2013
27.09

“The New” Bravo Two Zero introduction

Bravo Two Zero Q & A

Introducing Red Notice

2013
27.05

YAYYYYYY!!! Andy granted Grey Man’s Land another interview… see his answers below 🙂

GML: Hi Andy.. congratulations on the anniversary of Bravo Two Zero! Thanks for answering a few of our questions again..

First of all… twenty years..wow! They say ‘the older, the wiser’. How much wiser are you today?

Andy: CERTAINLY OLDER BUT NOT SURE ABOUT WISER!

GML: Bravo Two Zero ‘Revised and Updated’..why is there a new edition after 20 years?

Andy: B20 IS STILL THE BIGGEST SELLING WAR BOOK OF ALL TIME. IT IS A PIECE OF HISTORY AND, FROM WHAT PEOPLE SAY TO ME AT EVENTS, HAD AND CONTINUES TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON THEIR LIVES. FROM A SOUTH AFRICAN HOMELESS WOMAN WHO FOUND THE BOOK ON THE STREET. SHE DECIDED TO GET GRIP OF HER LIFE AFTER READING THE BOOK AND KNOWING THAT PEOPLE CAN OVER COME AND THAT THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. AFTER READING BTZ ANOTHER WOMAN IN LONDON CANCELLED HER PLANNED SUICIDE. THAT MADE ME FEEL VERY HAPPY.

GML: This book is highly likely interesting for new readers, will it be interesting for those who have known the story since the first edition in 1993 and have been following you ever since?

Andy: 20 YEARS ON I AM A DIFFERENT MAN TO THE ONE THAT FIRST WROTE B20. OBVIOUSLY OLDER AND WISER, WITH THE BENEFIT OF DISTANCE AND TIME, PLUS HOW MY LIFE HAS BEEN SINCE, I’M ABLE TO LOOK AT EVENTS AND HOW I FELT ABOUT THEM IN A DIFFERENT WAY. THERE IS LOTS OF NEW MATERIAL, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE REST OF THE PATROL SINCE, WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I WENT BACK, HOW IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE AND THE LIVES OF EVERYONE ELSE INVOLVED!

GML: If you had not written Bravo Two Zero and with the turn your life made as a result of the immense success of the book, where do you think you would be now?

Andy: I WOULD HAVE DONE A LONG STINT WORKING FOR THE PMC (PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANY) IN COLOMBIA AND WOULD EITHER STILL BE DOING IT OR DOING SOMETHING SIMILAR.

GML: Would you say that the events of B20 still have impact on your life today…Professionally we know – but (if any) like health wise, mentally, daily routine, decisions you make…etc

Andy: I WAS LUCKY TO COME OUT OF THE GULF WAR UNSCATHED MENTALLY BUT I HAVE SEEN AND CONTINUE TO SEE THE IMPACT THAT COMBAT HAS ON FRIENDS LIVES. HOW HAS IT CHANGED HOW I LEAD MY LIFE? I GUESS I ACCEPT THAT I HAVE LOST ONE OF MY NINE LIVES, BUT THEN AGAIN MAYBE IT MAKES ME THINK THAT ITS WORTH LIVING EVERY DAY TO THE MAX. BIT OF BOTH.

GML: We here at Grey Man’s Land read, of course, the first edition of B20 in 1993 (even though we were like 4 or 5 years old or so) but it means we, and a lot of your fans ‘of the first hour’ are 20 years older too.. How will you keep us (and the younger fans) entertained for the next decade(s)?

Andy: IF I TOLD YOU THAT THEN IT WOULDNT ENTERTAIN YOU WHEN IT HAPPENS WOULD IT!

GML: Please give us a short take on the subjects that we know are an important part of your life….

* Writing

Andy: IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE EDUCATION I WAS GIVEN BY THE ARMY. A MASSIVE PART OF MY LIFE NOW IS VISITING SCHOOLS, PRISONS, ARMY BASES AND COMPANIES TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES BEING OFFERED TO THEM. IF YOU ARE EDUCATED YOU ARE IN CONTROL AND CAN MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS. IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE EXPLAIN THAT TO PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG.

