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!

2011
31.08

The Third Chiswick Book Festival takes place from September 16th to 18th 2011. Make a weekend of it, at St Michael & All Angels, Chiswick House and the Tabard Theatre! And don’t forget – entries for the Young People’s Poetry Competition close on August 31st….

Once again we have an exciting lineup of speakers, including: Michael Morpurgo (Warhorse, Shadow, Little Manfred), Kate Mosse (Labyrinth, Sepulchre, The Winter Ghosts),
Daisy Goodwin (My Last Duchess), Rosamund Lupton (Afterwards), Andy McNab (War Torn and Dead Centre), and many more!

There are events for most tastes, including a Children’s Book Festival.

The 2011 Festival is based in St Michael & All Angels Church & Parish Hall, with some events taking place in the Tabard Theatre, Bath Road.

The Chiswick Book Festival is a non-profit-making, community event. The previous two Festivals raised over £11,000.

Go to the Chiswick Book Festival website for more information

Programme Saturday Afternoon
Saturday Day Pass – £5

Tickets will go on sale from Saturday August 27th at:
Waterstone’s (1st Floor)
220-226 Chiswick High Road
London W4 1PD
Tel: 020 8995 3559
or via Advance Booking Form

5.45pm Andy McNab: War Torn and Dead Centre (requires individual ticket!!)

The latest book by the best-selling author of Bravo Two Zero, War Torn traces one platoon’s experience of warfare in the 21st Century. Packed with high-octane excitement, it also explores the impact of war’s aftershocks upon the soldiers and those who love them. On September 15th, his latest Mark Stone book is published – Dead Centre. And in October, Andy McNab publishes Battlefield 3: The Russian, a novel based on the game Battlefield 3, on which he is a creative advisor.
Please note: photography is not permitted at this event.

# Please note: the printed leaflet incorrectly says admission for this event is by Saturday Day Pass. We apologise for the error.

2010
06.10

Last week proved a strong one for Transworld who secure five of the Top 10 positions in the Official UK Top 50. As well as Lee Child and Paul O’Grady, its books by Jilly Cooper, Dan Brown and Andy McNab are also among the top 10 bestsellers. It is the first time a publisher has had five of the top 10 bestselling books in a single week since Little, Brown achieved the feat in January last year.

Source: The Bookseller

2010
27.09

Well finally got this in English for you! It’s a bit more extended than the Dutch version since I wanted to give you the exact text. So it took some time but hope you enjoy. This is just the part about the book ‘War Torn’ – now working on all the other things we talked about like Zero Hour, the Nick Stone movie ‘Echelon’, charity work etc… so.. ‘to be continued’ 🙂

Go here to read Grey Man’s Land’s interview with Andy McNab – Part 1: About ‘War Torn’ (English version!)

2010
21.09

As I’m still working on the interview with Andy (sorry, got a day job too), here’s a report from one of our contributors. Andy was at the National Army Museum in London on the 15th this month, for one of his popular talks. Thanks Gary!!

Chelsea, London 18.45 hours.

I jump out the Taxi excited and ready for Andy McNab’s second talk at the National Army Museum in London. The shop is already packed with people and I make a dash to the stack of ‘Worn Torn’ books. I need something for Andy to sign!
On the way back I notice my wife talking to Bear Grylls, the star or Born Survivor. McNab has celebrity fans it seems!

Andy starts his talk to a packed hall with a outline of his career in the army. From Green Jacket boy soldier to selection and his time in the SAS. He seems keen to talk about the education of young soldiers in the UK forces. This has been a theme of both of Andy’s talks and it is clearly something he is passionate about.

He then talks about the work he has done since the army, in the private sector, on movies and writing books.

He opens it up to the audience to ask questions.

There are a couple of ex servicemen who are interested in the amount of people applying for the armed forces, and the quality. Andy answers saying there are record amounts of recruits and that although the media doesn’t say, a lot of men want to go to Afgan to fight and enjoy it. The start fitness is often poor but they are soon trained to a good standard fitness, a standard which Andy says, never changes.

Andy talked about the private military companies and their drain in the special forces soldiers from the British Army. Often now, people are being encouraged to stay in the forces, the money often isn’t as good as it’s reported and companies are businesses and they are focussed on making money. Often using British soldiers to train men from Commonwealth countries as this is a cheaper option.

There was a very funny moment when Andy said that the Army has done a deal, rather than having free postage from home, the soldiers have free internet Wi Fi. Given the choice, soldiers would much rather have porn then sweaty Mars Bars!

