Episode 333 Jeff Wilson From the Battlefield to the Page Transcript

This transcript is from episode 333 with guest Jeff Wilson.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Jeffrey Wilson. Uh, Jeff is one of, one half of the writing duo, Andrews and Wilson, who have more than 25 published novels and sold millions of copies of their work. Uh, Jeff is also a vascular surgeon and a jet pilot who conducted combat operations with an East Coast based SEAL team.

And somehow he’s found time to join us on the show today. So welcome to the show, Jeff. I’m really glad to have you here.

Jeff Wilson: Well, thanks for having me, man. It’s a, it’s a good pleasure.

Happy to do it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. So for the listeners who aren’t familiar with you and in your background, uh, could you tell us a

little bit about yourself? [00:01:00]

Jeff Wilson: Uh, yeah. So, uh, as you said, I’m the, I’m the most important half of the Andrews and Wilson team since Brian’s not here. I get to say that. Um, so Brian and I started writing together about a decade ago. Uh, and we were drawn to each other because we’re both military veterans. So, uh, I’m a Navy veteran as is Brian.

Brian was a submarine officer. I was a combat surgeon initially, a first team surgeon with the Marines and then, uh. fell through some dark bunny hole and wound up, uh, as a combat surgeon with the JSOC SEAL team. Uh, and so I did a number of deployments with them and, uh, then later wound up at a joint counter terror task force.

Uh, so yeah, kind of a weird. A weird background for a surgeon. But, um, what we’ve done is since then is, uh, come together and write. I’ve always written, you know, there’s a lot of people like, Oh, you were a pilot and then you were a doctor and like, you know, and then you were in the, how does all that, how do you become a writer from that?

The bottom line is. A writer is what [00:02:00] I’ve always been. I published my first short story when I was like 14. Um, so as I’ve gone from career to career, and yes, my mom does say I can’t keep a job, um, as I’ve done that, I’ve always written. That’s the one sort of thread through my whole life, is the writing part of it.

So, uh, writing has always been a part of my life, even as I’ve moved from weird job to weird

job, so.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, I, I think it actually, uh, makes a little bit of sense here because you’re writing, you know, as a writer, you’re always looking for, you know, what’s that next thing I’m going to write about? And based on the career that we just talked about, I mean, we didn’t get obviously into the details, you certainly have some stuff to write about and it gives you a little, little fodder for Uh, for the next book, the next iteration of whatever it is that you might be doing.

Um, you know, between being a surgeon and working with the SEAL teams and, and all this other stuff that you have participated in, um, got to imagine there’s, there’s quite a bit going on there that, that kind of influenced the work that

you later [00:03:00] on we’re writing about, right?

Jeff Wilson: Oh, 100%. Yeah, well, if nothing else, it saves a little time on research, right? We got a plane scene. Oh, I got that. Oh, we got medical. I

got that. So,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Right. Exactly.

Jeff Wilson: is, Brian’s a psychologist turned nuclear engineer. So he’s a weird, eclectic guy too. So we’ve got him for the character stuff and all the engineering stuff.

And yeah, it’s, um, it’s, it saves a little time, saves a little time on, on

Google. I can tell you.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, for sure. And I, and I love the, although it probably was a long way to get there, all the schooling and everything. It’s probably like net. If you looked at the overall picture, it probably didn’t actually save time, but, but now that you have it, it’s in your background, right? Um, it, it definitely will accelerate things going forward.

But, um, you know, I love hearing the different backgrounds of people, especially, um, you know, someone with, uh, such a wide range of things, you know, between a pilot and surgeon and, uh, you know, all this stuff, like just. To me, it’s just interesting to see how all those pieces come together.

In a startling description, the [00:04:00] UN food chief warn the world with the words knocking on famines door. He called what we’re facing a perfect storm of a perfect storm. And he’s not alone. Baron’s published that a food shortage could be coming even in the U S and farmers see it too. John Boyd Jr. A fourth generation farmer told Fox news that we’re going to see empty food shells in the coming months. That’s why getting survival food is more important than ever now. Create your own stockpile of the bestselling 4Patriots survival food kits. It’s not ordinary food. We’re talking good for 25 years. Super survival food. It’s hand packed in a family owned facility in the USA, and it gives jobs over 200 Americans. They have different delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. And you can make these meals in less than 20 minutes. Just add boiling water, simmer and serve. And right now for the next few days, listers of Drive On will get 10% off their first order at 4Patriots.com by using code Drive On. Just go to [00:05:00] 4Patriots.com and use code Drive On to start your stockpile today.

Um, now tell us a little bit more about the work that you did in the Navy, um, and, and how you, um, uh, kind of got to where

where you were.

Jeff Wilson: Sure. I mean, I guess starting with how I went from one thing to another. So I had, um, I had joined the Navy originally to be, uh, to be a fighter pilot and, um, wound up getting in a motorcycle accident barely very, very early in that pathway. And, um, was sent home. I thought under the assumption that I would then heal up and return, uh, but, uh, the Graham Rudman cuts there just to date myself, how old I am, but the Graham Rudman cuts were in effect and, uh, they had more aviators in the pipeline than jobs for them.

So, Uh, I was given the opportunity to stay in the Navy or get out, uh, but I couldn’t be a pilot, um, so I got out and I wound up flying civilian and I worked for a government [00:06:00] agency in that interim because I just had this, I always had this drive to serve, um, From my parents, I suppose. So I worked in another part of the federal government for a while.

And from that, I decided, you know what, I think I just want to live a life of peace and a little less violence. And so I went to medical school to become a vascular surgeon. And honestly, at that time, like that’s all I wanted to do. I just wanted to do, I wanted to be an academic surgeon. I wanted to write papers and do research, do surgery.

Um, I joined the Naval reserves, that same. Kind of drive to serve was still there, but I was like, I’ll be a reservist and do the weekend warrior thing and having a civilian career. And I was sort of finishing up my training when the, when those insane people crashed planes into the tower in the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

And honestly, it just pissed me off. So, um, I reached out to my detailer and said, I want to go on active duty. And he was like, Oh, I’ll get you mobilized. So I was like, no, no, you’re not, you’re not following me. [00:07:00] Like I had a regular commission. I want to, I want to transition back to active duty. So they arranged that.

