Thursday, June 23, 2011


by KJ Howe

Now, didn't that title grab you? Andrea Kane is our guest today, and her latest book THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE is a phenomenal read. To complete the book, Andrea did extensive research with the FBI. I thought this would make a fabulous post, so please welcome Andrea to the Lair.

Over the past several years, I’ve had the amazingly good fortune of working closely with the FBI. I’ve consulted with the Bureau’s Crimes Against Children Unit, the Asian Criminal Enterprise Task Force, the Crisis Negotiation Unit, the Behavioral Analysis Unit (a la “Criminal Minds”), members of various Evidence Response Teams (the Federal equivalent of “CSI”), the Art Crime Team, and more. I’ve visited several field offices and resident agencies (smaller, local offices), and I’ve toured FBI Headquarters in Washington DC. I’ve learned how to shoot a Glock, how to handle a hostage negotiation, and how to speak FBI (hundreds of acronyms!).

And then there’s Quantico. I’ve made more than one trip down there—I even did a book signing at the FBI Academy bookstore. It’s a world unto itself, with extensive training grounds, an impressive shooting range, and the legendary Hogan’s Alley—a man-made town that feels as real as your home town, except that it’s populated by FBI agents, new agents in training, and actors who are hired to bring simulated crime scenes to life.

Last Fall, I was asked by the Newark Field Office (they’re responsible for the entire state of New Jersey) to be their celebrity keynote speaker at an off-site conference with their entire staff. Making a speech in front of hundreds of the most brilliant and dedicated men and women I’ve ever had the honor of working with. Not too intimidating!

Besides being awesome pros, they’re also awesome hosts. I was greeted with warmth and enthusiasm, and the day was a blast! I made my speech, did a great book signing during which I got the chance to talk to and get to know many of the agents and support staff I had yet to meet—and to reconnect with those I’d already met—professionals who’d helped me inject the authenticity I needed to build my characters and to construct suspenseful storylines. On top of all that, the field office honored me with a beautiful plaque, thanking me for my contribution. I’ll treasure that plaque forever!

Bottom line-- The agents and support staff at the FBI are amazing at making themselves available to me. They also know that I’m a sticker for authenticity, as are they. So, before I convert any manuscript into a book, I have the experts who helped me read over all the pertinent sections they helped me create. I make whatever corrections they recommend. And I NEVER cross the line when it comes to situations that are delicate. I err on the side of “don’t release this” even though what I’m privy to is not classified.

Andrea Kane's groundbreaking romantic thriller, Run For Your Life, became an instant New York Times bestseller, paving the way for a series of smash hits.

Her most recent triumphs,
Twisted and Drawn in Blood, featured the dynamic FBI team of Special Agents Sloane Burbank and Derek Parker.

The Girl Who Disappeared Twice introduces Forensic Instincts, an eclectic team of maverick investigators. Despite their differences, they have one common bond— a blatant disregard for authority. Armed with skills and talents honed by years in the FBI and Special Forces, and with training in behavioral and forensic psychology, Forensic Instincts solves seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement.

With a worldwide following and novels published in over twenty languages, Kane is also the author of fourteen historical romances. She lives in New Jersey with her family, where she is plotting new ways for Forensic Instincts to challenge the status quo.

Andrea, thanks for joining us here today and sharing your adventures. Fascinating! If you'd like to meet Andrea, she'll be at ThrillerFest ( in July in NYC. For more information about Andrea and her books, visit


Helen said...

Is he coming back to my place

have Fun

Helen said...

Well he must have wanted to cool down a bit again although we have had a beautiful day today but starting to get a bit cooler now.

KJ thank you very much for inviting Andrea along to meet us today.

Wow it must be fantastic meeting all these people who help with research into your stories this is one form of research I would love and the books sound great. I must check out your website and I will be looking out for them next time I am shopping.

Have Fun

Helen said...

I forgot to ask if your romantic suspense books are part of a series and if so should they be read in order?

Have Fun

marybelle said...

