I’ve written almost a thousand articles for SOFREP, not counting my days of writing for the Military dotcom Deathstar. This was before the Force awakened and SOFREP was born. Sorry, couldn’t resist, I’m a Star Wars nerd.
Many lessons have been learned and egos bruised over the years and more than a few times I’ve found myself wanting to hit the “unpublish” button. But, like the sniper shot that misses its mark, you can’t focus on the bad shots, you focus on the next one, and better make it count.
Sharpening my nonfiction writing skills has been a fun, tireless, and expressive journey. In some ways, it has helped me deal with my own issues around my combat experience and post SEAL Team life. A snake pit of competitive alpha males and some, maybe most, transition like a dog on fire.
I’d like to think I’ve gotten good writing non fiction. However, fiction (the made up stuff) is like switching from pistols to long guns, it’s an entirely different skillset.
When I had an idea for a serial killer onboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier I knew I needed to learn more. So I watched a LOT of online videos and read Stephen King’s On Writing. Regardless of King’s explosive political twitter rants, he’s an amazing writer and his book is a great gift to anyone looking to write the make-believe.
3+ years later and I had cobbled together close to 20,000 words and had the rough plot outline. But, nevertheless, I found myself a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. I needed help if I was ever going to finish the book. Enter John Mann.
John and I have written close to a dozen books together. And since by surrounding ourselves with experts better than us, we are forced to be better, being around Mann has made me a much better writer. So I was thrilled when he accepted an offer to partner on a new series.
We’ve both had good solo acts but sometimes the band makes better music together. So WEBB & MANN was born.
The novel sold for a record advance at Penguin-Random House’s Bantam Books, and we have an incredible editor and collaborator in the great Anne Speyer.
I’m thrilled at what we’ve accomplished and excited to reveal the official STEEL FEAR cover on SOFREP first.
It looks like we’ve essentially caught lighting in a bottle: The first book in our thriller series is on its way to getting turned into a streaming tv series before it publishes this July. At the moment we have a bidding war for the series. We should go into production next year, and the show would ideally stream in 2022 when the second book hits the streets. Ben Smith, our production partner, has had an amazing career and also produced the Bourne series. Our screenwriter, Aaron Rabin, is also incredibly talented. We’ve essentially built a Spec Ops content team, and we’re ready to deploy the alert 5 option!
Hope you guys enjoy hearing from John below and please support us with the pre-orders.
ANYONE who pre-orders will be invited to an exclusive event and private signing in New York at Strand book’s rare book room.
So let’s hear from John.
“It was January 2009 when I first connected with Brandon around a proposal to work on his memoir. At the time I had zero military background, experience, or knowledge. All the writing I’d done up to that point had been about business, leadership, and personal development. My agent called and said she had a former Navy SEAL sniper sitting in her office who wanted to pen a memoir and needed a collaborator. ‘I know this isn’t what you do,’ she said. ‘But would you be interested?’
Me? The Go-Giver guy? Coauthor a book about the life of a freakin’ Navy SEAL sniper?
‘Hell, yeah,’ I told her.
That spring, in one of our earliest conversations, Brandon asked me, ‘Hey, would you ever be interested in writing a novel? A thriller about a serial killer on an aircraft carrier?’
Wait. Me? A full-length novel? A freakin’ thriller about a freakin’ psychopath loose on a freakin’ aircraft carrier?
‘Hell, yeah!’ I said again.
It took three years to complete the memoir. The Red Circle hit the New York Times bestseller list in the spring of 2012. The two of us have since written five more books together. No, make that six — because here comes STEEL FEAR in July 2021.
Must-read thriller of the summer.
The idea for STEEL FEAR was inspired by an actual serial-molester event that occurred during Brandon’s tour as a rescue swimmer (his pre-BUD/S days) aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in the mid-1990s. It was when the U.S. Navy had just integrated women on board. The identity of that serial molester was never discovered.
At the time Brandon thought, ‘What if these were murders?’
Researching and writing the book took us two years. I researched the hell out of aircraft carriers. (I highly recommend Geoff Dyer’s magnificently entertaining and informative book Another Great Day at Sea and Icon Productions’ 10-hour miniseries Carrier.) I spent a day on the USS Abraham Lincoln, where the story takes place. I consulted with a few dozen experts in everything from anesthesiology to electronics to psychosis. And spent roughly a billion hours talking and emailing with Brandon.
We wrote the hell out of this thing, and our agent sold the hell out of it, too, in a hot two-book deal to Bantam. We’re already at work on the sequel.
Ok, back to Brandon, now.”
We’ve left all our blood and sweat on the dirt of the writing arena floor. Hope you enjoy what’s coming! Please purchase now to show your support. It matters. And in addition to the book, you’ll get an exclusive invite to a private talk and signing in New York.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to get 3 months of full ad-free access for only $1