And shortly after that, I deployed with. with the Marines. And while I was downrange with the Marines doing that tour, uh, I ran into some folks from my spooky past and they were like, Oh, can you come do this thing with us? So I went and did a thing with them. And, um, later they said, you know, we know who you should work for.

And then I got recruited too. To go over to this other side of the community and, um, served with some of the greatest people I’ve, I’ve ever met in my life. And there’s no question that that inspires the work. There’s no question. Um, you know, we write a lot about special operations and covert operations and, um, What we try to do, uh, almost desperately is to honor the folks that we both know and have served with, um, and, and memorialize those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

So we try not to do the, you know, the superhero impenetrable, you know what I mean? The guy

that just

kicks in [00:08:00] The door. Right, right, right. Exactly. The Rambo thing. Although I loved, I really love that those books and movie, but, um. But we try really hard to show the human side. So we’re looking not only to, to paint the picture of the operations as realistically as we can, you know, keeping, being mindful of OPSEC and making sure we’re not endangering our teammates that are still out there.

But, um, what we really focus on is the individual and the relationships and the, and the sacrifice they make, uh, with their families and, and everything else. So we really work hard to incorporate that into the books. And I think that’s why they’ve been successful because. It’s relatable. It’s real. You know, the thing about the Navy SEALs that I worked with is they weren’t superheroes.

What’s so extraordinary about them is how ordinary they are. These are just ordinary human beings that have an extraordinary sense of patriotism and drive to succeed and to defend this country at Um, but [00:09:00] you know, this, this idea that when they come home, you know, you watch the TV shows and they’re all struggling and they’re all getting divorced.

And that wasn’t the guys that I worked with. I mean, these were guys that came home, they went to their kids baseball game and they picked up milk on the way home from the compound and they took the trash to the curb. And to me, that’s what’s so amazing about them and what we’ve tried to reflect in the books,

if that makes sense.

Scott DeLuzio: It absolutely does. Because you’re right. The, the few Navy SEALs that I’ve known through, uh, through doing this show and through other areas that I’ve, um, kind of ran into them. Um, they’re, you’re right. They’re just regular guys. And they’re, they do a lot of times extraordinary things, which I think is the extraordinary thing about it because anyone has that in them.

They just have to tap into that and they have to find it. That part of them and, and access it. And once you, you access it, you know, the

possibilities are endless and you, you can [00:10:00] do just about anything. And that includes keeping your marriage together and that includes taking the garbage out and that, you know, all, all of the, the regular things that are just kind of expected of people.

It, um, sometimes those are hard things to do when you don’t have your head on. Right. And, and these

guys, you know, clearly do, right.

Jeff Wilson: Yeah, oh, for sure. And the, and the price that’s paid is, is a price that you pay for the rest of your life. I just went this past weekend. Um, we, Brian and I, uh, support a number of military charities financially, but also with our time and promotion and stuff, you know, Folds of Honor, which. You may have seen we do with John Rich and we’ve done some promotions with him and, uh, but SEAL Legacy Foundation is very personal to us.

That’s a foundation, um, that was started in the wake of Extortion 1 7, uh, which is the greatest single day loss of life in SEAL Team history. So my affiliation with those men and, uh, relationship with them. makes that organization very personal to me because this, this is an organization set up by Seals for Seals and in [00:11:00] the months after that tragedy, they were able to raise support for all of those families and support those, uh, those 20 or 35 children that were left without a dad in a single day.

So, um, we were there at this, uh, this event that they have one in Tampa. We’re going to be at one in Nashville in May. Um. Raising money and awareness of the price that’s paid. Um, and being around those people, seeing pictures of, of friends that I lost is painful, but being around the people that are still here and hearing their stories and their passion and commitment to helping one another, it’s just very inspiring to see that the brotherhood is still alive, you know what I mean?

That, that brotherhood years after service, that bond is never broken. Um, and it inspires us. It inspires us to do a good job of their work. Plus we don’t want to do get something wrong and have one of those guys come and try to kick our ass. So.

Scott DeLuzio: I think that’s the last group of guys that you’d want to have, you know, pissed off, right? Like it’s just a, you know, a bunch of guys who are just trained to come and like, [00:12:00] take you out and no one would even know you ever existed.

Jeff Wilson: right.

Scott DeLuzio: Um, so we were talking about a little bit about how your, your experiences in military influence your, your writing and, and clearly it does, you know, just all the different stuff that you’ve experienced.

You were talking about your background and, and, you know, everything that you’ve experienced and how that that’s. influence things. Um, but you also talked about how you’ve Pretty much always been a writer. You’ve been a writer since you said what, 14 was your first short story that you published, right? So to you, it probably comes easy.

Um, I don’t want to say easy, like what you do is not significant or anything like that, but it’s, it’s probably more intuitive, more natural to, to be able to sit down and say, Hey, I want to write a story about X, whatever it is. And you know, a lot of times people. They have stories in them, you know, they, they have experiences very similar to what you’ve experienced, uh, you know, being deployed overseas, seeing crazy things, doing crazy things, and they have a story, [00:13:00] I just don’t know where to start.

You know, do you have any advice for those types of people, the other veterans maybe who are out there who, um, they’re like, yeah, I got it. I got that

story. I just don’t know what to

Jeff Wilson: 100%. I will start, I’ll preface it by saying it’s not, it’s not limited to writing. So one of the hardest things in military service, um, is transitioning out of military service because a There’s an incredible number of skills and knowledge that you’ve gained, um, and some of them may seem like they don’t translate into the civilian world, but, but they do, um, but, but the struggle comes from identity.

So, when you transition out of the military, if you’ve been in. For just a few years, you’ve been in for 20 years, that your rank and your MOS and your, you know, your, your team becomes more than just a job. It’s part of your identity. And when you leave the military, no matter what your background, whether you’ve suffered some things that create PTS or not, you lose an [00:14:00] enormous chunk of your identity.

