Reader Q&A with an FBI Agent (plus a giveaway!)


**Note: the giveaway is now closed. Winners will be announced shortly.

We continue the countdown to the April 2nd release of Love Irresistibly with… another giveaway!

The next book up is A Lot Like Love, the second book in the FBI/US Attorney series. (FYI, for those of you who aren’t familiar, the books are a “series” in the sense that they are set in a shared world and some characters make appearances in later books. But I write each book as a standalone, so you should feel free to jump in wherever you like!)

Now, normally, this is the part where I would post the book blurb for A Lot Like Love. But we’re going to do things a little differently today… and I have a feeling you’re all going to enjoy this.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook may recall that I met with an FBI Special Agent a few weeks ago, as research for the series. I’d posted this question on Facebook: Jotting down questions for tomorrow’s meeting with a new FBI contact. Anything any of you are dying to know about special agents?

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask all your questions during our meeting. But Mr. Special Agent just so happened to spot the questions readers posted on my Facebook page, and he ever so graciously sent me answers to those questions. [Seriously, how cool is Mr. Special Agent for doing this?]

So this week, not only do I have a $25 gift card to Amazon/Barnes & Noble and five signed copies of A Lot Like Love up for grabs, but you get a little bit of insight into the life of an active FBI agent.

Now, on to your questions–what you are dying to know about FBI agents–and the answers from Mr. Special Agent himself:

Q. How long is the training for FBI agents?

FBI training, at Quantico, Virginia is 21 weeks long.  The training focuses on academics such as legal, forensics and counter intelligence training, firearms training, and defensive tactics.  There is an entire town mockup called Hogan’s Alley where professional role players are bad guys and witnesses and we practice everything from interrogations to high-risk car stops.  Here is a link for more information:

Q. How can I get one?!

Well, a surefire way to meet FBI agents is to commit a federal crime.  That is guaranteed to get us knocking down your door.

Q. How can you do undercover work if your face is known?SAYcoverBerkley

Undercover work is not for everyone.  Agents who do undercover work are specially trained and typically avoid the media.  When you see FBI agents at press conferences you are usually seeing the agents designated by the office for such duties.

Q. Why do they only wear black and grey suits?

Actually I own suits in blue and brown as well.  I even have a green suit with a black stripe I break out when I am feeling crazy.

Q. 1) Do FBI agents and us attorney’s ever get involved like in your book, 2)how long do you need to be an agent before you go undercover, 3)do you need a undergraduate degree to get into the academy, 4)is it hard to married or have a girlfriend and be in the FBI agent

These are excellent questions and encompass too much for this venue.  None of these answers will really do your questions justice.

1.  Agents and US Attorneys work closely together and sometimes when two single people work closely together romance forms. I do not know of any FBI/ASUA couples, though I do know a Assistant US Attorney engaged to a DEA agent.

2. There are so many forms of undercover work and the requirements for each vary so much there simply is no standard answer for this.

3. A four-year degree from an accredited school is one of the basic requirements for the Special Agent position. There are many more and they can be found here:

4. I could spend days discussing your fourth question. It is more difficult. I dated a woman I really liked who broke up with me. Months later we spoke and she told me it was because every day she didn’t hear from me she worried I was hurt or dead. I constantly remind friends not to walk up and say hello to me if they see me out because I could be working. Also my spouse needs to have my undercover legend memorized in case we are out and someone who knows me by another identity walks up and starts a conversation. So there are some things that make it more difficult. The hardest part is the schedule which can vary with no notice and living with a person who has a ‘go bag’ packed and might end the day in another country with no notice.

9780425246955_AboutThatNig_CV.inddQ. Relationships? Are they even possible?

Despite some complications mentioned above relationships are very possible in this profession and the vast majority of agents are married.

Q.  One how do they live with them self’s knowing that most days they have to lie to people? with that said can they just turn the lie on and off like an actor acting in a scene? How much do they have to cover up their job from friends and family? Since their lives could be on the line do they trust people easy even people they work with? What makes their job worth it to them? 

I’m not sure what you are referring to here.  If you mean undercover work, yes it is extremely stressful.  Most of the work we do is in offices in front of computers.  Typically undercover work is a set duration of time so you know you only have to get through for so long.  In this job you are literally saving lives.  I have picked up children and carried them in my arms out of the filthy basement where they have lived their entire lives being constantly abused.  Depending what violations you work finding value in what you do can be easy.

Q.  Do most FBI agents apply through the FBI website or are they recruited? (If the latter, usually from where?)

Everyone applies through the website.  The only type of recruiting is when we meet someone we think would be a good agent we would encourage them to apply.

