Tuesday 16th March 2010

Best-selling action author and former Bravo Two Zero commander, Andy McNab, met hundreds of students during a visit to a Stourport school.

The decorated ex-member of the SAS was at Stourport High School and VIth Form Centre to launch his latest book, Dropzone , set around his hobby of skydiving.

He talked to students from years nine,10, 11 and 12 along with more than 400 students from 10 other secondary schools, including King Charles I School in Kidderminster and The Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre.

Julie Benkwitz, school librarian, said: “The atmosphere was electric as Andy shared some of his amazing life experiences with them, which ranged from his various missions during the Gulf War to his love of skydiving.

“Then the students had a wonderful opportunity to ask Andy any questions that they wanted. The hall was buzzing after the talk as the students eagerly queued up waiting to have their books signed and to have the opportunity to meet and chat with Andy.”

Students from Stourport High also interviewed Mr McNab as part of the BBC School Report project.

They discussed his time in juvenile detention and how he joined the infantry in 1976, as well as his 10 years service in B Squadron 22 SAS.

During that time, Mr McNab worked on both covert and overt special operations worldwide, including anti-terrorist and anti-drug operations in the Middle and Far East, South and Central America and Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland he spent two years working as an undercover operator, resulting in him having to keep his identity hidden.

Gulf War patrol Bravo Two Zero was the most decorated patrol since the Boer War and Mr McNab was the British Army’s most decorated serving soldier when he left the SAS in February, 1993.

The interview with him from the school visit is available both on the BBC website and on the school’s website, at shs.worcs.sch.uk

Source: Kidderminster Shuttle news


Times Online
March 8, 2010

The shadowy world of Andy McNab

He’s the SAS soldier turned bestselling author, and hero to every boy in Britain: but he has never revealed his identity

Next time you’re sitting on a London bus or a Tube train, take a good look at the man sitting next to you because it might just be Andy McNab, one of Britain’s biggest selling authors. His Boy Soldier series has teenagers hanging off his every word — but readers don’t know what he looks like.

Andy McNab isn’t even his real name — it’s a pseudonym.

“I like it because you get the best of both worlds,” says McNab. “I love my Oyster card and go everywhere by Tube. I’ve met people in the limelight and they can’t go shopping or go anywhere by public transport. I can get on with life.”

McNab worked on intelligence-gathering missions as a soldier in Northern Ireland years ago, so if his identity were revealed he and others could be in danger. Writing under a false name can have its funny side. “I once met myself,” says McNab with a laugh. “My wife and I were in a pub and we met a man who said he was Andy McNab. I didn’t let on, of course, and he even bought me a drink!”

McNab’s new book for younger readers is Drop Zone (Doubleday, £10.99 in hardback), a thriller about a teenage boy who gets hooked on the adrenaline rush of skydiving. It’s a subject close to McNab’s heart: he has done about 1,400 skydives as a soldier and skydiving is one of his favourite sports.

The book is filled with nailbiting drama and hard-hitting action, but the author has no doubt that his readers can handle it. “Young people are switched on and you can’t patronise them. Twelve-year-olds are watching the news and programmes such as EastEnders that have their fair share of violence,” he says.

But for McNab, Drop Zone is about more than thrills and spills. When he joined the infantry at 16, he discovered that he had a reading age of 11 — and now he hopes to get every boy in Britain into books, so they don’t find themselves in the same position.

“For me, getting into education was an uphill struggle,” says McNab, who was found abandoned on the steps of a hospital as a baby and adopted. “But once I got it, I realised how important numeracy and literacy are. You need to be able to read, no matter what you’re going to do. Even if you want to be a fantastic footballer like David Beckham, you’ll be given these contracts that are three or four hundred pages long. And if you can’t understand them, you’ll end up opening a Tesco’s every Saturday.”

And with that, Andy McNab slips off into the crowds, anonymous and free as a bird.

Source: Times Online


Caught in the Crossfire:
Win a Sony Playstation 3 and copies of DropZone!

DropZone  is the first book in a brand-new series from SAS covert ops commander Andy McNab, set in the adrenaline-fuelled world of skydiving.

To celebrate the publication of this book, we are giving one lucky person the chance to win a Sony Playstation 3 and there are also copies of the book for 10 runners up!

Go here to enter the competion on the Caught in the Crossfire website (competition ends on March 1st)


Despite being quite busy in Hollywood, Andy McNab was kind enough to take what time he could out of his schedule to chat with greymansland.com about Exit Wound, Dropzone, and of course the rumoured ‘Echelon’ movie deal. Transcript below:

GML: Many critics and fans have called Exit Wound the best Nick Stone novel yet. We know that when writing fiction, you are often inspired by real events. Can you tell us more about the background behind Exit Wound’s story-line?
Andy McNab: Great news to hear that Exit Wound is so well liked. The whole idea was based around a story that came out of ‘rumour control’. The story was that Saddam had these two huge golden doors made for his palace in Basra and that they never got delivered from Dubai because of the war. I first heard this story when I was at Basra Palace in 2007. I was visiting 2 Rifles who were the last infantry battalion to stay for the whole six-month tour in the city. The battalion was full of rumours about hidden gold within the palace compound. There were more holes in the ground from the lads digging than there was from the rocket and mortar attacks. After that trip it was really playing with the idea using a people that have spent years talking about how best to rob banks and more importantly how to get away with it. Julian, Red Ken and Dex are based on mates from the regiment that I’ve known for over 20 years. They are just as smooth, stupid and serious as they are in the book.