And so these guys that come out and they say, Oh, I want to write a book, or I want to start a business, or I want to be an actor, whatever their passion is, they don’t know how to start because they don’t know how to redefine themselves, if that makes sense. And so we work with those guys a lot. We do work, we mentor up to a half a dozen or so writers at any given time, mostly military guys that we’ve connected with that have a story to tell.

Jack Stewart’s a great example. Jack is a. Uh, retired, uh, F 18 pilot and Top Gun instructor who wanted to be a writer. And now he’s got, well, he’s, he’s bitten off a lot. He’s got like two, three book deals. So he’s going to be a busy guy. But the point is that we, we connect with these people, including, uh, writers and the lessons that we teach them are less about the craft of writing.

And it’s more about how to stay connected with that brotherhood that you served, how to take those lessons. So, okay, maybe writing a book isn’t the same thing as being the gunner on a, [00:15:00] right, on a Humvee. But those lessons of team before self, of mission before self, that ethos that gets DNA. Can be applied to writing, can be applied to starting a small business.

And so that’s the first thing we say is don’t think about the, the job skill that you have. Think about the ethos that you developed and the leadership that you developed and how you can apply that to going to nursing school, becoming a PA, writing a book, whatever it is. And then the second thing is to, to never forget that you’re not the first dude to do it, right?

Like everyone feels like they’re so alone. Like they transition out and they’re like. I’m so alone. There’s no, and my whole community, my whole network is gone. They’re not, there was a guy that transitioned out the day before you did. And there was a guy that transitioned five years ago. And, and so that brotherhood is still there.

And what we encourage people to do is connect with fellow veterans through a variety of communities that are out there, whether it’s writing or. Business [00:16:00] Entrepreneurship, whatever it is, and be in brotherhood with those people because you can lift each other up, you can have the satisfaction of helping them while they help you. I think far more than the craft, which I’m happy to talk about, but far more than the craft of writing, that’s the biggest lesson. You just have to say, this is my passion, you know, I believe that when you have a passion for something, it’s because God created you for that purpose. So, if you have that kind of passion, Then you need to engage it and figure out how to make it happen.

But don’t forget who you are and translate that forward.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s, that’s great. I mean, because, you know, sometimes we do forget who we are, especially when our identity gets so intertwined with our service and becomes like, that’s who I am. And then we get out and now it’s like, who the hell am I now? I, I, I’ve, I’ve completely forgotten who that 18 year old kid was who first enlisted, you know, or whatever age you were when you joined.

And it’s like. I forgot who that [00:17:00] person is and I forgot how to be just, you know, a regular guy. And like you were saying before, like some of these people that you served with, they’re just regular guys who take the trash out, pick up the gallon of milk, or pick up their kids from school or whatever. Like they just do regular people things, but they also do some pretty extraordinary things as well.

Um, Which I think if you kind of stay tuned into that regular people lifestyle, like it might make

that transition a little bit easier, right?

Jeff Wilson: right?

Oh, a hundred percent. And you can, you know, be inspired by the guys that have done it before you. You think of people like Eli Crane, right? Eli is a friend of ours and we met him when he was, you know, right after Shark Tank, when he was setting up Bottle Breacher. So here’s a guy. enlisted SEAL, did some great things, and his life wasn’t over just because he transitioned out.

He started a company, built an empire with that company, and now he’s a United States congressman. Like, uh, Tim Krukshank, another great example. Tim is a, is a Navy SEAL [00:18:00] who got out of the military and you see, you know, what do you want to do? Tim is, I want to make coffee and wine. Okay, yeah, like every other Navy SEAL.

Like, how weird is that? But he did, and now he’s got Bone Frog Coffee, and he makes the best coffee in the world, and it’s amazing wine. So, I don’t mean to ramble. The

Scott DeLuzio: No, you’re good.

Jeff Wilson: whatever that passion is, you can apply those, those personal… skills that you developed in the military, whatever your MOS was, right?

Those things translate into anything. Uh, it’s an extraordinary, the people that serve, what they become as a result of that service. And, and you just need to embrace it, lean into it and apply it to the new challenge.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s right. Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny. You, you mentioned, uh, Eli Crane. He, he ran for Congress here in Arizona where I am, um, different district than where I live in, but my, my father actually was one of the, um, the opponents that he was running against.

Jeff Wilson: Oh,

Scott DeLuzio: so you, you may.

Jeff Wilson: Brought up somebody else.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, [00:19:00] no, no, that’s fine. It’s fine.

Um, you know, so, so I got to know, you know, a little bit more about his, his background and his story. I, I knew a little bit about him, um, just, just through, you know, social media type stuff, uh, prior to that. But I got to know a lot more when, uh, you know, last year when he was running, um, you know, for Congress.

And, uh, but you’re right, you know, to everything that you were just saying, um, you know, you can go from whatever your, your job was, whatever your MOS doesn’t matter. You know, your rank, anything like that, you can go from that and go. Build a business, um, find that thing that sparks your passion. And, um, maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s not, who knows, you know, like it might be, um, you know, like you mentioned with Eli Crane, his business was not focused around writing necessarily, but it was, you know, it had.

Had something that he was passionate about and he, and he grew that business and, and, you know, did pretty well for himself with that. And now he’s a Congressman. So like you can follow things and it’s okay. I think also to point out, [00:20:00] like to pivot as well, like that thing that you start off at. Like that might be great and it may serve its purpose for a period of time, but there may become a time when you’re like, you know what, this, this isn’t the be all end all, this is where I’m going to spend the rest of my career.

I’m going to move to something

else if it makes sense, you know, down the line.

Jeff Wilson: Yeah. And I’m the king of that. Obviously I’ve done.

Scott DeLuzio: I feel like I’m, I’m kind of like the jack of all trades, the master of none. Like I, I, I’ve had a varied background as well. I’ve done all sorts of different things. And, um, You know, but it sort of keeps life interesting too, I think, doesn’t it?

Jeff Wilson: Yeah. Oh, 100%.

Scott DeLuzio: Um, now you mentioned some things which I think are super important as far as, you know, staying involved in the community, um, you know, getting involved with other, uh, people who have, like, especially if you just recently transitioned out, um, get involved with other people who have been out for a period of time, um, and.

