Gathering Incriminating Evidence in the Land of the Midnight Sun

MidnightSun-frontcover-final-r1-72This month I have two books out, Midnight Sun (a re-release after being published in the Twelve Shades of Midnight anthology, which is no longer available) released on March 1st, and Incriminating Evidence (Evidence Series #4), which will release on March 24th. By sheer coincidence, both books are set in Alaska. It may sound strange to say it’s a coincidence, but it is. I’ve had versions of Incriminating Evidence in my head and on on my computer since 2010 – and it was always set in Alaska. It was the perfect setting for Alec and Isabel’s story. The inspiration behind Midnight Sun was completely different.

A little over a year ago, the fabulous Robin Perini approached me and asked if I wanted to participate in a paranormal romance anthology with her and ten other authors. Because the story would be paranormal, it couldn’t be connected to my existing books, and I began considering what my contribution to the anthology would be. My first inspiration was a story set in Hawaii, about an archaeologist who comes face-to-face with Night Marchers. The story excited me and I was ready to move forward with it, as we as a group were discussing via email potential titles and themes for the anthology. We settled on the name Twelve Shades of Midnight relatively quickly, and all agreed that something important in each of our stories had to happen at midnight. My Night Marchers story was perfect. I lived in Hawaii for three years — I know the setting well, and my husband worked as an archaeologist there, so the research would be a snap, and the story would be fun to write.

View of Denali National Park

Then one morning, I woke up with the kernel of the plot for Midnight Sun in my mind. Maybe I was inspired by the word “midnight” — I really don’t know — but in the space of five minutes I went from planning to write a novella set in Hawaii to one set in Alaska. Once the idea grabbed me, I couldn’t let it go. I’d only ever visited and conducted archaeological survey in Sitka, Alaska, but fortunately, my husband had worked in Barrow, and he knew other archaeologists who’d worked for a length of time in the Arctic Circle who were willing to answer even the most ridiculous questions (yes, I do need to know what the airport terminal in Kotzebue looks like, and if the vegetation is primarily muskeg…). And so Midnight Sun the story of Sienna and Rhys and an ancient Iñupiat mask, was born. The Hawaii story will be the second in the series, featuring Sienna’s sister, Larkspur (look for it in late 2015).

IMG_0492

As I mentioned above, I’ve had the story for Incriminating Evidence in the works since 2010. It was supposed to be the 3rd book in the Evidence Series (and I finished a draft of it in 2012, long before I wrote Withholding Evidence), but one problem I had with the execution of the story was the setting. It was clear to me that I needed to visit central Alaska if I wanted to get it right, so last summer, before tackling a major rewrite, my family and I visited Alaska and explored the area where the story is set.

One of the things I wanted to see while I was there was the forest at night–I knew in the summer it wouldn’t really get dark, but I wanted to see the phenomenon first hand. This photo was taken at midnight in mid-July in Fairbanks – without a flash.

Fairbanks forest at midnight

We were in Alaska for eight days and drove from Anchorage to Fairbanks in a loop, exploring Denali National Park on the drive north (we saw lots of animals including bears, caribou, moose, and a wolf!), and went east for the drive south, where we passed through the setting for Incriminating Evidence.

Denali National Park

En route, we saw salmon spawning, went whitewater rafting–necessary because a glacial silt-laden river plays an important role in the story–panned for gold, and hiked on a glacier.

Matanuska Glacier

I came home from the trip buzzing with ideas. There is no way to see something as magnificent as Alaska in just a week, but we tried.

The final story of Incriminating Evidence is very different from that first idea I plotted in 2010, but it is so much richer, so much better, for having visited the setting which plays a central role in the story. Also, even though there wasn’t supposed to be a connection between my paranormal romance and my 4th Evidence Series book, because they were both set in Alaska (even though hundreds of miles apart) I couldn’t resist slipping one thing in. I can’t wait to hear from readers who catch the connection…

IE-frontCover-Final-r2-72dpi

 

Midnight Sun

A woman on the edge…

Museum collections specialist Sienna Aubrey is desperate. A prehistoric Iñupiat mask in her client’s collection is haunted, and it wants her to return it to Alaska…now. Tormented to her breaking point, she steals it. But when she arrives in the remote Alaskan village, the tribal representative refuses to take the troublesome mask off her hands. Even worse, the manipulative artifact pulls the infuriating man into her dream, during which she indulges in her most secret fantasies with him.

A man in search of the truth…

Assistant US Attorney Rhys Vaughan came to the Arctic Circle to prove someone tried to murder his cousin. When Sienna shows up at his cousin’s office with the local tribe’s most sacred artifact, she becomes his prime suspect. Then the mask delivers him into Sienna’s hot, fantasy-laden dream, and his desire to investigate her takes an entirely different turn.