The title is attention getting. Also the statement "phenomenal read". On my list.

barb said...

well done Helen ... we haven't seen him for a few days and missed him LOL

What a good blog .... Looks like I have to put another book on the to buy list especially when it is a phenomenal read

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Wow, sounds like NCIS, CSI and a few others all rolled into book form. Put another book on the to buy list Dianna, it is getting long again.

Anna Sugden said...

Perfect timing, KJ! Welcome Andrea - look forward to adding this to be TBR selection!

Wow on the experiences you've had with the FBI. What fun. I've always enjoyed the research I've done - people are usually extremely helpful and willing to share so much information and time with you about their specialist subject.

My favourite was (not surprisingly, for those who know me *g*) the time I spent with my fave hockey team - the NJ Devils - researching my hockey romances.

What was your favourite and or weirdest research experience?

KJ Howe said...

Go, Helen! Have fun with the GR.

KJ Howe said...

Marybelle, thanks for stopping by. When you read Andrea's book, you'll see all the fascinating research she did...definitely a must read!

KJ Howe said...

Barb, I loved the humanity and depth of character in Andrea's book. The characters aren't perfect, and that makes it interesting.

KJ Howe said...

Dianna, I also love all those shows, especially NCIS. Gibbs is such a great character.

KJ Howe said...

Anna S, now what woman in her right mind wouldn't love researching a hockey team? Love it!

Andrea said...

Hi, everyone, and thanks so much for having me. It's wonderful to walk into my office and find such a great reception!

I'll start by answering your initial questions. Helen, you're up first:

Some of my books are in a series and some are stand-alone. THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE is the first in the "Forensic Instincts" series, since it opens the door to the most fascinating-to-create team of protagonists I've ever had the pleasure of writing. I love them and I hope you will, too!

Andrea said...

Anna, I've had so many years of amazing and eye-opening research experiences with the FBI, I couldn't pick just one if I tried. I LOVE working with the BAU, since I'm fascinated by the human mind and my thrillers, therefore, tend to be psychological thrillers.

On the other hand, I've had a few REALLY embarrassing (at least for me!) moments. When I started writing FBI-based thrillers, I had no idea what a pistol's "magazine" actually looked like. I'd only seen them on TV. So when the FBI experts taught me how to shoot, I wanted to learn how to load, as well. They were very agreeable and the whole team gathered around as I followed instructions and loaded my own magazine, bullet by bullet. The bullets slide in the chamber vertically and then get flattened, one on top of the other. The last bullet is a killer (no pun intended!) because there's very little wiggle room and it's hard to push in. Me being me, I finished the job and blurted out the first thing that came into my writer's head: "I get it! It's just like a Pez dispenser!" The entire firing range of agents burst out laughing! On the plus side, they agreed with me. :)

Russ said...

Wow Andrea fascinating stuff. Looks like another book I will have to buy and read.

I was intrigued when you mentioned the Asian Crime Unit. Is there somethings inherently different about Asian crime as compared to other types of crime?


Andrea said...

Great question, Russ. When I was writing TWISTED and DRAWN IN BLOOD, I consulted extensively with the Asian Criminal Enterprise Task Force. You'll see why that was necessary when you read the books. What I learned is that each organized crime group tends to have its own MO. With Asian Organized Crime, there's less violence and drugs, and more human trafficking, prostitution and gambling.

catslady said...

It sounds like the beginning of a great series. I've been hearing great things about this book and it sounds exciting!

Susan Sey said...

Wow, Andrea, your books sound fantastic! And I'm so jealous of all your extensive, on-site research. I'm a stay at home mom with little kids, so this rules out a lot of fun, hands-on research.

Although I suppose shooting a Glock *is* sort of a life skill the kids could use.

Anyway, for now I'm going to live vicariously through you & your books. Thanks for coming by today!

Andrea said...

I appreciate your enthusiasm so much! And, yes it is an awesome opportunity and an honor to work with the BU. I get a whole new learning experience and perspective each time I research a new book.

BTW, Susan, don't undersell being a stay-at-home Mom. I've done that, and it's one of the hardest (and most rewarding) jobs in the world! Believe me, you're doing your own hands-on research! :)

orangeseattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat Cochran said...