Kind of learn from them, right? And are there any like resources or [00:21:00] organizations, organizations that you recommend to people, uh, that, that they should get involved


Jeff Wilson: In terms of what, like, with people that are having struggles, people that are struggling with

PTS or

Scott DeLuzio: Well, I mean, kind of, we were talking kind of along the lines of, uh, I, I think the initial kind of prompt was, you know, uh, advice for people who are interested in, in writing, but, um, you know, we kind of went down a little bit of a, a detour there, which is great. Um, you know, do you have other, you know, organizations as far as like.

Getting involved with a community, uh, you know,

VFW or things like that.

Jeff Wilson: yeah, I mean, I think that, I think it’s different for everybody. I think you connect in a way that’s organic for you. Sometimes it’s just being in community with people. with folks that you used to serve with and staying in touch with them. Sometimes it’s, you know, in my case, um, we started a men’s military ministry at a large church in Tampa.

And so being in communion, that sounds very philanthropic. It wasn’t, it was to fix me. It wasn’t. It wasn’t because I had any answers for anybody else, but, um, you know, [00:22:00] being in that community with other people that have served, uh, and having those relationships, and, you know, that’s a variety of people in business and writing, and some people contracting are still on active duty.

I think VFW is a good one. I think that it just. Depends on you and what your goals are, but it almost doesn’t matter the what so much as that you just do it. You find a community so that you can be connected. And then, you know, the bottom line is, if you’ve served in combat, this idea that a few of you will get PTS has been proven incorrect.

Unless you are a sociopath. If you have been in real combat, you have P. T. S. It manifests itself in different ways. It’s more or less severe depending on your personality and support system, etc. But having that community, you don’t want to be struggling to find it when you’re in crisis. You want it to be there ahead of time.

And, and, um, what we’ve learned over this last decade is that there’s a lot [00:23:00] of people who, I was one of them, who are doing great. until they’re not. And for most of us, that was after we transitioned. Like when I left the military in, you know, 10 years ago, I suddenly was have struggling with things that had happened to me six years earlier.

I’m like, I haven’t even, I’ve thought about this all the time. It doesn’t bother me at all. And now all of a sudden I’m dreaming about it and having nightmares about it. And so, The point is you want to be in that community early, uh, whatever it looks like for you. Um, for me, church is the, is the perfect one because our family is so involved in that.

Um, but whatever it looks like, you got to be connected to your, to your teammates or to new teammates so that when you have problems, you’re ready. And all the things we were talking about, starting a business or whatever it is. Somebody’s done it. Whatever it is you have a passion to do, you ain’t the first dude to do it.


just telling you.

Scott DeLuzio: things that’s true. And, and to your point, if that community, um, doesn’t exist or just doesn’t feel right, like, you know, like [00:24:00] we mentioned a VFW and I’m just going to pick on them just because that’s one that we mentioned. But, um, you know, if you, if you happen to go check out the VFW and just. Doesn’t seem like the right group of people.

Like you just don’t fit in with that. Well, you can also create your own community of people like you did, you know, with your church group. Um, you don’t have to just sit there and wait for community to come to you. You can, you can pound down the stakes yourself and set up shop and, and figure it out, you know, Put out a, you know, a, a notice on a local, you know, Facebook group or something and say, Hey, veterans, you know, meet up for coffee or something, I don’t know.

And, and get that community going and then figure out like what makes sense. Maybe we’re all interested in hiking or something fine. Like go, go on hiking trips and like, I don’t know, do something with those people. Um, so you’re not just isolating yourself and just sitting around wasting away, um, you know, on.

You know, in your, in your house, on your couch or whatever, like get out there

and do something. And, and

Jeff Wilson: Yeah. And you know, for, for folks that are in crisis, there’s, there’s [00:25:00] organizations specifically, uh, that I should shout out. Um, All Secure Foundation run by, uh, Tom and Jen Satterly. You probably are familiar with them. They do amazing work for relationships that are fractured because of PTS. Um, the Mighty Oaks Foundation that Chad Robichaux runs, uh, he’s a good dude, good friend of ours, and what he does is absolutely incredible.

Or reach out to the, some of these, uh, you know, service specific ones. Seal Legacy Foundation for the Navy Seals. We’ve got Wounded Warrior. There’s so many out there. I do want to, so there’s probably a handful of people out there that was like, damn it, I thought he was going to give me some advice on writing.

So I don’t want to not do that. So. Um, I will tell you that the best way to get started in this is to connect with other writers, just like what we’re talking about, and there are ways to do that. So in our genre of thrillers, which is a very broad genre, it’s everything from science fiction thrillers to military thrillers, like we write mysteries and, you know.

police procedurals, anything that falls under that. Um, there’s an [00:26:00] organization called the International Thriller Writers. Uh, and they have a, they have an annual meeting every year. That’s where I met Brian. That’s where Brian and I connected. We didn’t know each other in service, uh, but we met later.

That’s where I met my agent. And, uh, those people that follow us online or on social media know that we’ve got this whole network of people that we’re great friends with. Don Bentley and Mark, uh, Mark Rainey and Josh Hood. A lot of people who have served, who are writing now. We met all those people there, and we lift each other up and support each other, just like we’re talking about in the other aspects.

If that’s not what you write, guess what? There’s a sci fi, you know, the science fiction and fantasy writers. You write romance, there’s that. Um, I don’t dabble in that, despite the, uh, April Fool’s joke book cover that we released on social media last year. But, um, there is an organization, so it takes… 15 minutes of searching on the internet to find that organization.

If thrillers is what you write, if you’re a fiction writer and you write thrillers, please check out International Thriller Writers. It’s an amazing [00:27:00] organization. Uh, come to New York, hang out with us, have a cocktail with all your favorite writers, and get advice right from the horse’s mouth. Like, um, It’s again, just like we were saying before, right?

It’s about being in community. Um, and that’s available for writers too.

