Monday, June 9, 2014

Celebrate Hawaii Week - Aloha to Rachel Grant and BODY OF EVIDENCE


I recently met Rachel Grant via email through a mutual friend, knowing that I would find Rachel interesting ...

Rachel Grant worked for over a decade as a professional archaeologist and fully intends to mine her experiences for storylines and settings, which are as diverse as excavating a cemetery underneath an historic art museum in San Francisco; surveying an economically depressed coal mining town in Kentucky; and mapping a seventeenth century Spanish and Dutch fort on the island of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles.

In all her travels and adventures as an archaeologist, Rachel has found many sites and artifacts, but she’s only found one true treasure, her husband, David. They met while working together excavating a four thousand year old site about to be destroyed by the expansion of a sewage treatment plant in Seattle. Despite their romantic first meeting, she has no intention of ever setting a story at a sewage treatment plant.

Rachel Grant lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children.

Rachel joins us for a cozy chat ...

Kim:  You lived in Hawaii - what was your favorite sight, sound, and smell of Paradise?

Rachel:  I loved everything* about Hawaii, from waking up in the morning to a cacophony of birds, our amazing view of the Ko Ľolau Range, being able to escape the rain on the windward side with a quick trip leeward, taking my kids to the gentle beaches of Kailua, to driving north to watch the big waves on the North Shore. I loved the food: lau lau, kalua pork, and haupia (but not Spam musubi). Plus my neighbor once gave me a homemade passion fruit pie that was to die for.

My son was born in Hawaii, and we celebrated his first birthday with a traditional luau. My neighbor was amazing; she came over the morning of the party as I stared at an array of ingredients and had no clue where to start. She took over, making an incredible spread of traditional foods. I did make the chicken long rice myself though, and it was pretty good.J

*I will admit I don’t miss the mosquitos.

Kim:  Professional archaeologist ... wow! What inspired you to enter this career field? Is it as sexy as Indiana Jones?

Rachel: I blame Elizabeth Peters for my career choice. In my senior year in high school I discovered her wonderful mysteries and was hooked. I still want to be Vicky Bliss when I grow up.

Hmm… as sexy as Indiana Jones? Well, I did meet my husband on my first professional dig, and we’ve been together for twenty years, but that dig was at a sewage treatment plant in Seattle. Enough said?

Kim:  I love that you incorporate your profession into your books - how have your colleagues (past and present) responded to your new direction in career fields?

RachelMy archaeologist friends are wonderful and supportive. They read my books and appreciate that my heroes aren’t treasure hunters (a huge no in the profession) or artifact collectors. It’s important to me to keep the archaeology accurate to the profession, because they’d come after me if I got it wrong. 

My husband, who is also an archaeologist, helps me with plotting. His colleagues are more leery of my books because of the romance, so he gets the typical ribbing husbands of romance authors receive. A few of his coworkers (the women) have read my books, enjoyed them, and are now starting to read more romance. I love luring readers in with plot, but keeping them with the romance.

Kim:  What did you learn as an assistant to Jill Barnett? 

Rachel:  Goodness, this is a tough question, because I learned so much from Jill! She taught me how to structure a scene for impact, how to recognize when dialogue is forced, but probably most importantly, how to wield point of view effectively. There is nothing like a Jill Barnett critique. She has an incredible ability to breakdown and explain why a scene doesn’t work, but she never told me how to change it, instead she gave me the tools to find my own fix.

Kim:  Now that you have a few books under your belt, what have you learned about yourself as a writer?

Rachel:  I’m a fast writer when it comes to first drafts, except I’ve been known to follow a wrong plot thread for 50k words, making the second draft that much harder to write when I have to scrap half the novel. I’m learning to recognize when a plot thread is veering, so I don’t waste time and writing energy on a story that falls apart. This is making me a faster writer overall, and I’m enjoying writing first drafts more. (I LOVE revisions, not first drafts.) I tend to complete anywhere from twelve to twenty drafts of a 100k word novel before it’s ready to publish. I’m trying to get that number down to about eight.

Mahalo, Rachel, for celebrating Hawaii with us! I am giving away a digital copy of BODY OF EVIDENCE:

And she thought facing a firing squad was bad…

When archaeologist Mara Garrett traveled to North Korea to retrieve the remains of GIs lost in combat, she never imagined she’d be arrested, convicted of spying, and sentenced to death. Her only hope is Curt Dominick, the powerful, ambitious, and infuriatingly sexy US attorney prosecuting her uncle, a former vice president of the United States.

What starts off as a rescue mission quickly morphs into a race across the Pacific. Someone is after Mara, and they’ll risk everything to stop her from reaching Washington DC. With betrayal around every corner, Curt and Mara have little reason to trust each other and every reason to deny the sparks between them that blaze hotter than the Hawaiian sun. Still, desire clashes with loyalty when they discover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives but the national security of the United States.

To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about archaeology - does it interest you? I admit I thought I wanted to dig in Egypt when I was a child.

2. Comments are open through Saturday, June 14, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 15.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Rachel and her books at

Check out my pictures of Kaneohe at this link and link.  Plus my pictures of North Korea via the DMZ at this link.



  1. Yes, I always found it interesting. When young I use to play in the dirt for hours and hours lol.

  2. I'm very interested in archaeology. I was considering majoring in it in college.

  3. The same for me. I have always had an interest in archaeology. I do think the Agatha Christie books gave me a nudge too.

  4. I think I would find it interesting because I love old things.

  5. I do think it interesting. Fascinating stuff. I helped my daughter when she had to do some field work.

  6. It is interesting to see how they uncover and preserve items from the past.

  7. Yes.. Love Egypt history... I blame Elizabeth Peters too!

  8. Yes I do enjoy archaeology. I've going to the British Museum soon, and look forward to seeing some of the items that have been "unearthed".

  9. I like history, but I wouldn't want to be out in the hot desert doing all the work :) LOL... but Egypt would be fun.

  10. Kim, thank you so much for interviewing me! It was fun to have an excuse to look through my Hawaii photos and remember my three years in paradise.

  11. it's somewhat interesting

  12. I find archaeology interesting, but I never thought about it as a career.

  13. I find it interesting, but not enough to actually want to dig for hours. I much prefer to go look at the artifacts that other people have dug for.

  14. I don't think it would interest me.
    Karen T.

  15. Darn, I am 1 day late for giveaway! Oh well, maybe next time. An archeologist would be so much fun! I would really dig it! I just discovered Rachel Grants books and I can't wait to read body of evidence, I just finished concrete evidence and it was so so good! I highly recommend it.