Brian Andrews is a US Navy veteran, nuclear engineer, and former submarine officer. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in psychology, holds a Master’s in business from Cornell, and is a Park Leadership Fellow. He is a principal contributor at Career Authors, a site dedicated to advancing the careers of aspiring and published writers: www.careerauthors.com.
Jeffrey Wilson has worked as an actor, firefighter, paramedic, jet pilot, and diving instructor, as well as a vascular and trauma surgeon. He served in the US Navy for fourteen years and made multiple deployments as a combat surgeon with an East Coast–based SEAL Team. He and his wife, Wendy, live in Southwest Florida with their four children.
Q: Can you share the inspiration behind creating the “Sons of Valor” series, which is a spin-off of the “Tier One Series”?
Jeffrey: We hope to continue the series as long as people continue to read them. This is a spin-off, a shared universe with the “Tier One Series.” The eighth book comes out next year. There was a minor character in the previous series, Chuck Redman, who was widely popular with the readers.
Q: Could you elaborate on the foundational concept of the “Tier One Series” and how it sets the stage for the “Sons of Valor Series”?
Jeffrey: The entire SEAL team gets wiped out because of leaked intelligence. The sole survivor gets a new identity, John Dempsey, and now is part of a covert operation task force.
Brian: The first book of that series came out in 2016. John Dempsey, the main character of that series, is not in the “Sons of Valor Series.” Although in the second book there are a lot of references. But there are other cross-over characters.
Q: What inspired the character Chuck Redman in the series, and is he based on the real-life retired SEAL Jay Redman?
Jeffrey: He is a good friend of ours and we wanted to honor him. We do it a lot where we put those who we had a professional and personal relationship in our books. Chuck does not represent Jay, but we did it to honor our friendship.
Q: What was the creative process behind developing “Sons of Valor III: War Machine”, and how does it continue the narrative of the series?
Brian: We tend to write our military thrillers as trilogies. The Qasim Nadar thread wraps up in this book. In the real world we like to give the antagonist characters some leeway to flush out their motives and organization. There is a great line, “Every villain is the hero of their own story.” We embrace this in our writing. It is not our point of view, but the character’s thoughts and actions..
Jeffrey: We do not like our bad guys to be two-dimensional cookie cutters unlike Dr. Evil. The risk is do readers have sympathy for a terrorist. We wanted to explore will Qasim do the right thing or take the path of evil. People will see his evolution through the books on becoming a Jihadi. In book 2 there was a clear path for him to take, but the one he takes should cause someone to hate him.
Q: The quote from Book 1, “It is a shame that it takes personal losses and suffering for most men to find their courage,” seems especially poignant in light of recent events in Israel. Could you comment on its relevance?
Jeffrey: This is a timely quote referencing how someone’s tragedy is tested under fire. It would be great if no one had to discover this about themselves. Think about the stories that came out of 9/11 and how heroic actions were displayed. I read amazing stories of how people were so incredibly brave on October 7th. A young female army officer went out in her PJs with her gun, joined up with someone else, and held off the terrorists, protecting their little village. There is such inspiration in these stories.
Q: What are the key takeaways you hope readers will gain from your books?
Jeffrey: This is why we write these books, hoping people will have a new appreciation for the toll it takes on the operator: the relationship with one another and their families. We feel there is a higher reason we wrote the books, to honor the men/women we served with and to share that world.
Q: How would you describe the character Qasim in the series?
Brian: Qasim is cold-hearted, diabolical, and evil. He cares about his cause. He cemented himself as a person of significance in the local culture. In book 3, he has drunk the Kool-Aid, taking a leadership role in a terrorist organization. He must deal with personal problems, money, motivation, logistics, and must keep secrets. He wants a Caliphate where there must be a shift of power and take control.
Jeffrey: We want to show how the technology and information is different now. There is an information war going on the same time as a covert war. The operators are new but also the terrorists are more sophisticated. This is a different dynamic post 9/11. We wanted to explore what a new generation of terrorists looks like. They are multi-educated, bi-lingual, and tech savvy. It is also an infiltration of culture and society that is no longer just in the Middle East. This is a change in the real world which we wanted to write about. These are the battlefields of the 21st century.
Q: Can you give us an insight into the character of Chuck Redman?
Jeffrey: Highly intelligent, tenacious, intuitive, mission and team before self.
Q: How would you describe Lucy’s character in the series?
Brian: Whitney saw her as sad, intense, brave, focused, loyal, and cared about others concerns. When she faces mortal danger, she stands her ground.
Q: And what about Whitney? How does she evolve throughout the series?
Brian: She takes initiative in this book. She found a lot of strength from Lucy. Her goal is to be part of the team.
Jeffrey: Both Lucy and Whitney are tenacious. We did not want to write Whitney as a one-woman killing machine taking out the bad guys single handedly or a mousey analyst who fades in the background. We pushed her out of her comfort zone, which she hated, but realized it made her tougher. She is someone who never quits. She is one of my favorite characters.
Q: What can you tell us about the dynamic between Whitney and Redman in the series?
Brian: They are both mirrors of the other. They recognize in the other characteristics they admire. Both are confident. There is a scene in the book where she is on the verge of physical collapse and starts to think about who the person would be she could rely on to get her out of this situation. Her subconscious understands it is Chuck because she does not realize her own inner strength. Over the first two books she grasps how much she admires and respects him. Chuck also tries to think what she would do when trying to rescue her. They both try to do what the other person would do when the other person is not there.
Q: Is the technological equipment, like Valkyrie, described in the book based on real-world developments?
Jeffrey: It is a drone and manned from the ground. There is technology in development that has the capability. We wanted to explore how much autonomy should AI have: should it include a kill decision?
Brian: There are drones that can fly along fighter jets that augment pilots on missions. It is a stealth drone, with a vertical takeoff from anywhere. We had in the book what safeguards would the military program?
Q: Can you share some insights about your upcoming books and projects?
Jeffrey and Brian:
The next Sons of Valor book does not have a date yet but there will be one.
There is a techno-thriller coming out in April, titled Four Minutes. A task force collects Intelligence from the future to stop attacks in the present. They use this information to try to stop the bad guys.
We will be writing the next Tom Clancy book titled Act of Defiance, coming out on the 40th anniversary of the book Red October. A Russian super weapon is deployed at sea and it’s up to Jack Ryan to find a countermove.
The next Tier 1 book comes out in July titled Ember, the name of the taskforce. The taskforce does covert operations.
The fourth book in the Shepherds series comes out next fall. We explore combat and faith with a speculative element. There is a supernatural spiritual warfare element that blended into a covert ops’ thriller. This includes using scriptures of the Bible. It has demons possess bad guys.
Sons of Valor, War Machine, the third book in the series, by Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson finishes the overarching story of terrorist Qasim Nadar. They use their vast experience to write engrossing thrillers. Andrews worked as a nuclear engineer on naval submarines, while Wilson was a trauma surgeon embedded with the East Coast Navy SEALS.
In the stories, Nadar fools everyone and is considered a hero in England. Everyone that is except counter-terrorism analyst Whitney Watts. After getting a call from her MI6 counterpart Lucy Kim she flies to England to work with Lucy to try to out Nadar as a terrorist. Unfortunately, their investigation turns upside down and they are kidnapped by the terrorists. As Lieutenant Commander Keith “Chunk” Redman and the rest of Tier One travel across London in search of Watts, Nadar prepares to unleash his most dangerous weapon yet, an advanced drone with artificial intelligence and stealth technology.
The authors know how to keep the tension high with the suspense growing on each page. Readers will not want to put this epilogue down.