Ex-Navy SEAL pens ‘The Terminal List’
Author Jack Carr will discuss and sign his book, “The Terminal List,” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit http://www.dollysbookstore.com. For information about “The Terminal List,” visit http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Terminal-List/Jack-Carr/9781501180811.
According to Parkite Jack Carr, his debut novel “The Terminal List” is a political military thriller that feels so authentic, the Department of Defense redacted some passages.
“I didn’t want to give anything away that would negatively affect those who were still going downrange,” said Carr, a former Navy SEAL who served in the military for 20 years until his retirement in 2016. “I also wanted to also honor my former security clearances. So I submitted my book to the Department of Defense Office of Pre-Publication and Review so they could go through it to make sure there wasn’t anything that would be detrimental to national security.”
The redactions surprised Carr, who will do a book signing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St.
“I was taken aback because some of the things they redacted are part of the national discourse,” he said. “But it isn’t up to me to decide what is classified and what is not. So I included the redactions and there are some blacked-out sections in the book.”
“The Terminal List” is about Lt. Cmdr. James Reece, a SEAL who is on a personal mission to unravel a far-reaching conspiracy behind a plot that left his unit dead during a rescue operation and his loved ones murdered.
Carr said Reece is a composite of people he has spent time with over the years.
He also drew on his own military experience that included leading special operations teams on four continents.
“I also was inspired by characters from movies and other pockets of popular culture,” he said. “I did this because I wanted to sit down and write about a character who was a good guy, but who could also flip a switch and get the job done. I wanted him to be a likable character who had the skills that would make him believable.”
Carr also wanted to make Reece a little different than the hero readers have come to known in revenge thrillers. To draw his protagonist, he incorporated the concept of “bushido,” the moral code associated with the samurai of feudal Japan.
“When they went into battle, they went in thinking they were already dead,” he said. And that made them more effective and efficient warriors. So I wanted to apply that to the modern day warrior. That’s the twist in the plotline.”
The author also knew that his debut needed to be “primal, visceral and hard-hitting,” he said.
“I took a yellow sticky note and wrote ‘revenge’ on it and put it next to my computer,” Carr said. “It made the editing process go more smoothly if anything didn’t tie back to that theme.”
Carr began thinking about writing a book during the last year of his military career.
“I knew I had to do the military thing first, and focus solely on the mission at hand, because that’s what you owe the guys under your command, their families and the country,” he said. “It was only during the time it took for me to process out of the military, I took a breath and thought about my next move. And knew that someday when I got out that I wanted to do some writing. I didn’t want to be 90 years old looking back and wondering what could have happened. So I gave it a shot.”
Carr knew he wanted to be a SEAL when he was 7.
“My grandfather was a Corsair pilot during World War II,” Carr said. “He was killed off of Okinawa in 1945 when two kamikazes hit the [U.S.S.] Bunker Hill aircraft carrier.]”
Carr remembers his grandfather’s medals, black-and-white photos of his squadron and silk maps that were issued to aviators.
“The maps were silk so they wouldn’t disintegrate if they hit the water,” Carr said.
Carr also read a lot while he dreamed about joining the military.
“I grew up surrounded by books,” he said. “My mother was a librarian, and she instilled in us a love of reading at a very early age.”
The future author gravitated to military fiction’s founding fathers.
“By the time I got to junior high, I started reading political military thrillers by Tom Clancy, Nelson DeMille and David Morell,” he said. “When I got older, I transitioned to the books by Stephen Hunter, Vince Flynn, Daniel Silva and Brad Thor.”
Carr enjoyed writing and publishing “The Terminal List,” the process of which took close to two years.
“It took a year and a half to write, and when I got to the point where I told my wife I was done, that meant it was really the time to start the editing,” he said with a laugh. “We read, reread and edited and reread it and edited again.”
After the editing wrapped up, Carr submitted the book to publisher Simon and Schuster.
“They got back to us very quickly, and the next thing I knew I was in New York having coffee with them, and they recommended a couple of agents and off we went to the races,” he said.
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