Please join me in welcoming the author team of Andrews & Wilson to the blog to chat about their new thriller, Dark Intercept!
Andrews & Wilson is the bestselling writing team of Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson—the authors behind the Shepherds series, the Tier One and Sons of Valor series, and Rogue Asset, the ninth book in the W.E.B. Griffin Presidential Agent series. They write action-adventure and covert operations novels honoring the heroic men and women who serve in the military and intelligence communities.
Brian is a former submarine officer, entrepreneur, and Park Leadership Fellow with degrees from Vanderbilt and Cornell. Jeff worked as an actor, firefighter, paramedic, jet pilot, and diving instructor, as well as a vascular and trauma surgeon. During his fourteen years of service, Jeff made multiple deployments as a combat surgeon with an East Coast–based SEAL Team. Jeff now leads a men’s military ministry for a large church in Tampa.
SERIES: The Shepherds #1
GENRE: Inspirational Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: September 7, 2021
When dark forces rise, are faith and firepower enough?
On the eve of his medical retirement, Navy SEAL Jedidiah Johnson receives a frantic call from his estranged childhood best friend David Yarnell. David’s daughter has been kidnapped off the streets of Nashville in broad daylight. The police have no suspects and no leads. The only clue: the body of a dead priest left behind at the scene. With the clock ticking, David is growing desperate, as is his wife, Rachel . . . Jed’s first love.
Despite his painful history with David and Rachel, Jed agrees to help. But he’s spent his career as a door-kicking Navy SEAL, not an investigator. His presence immediately draws unwanted attention, creates friction with the local police, and triggers a mysterious attempt on his life. Just when he thinks things can’t get worse, it starts to happen again—the voices in his head, the nightmares, the visions. Dark memories and strange abilities, things he believed he’d left behind when he fled Nashville for the Navy at eighteen, begin to resurface.
Jed realizes that to save the missing girl, he must take a leap of faith and embrace the gifts he’s denied for all these years. To foil this dark intercept, he’ll need more than just his years as a SEAL operator, because he has no choice now but to take up arms and join the battle in the unseen spiritual warfare raging all around him. And there is far more at stake than just a missing girl: the world is not the place he thought it was—and he is not alone.
Follow the military heroes of The Shepherds series as they bring the power of light into the dark mystery of Sara Beth’s abduction.
Hello, gentlemen! Welcome to the blog!
Q: Dark Intercept is the first of three novels in the Shepherd series. Can you give us a brief overview of the series?
A&W: The Shepherds series follows Navy SEAL Jedidiah Johnson, a man haunted by a strange event in his youth that shook his faith and put his life on a new trajectory. Now medically retiring after an injury, he is called back into action when his estranged childhood best friend David reaches out for help in locating his kidnapped daughter, Sarah Beth. This begins Jedidiah’s journey into the world of spiritual warfare, fought in the shadows by the mysterious covert action unit known as the Shepherds. Dark Intercept kicks off an action-filled series that explores biblical concepts of spiritual warfare, good and evil, and crises in faith in a modern setting while beginning Jedidiah’s heroic journey to redemption.
Carrie: it sounds so intriguing!
Q: “Taken meets Stranger Things” and “supernatural thriller series with military elements” have been two phrases used to describe this series. Why are those great descriptive phrases?
A&W: Taken is the story of a man who is willing to risk everything and do anything to rescue his kidnapped daughter. In Dark Intercept, we find Jedidiah Johnson in a similar situation—except in Jed’s case, there’s a twist. Instead of setting out to rescue his own daughter, Jed agrees to rescue the daughter he wishes he’d had.
The Stranger Things mash-up is a super-fun and appropriate reference because just like in that series, in Dark Intercept, the reader quickly realizes there’s more going on than meets the eye in the streets of Nashville. Seemingly impossible supernatural occurrences are happening all around Jed, and the more he tries to deny them, the worse things get. An unseen battle is raging, and the players are engaged in spiritual warfare.
Carrie: I love the idea of that combination!
Q: You’re known for having coauthored the popular military series Tier One. Why will readers of the Tier One series enjoy the Shepherd series? What is different about the Shepherd series that fans will find surprising?