* Supporting wounded servicemen and women

Andy: OF COURSE! WE ALL OWE THEM A DEBT OF GRATITUDE AND SUPPORT. WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT WE DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO HEAL THE WOUNDS, WHETHER PHYSICAL OR MENTAL.

* Participating in eliminating illiteracy

Andy: IT ALL COMES DOWN TO TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE, EDUCATION ENABLES YOU TO READ, READING GIVES YOU POWER, THE POWER TO MAKE DECISIONS THAT YOU WANT TO MAKE.

* Family life

Andy: THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT TO SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN THAN THE SUPPORT OF FAMILY BACK HOME.

* Lectures, book signings, tours meeting fans

Andy: GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO CHAT TO THE PEOPLE WHO READ THE BOOKS, WHAT AUTHOR WOULDN’T APPRECIATE THAT CHANCE? OH, AND THE KFC/MCDONALDS ALONG THE WAY. ITS ALL GLAMOUR.

* Big waves

Andy: PURELY FOR INSPIRATION ON THE WRITING OBVIOUSLY, GET OUT THERE EARLY IN THE MORNING AND THEN FIND SOMEWHERE FOR A BREW AND A FRY UP AFTERWARDS.

* Grey Man’s Land
(ok, just kidding)

Andy: WHO?
JUST KIDDING.

GML: We really hold you to the publishing of the delayed Nick Stone novel ‘Silencer’ end this year but a lot of fans are wondering if there too will be a new Tom Buckingham and a sequel to the Dropzone series in the next future?

Andy: YES, THERE WILL BE A NEW TOM BUCKINGHAM IN 2014. NOT SURE ON DROPZONE, I’LL LET YOU KNOW.

GML: We may or may not have asked this a few times before…..but if we promise to NOT ask about movie news this time – would you promise to let us know immediately if there is anything to mention?

Andy: YES, I PROMISE. WE’RE MAKING PROGRESS, SLOWLY…IN FACT I’M IN LOS ANGELES AS I WRITE THIS.

GML: Something the lucky fans who managed to get a ticket to one of your book signings often wonder… are they allowed to bring their old & favourite McNab book(s) so to get your signature in those?

Andy: OF COURSE! THE OLDER THE BETTER ALTHOUGH I MIGHT START TESTING PEOPLE ON THE PLOT!

Thanks so much again Andy, we wish you happy touring and hoping a lot of your fans will get a chance to meet you and get their books signed!!

Lynn
Grey Man’s Land

2013
25.05

“This week Clive’s secret mission is with novelist and former SAS operative Andy McNab, whose bestseller ‘Bravo Two Zero’ is the true story of eight members of the SAS regiment on a top secret mission to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines. The 20th Anniversary edition is available on 23rd May.”

Go here to listen to the BBC program Loose Ends (Andy McNab item starts at 2min44)

2013
17.02

“They want to hear about blowing up bridges and how to handle a gun. But the most important action of all, I tell them, is opening that first book whatever it might be.”

The Mirror
16 February 2013

The best-selling author learnt to read as a 16-year-old Army recruit and says it was life changing

Of all Andy McNab’s hard-fought victories the thrill of reading a book was the first big one.

The SAS hero and best-selling author, 53, was an Army recruit aged 16 and had just finished a Janet and John tale in a forces literacy class.

He recalled: “When I put it down my instructor said, ‘Congratulations. Remember this feeling – what it was like to finish your first book.’ And I always have.

“That moment truly changed my life. Everything I did since came from then.

A book can take you to places you would never have known. Each book you read gives you a little more knowledge.

And knowledge means power. And power means you can make decisions for yourself and go your own way.

That’s how you survive. Which is something I know a lot about.

I finished school with the reading skills of a kid aged 11. I was illiterate. I was going nowhere. If that sounds shocking, well I’ll tell you something that’s even worse.