Scott DeLuzio: And that’s great advice too. And I think really the central theme to all of this is that the community aspect of it, get involved with other people. And, um, you know, if there’s a saying, I’m probably going to butcher it, but, uh, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. And I think, I think I might’ve gotten that right, but

either way, the sentiment’s still

Jeff Wilson: it. Even if it’s not right, I


Scott DeLuzio: You know, but, but, you know, it, it makes sense, you know, in the military, you were very rarely ever doing anything on your own, if ever, uh, you, you had a team of people around you, um, at least a handful of people around you doing whatever it was that you were, you’re doing, whatever mission you’re on or, um, you know, [00:28:00] whatever you, you were doing stuff together as a team and that’s how you accomplish big, great things, you know, it’s, It’s not, it’s the, the Navy SEALs, plural, like there’s more, more than one going out on, on these missions.

Like it’s not, you know, solo Rambo style missions going out, you know, um, you know, so same thing, like why we get off, we get out of the military, we take off the uniform. Why would we expect that now all of a sudden we can just do everything on our own? So, so great advice.

Jeff Wilson: it. absolutely, that’s absolutely, that’s exactly the


Scott DeLuzio: So. Now, I want to talk a little bit more about you and your books and, um, the type of stuff that, that you guys are doing. Um, you know, I know the, the books, they’re, they’re meant to provide entertainment value. Um, You also hope that, that people will learn some stuff about the military and about the people who are serving in the military.

Um, talk to us about that. I know [00:29:00] we, we talked a little bit about, you know, how you were inspired by, you know, some of these just regular guys who were in the, the, the SEALs that you were, uh, uh, you know, serving with, um, tell us about some of the books and kind of what you hope the, the readers can learn about the military and, and their

families even, uh, by,

Jeff Wilson: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, you know, we did, we talked a little bit before about how we try to honor the reality of it. When you’re writing entertaining thrillers, there is a balance, right? Like if you’re going to write a book about a marine deployment, you really can’t have 40 percent of it being going to the chow hall and playing Xbox, which is what really happened, right?

So, because it’s not very entertaining. Um, but on the other hand, you don’t want to fictionalize it so much that you don’t. really learn the flavor of it. And that’s the balance we try to strike. So for example, you were talking about, you know, the team aspect of it. We really try very hard to reflect that in all the books, even that we, you know, we wrote that one W.

E. B. Griffin book, uh, Rogue Asset under his, [00:30:00] under his estate. We’re writing the Tom Clancy books now, as I know you’re aware. We try really hard to show that it takes a team. And that was one thing Clancy did well, right? Clancy, he did everything he did. He did well. I mean, Sound that way. But, you know, if you look at a book like Hunt for the Red October, um, it wasn’t just a super spy going out and foiling the plot.

It wasn’t just a submarine hunting down the submarine. He was able to show all the layers of teamwork that are required to execute a mission. And we try very hard in our books to do that. So Tier 1 is sort of our tentpole series. Uh, Dempsey, the book, seventh book in that series, came out last February.

We’re actually right in the middle of writing book eight now for next summer. And we’ve taken this arc of this special operator who is now in a deep, dark, covert operations task force. And we’ve tried to show what that would be like as he makes that transition from the black and white world of. Here’s your mission, go kick in the door, get the guy, if he won’t come with you, shoot him.

Like, [00:31:00] and going into the shades of grey and what effect that would have on you, you know, what, how does your moral compass work there? Where is that moral ambiguity and those sorts of issues? But one thing we always tried to do is show… John Dempsey, our lead character there, he does nothing alone. He’s still got a team.

He went from a SEAL team to a new team, and it takes an entire team with different skill sets to achieve a mission. The spin off series, Sons of Valor, same thing. That’s more about the JSOC SEAL team, but we wanted it to reflect a team, so we don’t just have this superhero, right, going out there. His entire team, his sniper, his comms guy, the medic, the intelligence officer assigned to them.

They all play an important role, and if any one of those people is, is not performing, the entire mission, uh, comes apart, and so, and now we’re doing that in the, in the Clancy series, you know, we’re writing, our book is, as you know, coming out on the, on the anniversary of Hunt for the Red October, so we wanted to write a book That sort [00:32:00] of honors that.

And so we’ve written a submarine book, but we wanted to show all the layers that go into that this strike group that is that is both supported by and supporting the submarine operations, the counterterrorists and counterintelligence people that are involved, the air wing, the Pentagon, the president, everybody that has to do their job properly for those things to work.

And then find that balance so that it’s still fun and exciting, right? We don’t want to have the nine hour, uh, briefing where nothing gets said. But, um, because that happens too. But, so that’s, that’s sort of what we try to do in

our books.

Scott DeLuzio: And it’d be hard to write about, you know, death by PowerPoint too,

with, and, and make it entertaining. Right.

Jeff Wilson: right. Now you got to throw a little bit of that in there for the people that, you know, if you know, you know, you want to, you want to have some little thing and a guy rolling his eyes like, oh, dear God. But, um, and so we have a little

bit of that,


Scott DeLuzio: But, but you also don’t have the guy who’s like, I work alone and like, you know, he doesn’t have any, you know,

Jeff Wilson: Right.

Scott DeLuzio: so

Jeff Wilson: I wear black [00:33:00] and sometimes very, very dark gray, right?

Yeah, we have no one like that.

Scott DeLuzio: Experts say that China is hoarding a massive amount of food and they will soon have over two thirds of the Globe’s corn reserves over half of it’s rice and over half of its wheat. But when asked about it, China lies. And when China expert says they, of course will never admit to something like that. Well, what does China know that we don’t? And when it comes to global food shortages, China is the Canary in the coal mine. You see, China is the world’s number one food importer. They rely on the rest of the world to keep their people fed. So they can’t afford to mess up. Or there’ll be riots, civil panic, or even worse. When over a billion people can’t eat. What does this mean for Americans like you and me? Two words, food shortages. That’s why it’s a smart idea to stock up on a kit of the bestselling four Patriots, survival food. Create your own stockpile of the best-selling four Patriots, survival food kits. They’re hand packed in the USA. The kids are compact and stack easily. They have different delicious [00:34:00] breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, and their five star reviews on their website. Rave about the flavor and taste. And right now you can get 10% off your first purchase of four Patriots, survival food by typing in the code Drive On at checkout. Just go to four patriots.com and use code Drive On to get 10% off your first purchase of four Patriots, survival food. That’s for patriots.com. Use code Drive On.

