Sitting on his outdoor balcony overlooking the mountains of Park City, Utah, with a mug of hot coffee, former Navy SEAL and New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr reflects on the path that brought him to where he is today.
“From the age of 7, when I first learned what a SEAL was, I knew that I wanted to serve my country in uniform, specifically as a Navy SEAL,” he told AARP Veteran Report.
Born into a military family, Carr’s mother was a librarian, and from that he developed a passion for the works of writers such as Tom Clancy, Nelson DeMille and Louis L’Amour.
Here are eight tips from an author at the very top of his game.
How to start
“Sit down and write it,” Carr said. “Just get it done. Don’t worry about it being ‘bad’ – give yourself permission to write a bad sentence, a bad chapter, a bad book. And then go back and edit it and make it great.”
He suggests attending conferences such as ThrillerFest, where you can “speed date” with literary agents.
“I know at least three people who found their agents that way and went on to get book deals with major publishers,” he said.
Get a good shot in first
The reality of pivoting from war fighter to writer was fraught with uncertainty.
“I started as a SEAL sniper, became an officer, then moved up to troop commander—it was a good run,” he said.
“But my family needed me, I have three kids including one with severe special needs, so I thought it’s time to get out and do something different.”
When he retired in 2016, he set about writing The Terminal List, the first of his six thrillers thus far.
“I knew I needed to come out of the gate with something that was just hard-hitting, visceral and primal,” he said.
He caught the interest of actor Chris Pratt, who eventually starred in the book’s hit adaptation as an Amazon series.