. Reading and writing is my escape too, and I’m grateful for all the authors and books that have helped me through tough times.

      Come to think of it, that sounds like a future blog topic – books to turn to when you need to escape.

  2. The only movie I can think of is Indiana Jones. I don’t watch a lot of movies but I have read stories by Nora Roberts and Connie Brockway with archaeology in them.

  3. I was down by the marathon finish line on Saturday and generally walk around there late in the afternoon on Marathon Monday… and I go to the library there all the time– it’s insane! Even those of us far from the explosion at the time were glued to the news as soon as we heard, and still are. I was in Spain for the Madrid train bombings as well… seriously, what is wrong with the world??

    Congrats on the debut! Looking forward to picking it up once I finish with this dissertation chapter and the figures for a paper!
    And can I admit that I secretly love JURASSIC PARK?? I’m a scientist (well, I guess not fully officially until I defend my doctoral thesis in a couple of months), so I totally understand how films get science/archaeology/whatever wrong. But it’s JURASSIC PARK! There are cloned dinosaurs! And Jeff Goldblum :P.

    • Cris I’m so glad you are okay. I can’t imagine the ordeal for everyone involved.
      Congratulations in advance on defending your dissertation! I agree with you about the cloned dinosaurs, but my favorite is that looting, snake-hating Indiana Jones (sorry, Rach!) 🙂

    • Cris, thanks for stopping by today and hugs. Lots of hugs.

      Thanks for the congrats and good luck with the dissertation chapter – and on defending your doctoral thesis soon!

      I loved JURASSIC PARK too – for the same reasons.

  4. I like the Davinci code but I am not sure if it falls under archaeology or not.

  5. I lived in Boston for 6 years in my 20’s. The people are tough and fearless and their hospital system is exceptional. My thoughts and prayers to all. There’s no doubt in my mind the city, the victims and the bystanders will amaze us with their resilience. “DON’T MESS WITH BOSTON.”

    RACHEL!!! Happy Debut Day!
    I am so fortunate to have volunteered to be a beta reader for ‘Concrete Evidence’ and it is absolutely FASCINATING. In fact, when you told me the archeological subplots I thought you’d made up were REAL…well, it blew my mind.

    Looking forward to many more books and K&T interviews out of you, my friend!

    Fav Archeology Movie: the first Indiana Jones, of course. 🙂

  6. What happened in Boston yesterday is utterly heartbreaking. As a history buff, Boston is a city I’ve always longed to visit. Yesterday’s bombings makes me all the more determined to go there.

  7. Don’t really remember actual archeogy in the movie but the mention of Indiana J made me think of Romancing The Stone, with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. I loved the romantic action adventure of it!

    Happy Release Day, Rachel! And great interview!

  8. So, my favorite movie with an archaeological storyline…

    The MUMMY, with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. A sexy, brainy librarian, a hunky, tough hero, a curse, romance and adventure, it’s pure fun.

  9. As a former CRM archeologist myself, I’m definitely looking forward to reading Concrete Evidence, (Rachel and I both went to Florida State, but not, alas, at the same time.) I’ve always thought there was a lot of material for mystery writing in CRM archeology–I’m still surprised we never found a (recent) body on our surveys–but I have yet to try writing one.

    As for movies, Indiana Jones (and his dad!) were charmers, but Brendan Fraser in the first Mummy movie is probably my favorite, along with Rachel Weisz proclaiming proudly “I Am a Librarian” just before she topples all the bookshelves. (Which reminds me of Noah Wyle in the Librarian TV movies–I could go on and on. I Am a Writer–look out, bookshelves.)

    • Ha! Now the Mummy has been endorsed by two FSU-alum CRM Archaeologists!

      Thanks for stopping by Kay, and congrats on your 3rd!!! GH final!

    • I didn’t know you were an archeologist, Kay! Why the heck are you doing people’s taxes for when you could be out collecting bones and treasure?! 🙂

      • They never let us keep the “treasure,” Sarah, not that I ever found any, although some pretty nifty Spanish gold and silver passed through Jack’s lab. I have boxes and boxes of pictures of dirt. Bookkeeping is a LOT cleaner, and at my age that’s definitely a selling point.

  10. Congrats on the new release, Rachel. I’m dying to get my Kindle on this one. 🙂 One of my fav films that involved archeology would be Timeline. It’s cheesy and includes time traveling, but it’s Paul Walker and a sword slinging (and I believe kilt wearing) Gerard Butler. Who can resist that??