yeah. Right. Um, so, you know, and I, I think, you know, it is great to see like that aspect of things too, but, um, you, you mentioned some of the, the challenges of transitioning veterans, you know, getting out of the military. Um, It, you know, do you use the type of work that you do, uh, the books that you write and stuff to, uh, kind of impact some of the challenges that people are having as well, um, you know, in real world challenges that they’re, they’re having, you know, outside of the

books as well,

Jeff Wilson: Yeah, I, I hope so. I hope we’re doing that. We try, the first thing we do is honor them by, by writing fiction that reflects their reality, like we’ve been talking about. Uh, [00:35:00] we have a series called The Shepherds, which we’re very proud of. Uh, third book, um, is out and the fourth book is in the works. That’s a, that’s a…

It’s so funny. I was gonna say that’s a different book for us, but it’s not really. Like, we have people say, wow, that’s such a big pivot to do this sort of faith based series. Um, and I remember the first time someone said that, I was like, is it though? Like, I mean, is there a human being that doesn’t ask questions about, is there a God, is there not, what’s my role in the universe?

It’s a universal human answer. The questions are answered by different people in different ways. But you’re almost writing bad fiction if you don’t have some of that in there. Like, that’s what humans think and what they, they worry about. And so in, in the Shepard series, we were able to write a book about a Navy SEAL, unlike John Dempsey, unlike Chunk Redmond in our other series, who are at the top of their game.

We meet Jedediah Johnson when he is broken. Like, he’s broken physically. He’s about to medically retire from an injury. He’s broken emotionally because he’s separating [00:36:00] from his team and it’s all he’s had for the last decade and a half of his life. And he’s broken spiritually. He has run away from his faith during, uh, that he had in high school when he encountered true evil and wasn’t sure what to do with that.

And so, Here’s sort of the anti hero compared to a Dempsey, right, who’s ready to fast rope in and kick the doors in. This guy’s broken and doesn’t know what his future holds, and so you get to go on this very exciting thrill ride of a kidnapped girl who has special powers and he’s got to save her, which will save the world, but at the same time you see his arc of how he’s finding his new identity and transition and how he’s dealing with questions of You know, how can there be a God in heaven that would allow these horrible, evil things to happen in the world?

It’s a, it’s a, it’s a question that everybody who has served in combat asks at one time or another. What do I really believe about a God that would allow the things I saw to occur? Uh, and so we get to go on that journey spiritually with him as well. So we’re very proud of that [00:37:00] series. It’s, uh, I guess it is a little bit different, but, um, there’s plenty of Andrews and Wilson ass kicking bad guys in there too.

Scott DeLuzio: you know, and I, I think that type of thing, you know, you don’t have to write about, you know, true events that actually happen, you know, it can be, Um, fictional, but having those stories with that type of, um, uh, the type of answers to questions that a lot of us have, like, like, why would, why would God do such or allow such bad things to happen to good people?

And, uh, you know, those types of questions that, that a lot of us end up having, uh, especially with the ones who’ve deployed and have seen. atrocious things happen. Um, you know, we have these questions and a lot of times we’re like, I kind of, kind of looking for an answer and, uh, not, not getting that answer.

And, you know, having, uh, a story be told that way that maybe makes it make sense [00:38:00] in a way. Um, you kind of just, you can wrap your head around it, um, in a way that maybe you just couldn’t get out of your own way and see it. You know, from, uh, your own perspective, but maybe you can see it from that, that fictional characters perspective and be like, okay, well, yeah, I guess maybe that kind of, uh, you know, relates to what I’m going through as



Jeff Wilson: Yeah, 100%. I mean, it doesn’t, we don’t have to answer the question for you, but maybe we can help you formulate the question in a way that you can address it on your own. Maybe you don’t end up where Jed does in the book, but you can find your, your way to the truth.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s right.

Jeff Wilson: if we can help sort through it a little bit, I think.

And, and, um, that we’re really proud of that book, uh, for that reason. Uh, it’s touched a lot of people. We, uh, really excited that last year, last fall, um, I don’t know if you’re familiar with, um, Calvary Chapel. They were sort of in the, in this movie, recent movie, the Jesus revolution. That’s really about the origin story of.

Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa. [00:39:00] And, uh, before that movie came out last year, after our third book had come out, they invited us to come and speak at their first event for a men’s military ministry that they were standing up to help men, uh, who were struggling with, with issues that we’re talking about. Um, and I remember thinking, wow, what a…

You know, we write for a living, we entertain, we view ourselves as entertainers. We’re not, it’s not war and peace, we’re not trying to change the world, right? We’re not philosophers. But what an honor to, to know that your book touched somebody enough that they would say, Hey, we’d like to hear what you have to say on this topic outside of your fiction.

So, we’re really proud of that series, um, and proud that some people have been touched in a positive

way. So,

Scott DeLuzio: You know, it’s interesting though. I don’t know that you give yourself enough credit because you said, you know, we’re not out to change the whole, change the world that, you know, it’s not war and peace, all that, all that. Right. But then on the other side, you’re saying how, you know, it it’s impacting some people and, and so, so it may not be changing the world, but it may [00:40:00] be changing that person’s world.

Um, you know, it’s a different way to look at it, I think, but, um, you know, I, I think every story can impact people in, in one way or another. It could be good, it could be bad. Um, someone could read a story and be like, just become completely jaded and, you know, shut off the world. That could be a, that could be a negative, uh, reaction to certain, certain things.

And, um, you know, but your stories are, you know, more, um, more providing. Hope and encouragement to people than, than the opposite, right? So I, I think in a way, um, you know, maybe you should give yourself a little bit more credit here and, and, and, uh, you know, realize that, you know, they, they are having an impact, uh, a positive impact anyways on, uh, you know, a lot of people, and I, I don’t think they would sell, uh, as many copies as they did if, uh, they weren.

You know, impactful in a good way,


Jeff Wilson: right. Well, that’s, that’s kind of you to say, or, or maybe. Maybe God can even use someone like me, we’ll see.

