Wild celebrations here at Career Authors! And in the center of the confetti and fireworks is our own incredible Brian  Andrews.

Let me tell you before I explain why we are celebrating, that Brian Andrews is one of the most authentically genuinely wonderful talented loving, and courageous people I have ever met. His biography is jaw-dropping, you can read it below. He is hilarious, inspirational, and incredibly hard-working. And such a terrific writer.

But Brian will be the first to tell you that he deserves only half the credit because he is a co-author with the equally talented and amazing Jeff Wilson. Together, they are Andrews & Wilson, the US Navy veteran writing duo that is on everyone’s radar in the military thriller genre. Their brand new book DEMPSEY is out this week, and now we are so thrilled to showcase their work. Who better to take us Behind the Pages than the dynamic duo themselves!

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

The title of the book is DEMPSEY, which is the surname of the series protagonist. It was interesting and unexpected when the idea came to us to “self-title” the book after the lead character. We simply didn’t even consider any other titles because this book—number seven in the series—is a transformational installment in the character’s journey and arc. He’s accepted a mission that takes him behind enemy lines, alone, in the most dangerous country on earth. His mission is virtually impossible and to succeed he must truly transform from the man he was into something much harder, colder, and more dangerous.

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

Ha! We already answered this question, but just because we told you his name, doesn’t mean there’s not more we can reveal here. John Dempsey was not always John Dempsey. Once upon a time, he was Senior Chief Jack Kemper, a JSOC Tier One Navy SEAL and platoon leader. A terrorist attack wiped out his entire unit and he was the lone survivor. To safeguard the lives of his wife and son, his death was faked and Jack Kemper was buried with his teammates in Arlington National Cemetery. After that, he got a new identity and joined a top-secret task force where he leads disavowed missions in denied areas around the globe.

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

Dempsey’s goal at the beginning of the book is the simplest and most primal of all goals—to survive. When we meet Dempsey, he’s a prisoner inside IK-2—Russia’s most notorious and punishing maximum security prison.

At the end of the last book in the series, Dempsey was safe and sound in Florida after a successful mission. In this book, we dump the reader into Dempsey’s horrifying predicament without explanation. Why is he in prison? Why is he in Russia? What is his mission? Has he been captured? If yes, has he been disavowed by his command and the country he loves and serves? We’ve never started a novel with so many unknowns and had our hero in the bleakest of bleak situations! The answers are both shocking and nerve-wracking.

4. 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 very simple: Should the world tolerate murderous dictators who’ve become heads of state by undemocratic means and through their hunger for power make the world a more dangerous and unstable place?

As of Feb 22, 2023, it’s estimated that over 200,000 soldiers and 30,000 innocent civilians have been killed in the Russia-Ukraine war. This war is the result of a single man’s hubris and lust for conquest, Vladimir Putin.

In real life, does one man deserve to have that autonomous power? Dempsey is a fictional story that is ambitious and bold enough to answer that question with a NO.

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

The first line is: “No matter what Elizabeth Grimes did, the hollowness refused to go away.”

The irony of the first line of DEMPSEY is that it describes someone else besides Dempsey. We know what you’re thinking, “Wow, what a missed opportunity, they titled the book DEMPSEY and weren’t even smart enough to write a powerful first line from his POV.” Ah, you’d be right to think that, but you’d also be mistaken!

We were very intentional about NOT having the opening line of the novel be from Dempsey’s POV. Why? Because we wanted to stretch the suspense. By giving the opening chapter to Dempsey’s friend and teammate, we establish that (a) Dempsey is missing, (b) has been missing for a long time, and (c) that his absence is felt deeply by those who care about him.

Then, when we meet Dempsey in Chapter Two, his dire circumstances hit home all the more powerfully for the reader.

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


Ironically, in every other novel that we’ve written to date, the answer to that question has been no. We’re not plotters. We don’t outline our books. We let the characters guide us as we write and the journey almost never ends up where we expected it to. This book is an exception. The premise of the novel is that America’s most lethal and talented covert operator has gone behind the Iron Curtain into Russia to facilitate the assassination of the Russian President. We knew whether Dempsey would succeed or fail before we’d typed a single word of prose.

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

We’ve never tackled a topic as controversial and audacious as regime change of a superpower nation—which is exactly what we did in DEMPSEY. The first question we ask is “is it wrong?” The next question is “if you answered yes, why is it wrong?” For all you deep thinkers out there take note—DEMPSEY is a thriller but a philosophical one: Do the ends justify the means when taking one life means safeguarding millions?

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

We did an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) event on Reddit/Books. It was our first AMA talking about DEMPSEY and the Tier One Series and our exciting news that we’ll be taking over the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan book series! The AMA had forty-three thousand views and lots of great questions. It’s fun interacting with readers in a forum format like that. Even though the event is over, you can still tune in and peruse it if you like.

LINK: Andrews & Wilson AMA

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

We dedicated DEMPSEY to Josh Stanton, the CEO of Blackstone Publishing. Not only did he acquire the series and give John Dempsey a new home, but he has supported us as storytellers and committed to building our brand like no publisher before. Josh is innovative and a leader who understands that Rome was not built in a day. In an industry where so many editors and publishers treat authors with a “one strike and you’re out” policy, we’re beyond grateful to be in a relationship with a publisher who is partnering with us for the long run.

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

Great question…We want our readers to close the book and say, “Damn, that was one helluva ride! I pray and hope there are real life John Dempsey”

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

We learned that in Russian, there are actually two words for truth: Pravda and Istina (relative truth and objective truth). In a propaganda state like modern Russia, the goal is to make you confused about which is which.

This idea of relative truth has recently infected American politics and the corrosive effects are everywhere. “I have my facts and you have your alternative facts” or better yet, “my truth is superior to your truth because I like mine more.”

We found this concept fascinating and we weave it idea into the very fabric of the plot. It’s a thread we introduce in the second chapter of the book and carries through to the end. If you want to learn how, well, guess. you’ll just have to read the book!

Stop by 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 the 24th installment 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.