Q. Do they ever arrest anyone saying “you have the right to remain sexy”? 

Um…  No.

Q. What background do they have to have before becoming FBI Agent?

This is another complicated answer.  The FBI philosophy is that we can teach the law enforcement but we can’t teach the thousands of skills we need to investigate the more than 1300 violations we work.  So backgrounds are varied.  The average age of a new agent is 31 and we consider this a second career job.  We look for people who are successful in their current career and have received promotions and increased responsibility.

Q. I guess it would be inappropriate for you to just hand over my phone number, right?comps_LoveIrr.indd

We are the FBI.  We already have your phone number.

Q. Which is the proportion analysts/ field agents? How many hours spent an agent actively working and how many behind a desk?

This is another complicated question.  There are multiple types of analysts including Intelligence Analysts and Operations Specialists.  Typically a squad of 8-10 agents might have one of each type.  Then the office might have a squad, or more if the office is large enough, made up entirely of analysts for bigger projects.  My personal opinion is that about 20% of our time involves active investigation and 80% involves the desk.

Q. Hey, I’m a girl so just going to ask you to ask them, Boxers or Briefs! Just putting it out there, y’all know you wanna know!

Unfortunately my conversation with Julie was too short for everything she wanted to cover and the topic of underwear never came up.

[Julie, snapping fingers: I knew I forgot to ask something!]

Q. What previous experience is required & can they become FBI straight away or do they need to do other law enforcement stuff first? What’s the youngest an FBI Agent can be?

The minimum agent to become a Special Agent is 23, though I have never heard of a 23 year-old agent.  The youngest I have known was 25 and was hired for his computer science degree.  We hire people with all types of experience but the typical successful candidate is around 31 with an advanced degree.  For analyst positions the criteria are totally different.  Here is a link if you would like more information:

Q. Yeah, are you single? Lol

Sorry, but I am no longer single.


There you have it, folks. Thank you so much to Mr. Special Agent for taking the time to answer these questions! Don’t be surprised if you all see a lot of this info making it’s way into one of my books.

And now for the giveaway part: all you have to do to enter is leave a comment below. It’s that easy. (Note: those of you reading this on my Goodreads page should click here to leave a comment.) One grand prize winner will receive a copy of A Lot Like Love and a $25 gift card to Amazon/Barnes & Noble. Four additional winners will receive a copy of A Lot Like Love. Winners will be chosen at random, and will have the option of choosing either a signed paperback or a Kindle/Nook/Kobo ebook. Giveaway is open internationally and will run until this Sunday, February 17, at 9pm CST.

For more information about the FBI/US Attorney series, be sure to check out my series page, which has lots o’ fun stuff for readers both familiar and unfamiliar with the books–including a series overview, the inspiration behind the series, and some tongue-in-cheek profiles of the heroes.

And don’t forget about more fun stuff! There are additional chances to win my books at these other giveaways currently going on: be sure to check out this giveaway with Carly Phillips for $100 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card and 3 copies of each of our books; as well as this Goodreads giveaway for 25 copies of A Lot Like Love, and this new Goodreads giveaway for 25 copies of my upcoming release, Love Irresistibly.

Also, I’m doing a live video chat with author Samantha Young (On Dublin Street) on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, at 3pm EST.  People are welcome to ask questions during the chat. The link to connect to the video chat via Spreecast is:

Good luck to all who enter, and remember to check back over the next several weeks for more giveaways!


230 thoughts on “Reader Q&A with an FBI Agent (plus a giveaway!)

  1. Audrey says:

    What great questions and how awesome of Mr. FBI agent to answer all those q’s! I hope “we are the FBI, we already have your number” makes it into one of your books! :) I cannot wait until your new book comes out!! Your books are always a must buy!

  2. Moran says:

    Thank you Julie and Mr. Special Agent for posting the Q&A, I really enjoyed reading more about FBI agent work.

    I can’t wait for April to come :)

  3. Rachel says:

    Wow, thanks to Mr. FBI Agent for answering these questions! What a fun read. And I agree with Audrey above about “We are the FBI, we already have your number” – that’s got to wind up in a book someday :)

  4. Kelli says:

    Great questions,cute answers! I’m a huge fan of your books and can’t wait for the next installment. Kinda hoping for a book about Agent Willis (Jack’s partner… I hope I got the name right).

