This past Tuesday, I had the honor, along with fellow writers Kelli Owen and Livia Llewellyn, of speaking at the CIA Headquarters in Langley on the subject of fiction writing and publishing to the Agency’s writing group, Invisible Ink, as well as one of the women’s groups. As the first women writers ever to talk to the CIA, we drew a good turnout — our talk went over time and was interspersed with some great questions from the agents. The CIA is not open to visitors, so I feel privileged to be counted among a small group of Presidents, foreign dignitaries, famous actors, and incredible writers who have been invited to Langley.
In addition to our talk, we were treated to lunch and shown around the compound. For security reasons, we could not take any pictures and I can’t discuss everything we saw in detail, but our contact Agent, Scott M. Baker, whose zombie novel Rotter World is coming out from Permuted Press this summer, was kind enough to show us the wall of stars at the Headquarters entrance, carved in remembrance of the brave Agents who gave their lives to protect our country, as well as the museums (there’s an OSS museum, a museum of spy technology/weaponry through the years, and an Afghanistan museum). he also told us some fascinating (unclassified) historical facts and stories of the CIA. We saw a part of the Berlin Wall and a large art sculpture made of secret code. We also got to tour the gift shop, where I picked up a t-shirt for Sprout and an official-looking CIA notepad for me.
I was delighted that the talk went well, and thought the whole experience was absolutely amazing. BIG thanks to Scott for inviting us, and to Kelli and Livia for coming down with me.