The time it was about Raiders of the Lost Heart

Posted December 5, 2023 by Stacee in Interviews | 1 Comment

When I got the invite to read Raiders of the Lost Heart, I downloaded it immediately. The synopsis sounded like a lot of fun (spoiler alert: it was) and I eagerly said yes to interviewing author Jo Segura.

Before we get to Jo’s answers, let’s check out the book.

Title: Raiders of the Lost Heart
Author: Jo Segura
Pages: 368
Pub Date: December 5, 2023
Publisher: Berkley
Find it: PRH | Bookshop | Goodreads

Synopsis: Archaeologist Dr. Socorro “Corrie” Mejía has a bone to pick. Literally.

It’s been Corrie’s life goal to lead an expedition deep into the Mexican jungle in search of the long-lost remains of her ancestor, Chimalli, an ancient warrior of the Aztec empire. But when she is invited to join an all-expenses-paid dig to do just that, Corrie is sure it’s too good to be true…and she’s right.

As the world-renowned expert on Chimalli, by rights Corrie should be leading the expedition, not sharing the glory with her disgustingly handsome nemesis. But Dr. Ford Matthews has been finding new ways to best her since they were in grad school. Ford certainly isn’t thrilled either—with his life in shambles, the last thing he needs is a reminder of their rocky past.

But as the dig begins, it becomes clear they’ll need to work together when they realize a thief is lurking around their campsite, forcing the pair to keep their discoveries—and lingering attraction—under wraps. With money-hungry artifact smugglers, the Mexican authorities, and the lies between them closing in, there’s only one way this all ends—explosively.

Sounds good, right?

1. Please give the elevator pitch for Raiders of the Lost Heart.

Rival archaeologists must team up on a secret Aztec expedition, or it could leave their careers—and hearts—in ruins.

2. Which came first: the characters or the plot?

A bit of both. I’d been wanting to write a book with a strong, confident Latina main character and name her after my Great Aunt Socorro. I also pictured this scene in my head with lots of sexy banter between rival archaeologists finally giving into their pent-up desires during an expedition (this ended up being the first intimate scene between Corrie and Ford). So I put those two ideas together and RAIDERS was born.

3. Why do you love Corrie and Ford and why should readers root for them?

I love that Corrie is an unapologetic badass. She knows what she’s good at, and she’s not going to downplay her skills. But also, she’s a champion for other young female archaeologists, helping to pave the way so things are easier for those who come after. As for Ford, I love that he’s a hero who’s not afraid to show his emotions. He might not always make the best decisions, but his heart is in the right place. He’ll sacrifice himself if it means protecting those he loves. Together, Corrie and Ford not only balance each other out, but they also lift each other up. They see each other’s perceived flaws as assets, not hindrances.

4. Were there any weird things you googled while drafting?

I wouldn’t call it weird, but I spent a lot of time researching the Aztecs, their way of life, and terminology. The Aztecs were fascinating people who made so many advances. From their temples to their infrastructure, to their textiles and art, they created so many remarkable things that warrant appreciation. Even items, such as the tecpatl—sacrificial knives prominently featured in RAIDERS OF THE LOST HEART—were crafted with skill and beauty. I often found myself going down rabbit holes in my research just because I wanted to learn more.

5. Without spoilers, which scene was your favorite to write?

Oh gosh, only one? I suppose if I get only one then it will have to be the only one tent scene. I mean, you can’t have a book set in the jungle without an only one tent scene, right? But this scene forces Corrie and Ford together in a very tight space and pushes them to have a real conversation. One where they call each other out on their BS, but really helps them to understand each other. It’s a breakthrough moment in their relationship, and it was a delight to write.

Speed {ish} round:

1. You find out that you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

First, I think I said “OMGOMGOMG” on the phone with my agent about twenty times. Then, I called my sister. Then, I called my mom and told her to get my dad and put me on speakerphone while I was hanging laundry on the clothesline. Yes, all within 5 minutes. I waited to tell my husband in person, though.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

Assuming unlimited food and water are out, a very large puzzle, a zero-gravity lounge chair (with attached sunshade and side table), and a furry companion.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Matilda, by Roald Dahl

4. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

To be prepared for the waiting. You can have lots of things going on at one time, and then nothing for weeks or even months.

5. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently?

Get the heck out of Forks!! I’ll stick with being a boring teenager who isn’t fighting off vampires and werewolves, thank you very much!


Jo lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and needy, but lovable, doggo Henrik (Swedish Vallhund—look it up, they’re adorable). Jo’s stories feature strong, passionate heroines and draw upon aspects of her life, such as her love of good food and great cocktails, dancing, her Mexican heritage, and her fascination with archaeology which inspired her debut. website | instagram


Huge thanks to Berkley for the invite and to Jo for taking the time.  Raiders of the Lost Heart is out today and buy links are above.

Have you read this book or will you?

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