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Local Seen: Best-selling author Brad Taylor draws from his special ops experience to write a series of military thrillers

Local Seen: Best-selling author Brad Taylor draws from his special ops experience to write a series of military thrillers
January 2022

His latest release, End of Days, comes out this month

Like Pike Logan—the main character in his best-selling series of military thrillers—author Brad Taylor lives in Charleston, but these days you’re more likely to find him relaxing with his family than tracking down a serial killer and trying to break up an apocalyptic plot as Logan does in the latest novel, End of Days (William Morrow, January 11).

Taylor, though, is no stranger to special operations. Born in Okinawa, Japan, his formative years were spent on 40 acres in rural Texas. After graduating from the University of Texas, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army Infantry, where he served for 22 years, including eight years in Delta Force, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

In 2011, Taylor published his debut novel, One Rough Man, which became an immediate success. He subsequently launched a series of books featuring Logan, drawing from his real-world experiences to inform the fictional heros’s adventures. With almost three million copies sold, Taylor’s books consistently have made The New York Times best-seller list. Here, the former assistant professor of military science at The Citadel talks about what led him to become a writer.

CM: How does a career military man in the special forces become a New York Times best-selling author?
Writing has always been on my bucket list. When I started, I honestly thought [my book] would just sit on the table for my family to read. However, when it sold, I had to make a choice of either staying in the military or making writing my new career. I opted for the latter, obviously, but I went into security consulting until I was established as a writer. Thankfully, it all worked out, and no one’s been more surprised than me.

CM: For someone new to your writing, how would you categorize your work?
My books can be categorized as military suspense thrillers, like Tom Clancy’s novels or the Bourne series. Everyone told me to just write what I know, and I was in special operations doing counterterrorism stuff for 22 years, so that’s what Pike does. If I had been a policeman, he would have been a cop.

CM: What inspires you to make Charleston the setting for your novels?
My family is from Charleston, and I spent all my summers here. My dad and brother attended The Citadel, and my sister went to the College of Charleston. My aunts, uncles, and grandparents lived here, so my roots are here. When I got out of the military, I retired to Charleston. I’ve also held my book launches in many local venues, including The Windjammer, Blind Tiger, and Fuel. They always seem to end up in my books.

CM: What is the most difficult aspect of writing a series of books as opposed to a single novel?
I put 100 percent into each story without a thought to my next book, which can cause an issue when it comes time to start again. Since the characters in a series must grow and evolve, it’s sometimes hard to keep that track going while also keeping the previous history I created in mind.

Lives: Mount Pleasant
Graduated: University of Texas, holds a master of science in defense analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School
Family: Wife, Elaine, and two daughters
Favorite authors: Stephen King, Piers Anthony, and John Sanford

Book events:

  • January 10, 6 p.m., Charleston Library Society 
  • January 21, 7 p.m., Halls Signature Events