Spotlight Thursday: Dana Ridenour

Today we’re excited to spotlight a wonderful friend and author!

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Every Thursday we spotlight books, authors, agents and more! It’s a day to spotlight people and books that we think you might like! It’s to let writers and readers know there are awesome resources out there!

Dana Ridenour is not only a wonderful friend and writer…she’s an FBI agent!

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Today Dana is on the blog to answer some questions about her book. Let’s take a look at Behind The Mask.


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  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing (April 5, 2016)

You build relationships to betray relationships.
That is the motto for the FBI’s undercover program, and special agent Lexie Montgomery is just beginning to understand what that means. Lexie’s first assignment is infiltrating a radical cell of the Animal Liberation Front. Underground and operating in splinter groups throughout Los Ange
les, the only way in is thro
ugh Savannah Riley, a new recruit.
Savannah left the safety of her small southern town for the bright lights of the city. Pulled into the animal rights movement by her college roommate and a gorgeous anarchist, she sinks deeper and deeper into the dark, paranoid world of ALF extremists.
As the actions of her cell escalate beyond simple demonstrations and graffiti, Savannah turns to Lexie to keep her grounded. But as the two women grow closer and the FBI’s case builds, Lexie is forced to decide what betrayal really means.

Order your book today!

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We are so excited to have Dana on the blog today! Take a look at these cool graphics Kristen made!

 

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Where did your idea of Behind the Mask come from? 

I spent most of my career as an FBI agent working undercover. I spent several years infiltrating domestic terrorism cells, many like the ones portrayed in the novel. The novel is based loosely on real cases and real people.
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My mother encouraged me to keep a journal when I became an FBI Agent. I started keeping a journal when I began working undercover. I kept the journal hidden in the ceiling panels of my undercover apartment. As I worked, I documented feelings and experiences along the way. These journals were a big part of formulating my Lexie character. 
 
Just like you, your character is an FBI agent. Did you take from your experience as an agent and use it for Lexie?
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The character of Lexie came about because of emotions that I experienced as a new undercover agent. Undercover agents have to learn to compartmentalize their emotions, which takes a little practice. When an agent is new to working undercover, it can be difficult to not get lost in the role. A good undercover agent relies on his or her contact agent to keep him or her grounded in reality. So, in a way Lexie is based largely on my experiences as an FBI agent.

What do you like to do when not writing?

When I’m not writing, I enjoy playing the guitar, walking on the beach, traveling, and of course reading. I love all genres of books, and spend a great deal of time reading.

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Did the FBI read your book?

My book had to go through a pre-publishing review process with the FBI to insure that I wasn’t disclosing any trade secrets. I was also held to a little different standard because of my affiliation with the FBI.  For example, I was not allowed to use a photo of the FBI seal on the cover.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the second book in the Lexie Montgomery series. The second novel picks up with Special Agent Montgomery on her second undercover mission. The first novel was set in California, but my second novel is set in my home state of South Carolina, so it’s going to have a different feel than the first one

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Thank you for joining us Dana!


 

About the author: 

Dana Ridenour is in her twentieth and last year as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  She recently finished her debut novel, Behind the MaPicturesk.  Ridenour’s Behind the Mask follows Alexis Montgomery, an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates a radical underground movement of the Animal Liberation Front.

Ridenour and her sister, Darla Ridenour-Hill were born in Louisville, Kentucky.  She is the daughter of David Ridenour and Joyce Faye Ridenour.  After graduating from Meade County High School in 1984, she attended the University of Kentucky.  After two years at the University of Kentucky, she changed her major to Police Administration and transferred to Eastern Kentucky University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1989.  After college, Ridenour attended Chase College of Law where she earned her Juris Doctor in 1992.

Over the years, Ridenour has been employed in a wide variety of jobs including first mate on a tour boat (her favorite job), lawyer, and Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Ridenour entered on duty with the FBI in November of 1995 and will retire in April of 2016 with a little over 20 years on the job.  Ridenour was assigned to four different FBI Field Divisions and had the opportunity to work a wide variety of cases to include multi faceted narcotics investigations, domestic sex trafficking of minors, and violent crime.  Over the years, Ridenour was a proud member of the FBI’s Evidence Response Team where she and her team traveled to New York City in response to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.  The highlight of Ridenour’s career came in 2003 when she attended and passed the FBI’s prestigious undercover school, thus allowing her to work as an undercover FBI agent.  This undercover certification opened the door for Ridenour to work a series of long term, deep cover cases focusing on domestic terrorism.  Ridenour had the rare experience of working a long term undercover investigation with her husband who is also an FBI agent.

Ridenour attributes her law enforcement career to her father and her love of books to her mother. Her mother instilled a love of reading from a young age.  It was her mother who also encouraged her to keep a journal while working as a Special Agent with the thought that one day a novel would materialize from the experiences.  Ridenour’s writing is a reflection of her career and life experiences.

Ridenour signed on with Wise Ink Creative Publishing in November 2014 and Behind the Mask is scheduled to launch in the spring of 2016.  Although she enjoys a wide variety of genres, her literary influences are her favorite southern writers such as Pat Conroy, Dorothea Benton Frank, and Anne Rivers Siddons.  Ridenour’s favorite novel is Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides which she has read many times.

Ridenour has lived in Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, California, and Florida.  A southern girl through and through, she anxiously awaits retirement, so she can move back to South Carolina and dedicate herself to writing on a full time basis.  In addition to writing, Ridenour is an avid photographer.  She loves taking photographs of nature (especially in her favorite state of South Carolina).

Ridenour currently lives in Orlando, Florida.  In April 2016, following her retirement from the FBI, she will join her amazing husband at their home in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

Follow Dana on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and her blog!

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