Today the average literacy age of a young man joining the infantry is still just 11. Things have not improved one jot.”

Now Andy, whose first book Bravo Two Zero sold millions and was turned into a film with Sean Bean playing his part, is a frontline fighter in a campaign to spread the reading habit.

And the Sunday People is a proud ally. We are offering FREE copies of his latest book Today Everything Changes.

For the full article with interview go to The Mirror

2012
11.11

Daily Mail Online
9 November 2012

Great interview by Rob McGibbon!

“We ask a celebrity a set of devilishly probing questions – and only accept THE definitive answer. This week: Ex-SAS man and author Andy McNab

‘My real mum left me in a carrier bag on a step at Guy’s Hospital in London when I was a baby’ Ex-SAS man and author Andy McNab opens up

The prized possession you value above all others… A silver cup used at my wedding to Jenny 11 years ago. I’m not religious, but she’s Jewish so a rabbi came to the house and blessed our marriage with the cup, an important symbol. 

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend… Not getting a proper school education. I was always bunking off, or doing jobs to earn some dosh.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions… I’d spend all morning surfing at Jaco Beach in Costa Rica, then go for a long ride on a Harley-Davidson with Jenny through the mountains of Montana and Utah. I’d have a slap-up lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding at a pub I love near our home, then, because I love Zurich, I’d mooch around there in the afternoon before going to the Bulgari Hotel in Milan for an early evening drink. Jenny and I would end the day with dinner at the Hotel Splendido in Portofino in Italy. 

The temptation you wish you could resist… Buying motorbikes. I’ve got through about 20 in 15 years because I keep crashing, but I love the freedom.

The book that holds an everlasting resonance… Touching The Void by Joe Simpson about his incredible survival after a mountaineering accident. It completely changed the way I write.

The priority activity if you were the Invisible Man for a day… To infiltrate the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan to learn what they’re really up to, then give our Army the heads up. 

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise… Bad service, especially in expensive restaurants. 

The film you can watch time and time again… Coriolanus with Ralph Fiennes, which came out last year. He’s brilliant, and the action scenes are fantastic. 

The person who has influenced you most… Jenny. I used to fly off the handle frequently, but she just gives me a slap and calms me down.  

The figure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint… Muhammad Ali. I met him in Hollywood three years ago and he was amazing, but I’d like to meet him in his prime, in the 60s and 70s. 

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child… No matter what you’re doing, give it your absolute best. And never forget to stop and appreciate what you have achieved.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity… Opera. I love the over-the-top drama. I’ve been to the best venues, like La Scala in Milan, and get a real kick out of the elaborate productions. 

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again… My army medals. I had 14, but they all vanished about 18 months ago when we moved house. I’ve turned the house over several times looking for them. They’re worth a lot of money but they’re too famous to sell.

The unending quest that drives you on… I’d like to ride the rip curl of a 30ft wave at Jaco Beach.

 The poem that touches your soul… I’m not big on poetry but love Jerusalem by William Blake as a hymn. 

The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase… That I’m a thick squaddie. A lot of business people think that, but it’s to my advantage to be underestimated, so I let them get away with it and make them pay another way.

The event that altered the course of your life and character… Being adopted. My real mum left me in a carrier bag on a step at Guy’s Hospital in London when I was a baby. My foster parents adopted me when I was five. Mum was a cleaner and Dad a taxi driver, so money was tight, but they gave me love and a stable upbringing.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it… I’d pull off the most amazing hi-tech robbery of the Crown Jewels. I’d then hide them, only to be released after my death.

The song that means most to you… Should I Stay Or Should I Go by The Clash. It sums up my approach to life. I don’t take many things seriously.

The saddest time that shook your world… The moment I was captured by the Iraqis in Syria [during the SAS Bravo Two Zero mission]. I remember the disbelief and deep sadness as it dawned on me it might not end well. 

