Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

97. An Interview with L from the FBI

Jane and I received an email from L, who works for the FBI, and had a lot to say about accuracy in portrayals of the FBI in romance and romantic suspense. So of course we both asked her to do an interview with us. I hope you find this interview as fascinating as we did!

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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

We also mentioned the Belgrave House website, and Regency Reads, where you can find a ton of digital copies of classic Regency romances are low prices. And, as L mentioned, you can learn more about all the different things the FBI does on the FBI website.

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Thanks for listening!

This Episode's Music

The music this week was provided by Sassy Outwater. This week’s music is called “Calgary Capers” and it’s by Peatbog Faeries from their CD Dust. You can find them at their website, or at iTunes.

Podcast Sponsor

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Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Lea says:

    I have the same feelings about romances, or any fiction, where a wildland firefighter is the hero (or heroine – although none of those come to mind). I’m the wife of a wildland firefighter, specifically a hotshot. Hotshot’s have been used as heroes (of course they have!) in several books and series. Despite one stating in her acknowledgements that she got information from a former wildland firefighter, there were so many errors or inaccuracies in the first book that I only made it to page 30 before stopping.
    I give L credit for actually reading quite a few of these. I don’t have the patience. I really enjoyed this interview – thanks for doing it! I listened to it today while walking my dog.

  2. 2
    L says:

    Thanks Lea for your comments. I think authors get the details wrong most of the time with any highly specialized career. I did forget to say in the interview that even with errors I do love Julie James’ books. She is one of the few authors I can read through the errors. I basically have all of her books in at least two formats, including audio.

  3. 3
    library addict says:

    I wonder if L would enjoy the Sharpe and Donovan series by Carla Neggers. The heroine is an FBI agent who works in art crimes. The first book in the series Saint’s Gate is currently on sale for 99¢

    An interesting interview.

  4. 4
    Cordy says:

    Earlier today I fell down an Amazonhole of “customers also bought” pages, and eventually wound up in the reviews of a self-pubbed book about Navy SEALs. The most-helpful review was five fawning stars that started off with “As the wife of a Navy SEAL, I found this 100% accurate”.

    I found myself being all “I don’t believe you” a la Ron Burgundy. Don’t even need to know what’s going on in the book. Any SEAL in a romance novel is going to spend all his time thinking about his awesome name (“Maverick Hart”) and bragging to his SEAL buddies in explicit detail about the women they’re involved with.

  5. 5
    LauraL says:

    Great podcast! I appreciate L’s comments and observations. And great interview, SBSarah and Jane.

    I have to share a tidbit of a conversation I had with a co-worker some time ago. He is a former Army Ranger and his SO is a military romance reader. We were chatting one day and he said, “Laura, you know there is no way in hell there are enough Rangers or SEALS around to populate those books you all are reading.” I then heard facts and figures on the number of actual specialists, and I am sure L feels the same about the FBI special agents and their books.

  6. 6
    kkw says:

    There was a recent Nora Roberts with the hero and heroine both being firefighters, and I found it highly enjoyable, but I have no idea how accurate it is. I tend not to be bothered by inaccuracies in novels, and I know nothing about SEALS or FBI agents, so I can go my merry way imagining everything I read to be true.

    Fabulous interview, and thanks, so many thanks, for the transcripts of these. I just love being able to read them.

  7. 7
    Tina says:

    Great interview,and I just want to say I love your site.  This resonated a bit, as I am a tax lawyer who loves romance novels and OH SO MANY TIMES have had my happy state of disbelief derailed by romance novelists getting details of tax and debt so very wrong.  Generally it’s about the estate, or debts of the heroine’s benefactor, which the h “has to pay”.  ghhh.  I actually wish I could find a way to consult with authors.  Heck, I talk to people daily for free anyway, whom I refer to the free tax clinic.  This would be more of a public service. 

    Primer:  You don’t owe anybody else’s taxes when they die.  You don’t have to pay their debts.  If the house is encumbered by a mortgage or tax lien, ok yes, you can’t get the asset free of lien.  But otherwise dangit, you don’t!!  Please nobody use the having to pay debts of the departed as a device ever again.

    Sorry, rant off.

  8. 8

    I feel L’s pain when it comes to Special Agents getting all the stories! It’s the same with Special Operations and SEALs being featured in all the military books. As a former soldier myself, I’ve seen sooooo many cool military jobs that never get any love simply because they aren’t part of the Special Operations field. SEALs and Rangers are great, but so are intelligence analysts and military police and civil affairs people and engineers. And I’m biased ‘cause I have friends in all those jobs.

  9. 9
    L says:


    I am currently working with several DIA IAs on a project. They are great analysts. Also several of the best IAs I know in the Bureau are former military IAs. IAs should get more love from authors.

  10. 10

    Did my comment go to see spam-a-lot?


  11. 11
    Opal Octopus says:

    I absolutely loved this podcast, thankyou! More expert interviewees would be brilliant.

    I identify so hard with L, especially on ethics squick. I’ve recently read two otherwise great romantic suspense novels. But in one, the hero and heroine met in a situation where he was tending to her as a medical doctor; and in the other, the hero was the heroine’s freaking PAROLE OFFICER. So in each, the ethics were just screaming at me throughout the novel, and it was very hard to relax and enjoy it. Argh!

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