  11. Heather Nickodem

    Congratulations on your book, Rachel. Can’t wait to read it! And Lena, I loved your reference to why you write about your heroes. Thank you for that.

  12. I am also a fan of The Mummy, mostly because I’m also a librarian and just adored Rachel Weisz character.
    And I just want to add my congratulations, Rachel. I know how hard you’ve worked over these many years and I wish you huge successes and lots of sales! So proud of you!

  13. My favorite movie with a bit of archaeology and a whole lot of fantasy is The Mummy Returns with Brendan Fraser. He’s a looter but his wife is an archaeologist.

    Loved your story about meeting your husband, Rachel.

  14. Huge congratulations on the release of Concrete Evidence, Rachel. Can’t wait to read it! Enjoyed the interview!

  15. Congratulations Rachel!
    How exciting. Can’t wait to read your book.

    I do love The Nora Roberts books — The Reef and then the one set at a dig.
    Great interview!

  16. I’m in the middle of Concrete Evidence now and loving it! I always enjoy learning about the real world of a profession I know nothing about. After I saw Macchu Picchu in a text book in middle school I wanted to be an archeologist for about a year. Then I learned it wasn’t the life of adventure I expected. Not that my later jobs were either…

    Still want to visit Peru though.

    My favorite archeology movie is probably Raiders of the Lost Ark too. Hard to argue against Harrison Ford, looter or not. 😉

  17. Hurray, Rachel! Congrats on your release day! I can’t wait to read more about how archeologists flirt! (Off to find my Kindle….)

  18. Congrats, Rachel! This sounds like a fun book — I’m off to order it now for my Kindle. And your flirting story is adorable — I hope that makes it into one of your books someday. 🙂

  19. CONCRETE EVIDENCE is my favorite kind of suspense novel–not only is it fast paced, entertaining and filled with twists, it also gives the reader an insider’s view of the archaeology profession and artifact smuggling. Five stars! It was a pleasure to read. Kudos, Rachel!

    Does National Treasure count as an archaeology movie? 🙂

    • Thanks, Krista!! So glad you loved CE!

      And yes, National Treasure works for me – like the Da Vinci code, there is historical research, which is a lot of what archaeologists do.

  20. the Mummy movies

  21. Congrats, Rachel! I’m thrilled for you. I’m adding CE to the very top of my TBR pile–which includes both print and digital books. And yeah, well, I love Indiana Jones. Bummer he’s a looter–at least it’s fiction. 🙂

    • LOL – yes, and it’s worth noting the first movie was set in a time-frame where looting was an embarrassingly acceptable practice. I’m perfectly content to set my professional ethics aside and enjoy the movie!

      (And, well, setting professional ethics aside is something my heroine in CE has to grapple with.)

  22. Congratulations, Rachel! I’m so happy the book is finally out. I know it will be a huge success.

    Hugs

  23. Love National Treasure. It’s a great adventure. (Plus I had a little crush on one of the FBI agents when we were in college.)

    Rachel, I would definitely recommend a visit to Boston. The history is spectacular in that place. And the people are pretty wonderful, too. My prayers to all of them and their families.

    I would love a copy of CE. I don’t think I have enough budget left for the massive number of books on my summer reading list! But CE is definitely at the top of the list.

    • Thanks, Carrigan!

      When I lived in D.C., we visited Philadelphia, and I LOVED seeing Independence Hall and other places that played a role in the birth of our nation. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a descendent of William Penn and the Ross family (Betsy is an aunt by marriage) including at least one signer of the Declaration of Independence.

      I’m also related to several passengers on the Mayflower and at least one poor woman who was convicted and executed during the Salem Witch Trials.

      Boston is a must-see for my and my family. 🙂

      • Mayflower? Me too! His name was Degory Priest. He died the first winter. 😦 But I’m a lifetime member in the Mayflower Society baby, and proud of it!

  24. This sounds like my kind of book. Have always dreamed of being an archeologist! So can’t wait to get my hands on this. Probably Indiana Jones was one of the best archeology based movies, but I only likes 1 & 3. But love watching real archeology programs. Zahi Hawass is my hero! Congrats, Rachel.

  25. After all this talk of archaeology movies today, I’ve decided to watch the Mummy tonight with my family!

    • Hope you enjoyed it. You’ve worked so hard these last few months for your debut day! Extra popcorn for you!

  26. Just finished Concrete Evidence and it was excellent! This is the first book I have read by Rachel Grant and look forward to downloading more. Always looking for enthralling new authors!

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