Hello, Andrea and KJ,

Fantastic seems to be the word of the
day! May I add innovative, informative,
instructional, and educational? These
words are among those useful in any
description of your books. We are
treated to great stories as well as
being instructed in the real-life
workings of many law enforcement
organizations! Thank you so very much!!

Pat Cochran

Andrea said...

Pat, that's a lovely thing to say. I'll remember it each and every time I look at a blank screen and try to summon up my writing muse! Thank you.

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome to the lair, Andrea, and thank you so much for sharing some of your experiences with us!

So far the only hands on research I've done was at a local winery *g*

Criminal Minds is one of my daughters' favorite shows. My older daughter has even considered studying forensic and criminal psychology. How does the show do compared to a real life Behavioral Analysis Unit? More fiction than fact?

KJ Howe said...

Catslady, thanks for stopping by. Andrea has created a fabulous set of characters who promise loads of adventures!

KJ Howe said...

Susan, I laughed at your comment about the Glock. Most of us have days where we would like to be packing! :)

KJ Howe said...

Hey Pat, love your enthusiasm. I would like to see more women in the thriller much potential!

KJ Howe said...

Hi Beth, great question. I often wonder how accurate TV is...

jo robertson said...

Hi, Andrea, welcome to the Lair! The title of your latest release is very intriguing. Thanks for joining us today. I'm impressed (and amazed) and all the authentic sources you've corraled to give your books a real-life flavor!

Andrea said...

Thank you all again for having me here today and for your kind words. I'm really enjoying this blogging day.

Okay, Beth, I'm going to answer your question, but it might deter your daughter. :) The truth is, while I also enjoy "Criminal Minds", there's a ton of fiction in it. Like, in truth, there's no huge glass building devoted to the BAU. Like there's no private jet-- the agents fly the same way we do: coach! They don't even get first class. :) Like there's no button you can press a la Penelope Garcia that produces every known fact to mankind about that Unsub, such as his/her criminal record, educational background, driving violations, marital status, etc. And most important: the main function of the BAU is as a support team. They have to be invited by local law enforcement to assist in a case—and, when they do, they ASSIST, they don't take over.

The parts that ring true are the incredible profiling abilities, the loyalty among team members, and the necessity of mobilizing instantly and taking off for the crime scene. Also, their main conference room is awesome and just as impressive as anything I've seen on TV.

FYI, the cast and crew of "Criminal Minds" does go down to Quantico and do research with the real BAU. One day when I was on a conference call with them, Thomas Gibson and Joseph Mantegna were down there. Cool, huh?

In short, the real BAU is as strong and realistic as life itself. But, in defense of "Criminal Minds", TV viewers want excitement and instant gratification. Thus, the enhancements.

Beth Andrews said...

That's so interesting, Andrea! Thanks so much!

But, in defense of "Criminal Minds", TV viewers want excitement and instant gratification. Thus, the enhancements.

I think I may be in the minority, but I don't get bothered by embellishments (up to a point *g*) as long as it suits the story. Mainly because I know it is a story :-)

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, Helen! Make him behave!

Wow, Andrea, what a fabulous research resource you have there and it sounds like they are really behind your writing too. I can't even begin to imagine the information you have accumulated over the years. Fascinating stuff and I truly admire your determination to get things right!

Andrea said...

Thanks, Louisa. The truth is, I can't help it. I'm a raging perfectionist and it really bothers me when I'm less than accurate. On the other hand, I do believe the story comes first. So if I have to bend the rules a bit, I will-- but if it's anything major I put in an author's note explaining what I've tweaked and why. And, yes, the FBI has been, and continues to be, an awesome consulting source for me. They are also really supportive of my writing; many of them have become reader fans, as well!

Nancy said...

Helen, congrats on the bird! Don't let him get spoiled with that cool weather.

Andrea, welcome! Sorry I'm so late to the party. I've recently become interested in romantic thrillers. I also love team books, so I'll definitely be checking out your work.

Andrea said...

Thanks, Nancy. Hope you enjoy the book and the team!