BTSCelebs: Who is Andrews & Wilson professionally?
Brian: Andrews & Wilson is the storytelling team of Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson. While we have both published individually, we are now working full-time as Andrews & Wilson, with multiple books coming out each year in four different series. We are both Navy veterans who support the veteran community by taking on mentoring and philanthropic roles. After graduating from Vanderbilt and the NROTC program, I served as an officer on a 688 class fast attack submarine in the Pacific. After my tour of service, I attended Cornell University, where I earned an MBA and was a Park Leadership Fellow. I worked as an entrepreneur while beginning my career as a storyteller and now write full-time.
Jeff: As Brian said, we’re both Navy veterans. In my case, I served as a combat surgeon with Naval Special Warfare, deploying with an East Coast–based SEAL Team as well as one deployment as an FRSS team leader with the Marines. I have had lots of jobs, but my time serving with the amazing warriors of NSW is the thing I am most proud of and shaped who I am as a person and a writer. I also write full-time now, but in addition I lead a men’s military ministry for a large, multisite church in Tampa, which has been beyond rewarding.
Which Bible passage is the best summary of the message behind Dark Angel?
Brian: For me, John 8:44 and Ephesians 6:10-18 come to mind, but my favorite that fits the story arc is Ephesians 6:12, which says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” In Dark Angel, our hero Jed finds himself battling darkness that predates his time in the Shepherds and a foe that matches not only his warrior skills but one who has capitalized on his fall from grace. Do you agree, Jeff?
Jeff: That’s one of my favorites for sure. I also love Isaiah 6:8, which is where God calls to Isaiah and he answers: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” I love it because, like the characters in the Shepherds series, Isaiah answers the call without question. These are the men who we had the honor to serve with in the Navy, those who answered the call and said, “Here I am. Send me.”
Are there any people in the Holy Bible that inspired the characters in your new book?
Jeff: There are a myriad of them in fact. One of the things that is so inspirational in the Old and New Testament is how God uses ordinary, and often flawed, men and women to be His light in the world. David was loved by God but did some terrible things, finding his way back to God in time. Before he was writing the New Testament, Paul was Saul and hunted and killed Christians. I love Peter, the flawed, often–short-fused guy who became the “Rock” on which the Christian church was built. Those are the types of characters we tried to build in the book—ordinary men called to do extraordinary things not because they’re better than anyone else, but because they surrender to God. When they make mistakes or miss the mark, they get up every time and strive to do better.
What was one tough obstacle you had to overcome while writing Dark Angel and which part of the novel was the easiest to write?
Brian: Great question—the most difficult part of writing this second installment in the series was trying to force ourselves to slow down! There was a strong compulsion to accelerate Jed into the program and get him into a leadership position right out of the gate. But we knew that would be a mistake. We spent hours talking about what makes units like the Navy SEALs so effective, and the core concept we kept coming back to is the strong bonds of brotherhood between the team members. In the Shepherds, an organization that is well-established but always recruiting new members, there would need to be a protocol in place to help create the same kind of bonding that you see in high-performing teams. The solution to this conundrum became the idea that “all” Shepherds—regardless of seniority—rotate through the training program with new members when forming a new squadron so they can bond as a group. Writing this “boot camp” module into the opening of the novel was super fun and allowed us to develop and show off the personalities of Jed’s future teammates.
It’s great that you are powerful inspirational writers! Tell us about when you both accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Jeff: I was raised in a Christian family and gave my life to Christ in high school. But like so many of us, my story didn’t really end there. I was all in as a kid, leading in Young Life, active in my church youth group, a member of FCA—you name it. My challenges came later, when harsh realities of life challenged my faith. This started for me as a young man, working in the fire service as a paramedic, and grew slowly over time. In other government service and then in war as a Naval officer, I saw things and experienced things that challenged my faith. I never stopped believing but I drifted from my faith when I couldn’t rectify the true evil I saw in the world and the suffering as a result of that evil with my misconceptions of God and the Christian walk. I was able, with help from my wife and others in my life, to find my way back to an even stronger faith, but it took time. This is common in the life of those who have experienced the horrors of war firsthand, and it’s why I’m now serving in a men’s military ministry in Tampa.
Brian: The idea that God would send His only Son to live and struggle among us has resonated with me my entire life. To live as a mortal is the purest path to empathy, compassion, and understanding. How can one truly love another person unless you have walked in his or her shoes? For over two thousand years, Jesus and His teachings have inspired people to take the journey to become better versions of themselves. His lessons will never lose their relevance or poignancy. When faced with derision, Jesus responded with kindness. When facing hate, He responded with love. For as long as I can remember, I have accepted Him and His love.
Besides Dark Angel, what other exciting projects do you guys have planned for 2022?
Brian: 2022 and 2023 are exciting for us. In addition to Dark Angel in April, we also have the third book in the Shepherds series coming out in October—Dark Fall. And we are beyond excited that the series is now under development as a TV series.
Jeff: Yep! And of course Sons of Valor gets its second installment in the series in June with the release of Violence of Action. We love this series and are glad to get some more Tier One SEAL action out there for our readers. And next winter look for Dempsey, the seventh book in the Tier One series to hit the shelves. Early winter 2023.
Brian: Right, and speaking of 2023, we also have a brand-new techno-thriller coming next year. Sandbox is a high-concept thriller we’re really excited to share!
Jeff: For fans and readers who want to learn more, go to andrews-wilson.com to see all our books and interviews. While you’re there, please sign up for the newsletter to stay apprised of all our release dates and announcements. We never share contacts and we won’t spam your in-box—just periodic updates with the latest news and giveaways!
Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson’s “Dark Angel” is scheduled to be released on April 5th, 2022.
A Special Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and Andrews and Wilson for the exclusive interview and images.