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!


Goodreads giveaway– 25 copies of LOVE IRRESISTIBLY

comps_LoveIrr.inddHey all! Wanted to let you know that my publisher has an awesome giveaway running over at Goodreads. They have 25 copies of my upcoming release, Love Irresistibly, up for grabs. (U.S. only–I know, sorry guys. Their rules.)

This link will take you to the giveaway. You must be a Goodreads member to enter.

Also, more fun stuff going on this week:

Tomorrow (Tuesday), I’ll have a special guest Q&A and a giveaway here at the blog that I think you’ll really enjoy. : )

Thursday, I’m participating in a live video chat with author Samantha Young (On Dublin Street) that starts at 3pm EST. You can join in the chat via:

And don’t forget these giveaways:

Berkley has 25 copies of A Lot Like Love up for grabs at Goodreads. (US only)

Carly Phillips and I are giving away a $100 Amazon/B&N gift card plus free books from each of us. Enter here. (Open internationally.)


A billion ways to win my books

comps_LoveIrr.indd9780425240168_ALotLikeLove_MM.inddCP giveaway


Okay, maybe not a billion, but because there are several giveaways going on, I wanted to make sure you awesome readers had all the info on how to enter win my books (and several other cool prizes). Here’s the low-down:

1.  Two ARCs of my upcoming release, LOVE IRRESISTIBLY, are up for grabs here at my blog. To enter, follow this link and leave a comment there. Open internationally, runs through Sunday, February 3rd.

2.  Berkley is giving away twenty-five (25) copies of A LOT LOVE LIKE, book 2 in my FBI/US Attorney series. (Note: if you are new to the series the book is easily read as a standalone.) To enter, you must be a Goodreads member, and then follow this link. U.S. only. (Sorry guys, Berkley’s rules.) Runs through February 15th.

3.  Finally, Carly Phillips and I teamed up and we’re giving away a $100 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, plus 3 runners-up will receive a book of choice from each of us. To enter: follow this link and fill out the form there. Open internationally, runs though February 14th.

And, actually, if you click on the pictures at the top of this blog, that’ll take you directly to each giveaway as well. It’s that easy.

Best of luck, everyone!!

Goodreads giveaway–A LOT LIKE LOVE

9780425240168_ALotLikeLove_MM.inddHey all!  Wanted to let you know about an awesome giveaway. My publisher is offering up twenty-five (25) copies of A LOT LIKE LOVE over at Goodreads. So if you’re curious about the FBI/US Attorney series, or if you like free books (and who doesn’t like free books?), be sure to drop by Goodreads and check that out.

For your convenience, here’s the link where you can enter the giveaway. Good luck!

And for those who might not be familiar, here’s a brief description of A LOT LIKE LOVE, which–ahem–happens to be both a National Readers’ Choice Award winner and winner of the All About Romance Readers’ Poll for Best Contemporary Romance. (See how I slipped that in there?)


As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city’s top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there’s only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother’s release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.


As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment—one they’re both determined to pull off even if they can’t be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick’s investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they’re a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more. . .

More info about A LOT LIKE LOVE, including an excerpt, can be found here.