We’re proud to announce our latest exclusive interview with Andy McNab as well as our latest contest, where you can win all four of the new War Classics e-Books published by Apostrophe Books in collaboration with McNab himself. Check out the interview, answer the question at the bottom, and cross your fingers. Winner will be announced on 3 February!
Ten Questions (well, eleven actually) for Andy McNab

1. We love hearing from you again, now to celebrate you joining forces with Apostrophe Books. How did this come about?

McNab: Over the last year, I downloaded some really good military history ebooks from ApostropheBooks.com, like The Ravens and The Test of Courage by Chris Robbins and The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T E Lawrence. As soon as you open one of their downloads it’s obvious they put a huge amount of time and effort into producing the best digital versions possible, so when I had the idea for the war classics series it was a no-brainer to approach them first. They’re my kind of people!

2. You’ve written introductions to each of the four books…. compared to writing your fiction novels and autobiographies we imagine this is a different kind of writing. How do you proceed this?

McNab: I knew all the books anyway so it wasn’t too difficult – for the main introduction all I had to do was say was what I’d learnt from them and how they’d helped me in my military career. As for researching their lives, that was really interesting and something I haven’t done much of before. It was fascinating putting these voices into context.

3. There are four editions now in the War Classics: General Von Clausewitz, Baron de Jomini, Machiavelli and Sun Tzu. Who is your favourite and why?

McNab: Probably the Von Clausewitz, because it’s the first time I’ve seen all three volumes brought together in one digital edition. Apostrophe got hold of a rare first edition set and digitized every page and map. And I’d also choose Von Clausewitz because, although I often quote all four of them, I probably quote him most of all. One sentence from Von Clausewitz that demonstrates he knew war is a human endeavour is “No campaign survives the first contact with the enemy.” His philosophy to combat this was to embrace the fog of war, its uncertainty and to sometimes take chances.

4. Do you think (and/or hope) there will be more in this series in the future?

McNab: I’m already working on 6 more classic military texts that I’d like to bring to a wider public – Apostrophe will start publishing them in early 2014.

5. Is there one story in particular you’d like to be written or republished by Apostrophe?

McNab: One of the next ebooks in the series will be on war in the Middle Ages, which is a particular favourite period of mine.

6. We know you are interested in stories of war, if you can choose a period in past times to be a soldier, which period would that be?

McNab:The period I’d most like to have been a soldier in fluctuates depending on what I’m reading, and at the moment I’m reading a memoir of an infantry soldier in the First World War. Frank Richards was in the trenches until the very last day of the war, and I was given it as a gift because like me he won a DCM (Distinguished Conduct medal) and MM (Military medal). The way Frank describes life as a soldier on the ground, including descriptions of whole rifle platoons giving covering fire with so much mud on the weapons they jammed, made me feel that I wanted to experience the same – so at the moment, I have to answer I’d like to have been a soldier in the First World War. And after that I’ll start reading something about the Battle of Crecy and I’ll want to be a bowman.

7. There are illustrations and photos in the e-books. Are all e-readers suitable or should they be read in a particular kind of reader/format?

McNab: The early models of Kindle will always struggle with maps and illustrations. But somebody at Apostrophe Books came up with the idea of putting the full-size maps and illustrations up on their web site – there’s a code in the war classics that links you to the site so you can look at maps and illustrations on your laptop or PC.

8. Apostrophe combines, as they say ‘old media with the cutting-edge technology of the new’. Do you think this is the future, are printed books an endangered species?

McNab:I think there will always be a place for the printed book, but they will probably get more expensive as fewer and fewer of them are sold and digital takes over. To me, it’s all about exposure to stories and the instant gratification of downloading stories. So this is a wonderful time – never before have we been exposed to so much written word that’s just a couple of clicks away.

9. If your life story would be published by Apostrophe this way who do you prefer to do the introduction and why?

McNab: I’d want to write my own introduction, for two reasons. First of all, if anyone else did it and got it wrong, I’d just want to correct it. And secondly, if they’d got it right, I’d still want to be part of it. It’s just a freaky control thing I’ve got – I’d want to make sure it was right, and the only way ever to guarantee that is to do it yourself.

10. You’ve served in the British Army from 1976 to 1993. Starting to pen down your account of Bravo Two Zero you’ve now been a writer now for a longer period than you’ve been in active service. How does that feel and how would you most like to be remembered?

McNab:I hadn’t really thought about it like that, and doing the math, you’re absolutely right. I haven’t got a clue how I’d like to be thought of – it’s just a fact that without joining the army and getting an education, I wouldn’t have been able to do the writing. I had a great career in the army and I’ve had a great career as a writer. A publisher told me I’m one of the 15 top-selling writers of all time, which to me is amazing because it wasn’t something I’d ever planned. What I’m really proud of at the moment is helping literacy in the UK, by going into failing schools, prisons and workplaces, and encouraging people to read – whether it’s a cartoon, a magazine, a book, it doesn’t matter. What I learnt in the army , which made me do what I’m doing now, is that every time you read, you get a bit of knowledge, and every time you get a bit of knowledge, you get power to do the things that you want to do. So I really don’t know what I’d like to be remembered as – or maybe I do, and it’s: “willing to have a go at anything.”

11. One last thing….please tell us what’s in the pipeline. What are you working on now and what can we expect from you in the near future!

Movie news is optional, we have an agreement about that one 😉

McNab:Loads and loads – and it’s so exciting I don’t know where to start. Even as I write this, I’m on the way back from Amsterdam after meeting a producer and a director who want to make a film of my book Red Notice – the script’s done, everything’s there, so it’s very exciting. I’m on my way back to the UK to round off what’s happening on World Book Day next year, because my book is one of the selections. I’m very proud that myself and Roald Dahl are the only two people whose books have ever been chosen twice for World Book Day. Then I’m out to the US to carry on working on the Nick Stone film – yet again, another round of development, another round of scripts, but it doesn’t matter, the process is moving forward. And on top of that, the other great thing about going to the States and travelling is that I can sit down with the laptop because there’s another Tom Buckingham book coming out in the new year, and of course, another Nick Stone. And I have to organize the next 6 war classics for Apostrophe.

To be entered into our drawing for all four of the new War Classics e-Books, simply answer the question below via our official Twitter (twitter.com/greymansland), message us at our Facebook page, or just send us an email (email lynn@greymansland.com). Winner will be announced 3 February!
The question: What’s something Andy McNab thinks will get more expensive over time? Good luck!
andy mcnab war classics