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.