Just when you think they can’t do it again, they do it again. Our own Brian Andrews and Jeff Wilson, the #1 international bestselling co-authors of the Sons of Valor series and more, are back with FOUR MINUTES—another propulsive techno-thriller that asks the tantalizing question: Even if you know the future, is FOUR MINUTES enough time to change it? In this latest brilliant collaboration, Andrews and Wilson explore the nature of evil and the nuances of time, giving us a brave covert ops team that must navigate time travel to save the world—four minutes at a time. In this exclusive Career Author interview, Andrews and Wilson give us the inside story on this high-concept page-turner.

What’s the title of your book—and was that always the title?

The title of the book is FOUR MINUTES, and yes, it was most definitely always the title. In fact, the title begot the novel!

Fun story, FOUR MINUTES was born from a pitch for a streaming series we were hoping to develop with a pair of producers at Skydance Television. We were brainstorming a near future thriller with a time travel component that had the feel and propulsive energy of the hit TV series 24 with Kiefer Sutherland.

We don’t remember who, but one of us said: “Hey what if you could travel into the future, but you could only stay for a really short time—like four minutes—barely enough time to do anything? What would that look like and would it be useful?”

That simple premise was the seed of the entire novel.

Who’s the main character of your book—and was that always their name?

The main character is Tyler Brooks, a JSOC Navy SEAL and team leader who is recruited to lead an uber-secret, time-traveling counter-terrorism team called Task Force Omega. And yes, that was always his name.

At the start of the book, what’s the character’s goal?

At the beginning of the book, Tyler’s goal is simple: Stop terrorists before they can conduct attacks that hurt innocent people. As the plot unfolds, his goal morphs into finding and stopping a particular terror cell that not only is targeting innocents, but also Tyler’s family and Task Force Omega.

What was the core idea for this novel—a plot point? A theme? And where did it come from?

The core idea of this novel is born from the fallibility and uncertainty inherent to intelligence collection to support counter terrorism operations. In real life, intelligence gathering is a difficult and complex task. The information is often incomplete, hiding in plain sight, and/or full of red herrings. For example, after the towers fell on 9/11 the intelligence community found—in hindsight—that many clues were present indicating that the attack was going to happen, but that the pieces had simply not been put together.

But what if we’d had a crystal ball that would have allowed us to glimpse into the future and know that the towers would fall a month before the attack? In that case, the CIA, FBI, and military would have had four weeks to find and prosecute the terrorist before the attack, thereby preventing it. That’s the theme of FOUR MINUTES!

At what point did you come up with the final version of the first line? What is it?

The first line of the book is “Pat Moody sighed as he trudged down the wet grass between the perfectly symmetrical grave markers…”. That line was written during the rough draft phase and we kept it through edits because it’s a proper metaphor for one of the book’s themes.

Did you know the ending of the book when you started?

No, most definitely not. We didn’t figure out the ending until our second developmental edit pass. Turns out, time travel plots are hard to think of and execute well. Like, really friggin’ hard. It took us several iterations to land on an ending that we felt was realistic, satisfying, and surprising.

What’s something in this book that you’ve never done before?

We’ve never tackled time travel in a novel before. Since time travel is one of the most overbaked science fiction tropes, we knew we needed to bring something new and fresh to the table. Hopefully, the fans will agree that we succeeded in doing that in spades with this book!

What part of your tour (or launch week) are you most excited about?

Getting to download and listen to Ray Porter perform the audiobook edition! We have the world’s most talented voice actor performing this novel and for us, getting to listen to the book performed is more exciting than writing it.

Here’s the link for any of you audiobook junkies out there like us: FOUR MINUTES Audiobook

Who in your #WritingCommunity deserves a special shout-out for supporting you in writing this story? Why?

We dedicated FOUR MINUTES to Peter Johnson and Marcus Blakely (the two TV producers we mentioned earlier) because without them, we never would have hatched the idea or written the book. They’ve been champions of the concept and characters since day one.

How do you want readers to feel when they close the book? 

Great question…We want our readers to close the book and feel like they got the ultimate action vacation for their minds. As authors, we don’t sell books—we sell experiences. We sell escapism. We sell adventure from another person’s point of view. If a reader finishes FOUR MINUTES breathless, we did our job!!

What did you learn from this book? About writing, or life, or the writing life?

We learned that you have to trust the process. This novel didn’t come together until the very end when we were completely out of time and on the verge of throwing in the towel. But we didn’t, we kept after it, reworking and trying different angles until we found the antagonist and the ending we needed to make the story complete!

Learn more at Brian & Jeff’s website, and sign up for their newsletter here!

Navy veterans Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson (Andrews & Wilson) are the writing team behind the WSJ, Audible, and #1 Amazon bestselling TIER ONE series which has been optioned for television. Brian is a nuclear engineer and Park Leadership Fellow who served as an officer on a fast-attack submarine. Jeff is a vascular surgeon and jet pilot who conducted combat operations with an East Coast–based SEAL team and worked in covert government task forces.

They have 20+ published novels and have sold over a million copies across media channels. Their other works include the SONS OF VALOR series, the SHEPHERDS series, and ROGUE ASSET for the WEB Griffin estate. They have been tapped to write ACT OF DEFIANCE in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novel series by Penguin Random House. In addition to their novels, Andrews & Wilson has a half dozen original works in development for film and television with the following studios: Endeavor Content/Fifth Season, Imagine Entertainment, PictureStart, Skydance, Sony, and Walden Media.