Scott DeLuzio: No, and I believe that, you know, he [00:41:00] can, uh, use, use all of us in, in a way. And, and we’re, you know, we’re here to make an impact, you know, and some people make obviously bigger impacts than other, but, um, but I think any impact that you make any life that you touch, um, your, You’re affecting that one person.

And like I said, you may not be affecting the whole world, but you may be affecting that person’s world. And that, that’s, that’s important. And, uh, you know, that’s, that’s what ultimately what I’m, I’m trying to do with this show is, you know, I know I’m not going to reach every single veteran that has ever served.

The United States from, you know, it’s inception to, you know, as long as the show goes, uh, I, I know I won’t reach everybody, but, um, of the, of the people that I do reach, hopefully this, this message is getting across and it’s, it’s something that they can take away. And even, even to the point that we’re talking about right now is that, um.

You know, they can have an impact on somebody, even by just sharing their, their story with somebody else. Um, maybe it’s writing a book, [00:42:00] you know, it doesn’t have to be writing a book, but it could be in a way that, um, you know, shares their story and help somebody else get through, uh, you know, some other situation that maybe they’re, they’re dealing with that’s, that’s similar.

Um, and it. They may not see it as a big thing. It’s like, Hey, I just talked about this thing that happened to me. Yeah. Okay. But you know, maybe it also helped that other person who was, you know, at the end of their, their, uh, rope and they, they didn’t know what else to do, where else to turn, just gave them a little bit of hope and that kept them here for one more day and it just kept them, you know, kept that

motivation going for them.

So, um,

Jeff Wilson: Yeah, I, could agree with that more. I will, I’ll, just to close that thought, I think that, um, you know, we’ve been talking a lot about being in community, and it’s one of the, first of all, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to do your show. Um, I love what you’re doing, um, impacting a lot of lives, and that’s amazing, and being part of that was an honor for me.

But I think that you make a really good point. This idea of community just is, not to, Beat it to death. You know, sometimes we talked earlier about your transition. You want [00:43:00] to, you need to be in community because you know, there’s people that can help you and they want to help you and all that sometimes you’re in community, it’s not for you.

Maybe you’re in community for what you can give and people who have served. Find that very natural. Like when you were, when you were serving, you know, even the guy that back in Garrison, you don’t get along with that well, you take a bullet for that guy because he’s your teammate. And so being in community isn’t just for your personal gain or just to start your business or write your book.

It might be just because over that cup of coffee, some part of your story that you tell helps the guy sitting next to you. Uh, and so I think you make a really, really good point. And, uh, hopefully that alone will compel people to stay in community with their

fellow vets.

Scott DeLuzio: and, and having that community, it gives you that sense of purpose, you know, like what, what is it that I’m, I’m doing that that’s, you know, impactful, meaningful, uh, you know, in, in this world. And, and if you’re just going to work in a nine to five of a job that you dread, and, you know, you, you can’t see that that’s, that’s, that’s [00:44:00] really helping, uh, the world at all, you know, but that, that, uh, you know, maybe Wednesday morning coffee meetup with a bunch of other like minded people.

It doesn’t have to be veterans even, you know, that, I think that’s another thing that people should realize too. It could be, it could be a real easy way to get into a community, but it could be other people who just, you know. Have, I don’t know, St. Bernard’s and they all love St. Bernard’s and they just, you know, hang out with their other St.

Bernard friends and I don’t know, whatever. Um, you know, it’s just a group of people and it’s like, I want to be there for those people because I want, I want to be useful. I want to be, you know, have a sense of purpose and help those people when they need it. And, and yeah, by the way, if something happens and I need help, um, I’ll know that that there’s that community there for me as well.

And I think, you know, all of that’s really a great. Um, you know, any other advice that you might have for the, the listeners who might be interested in, um, Breaking into the, the, the writing [00:45:00] world, uh, I know you mentioned, you know, the community is a big aspect of it, but, um, I know, I know for me, it was

it was like, just get started like that.

That was the biggest thing.

Jeff Wilson: that’s that’s the first step of the second step. I think there’s there’s two hard steps just getting started and finishing and I’m not trivializing it. Right. But, um, I think that just getting started is the 1st 1, but just as important. I think a lot of people set out to write. And they sit down and they’re so paralyzed by the need for perfection that seven years later they’re on chapter nine, right, of a 40 chapter. So the one piece of advice, or I guess two, I’ll say two things. One, if you’re starting out writing now and you’re an adult, you’ve transitioned out of the military, you probably have some responsibilities and you probably… Have a job in some house to feed and stuff like that. So you can’t just like lock yourself in a log cabin somewhere and write your novel.

So, um, the one mistake that people make is they try to, of course you’re going [00:46:00] to be doing it part time, you’re going to be doing it in your free time, but if you just wait for free time to present itself and then try to write. You’re never going to get this thing done. You have to look at it as at least a part time job and you have to schedule it into your week and into your month, just like you would anything else, whether it’s church or a group that you’re a sport, you know, your softball team, whatever it is, you know what that schedule is and you meet those commitments.

And so the first thing you do is you say, all right, these are the days I’m going to write. I would encourage people rather than saying, Oh, I’m going to take all of Saturday as my writing day. I write for a living. We produce a book about once every 14 weeks right now because we have so many contracts.

And I can’t write all day on Saturday. So, uh, if you can, God bless you, but I can’t do it. You really, a few hours is about when you can really put some quality words down. So rather than saying Saturday’s my writing day, pick an hour, an hour and a half, three or four days a week in the morning, in the evening, skip lunch, [00:47:00] whatever, and just move the story forward page at a time.

Set some page goals and some time that’s scheduled for that. And then the second thing that’s equally as important is Start to write the book and don’t stop till you’re done. Like, it’s, you can’t keep going back and changing and fixing and, Oh, that page, I think I’m going to make it better. That’s called editing.

That’s not writing. That’s for later. And so, the thing that I tell people that I think is most useful is, other than the scheduling, the time is sit down, have your story in mind, let it change, let it evolve as you write, scribble notes to yourself of things maybe you need to go back and fix because the story took a different turn, but write it and finish it and then put it in a drawer, let it sit there for a few weeks, read it, make notes to yourself of what you’re going to change and now you can edit it.