The happiest moment you will cherish forever… When the Red Cross plane took off from Baghdad [in March 1991 after the end of the first Gulf War] with all the prisoners of war on board. We let out a cheer and two F16s and two Tornados escorted us to Saudi Arabia. That’s when we knew we were safe.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you… To write a serious stage play. I’ve met people at RADA to see if I can work with them and I’ll find out pretty soon if I’m up to it.  

The philosophy that underpins your life… Never stitch anyone up. It will always come back and bite you.  

The order of service at your funeral… I’m going to leave instructions for my ashes to be put inside a massive firework which will be set off during a full-on party. I’ll go out with a bang!

The way you want to be remembered… I’d be happy with, ‘A good soldier. Now dead.’

Source: Daily Mail Online

2012
26.07

YAY!! Andy was willing to answer our questions about the War Torn sequel ‘Battle Lines’ that was published this month. Of course we also had some other prying questions for him…so below his answers. Enjoy!!

Grey Man’s Land Interview with Andy McNab
July 2012

GML: Hi Andy, thanks for answering some of our questions again, with the release of War Torns sequel ‘Battle Lines’ this month.
First of all..how was working with Kym again?

AM: “It was great! Her experience is different from mine and its so useful getting a different person’s view when you are writing. Also, the female characters are so important in this book that it was vital to have an authentic female voice in the narrative.”

GML: Kym being the ‘social’ one in your collaboration, did she do the family stuff again?

AM: “We both did really. We spent time in some camps talking to families and Kym did some further visits and meetings, but I went out to Helmand in the Spring and spent a lot of time talking to some of the lads about the issues surrounding home, balancing these contrasting aspects of their lives, communications and how they felt about stuff basically.”

GML: When War Torn was released you promised us a sequel with the same characters and some new ones. What can you tell us about the people in ‘Battle Lines’?

AM: “I want you to go and buy a copy! But briefly, Dave Henley and his wife Jenny are still at the centre of the book and we follow their lives and those of the families around them, many of whom were in War Torn.”

GML: Characters in your books are often based on people you know, or have met. Are you expecting requests of ‘royalties’ again?

AM: “Ha ha, hopefully not! I’ll have to start saying that every character is a version of me, the good parts of course! There are lots of people that have helped me research and create these characters, and lots of people’s experiences woven into the story, but that is the nature of authentic and realistic fiction, I want it to be based on truth and real experience, that is, hopefully, part of why people want to read my books.”

GML: On the cover of the book it says ‘Sometimes your toughest enemy is yourself’ What does that mean?

AM: “It is a reference to the idea that serving soldiers are in a situation where they have two completely contrasting parts of their life, on the one hand they are out on patrol, literally risking life and limb and watching their mates getting injured or worse alongside them, and on the other, they are on the phone or email to their families at home hearing about the kids playing truant, the car failing its MOT or their relationship going to shit because they aren’t there and they can’t do anything about it. It is incredibly frustrating and a difficult balance to get right. Much more tricky than in the era before instant communications. Nowadays the lads hear about everything going wrong at home and are completely powerless to do anything about it, whereas in previous times, at least they didn’t know about it!”

GML: Can you relate to this yourself?

AM: “Yes, I had a few relationships whilst I was a serving soldier, I found it difficult to get the balance right and I got it wrong a couple of times!”

GML: The first book didn’t have a moral message, you said when War Torn was published. Did you avoid politics again in this sequel?

AM: “Yes, it isn’t about politics, it is about people, life struggles and the difficulties facing not only serving soldiers but also their families back home. If there is one political theme in the book, however, it is the continuing need for more civilian acknowledgement and training for service leavers suffering from PTSD. The difficulty comes with the fact that it often doesn’t come to light until after those afflicted have left the army. This is where problems arise as neither families nor the National Health Service have the experience or training to deal with these problems. It’s not through a lack of interest or awareness, but simply that the experiences that have led to this are so extreme and unique to serving soldiers.”

GML: Often, even recently, you express your worry about unemployment of ex-army personnel and its consequences, hence your work for ForceSelect. Is this subject implemented in ‘Battle Lines’?