A&W: The Shepherds series incorporates all the thrilling elements our Tier One readers love and look forward to: covert operations intrigue, fast-paced action sequences, and nefarious plots carried out by bad guys who are as competent as they are vile. What sets this series apart from our previous work is a deeply personal spiritual component. Through the protagonist’s eyes, we tackle questions of faith and purpose. Like so many of our readers, our hero has regrets. He needs answers to questions that he’s too afraid to ask. He second-guesses the choices he’s made in his past, and the path forward he’s seeking is both unclear and frightening. To the world, he presents himself as a battle-hardened warrior who has it all figured out. But on the inside, our hero is racked with self-doubt. Like so many of us, he realizes he can’t figure it all out by himself, alone and in his own headspace. He needs help. He needs faith. He needs God.
Carrie: I personally feel that spiritual component makes the best characters!
Q: Where did the inspiration for this new series come from?
A&W: This series is one we’ve been kicking around for a while. Obviously the inspiration for the military and covert operations side of the story comes from our time in service and the real-life special operators we’ve had the honor to serve beside. Blending this with faith and biblical supernatural elements, however, is inspired to an extent by the same service. In our own lives and service, we’ve had to deal with burning questions about the nature of God, His role in the world and our lives, good and evil, and supernatural, spiritual warfare the Bible tells us rages around us every day.
Jeff’s opportunity to lead a men’s military ministry for a large church further inspired both of us as we worked through the issues with veterans and active-duty service members struggling with the same questions.
Carrie: such an important ministry and such vital questions to wrestle through…
Q: Along those lines, why do you think this novel may be especially important for members of men’s ministries?
A&W: We believe very strongly that frank discussions of faith crisis and about what God does (and doesn’t) promise in His Word are of paramount importance in men’s ministry. This equips men for the future as much as it helps deal with the past. We are all either in crisis, recovering from crisis, or have a crisis in our future. That is the reality of faith in a fallen world. We also believe strongly that biblical principles of good and evil and spiritual warfare, because of their controversial nature, are underdiscussed in ministry in general and men’s ministry in particular. As military men, we know that you can’t defeat an enemy you don’t take time to understand, and the very same principle must be applied to dealing with these issues in our faith. The Scripture is a major component of the armor of God we are called upon to wear, as Christian men, in Ephesians 6.
Carrie: “we know that you can’t defeat an enemy you don’t take time to understand” – i love that perspective!
Q: So we know that male readers will enjoy this series, but it’s mostly women around here… why do you think female readers will enjoy it?
A&W: Over the years, we were delighted to find that our novels have always resonated with an unexpectedly large number of women readers. One reason is that there is much more crossover of genre between men and women now than in the past and there is a huge population of female thriller readers. We also have always worked to place strong female characters into all our stories, as this accurately reflects the world we live in. In the case of the Shepherds series, we also have the universally accessible themes of crisis, faith, loss, and the nature of evil that we hope will resonate with everyone.
Carrie: As one of those female thriller readers I am looking forward to reading it 🙂
Q: Which character in Dark Intercept was your favorite to write? Why?
A&W: Our protagonist Jedidiah Johnson was thrilling to write. Our shared military service gives us a certain kinship with Jed. At the same time, there were periods of struggle where the personal and spiritual issues Jed wrestles with in the story also happen to hit very close to home for us. Jedidiah is a warrior in spirit and deed, but he struggles with the same questions of faith and purpose that so many Americans do. He wants to find answers to those things creating uncertainty and confusion in his life, but for too long he’s been afraid to ask the hard questions. Looking in the mirror can be a challenge, especially when what you see in the reflection makes you uncomfortable. We think everyone can relate to that.
Carrie: very true!
Q: Which character was the most difficult to write? Why?
A&W: Writing Sarah Beth Yarnell tested our storytelling chops. It’s a challenge to find a realistic voice for younger characters and finding an authentic voice for our twelve-year-old heroine was no small endeavor. Ultimately the task was made easier by the fact that we both have daughters about Sarah Beth’s age—daughters who are strong young ladies and girls of faith. By putting ourselves in Sarah Beth’s shoes and trying to channel the courage necessary to survive her ordeal, we found the inspiration to write her story.
Carrie: I love that you used your #girldad experiences to help write Sarah Beth’s character 🙂
Q: When readers turn the last page of Dark Intercept, how do you hope they feel? What new idea or lesson do you hope they carry with them?
A&W: First, we want you to be breathless from what we hope is an exciting ride—Dark Intercept is written to be an action thriller novel. But we hope the reader also walks away inspired to find hope and answers to some of their own spiritual warfare and faith crisis questions as they get an intimate view of Jedidiah’s struggles for those answers.
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of Dark Intercept to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Dark Intercept by Andrews & Wilson?