Former U.S. Navy SEAL Jack Carr came out of the shadows after many years in the special operations community to release his debut novel “The Terminal List,” which features fictional former Navy SEAL James Reece going on the warpath after his family is murdered to help cover up a deeper conspiracy. The book was a fan favorite, and even No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor said that it was “absolutely awesome! […] rarely do you read a debut novel this damn good.”
Coming off those rave reviews, Carr is now set to release the second book in his Reece series, “True Believer,” in July. We sat down with Carr for an interview over a cup of coffee for Coffee or Die’s latest installment of 11 Questions.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
COD: How do you take your coffee?
JC: I don’t just take it strong and black. I take it the same way that James Reece does in “The Terminal List” and “True Believer.” I wanted to humanize that character a bit. I like a light roast. Silencer Smooth. I put a little honey in there and a bit of half-and-half.
COD: How do you make your coffee?
JC: In Iraq, I loved the French press. The human intelligence guys had coffee sent from home. When I did my rounds as a Troop Commander, we would grind the coffee right there, put it in the French Press, boil the water, pour it in, let it sit for a little while, and press that thing down.
But with kids running around, the dog barking, my wife packing bags for school, making lunches — I don’t do that at home. As much as I’d like to do the French Press, we have one of the big machines that grinds it up and does everything for you.
COD: What’s the most bizarre/extreme place you’ve ever drank (or made) a cup of coffee?
JC: With mortars coming in while in the intel shop in Iraq.
COD: What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (physical or mental)?
JC: The toughest thing I’ve ever done is raise a child with severe special needs. Our middle child has a mutation of the NR2F1 gene, which is a gene that helps form the brain. It manifests itself as a global development disability, meaning he needs 24/7 full-time care for life. The additional stress that it puts on our family is difficult to describe.
My wife dealt with it all alone while I was deployed and continues to deal with it today when I am on the road and when I am home writing. We hope that our situation is making our family more loving, compassionate people. Our next mission in life is helping him reach his full potential, whatever that may be.
COD: What motivates you to do what you do?
JC: I’ve always wanted to do this since I was a little kid. I love reading, writing, and learning. My mother was a librarian. So, I naturally gravitated toward it.
COD: What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about you or the work you do?
JC: We were just guys who did a job. That job just happened to be special operations. The misconception may be that we are a lot stronger, tougher, and smarter than we actually are.
COD: How do you define success?
JC: In my case, I think success is looking back and seeing how your kids turn out. That they are good, compassionate people and citizens of this country. That they want to turn this country over to their kids with the same freedoms that they enjoyed.
COD: Mountain view or ocean view?
JC: I did the ocean-view thing for quite some time, so now it’s time for the mountain view.
COD: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
JC: Going back in time would be a pretty cool superpower. I’d go back to 1873 as an 18-year-old when the Colt Single Action Revolver came out, so I could be quick on the draw.
COD: What are your hobbies, outside of what you are known for?
JC: I don’t consider myself a “hobbyist.” Everything I’ve done and everything I do defines my lifestyle. These days I always think about being with my kids. It’s not a hobby, but that’s what I think about a lot. I love spending time with them.
COD: On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you in your ability to survive in a post-apocalyptic world (1= I’m dead on day one, 10 = king of the new world order).
JC: (Laughs) Let’s just say I’m prepared for the latter.