A young man asked how difficult it is to get into the SAS and how quickly you would be on covert ops. Andy said the standards are so high, only maybe 10 people would make it out of 200. Sometimes there are none that make the standard. However, should you pass, you would be on covert ops straight away as that is what the SAS are all about. He said the young man should try.

Finally Andy talked about his efforts with the government to get ex-soldiers into work after the army. They have good skills, great work ethic and experience and that can be transfered into the public sector. Sainsbury’s is the latest to offer manager jobs in their stores to ex-servicemen.

As I made way to the shop for my book signing I thought about Andy being in the Air Troop and decided to ask him when was the last time he jumped out of a aeroplane. This summer he grinned! In Switzerland. He signed my book and I was off.

Another fantastic night with a proper SAS hero!

Gary Curtis
UK

2010
10.09

* Go here to read the English version

Naar aanleiding van de publicatie van Andy McNab’s  ‘De Afghanistan-Missie’ – de Nederlandse vertaling van War Torn – was Andy in Nederland voor interviews… en Grey Man’s Land was erbij!!

Dankzij de lieve dames van Uitgeverij AW Bruna  mocht ik Andy ‘ergens in Amsterdam’ interviewen. Gewassen en gestreken – en met knikkende knieën – was ik ruimschoots op tijd (lees: natuurlijk veel te vroeg, kon niet wachten!) op de afgesproken plaats. Hier kon ik me onder het genot van een luxe kopje thee nog even mentaal voorbereiden. Aan mijn flank mijn persoonlijke bodyguard, want je weet tenslotte maar nooit. Je gaat toch een hooggetrainde elite soldaat ontmoeten, met dodelijke handen – danwel ogen!

En dan is ie daar… Eerste indruk: Over zijn fameuze blauwe ogen is geen woord gelogen!

Ik krijg een stevige handdruk en een brede lach: al zou het gesprek de mist in gaan (hij zal toch onderhand wel vermoeid zijn na twee dagen gedwongen binnen zitten?) mijn dag kan niet meer stuk!!  Wat verder opvalt is dat hij zo levendig, vriendelijk en correct overkomt.  En van een eventuele vermoeidheid laat hij niks merken. Twee dagen interviews krijgen hem niet in de stress.
Ach natuurlijk niet… het is Andy McNab!

Een prachtige locatie, omringd door honderden boeken en een prettig gezelschap.. wat wil een mens nog meer!! Uiteindelijk heb ik bijna anderhalf uur met Andy mogen kletsen. Dat wil zeggen… hij kletste en ik knikte, hummde en noteerde.

Meer dan eens een klaterende lach en heel veel woorden. Vooral over het boek  ‘De Afghanistan Missie’ dat hij schreef in samenwerking met Kym Jordan. Maar we spraken ook over de Nick Stone film ‘Echelon’, ForceSelect, het regisseren van ‘De Jonge Soldaat’ (Boy Soldier) en natuurlijk over de nieuwe Nick Stone ‘Zero Hour’ die in november (in het Engels) gepubliceerd wordt. En nog veel meer.

Andy geeft heel uitgebreid antwoord op alle vragen. Ik neem graag voor lief dat daardoor niet al mijn vragen beantwoord zijn. Dat ligt tenslotte ook zeker aan de hoeveelheid vragen die ik op papier had staan. Tja.. als het om Andy gaat willen we gewoon alles weten! Gelukkig krijg ik de belofte de overige vragen later dit jaar te mogen stellen. ‘To be continued’ zullen we maar zeggen! Jippie!!

Goed nieuws voor Nederland: in februari 2011 wordt door Uitgeverij Bruna de Nederlandse vertaling van ‘Exit Wound’ gepubliceerd, onder de naam ‘Oorlogswond’ . En dan gelijk in mei daarna is de Nederlandse vertaling van ‘Zero Hour’ gepland (titel nog onbekend). De fans van Andy McNab worden door Bruna in de watten gelegd.

En dan nog een klein tipje van de ‘Zero Hour’ sluier: Na alle plaatsen die Nick Stone al bezocht heeft doet hij in deel 13 eindelijk Amsterdam aan! Die Balaclava in de Amsterdamse haven was Andy McNab op verkenning!

Natuurlijk was Andy ook genegen om mijn vers-van-de-pers exemplaar van ‘De Afghanistan-Missie’ te signeren. Wat hij erin geschreven heeft houd ik lekker voor mezelf maar ik kan je wel vertellen… ik was zeer vereerd!!

Nu de taak om het interview uit te werken, nog een aardige klus maar ik doe mij best!! Dus tot gauw.. enneh..heel veel dank aan Uitgeverij Bruna en natuurlijk aan Andy McNab voor een geweldige ontmoeting…. you’re the best!