  5. Ali Uher says:

    Loved this! Not only do you have a special agent contact, but he’s just as witty and charming as the men in your books? Score! Count me in for the giveaway. :)

  6. Juhi says:

    that was interestin and hilarious realy liked wen he said “we are the FBI, we already have your number” :p
    i didnt know so many things about undercover work !! keep writing such informative books !!
    and is this giveaway valid in india!? would love to have one of your books! :)

  7. Suzy Wilson says:

    Thank you Julie and your Special Agent contact! That was very interesting and entertaining. My cousin is a FBI agent, so I already knew about the second career trend, as he left the marines to become an agent. Maybe I should ask him the “boxers or briefs” question… Or, I could ask his wife (also former military and still in the Reserves). She would think it hysterically funny!

  8. Amy R says:

    Loved these questions and answers. I only know one former FBI Agent and I would be afraid to ask him these questions. :) Thanks for the fun interview, Julie and Mr. Special Agent!

  9. inaxavi says:

    well, i just can say, that was awesome, julie.
    Hope i could be the interviewer :D.
    Cant wait 4 ur next books. Keep writing, juljames, we love ur books.
    Greetings from Indonesia

  10. Ashanta says:

    I loved your interview questions and some of the more personal replies by Mr. Special Agent.
    A Lot Like Love is definitely on my reading list now and I have no doubt I will be very impressed.

  11. Veronika says:

    This is the best interview ever! I love these series and I was so excited when I read on your fb page you gonna meet an FBI Special agent. Mr. Special Agent is so funny and a real life hero! Thanks for all the great answers!

  12. Chris Bails says:

    Great interview. I have only read a few of your books, so looks like I need to catch up. It would be cool to meet and interview someone from the FBI. Thanks for the chance to win.

  13. Leeanne says:

    Awesome! Mr. Special Agent has a great sense of humor! Think my hubby would mind if I ordered my very own Special Agent? Is there a website for that?

  14. Allie says:

    Please don’t enter me in the contest. I just wanted to express my appreciation to Mr. Special Agent who so kindly answered all these questions. It is so interesting to read this stuff.

  15. agnes says:

    Loved the interview with mr. fbi. I can’t wait to read the upcoming books. I also think it would be funny if the line ‘we already have your number’ was some how incorporated into the book.

  16. Leanna H says:

    I love all your books Julie. They really show that you do the research for your books. Some of the scenes in your books are so funny and the banter between the characters is great.

  17. Vipali says:

    I loved the questions and answers from your interview with the FBI special agent!

    Also I’m counting down the days until the new book comes out.

  18. Andrea C. says:

    I enjoyed the QA from the FBI special agent. Too bad he is no longer available and too bad he didn’t answer if boxers or briefs…..LOL… Love the series Julie, can’t wait for new book.

  19. Mari says:

    what a fun interview! mr. special agent seemed really nice i loved this. cant wait for the book. i wonder if he has read your books!

  20. Jean N says:

    I recently discovered these books, and now I’ve worked my way through all of them! I wish I’d discovered Julie James later, so I wouldn’t have to wait for more! :)

  21. Jen B says:

    Must admit that some of those questions were hilarious! As were his answers. Very cool he was willing to cooperate and answer them :) Can’t wait for this book!

  22. Tabetha says:

    Living in Oz the only stiff I know about the FBI is from what I see on TV shows, so this Q&A was really interesting. Thanks and I love your books!

  23. Jahnavi says:

    Great interview … loved Mr. Special Agent responses … was so hoping to know about boxer/briefs 😛 . looking forward for ur book.

  24. Vickie Powell says:

    Can’t wait to hear my son’s reaction when I forward this link to him! :-)
    He is a college junior majoring in criminal justice/information technology and there is some very valuable info here he could learn @ the FBI.

  25. Ann says:

    Very entertaining interview with Mr. Special Agent. I was part of a background check once for an old family friend entering the FBI (they were probably verifying he didn’t grow up in the Soviet bloc – if that doesn’t show my age – and that he hadn’t formed any attachments to illegal substances), but that agent was NOWHERE NEAR this funny! Can’t wait for your next book!

  26. Julia - Yen says:

    Really Enjoy the interview! Thanks Julie and Mr. FBI Special Agent for putting together this great interview and answer readers questions! Looking forward to read Love Irresistibly soon! Loves all your books! Good luck to everyone entering the contest! (:

  27. Glittergirl says:

    That was awesome for him to follow up and give you answers to all those questions! It’s so interesting :-). Thanks for the interview and the contest.

  28. Sheila Schwartz says:

    Wow this was a terrific and very enlightening interview and very fun……..I think I want one for my own but alas (always wanted a reason to use that) my husband said no…..something about not keeping FBI agents on leashes? Bummer! (Mr. Special Agent has a great sense of humor!)

