The best part of RWA’s annual conference is, for me, getting to talk with authors I love. I’ve been lucky enough to have lunch with Rachel Grant the past few RWAs we’ve both been at. This year, we had so much fun that I forgot to take a picture of her. So you’ll have to settle for this picture of the fried pickles–they were delicious–which Rachel took to send to Erica Ridley who, I hear, has a thing for fried pickles.
Dabney: What are you working on now?
Rachel: I’m currently working on two projects, one is a proposal for my agent and the other is Evidence #8. Many readers assumed the Evidence series was over once the Flashpoint books started coming out, but I promise I’m not done with the Evidence world! Book 8 starts with Ian and Cressida’s wedding, which gives me the unique opportunity to bring all the previous heroes and heroines together. It’s a little daunting, but also a lot of fun.
Dabney: Which of your books was the hardest to write?
Rachel: I think Catalyst, for two reasons. One because of the emotional state I was in at the time, and two because of the subject matter. It’s not easy craft a romance in a setting embroiled in civil war, where famine is a weapon of the war, and children are being sold into slavery. But I’m also deeply proud of the book because I was able to write what I think is an emotionally satisfying romance that was appropriate and respectful to the setting and situation. I found a way to shine a light on the harsh realities of life in South Sudan. I can’t fix social injustices, but I can raise awareness while entertaining people with a love and adventure story.
Dabney: The most fun?
Rachel: That might be a tie between Cold Evidence and Tinderbox. They were both easy books to write and the characters were vibrant and real to me for different reasons. Cold Evidence because it’s set in a place I love and was able to visit twice while writing: Neah Bay, Washington, and Tinderbox because it was a steamy adventure inspired by my husband’s work in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.
As you might guess from these answers, the setting of my stories is very important to me. It’s the third (sometimes maybe even first) protagonist.
Dabney: What’s your prediction for the next big thing/s in romance?
Rachel: I’m really hoping it will be steamy military thrillers—with high levels of both romance and thriller action—set in dangerous flashpoint countries like South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Books that address the ravages of colonialism while at the same time making readers fall in love with both setting and characters.
As you can see, I’m not great at picking future trends.
Dabney: What’s a word you love to use in your work?
Rachel: My characters like to swear way too much. Generally their favorite curse starts with F.
Dabney: One you never use?
Rachel: The C word in a sexual context. I don’t have a problem with it as a curse to show extreme emotion/anger (even then using it sparingly), but it’s not a sexy word to me, so I’m not going to use it as a descriptor in a sex scene.
Four-time Golden Heart® finalist Rachel Grant worked for over a decade as a professional archaeologist and mines her experiences for storylines and settings, which are as diverse as excavating a cemetery underneath an historic art museum in San Francisco, survey and excavation of many prehistoric Native American sites in the Pacific Northwest, researching an historic concrete house in Virginia, and mapping a seventeenth century Spanish and Dutch fort on the island of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children and can be found on the web at www.Rachel-Grant.net.is. Her most recent book is Firestorm.