Posted by Carey Baldwin
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.
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.
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.
I 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.