Four Minutes by Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson is a new techno-thriller series.  It is different than most futuristic novels in that it does not alter the timeline completely as in the first Superman movie when Lois Lane lived instead of died.

The premise allows for intelligence gathering in the future to be used in the present to prevent an event from happening. Pat Moody leads a new elite squad, Task Force Omega to jump into the future for a short period of time, four minutes.

Another of their books is a Tom Clancy novel, Act of Defiance, to be published in May. It is a sequel of sorts to The Hunt for Red October. Instead of Jack Ryan trying to stop a Russian rogue submarine, it is daughter Katie who must put the pieces together. 

As with all their series, Andrews and Wilson never seem to disappoint their readers.  The plots are riveting and action-packed with premises that are mind boggling. Suspense is ratcheted up and the characters are compelling.

Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for Four Minutes?

Brian Andrews/Jeffrey Wilson: It will probably be a limited series but is open ended right now. We like our stories to start with these ‘what if’ questions. Both of us have backgrounds with the military and other government services. What if someone had a crystal ball to look into the future that can say what can happen?  For example, what if days beforehand people knew about 9/11?  Then we tied it to the cover Special Forces grounded in real math and physics. We did not want it to be a sci-fi book but rather a techno-thriller.

EC:  What about the premise?

If someone could look forward and anticipate consequences then in the present it is possible to act. It is about gaining intelligence and coming back to the present to stop the event. They do not get a do over and do not know if the mission will really work. This technology could be invented soon. The questions we want to ask: can there be technology that goes into the near future; if so, how could someone manipulate it; what would the limits be?  We put these limits where the team could go into the future 28 days and only stay for four minutes. They must use that information in the present to solve the problem.

EC:  What did you mean by the book quote, “everyone wants to see us fail?”

BA/JW: It was not meant to target a real-world administration or political organization. Yet, the powers external to the US: China, Russia, and Iran, want to see us fail.  They want to tear us down piece by piece, trying to destroy us from within, and trying to destroy us from outside. America needs to be united because when we are divided, we are weak, and our enemies realize it. They cannot beat us in the Cold War, economically, and militarily so they are trying philosophically and politically.

EC:  How would you describe Moody?

BA/JW:  Confident, charming, smooth, secretive, and the rest of the team do not trust him. When we first started writing him, we were not sure if he was a bad guy or good guy. He is apologetic for lying to his team, but not when it will help them complete the mission, safeguarding the country. He sees the need to make compromises and hard choices.

EC:  Is this where your personal experiences come in?

BA/JW:  Yes.  This is what it is like when in command.  Some people must put themselves in danger. Brian says, for instance, as a submarine officer, I had to wear a radiation monitor. This team is making a big physical sacrifice. Our combined military service is what drives the engine of a lot of our work including the missions.

EC: Can you describe each member of the team starting with Tyler?

BA/JW: Man of action, direct, and intuitive. He embodies the Special Operations officer being dedicated and committed. He is a natural leader and motivator. He is like Dempsey in our “Tier One series.”  He has courage, honor, and integrity.

EC:  Zee?

BA/JW: She is a perfectionist and takes her intelligence analyst role very seriously. She feels as an outsider.  Moody wants her to be a “spy.”  She immediately tells Tyler because she wants to be a part of the team, not considered an outsider.  Zee is the moral compass, the emotional glue, to keep the team grounded and not dysfunctional.

EC:  Ben, Martin, Stan, and Adela?

BA/JW:  We wanted to create a colorful cast. They are all dynamic.  Stan is the fact checker and the researcher. Ben is the optimist.  Adela is the Devil’s Advocate.

EC:  Not harping on the math and physics but what is Spooky Time?

BA/JW:  Conservation of time. When the team jumps the present is still moving by four minutes.  When they return from their jump, they will always return to the present four minutes after they left. But what if they jumped two minutes into the future?  The present would have moved by four minutes. We put in the Einstein quote, “The past, present, and future is an illusion.”  There is a diagram in the book that explains it.    

EC:  You are now writing Tom Clancy novels so can you talk a little about your premise in Act of Defiance? This book was “Clancyesque.”

BA/JW: This, our first installment in the Clancy Universe come on the 40th Anniversary of The Hunt for Red October. We feel Tom Clancy invented the techno-thriller genre with that book. We are updating this story with the new technology and the new warriors.

EC: Were you able to use “real life” military technology?

BA/JW: The navy gave us unprecedented access to the modern submarine force. We were able to go on the USS Indiana, a Virginia class submarine, and toured the Black Fish. We were able to see what a day is like for this current submarine officer. We are indebted to the navy and the admiral in charge of the submarine force. The US Navy should have been listed as a co-author since they supported this project.

EC: Do you agree that the Russian submarine captain, Ramius, would not have been able to disappear today considering social media and drones?

BA/JW: We agree completely.  This is why we went in another direction.  Konstantin, the new Russian submarine captain, has motivations completely different and far more dangerous.

EC:  You included that very famous scene, getting Jack Ryan on the submarine, only this time it was his daughter Katie. Please explain.

BA/JW: This scene was not in the book but was in the movie. We wanted to play homage to the book and the movie by picking out some key, super cool incidents that we wanted to replicate in this story. This was an iconic scene in the film. We used a tightrope to put just enough of the nostalgia without alienating people who never read the book or saw the movie.

EC:  How would you describe Katie, the female Jack Ryan?

BA/JW: This series has two dozen books.  She is an original character, but readers do not know much about her.  We can build up her character. Katie is sensitive, confident, thoughtful, analytical, and she has studied Konstantin just as her father studied Ramius in the first book.  She is literally Jack Ryan’s DNA because she is his daughter, very similar to her dad.  Yet, she does not see it. Just like the hilarious commercial that says, ‘you turned into your parents.’

EC:  How would you describe Konstantin?

BA/JW: A warrior, stoic, unyielding, motivated, tenacious, and is a Russian patriot who hates America. He is also an angry guy and bitter about his father’s past, his wife’s illness, and his own disease. He is seeking vengeance and is self-destructive.

EC:  Next book?

BA/JW:  The next Four Minutes Book is dependent on the screenplay because it is optioned for television or the movies. Since the first book is left with a cliffhanger our intention is to figure out what happens to Moody and some of the other characters.     

The next Clancy book is titled, Defense Protocol, coming out in November/December of this year. The plot has a what if with China making moves on Taiwan.  Katie is trying to prevent having American and China in a shooting war.

The next “Tier One” book is titled Ember, coming out in July of next year.  John Dempsey is back with his team. But the team must handle another new threat.  There will be more of the team dynamics.

Sons Of Valor IV will come out in summer of 2025.  It has not been written yet.




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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.