An artifact seeking justice…

But the mask has an agenda, and it’s not to play matchmaker. If Sienna doesn’t do what the artifact wants, she may pay the ultimate price, and only Rhys can save her.

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Incriminating Evidence

From enemies to allies…

When archaeologist Isabel Dawson stumbles upon an unconscious man deep in the Alaskan wilderness, her survival skills are put to the test. She tends his wounds and drags him to shelter, only to discover she’s saved the life of Raptor CEO Alec Ravissant—the man who may have covered up her brother’s murder to save his senatorial campaign.

With no memory of the assault that landed him five miles deep in the forest, Alec doesn’t know what to believe when he wakes in the clutches of the beautiful redhead who blames him for her brother’s death, but he quickly realizes he needs her help to uncover the truth about his lost hours.

Isabel never imagined she’d find herself allied with Alec, and he’s the last man she ever expected to find attractive. But the former Army Ranger-turned-politician proves seductively charming, and he’s determined to win much more than her vote. When their quest for answers puts Isabel in the crosshairs, Alec must risk everything—his company, his campaign, and his life—to protect her.

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About Rachel Grant

Former archaeologist & four-time Golden Heart® finalist, I write romantic suspense where archaeology, politics, and war collide.

Posted on March 10, 2015, in Rachel Grant and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Rachel, your Alaska trip sounds fascinating and the picture at midnight is incredible. LOVE the story description for INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE. You had me at “former Army Ranger”. Swoon!

    • Thanks, Lena! Alec was so much fun to write!

      It was fun taking the forest picture at night. It had been a warm day–in the high 60s, but the wind really kicked up in the evening and my husband and I were freezing. I’d wanted to really explore the woods at night, because I had a lengthy forest night scene. But ten minutes in the windy woods and I decided my characters would find shelter or hunker down in an emergency blanket. They would definitely *not* cross a river at night, as I had planned.

  2. Can’t wait to read your newest book and I absolutely love hearing about your Alaska adventures!!!

    So excited for you!!!

  3. Great photos, Rachel! It looks like an amazing trip. I’ve visited almost all 50 states, but Alaska is still waiting for me… It’s on our five-year travel plan. Location was a huge part of my upcoming book too, and it definitely makes a difference in the details to have been there. Now I think I need to set a book in Switzerland. Oh, and Peru! 😉

    Congrats on your upcoming releases! I’m lucky enough to have read both already, and they’re awesome.

    • Wow – I’m impressed you’ve visited so many states. I haven’t tallied in a long time, so now I’m curious… my guess is at least 20 but less than 30?

      I definitely consider settings for books when I think of places I’d like to visit. I have a story set in Palau I’d like to write. My husband spent 4 months there, so I wouldn’t *need* to visit, but I think the book would be so much better if I did…

      If you need help researching your Peru book, let me know. 😉

      I’m so thrilled you enjoyed both Midnight Sun and Incriminating Evidence! I’ll ask offline if you caught the connection…

  4. STUNNING photography, Rachel-
    I LOVED Midnight Sun, and while reading it, I found myself once again amazed at the whole phenomenon that there are places on this planet where the sun never sets or barely rises…and people still choose to live and thrive there!

    In almost all of my stories I have an Italian character, reference or setting in honor of my obsession with the country and culture.

    Looking forward to reading IE…and BTW, what exotic local is next for you? 😉

    • Thanks, Sarah! So thrilled you loved Midnight Sun!! I would love to go back to Alaska in the winter to see the aurora borealis – but I don’t think I’d enjoy 40 below temperatures…

      We visited Italy on our honeymoon – I’d dearly love to go back. Hmmm… maybe I should set a book there… 😉

      My next book (already written) is set in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Washington, DC, but most of the action is in Turkey. I’ve never been to the Middle East, but my husband spent two summers in Turkey.

      The next book I plan to write will be set on the horn of Africa in a tiny country called Djibouti (it’s next to Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia). I’ve never been there, but my husband has. I rely on his experience and travels a lot! 🙂

  5. Rachel, I loved Midnight Sun and can’t wait to read IE. I love reading about Alaska so much. Right now one of my favorite TV shows is Ultimate Survivor Alaska, so I’m pea green over your trip. Congrats on the releases. XO

    • Thanks, Diana! It means to much to me that you loved Midnight Sun!

      I’ve watched so many Alaska shows as research for this book, they all blur together. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that one. It got to a point where they were filling up my DVR so I had to watch them on fast forward looking at the landscape shots. Then I decided it would be easier to go to Alaska. 😉

  6. Rachel I love Alaska and I love these stories. I wish I knew how to upload photos and video to a comment. My son has some breathtaking photos of the aurora borealis. Loved Midnight Sun and I cannot wait for Incriminating Evidence. Congrats!

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