FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall is a born lie detector who recruits foreign spies to catch American traitors. She and co-case agent Tony Donato have lost two of their most critical Russian sources in the past two years, and they may lose another in just a few short days if they don’t catch him, The ICE PHANTOM, a rumored insider spy more insidious and elusive than Ames and Hanssen combined. They suspect he might be burrowed deep inside FBI counterintelligence—and his body count is going up.
Drawn into an unsanctioned mole hunt, they have a week to catch him, save a key source’s life—and their own. While J.J.’s lie detecting ability helps them narrow down the list of suspects, the lie she tells to herself may help the ICE PHANTOM defect to Moscow and get away with the murder of the man she loves.
Skye's debut FBI Series, filled with mystery, espionage, romance, and suspense, will keep you burning through the pages until J.J. catches the very last spy.
ABOUT S.D. SKYE:
S.D. Skye is a former FBI Russian Counterintelligence Program Intelligence Analyst and supported several key cases during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and two of the Bureau's own--FBI Agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hanssen. She has spent 20 years supporting counterintelligence, intelligence, and military missions in the U.S. Intelligence Community.
An award-winning author of romantic comedies in her other life, Skye is a member of the Maryland Writer's Association, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She's addicted to writing and chocolate--not necessarily in that order--and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on the next installment of the series.
AUTHOR INTERVIEWMs. Skye, thank you for joining me today. I have this big smile on my face, because I’m looking at your vast experience with the FBI and the Intelligence Community and I’m thinking this woman is really no joke. Wow. I find myself a little speechless…. What brought you to the world of writing?
You know, I’ve been writing since I was 7 or 8 years old. I’ve always kept journals and diaries, and writing a book had been in the back of my mind, but I never thought I could do it. Kept talking myself out of it for some silly reason. When I joined the FBI and became an Intelligence Analyst, I was writing all day every day but it didn’t cure the writing itch that I had. It wasn’t until I hit the big 4-0 that I decided ignore the negative voices in my head and sat down to write my first novel. I haven’t looked back since.
I’m kicking myself because wasn’t able to read and review The Seven Year Itch, before your blog tour started. I read a description of what happens to your lead character, J.J. McCall when someone lies, I can just imagine the scenes. Please describe Jasmine Jones McCall for me.
J .J. McCall is a 30-something FBI Agent whose family was “cursed” with the ability to detect lies. She sometimes considers it a curse because she doesn’t know why someone is lying (bad lie vs. little white lie). So she is always just getting part of the story. Whenever someone tells a lie it makes her itch, and the worse the lie, the worse the itch.
In addition, she’s experiencing a few frustrations in her life. At work, she’s being denied promotions even though she’s extremely competent and productive. In her love life, if you want to call it that, she’s caught in a bit of a love triangle between one man who is soul-mate material but he’s a different race…and the bad boy that she still can’t get out of her system. In addition, she’s following in her mother’s footsteps in becoming an FBI agent and she doubts her ability to meet everyone’s expectations.
When the story begins, all these issues are coming to a head right at the moment that she’s onto the biggest case of her entire career—one which if she doesn’t solve it quickly, could land her in her own hot seat. Lots of great conflict and it’s interesting to see how she does (and doesn’t) deal with it.
J.J. is based on a woman you met and worked with at the FBI. Does she know your character is based on her and if so, how does she feel about it?
Yes, J.J. is very loosely based on an African American agent that I worked with when I was employed at the FBI. In a field that is largely dominated by white males, I always found it remarkable that she thrived in Russian counterintelligence/organized crime. She was a great role model in terms of professionalism and perseverance, and she’s a counterintelligence executive today, which tells me I’m a pretty good judge of character.
I haven’t yet told her that she inspired this series, nor have I publicly identified her by name, specifically I wouldn’t want anyone to associate the negative personal issues with her. Her trials and tribulations were created strictly for the sake of deepening the character and making room for personal growth.
As of now, it appears there are going to be five books in the Itch series. Are all the books going to be loosely based on actual real life events?
Yes, I’m planning five books in this particular series, all with the word “Itch” in the title. It was fun coming up with those. J.J. may live on in another series depending on how well received she is, but each book in the “FBI Espionage Series” will explore a new and different case.
To the extent that I can do so without compromising FBI methods of operation or revealing specific cases that I worked on, I will definitely intertwine some real life events with my plots. This will be very apparent in Son Of A Itch, the second book the series, in which a bug is found in the White House Situation Room walls. Something similar was done at the State Department over a decade ago. It’s fun to incorporate some reality as those details give the stories more authenticity and make people wonder where to draw the line between truth and fiction. On the whole, however, the actual plots and characters are fictional. And the FBI reviews the manuscripts to make sure I don’t cross the wrong lines.
I have a few favorite scenes, but there’s one in which J.J. confronts someone who has been deliberately sabotaging her career, and she has an opportunity to stick it to them and dish out some just desserts. It’s in that moment that J.J.’s true character is revealed. The scene really contrasts her flaws (including a caustic tongue) against her sense of honorability, and we get to see which side will win out in the end. She surprises even me sometimes.
What do you like or love to do, when you aren’t writing?
I used to have a life outside of writing. I really don’t anymore. Even though writing is hard work, it’s really my favorite thing to do above just about anything else. So it usually complements my other activities, such as watching sports or listening to music or enjoying time outdoors.
What’s one thing about you do you think your readers would be surprised to know?
Before my career in counterintelligence, I actually helped run the FBI’s National Stolen Art File. During that time, I was featured in U.S.A. Today and had my 15 seconds of fame on 60 Minutes because of my support on the investigation of a huge art heist in Boston, one of the biggest if not the biggest in U.S. history. I still have a photo that I took with Morley Safer in the FBI Laboratory. I looked like an Amazon next to him, still amazed at how short he was. I’ve had a pretty amazing career.
S.D., thank you for stopping by and answering some of my questions. I am REALLY looking forward to reading The Seven Year Itch.
Thank you so much for having me. I hope your readers will give the series a chance as I think they will find each book to be an entertaining read with a pulse-pounding ending. And if anyone would like to contact me, they can reach me on my blog at www.authorsdskye.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sdskye1.