  29. Dee M St Lawrence says:

    O No after reading all those anwser from Special Agent, now I have no hope getting into FBI. Plus I live Downunder! Thank you so much Julia, for the chance of coming up with the question to ask Mr S A.

  30. Gail Y says:

    This was great. I may be biased but I think his response to my question/comment was the best! He definitely has more humor than the Homeland Security guy I was married to.

  31. Liz says:

    I’d bet $50 he wears briefs! 😉
    I’m just messin’! Wonder what office he works out of…
    Excellent Q&A! Certainly had me laughing! 😀

  32. Dee M St Lawrence says:

    I was just reading everyones replys and I noticed that I made a typing error in my reply No97. I wrote Julia NOT JULIE; a big mountain of a mistake to NOT re-check spelling before sending a note. P.S note to EVERYONE, DONT DO TYPING STRAIGHT AFTER WAKING UP. :-)

  33. Aline Tobing says:

    Awesome interview, Julie!

    I really enjoyed the Q&A. Almost laugh out loud reading some of the hilarious questions LOL *too bad I’m at the office and my boss is sitting across me 😀

    Thanks Mr. Special Agent! ^^

  34. Jeanne says:

    I want and NEED a copy of ALLL. My copy is dog-eared from so many rereadings that the spine is practically falling apart. BTW, can’t wait to read Cade’s story.

  35. Laurie G says:

    Interesting! FBI agents always look so self contained, stern and unapproachable. I never thought of them as chameleons posing as different people in different scenarios. I thought of them as truth seekers and protectors.

    I’d love to read A LOT LIKE LOVE! I will check out your books!

  36. Patricia says:

    Very funny interview! He’s just so accurate in his answers and cute at the same time.

    I love your books! I can’t wait for the next!

  37. Cris says:

    Legend Q&A– Mr. Special Agent is hilarious!

    Cannot wait until April & the release of LI! That dissertation writing is going to be put on hold like whoa while I read it :)

  38. Wendy Tan says:

    Hi Julie!

    Thanks so much for having all these wonderful giveaways, especially for someone like me, who is not in US.

    Also, its so fun to read the answers that Mr Special Agent gave to the questions posted =)


  39. Jersey Lou says:

    I enjoyed the inside scoop since I read a lot of crime drama stuff. I’m sure this kind of work takes its toll on personal relationships so I am thankful people are willing to do it (the agents and their spouses).

  40. Stine Nielsen says:

    I don’t know why, but I just have an image that this guy is incredibly sexy and manly. Gaah, what is it about agents?!

  41. Linda says:

    I loved it! =) Very witty answers. He seems to be the same type of man that you write about. Awesome, Mr Special Agent, thank you.

  42. Melissa Becker says:

    That interview was great! And funny! I love to read about special agents. It’s prob not as exciting as we all imagine but it’s j

  43. Hajar Zainal says:

    that interview surely is awesome.i laugh most of the question because this FBI guy sound a bit serious to me and part of it he thinks it silly but still he answer it in a humour way!…hahaha…but really glad you did this interview because we surely didnt know how they do romance except for novels.. 😉 love it love it!

  44. Wanda Barefoot says:

    I loved this and this answer, “We are the FBI. We already have your phone number.”. LOL Too funny! This interview was awesome. Thank you both!

  45. Kristen says:

    This was an awesome post! So fun to dive into the mind of a real FBI agent and understand a little bit more about behind the scenes! Love all of your books!

  46. Lyndsey says:

    The balance between sexiness, intensity and comedy is unparalleled in the romance category! No wonder this series is so popular! And Mr. Special Agent was a delight!

  47. Christine H. says:

    Thanks for sharing this fun interview with us! Had me laugh out loud a couple of times (the questions as well as the answers)!

  48. Betty says:

    Can’t wait for the new book. Love the Q&A with Mr FBI. I loved this response: “We are the FBI. We already have your phone number.” Thank you Mr FBI for all that you do.

  49. Anita H. says:

    What a fun interview, love Mr. Special Agent’s responses! Can’t wait for the next book, your books are always on my “must read” list! Thanks for the contest!

  50. Ada says:

    Thanks Julie and Mr. Special Agent for the Q & A. Great insight into the workings of being an FBI agent. Looking forward to reading “Love Irresistibly”!

  51. Sarah says:

    I love that relationships are possible in the FBI profession. SOmetimes you do wonder because it’s such an involved career. Great interview.

  52. dian aesha says:

    wow,,awesome interview..
    i like your books julie..something about you is my fav books..i love jack pallas ^^
    cant wait to read love irresistibly…

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