GML: What places did you visit to research Exit Wound? Usually these places don’t seem to be the regular tourist areas; any interesting anecdotes from your latest trips to the dodgier side of town?
Andy McNab: I was very lucky with Exit Wound as they weren’t too many recces to carry out. I know Dubai quite a while and have spent some time in Russia. In fact I was due to go last summer with my daughter who has become quite friendly with a Russian friend of mine. He called me from Moscow three days before we were due to leave to say he had some bad news. I thought it was about his wife who was due to have a baby within the next month. However he was phoning from his hospital bed after being shot in a Moscow hotel. He was more concerned about my daughter meeting up with his as they were really looking forward to it. Our parting words were ‘maybe next year.’

GML: You are a big supporter of one of our favourite charities, Talking2Minds. What attracted you to Talking2Minds? Do you feel, with the additional publicity of late, things are starting to change when it comes to PTSD?
Andy McNab: I met the lads from Talking2Minds at a PTSD conference where I was giving the opening address. I think the way they are tackling the problem is fantastic and they are getting some great results. Things are starting to change both in the perception the public has about soldiers with PTSD, and the way we are dealing with the problem . I am helping out on a project that is being run by the head of army psychiatry and hopefully the project should be out in the public domain early next year. One thing that is clearly come out this project so far is that the vast majority of soldiers, sailors and airmen who leave the armed services do very well back in the real world. That’s good for two reasons and the main one is that we can concentrate on the minority of people who really need help.

GML: What’s the status for ‘Echelon’, the Nick Stone movie based on Firewall, these days?
Andy McNab: All looking good. What I have learnt during this process is that on average film costing $70m takes about 11 years to get up and running. We’re at the stage now where contracts are signed but there are more Chiefs than Indians running around saying what they want done. However, the script is now finished and so…

GML: Dropzone: Bk.1, your new novel for the youth market, was just released. Your ‘Boy Soldier‘ youth series was written with a co-writer (Robert Rigby). Why no co-writer this time, and what differences might we see with you as the only writer?
Andy McNab: I thought I would just give it a go. Whilst collaborating on the Boy Ssoldier series it became very evident to me that there is no difference between writing adult and teenage fiction. Of course, there are restrictions on profanity, and the fact that a teenager cannot actually kill anybody. But apart from that, there is nothing different, a story is a story. I’m hoping that the style Drop Zone is written in works that adult readers as well.

GML: Finally, Andy, what’s the best joke you ever heard in your entire military career?
Andy McNab: Nope, not gonna tell you!

GML: Thank you very much indeed for your time and best wishes from all of your fans here at greymansland.com

It’s always an honour, a pleasure, and a laugh to hear from Andy. Read more Andy McNab Interviews.


Though it won’t be officially released for another two (long) days, Andy McNab’s Dropzone: Bk. 1 is practically guaranteed a place on the bestsellers list. Not only is it following close on the heels of the critically-acclaimed Exit Wound, but it’s McNab’s first new novel for the youth market since Meltdown, and the web has been abuzz with teens talking about this new series.
Andy McNab's Dropzone: Bk. 1Fans of The Grey Man should enjoy Dropzone as well — Greymansland.com talked to three independent booksellers in the U.K., and they all reported that adults are looking forward to Dropzone just as much as the youths are. With Andy McNab writing solo on this series, it’s believed that we might see more of the “edginess” of his Nick Stone novels in Dropzone than we did in the Boy Soldier series.
Dropzone: Bk. 1 should be a big win for Andy McNab as well as his fans. Be sure to order Dropzone: Bk. 1 now and be among the first to experience McNab’s latest thrill ride!
Update: Another glowing Dropzone review has hit the web, this time from a Doncaster Air Cadet.


Andy McNab's Dropzone

Ethan Blake is seventeen and desperate to escape from his dead-end life. When he sees someone B.A.S.E. jump from the top of his block of flats, it changes the way he sees the world for ever. Soon, Ethan is caught up in the adrenaline-fuelled world of skydiving. He’s a natural, so it’s no surprise when he’s invited to join an elite skydive team, but is he signing up for more than just jumping out of planes? The team’s involved in covert military operations – missions that require a special kind of guts, missions so secret even MI5 denies all knowledge.

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Doubleday & Co Inc. (4 Feb 2010)
ISBN-10: 0385617100