AM: “I haven’t really focused on this issue in Battle Lines, I think there is a danger in throwing too many themes at the reader all at once, perhaps that is one for a different book.”

GML: The original idea was to write about the difficulties of contact with the home front, as in present days there are many ways of contact possible. How did that turn out in ‘Battle Lines’?

AM: “It turned out as I hoped. There is a storyline in Battle Lines concerning a classic case of Chinese whispers and rumours of what people are or aren’t getting up to at home. This is the basis for lots of angst for those serving, as you might imagine, and is just one example of how improved communications aren’t always a good thing for the morale.”

GML: Indeed, today there are mobile phones, Internet and probably ways of contact I don’t know about. How was that in your army days and are these improved communications really an improvement? Or should we go back to ‘All Prohibited except Smoke Signals’.

AM: “I can’t confess to have done quite as much communicating with people at home as I might have done when I was serving. Perhaps this was why I had a couple of failed relationships! But I’m sure I was therefore spared some of the grief and worry that other guys go through. I’m not saying we should go back to having no contact at all with families at home. That just wouldn’t be acceptable to people in this day and age where you can skype anywhere in the world and the majority of us are permanently online and on the end of a mobile. The point I want to make is that this technology doesn’t come without its problems and should be used and treated with respect.”

GML: There has been mention of War Torn being turned into film. Which is a nice bridge to all the other movie stuff.
You were in Cannes this year. What was the result apart from meeting Robert the Niro again.

AM: “I’ve got a couple of projects in pre production at the moment. We’ve got Echelon, the Nick Stone film which is coming along really well and there should be more exciting news on that before too long, and also Red Notice, featuring my new character Tom Buckingham. That is motoring and again, watch this space for announcements!” (GML: WE WILL, WE WILL!!)

GML: This new character ‘Tom Buckingham’, the lead in a new book ‘Red Notice’, which will be published in October…please tell us..Who is he?

AM: “Tom is a serving SAS soldier. He’s very different to Nick Stone in his upbringing, outlook and way he operates. Whereas I based Nick Stone loosely on myself (as everyone knows), Tom is based on a close friend of mine, someone I admired hugely. I will tell you more about this in the Autumn when the book comes out. The other big difference with Tom Buckingham is that I have changed my narrative structure with this book. Whereas the Nick Stone books are in the first person, ie you see everything happening through Nick’s eyes and if he can’t see it then you don’t know about it, I’m using the third person now so as well as seeing everything that Tom sees, we get to see what is going on elsewhere, what the ‘baddies’ are up to, how the politicians are handling the situation, it is more of a 360 narrative picture, I’m really enjoyed doing it.”

GML: And we will enjoy reading it! But now……The new Nick Stone novel has been postponed until next year. It’s obviously not really common knowledge yet since there haven’t been reports of riots in front of publisher Transworlds office. What’s going on??? Your fans are not pleased. One even wonders how to know it’s autumn this year!

AM: “Don’t worry, the new Nick Stone is coming out, I promise. I’ve more or less written it already! It is going to be called ‘Silencer’ I hope and it is set in Colombia and in Moscow, going back to some old operations and then bringing us up to date with Nick and the big changes that were just happening at the end of Dead Centre….

It just got pushed back to give more space to ‘Red Notice’ which people seem to be getting really excited about, which is all good.”

GML: Andy, as always we’d like to close our interview with a silly question. This time we’d like to know… you’ve been surfing quite a lot lately. Who can join you on your surfboard any time and why? (And please don’t say your neighbor Katie Price, as she’s capable of floating without a board.)

AM: “We’ve all seen the photos of Cameron Diaz on her surfboard…. But for someone slightly different, I gather Obama can surf. He grew up in Hawaii so should be able to! I’d quite like to go out surfing with him and chat about a few world policies!”

GML: Wow! Thank you so much for the interview again Andy and we’ll be looking forward to hearing from you again soon!!

Hope you all enjoyed! Happy Holiday Season!!
Lynn & Grey Man’s Land

Get Andy McNab’s Battle Lines now!