But if you’re constantly changing and fixing and perfecting, You’re never going to ever finish that book. The novel, the book becomes a novel in the editing process. [00:48:00] So just get the story out of you and then you can

fix it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Because without anything, either on the computer screen or on paper, whatever medium that you’re using to write the, the story, uh, without it actually physically there. There’s nothing to change. You can’t go back and edit. You can’t go back and edit a blank page. I

Jeff Wilson: Right,

Scott DeLuzio: you can by adding stuff to it, but you know, you need to have some content there.

So that’s, I think that’s great advice. Um, Jeff, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. Um, I, I know some of the, the listeners and the viewers are going to be interested in finding out more about. your work, like where they can go to find, uh, you know, more about you and your background and, and everything that you guys are putting out there, uh, especially the, uh, you know, upcoming books that you had mentioned, uh, earlier, uh, where can

people go to find out more information?

Jeff Wilson: Uh, the easiest thing is just do the one stop shopping and come to the website. Um, our books are, if you buy books, our books are there. They’re everywhere that you buy books. Uh, so finding ’em isn’t easy, is not hard. But if you wanna find out more [00:49:00] about the books and, and decide if they’re right for you, you can go to andrews wilson.com.

That’s our website. Um, if you go there, you can sign up for the newsletter. I will say this. We don’t spam anybody. If you sign up for your news, the newsletter, I promise you, you’re not getting anything except a few times a year, a real announcement that we want to share, um, and we don’t share your information with anybody.

So, uh, and I think if I’m not mistaken, we’re still giving away a book. If you sign up for the newsletter, we have a novella, sort of the John Dempsey origin story called Scars. that we’re giving away free to people that sign up for the newsletter. But you go there, you can find about every single book we’ve written.

There’s a page for our film and TV deals that we have going on right now, because that’s been very busy for us the last year. But also there’s a way to interact with us. You can send us pictures. We have a fan site where you can share things with other, other fans of Andrews and Wilson, and you can actually interact directly with us.

So that’s the easiest way to stay on top of what we got going on. It’s hard [00:50:00] to keep it straight because we release three or four books a year.


Scott DeLuzio: I, I gotta imagine it is. I know I, I’ve, I’ve written one book, uh, so far that I’ve, I’ve put out there. And, and to me, it was like, I’m not a writer. And honestly, I, if any of my English teachers in high school found out that I wrote a book, they’d probably, if they weren’t already, if they weren’t already gone, they’d probably have a heart attack knowing that I wrote a book, but, um, uh, but, but anyways, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s a lot to do, um, a lot, a lot to keep track of and for the listeners who are interested in checking out, uh, any of the books or, or the background, the information on the books or sign up for the newsletter.

I’ll have the link to the website in the show notes. For you to check that out. Um, before we wrap this episode up though, I, um, I’ve been doing a segment lately, um, on the show and especially when I have another veteran on the show, uh, as, as a guest, it’s a lot of fun. It’s called, Is It Service Connected?

And I like to, I like to equate it to America’s Funniest Home Videos, uh, Military Edition. And we watch [00:51:00] a video of someone doing something stupid or, you know, trucks rolling over, or, you know, someone. I don’t know, whatever it is that they’re doing. They think they’re, they’re superhero, but they’re not. Um, and, uh, so we watch these videos.

They do something stupid. We try to predict whether or not somewhere down the line that’s going to qualify for VA disability. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to, I’m going to pull

up this video real quick here and,

Jeff Wilson: Not only do I not mind, it’s the only reason I agreed to come on the show.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, great. Then I better get this up. So you don’t, uh, you know, back up. So when I, when I pull this up, um, Looks like for the podcast listeners, audio only podcast listeners right now, it looks like we’ve got a tank on the left side of the screen.

We’ve got a ground guide who’s standing up on top of a truck and the tank is, looks like they’re trying to load it up on top of this truck. Um, so I guess we’re going to see what’s going to happen here.

So far so good, uh, but now the tank took off, [00:52:00] and oh crap, that tank flipped over, and the guy, the ground guide who was on the truck, um, he went flying off the other direction luckily, so he didn’t end up getting crushed by the tank, but, my god, that probably didn’t end well for the guys

inside of that tank.

Jeff Wilson: Yeah, and I can see the guy that lept off the truck has probably got some sort of injury as well.

Scott DeLuzio: I mean, he, he probably, I mean, at a minimum, he probably crapped his pants, but, uh, I don’t know if that’s, if there’s any disability for that, I mean, maybe the, uh, the emotional trauma of almost getting run over by a tank, uh, might, might do something to him. Um, but yeah, definitely the guys inside of the tank are, uh, definitely messed up

some, uh, I gotta imagine.

Jeff Wilson: Yeah. And there’s, you know, there’s a, there’s really two questions. There’s the, uh, is it covered? And then there’s the,

should it be covered?

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Sure. I mean, I, what I say with all these videos is that at least they got it on video so they can document, you know, what, what happened. [00:53:00] Um, but, uh, yeah, should it be covered? I don’t know. There, there probably should have been some better, um,

better safety precautions taken with,

Jeff Wilson: You might argue that the leadership for that unit should probably be paying it rather than rather than the


Scott DeLuzio: I think so. Yeah. I think that that’s probably the case here. Um, well, anyways, thank you again, uh, for not only, uh, indulging me in this, uh, is it service connected segment, um, but for, for everything that you do really, um, the, the books that you write, um, I think are, um, not only are they entertaining, but they’re also helpful to the people who, um, like you said, they, they, they need to find, you know, answers somewhere.

And sometimes those answers just aren’t, As obvious when they’re coming from themselves. And, um, you know, when, when you have that, that community or when you have other, uh, sources, like, you know, novels, like you, you write, um, it really, um, can help people out of dark places. And that’s, uh, ultimately I think what we’re all trying to do here.


Jeff Wilson: [00:54:00] Amen. Thanks for all you do, my


Scott DeLuzio: Thanks again.

Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

Leave a Comment