We’ve teamed up with Penguin Random House to celebrate the newest release in the Jack Reacher series, Better Off Dead.
In this competition you can win a year’s supply of Pact coffee AND a Jack Reacher five-book bundle, which includes the latest instalment.
Enter the competition here. You’ll find the answer to the question in the Q&A below.
We’ll select one lucky winner at random – and five runners up who will win:
- Two 250g bags of our classic Planalto coffee
- A Hario V60 dripper
- 40 biodegradable filters
- A measuring scoop
- A copy of Better Off Dead
It’s said that a Jack Reacher book is sold somewhere in the world every nine seconds. They constantly claim the top spots in bestseller lists and have sold over 100 million copies worldwide.
So we caught up with the UK-born author and creator behind the Jack Reacher books, Lee Child, to get the inside scoop.
Where do you find your inspiration for writing?
Firstly, through reading. I write one book a year and I read hundreds. But you never find a book that’s 100% what you want, so you have to write it yourself.
You could also say a writer’s whole life is research. Everyone I meet, everything I read or see, or experience is packed away for future use.
After so many instalments, how do you manage to keep the Reacher series so fresh?
I’ve got no road map. I trust it just to happen. It’s a risk because you’ve got no safety net. It’s like a movie stuntman who jumps off a high building, hoping the props people are going to get the air bag in position by the time he lands. For me, it’s essential not to have an outline beforehand, because I want to sit down to write with exactly the same level of interest as the reader who sits down to read. They’re excited to know what is going to happen next. And that’s exactly what I want to know too: what’s going to happen next? I revel in that ride.
The thing that really liberated me was choosing early on to make Reacher rootless. This gives me tremendous flexibility. Reacher isn’t tied to any location, and he also isn’t tied to any particular stratum of investigation, like say a police sergeant in one particular town would be. That way, the pitch of every story can be radically different.
Both you and Reacher love coffee. Where did that love affair begin?
Getting stuck in with my writing process requires immense quantities of coffee – sometimes 30 mugs a day, no decaf. My brother [and co-author, Andrew Child] might be the only person in the world who drinks more coffee than I do.
When it comes to Reacher, it was kind of a literary decision because most of the guys in thrillers are recovering alcoholics, but I thought it’d be nice to have a guy who just loves plain coffee because I love it so much.
How do you brew your coffee?
Okay. Use a standard midrange drip machine, nothing expensive, but nothing too cheap, either. Cuisinart works for me, with a mesh filter seasoned by hard use.
First, fill the jug with water, and then tip the water into the machine. If you want to get fancy you can use bottled water, because city water’s chlorine content ain’t your friend with this endeavour. Evian works well. For every little number on the side of the jug, subtract one and use that many spoons of ground coffee. Avoid any kind of flavouring or other adulteration. Close the lid, hit the switch, wait five, and you’re there.
Choose your mug carefully. Bone china is ideal, fine and translucent if you can get it, tall, narrow, cylindrical in section. Avoid a thick rim and avoid heavy stoneware. The rim needs to feel like a blade against your lips, and any kind of weight or thickness in the cup will leach heat out of the drink too fast.
And avoid any kind of dairy product or sweetener, obviously. This is coffee we’re making, not some syrupy milk drink.
Favourite place to write?
At home, at my desk. I have two computers, one connected to the internet and the other one offline, at different ends of the office to discourage me from going online when I’m writing.
How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
I think my record is about 36 cups.
Describe Jack Reacher in 3 words:
Rootless. Mysterious. Tall.
Which country produces your favourite coffee?
Colombia. I also enjoy Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.
Top three songs of all time?
Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry. It tells a whole story in a fantastically compact form.
She Loves You by the Beatles. I once met Paul McCartney at a Peta charity ball and told him he had saved my life. He said: “Yeah, I’ve heard that before.”
Beethoven’s Für Elise, a tiny piece by a genius who had lived and loved intensely.
What are you reading right now?
The Partisan by Patrick Worrall. It’s immersive, intriguing, and intelligent – an incredibly impressive debut, already up there with the best in the genre.
Favourite novel of all time?
That’s a huge question, but usually I say Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. It’s a great Southern novel, a great New York novel, a great European novel, but most of all it’s unbearably suspenseful while also magnificently patient.
Head here to enter our competition. You could win a year’s supply of Pact coffee and a Jack Reacher book bundle. You can pick up Better Off Dead here and read an excerpt of this latest instalment of the Jack Reacher series here. Good luck!
Terms & conditions
- The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 years or over except employees of Pack Coffee, Penguin Random House and their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition.
- There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
- By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating their agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
- Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are here.
- Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.
- Closing date for entry will be midnight on 2nd May 2022. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
- No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
- Details on how to enter are as follows: entrants must answer the multiple-choice question and enter their first and second name and their email address.
- The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
- The prize is: 1 x years’ supply of coffee and a Jack Reacher book bundle. Details are:
- The winner will receive coffee credit with enough value to cover 12 x orders of a single bag of Pact Coffee, available and deliverable via Coffee Plan (subscription). Coffee credit isn’t useable on one-off store orders.
The winner will receive a copy of Better Off Dead and can select up to another 4 Jack Reacher paperbacks of their choice.
5 x runners up receive a copy of Better Off Dead and a Pact Coffee Newbie Gift Set
The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
- Pact Coffee will fulfil the coffee subscription and runners up prizes. Penguin Random House will dispatch the books directly to the winners’ home addresses.
- The winners will be chosen at random by software, from all correct entries received and verified by the promoter and/or its agents.
- The winners will be notified by email seven days after the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
- The promoter will notify the winners when the prize is delivered.
- The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
- The winners agree to the use of their name in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winners or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
- The winner’s name will be available 28 days after closing date by emailing the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The promoter is Pact Coffee (Company Number 08199187) whose registered office is at 403A The Biscuit Factory, 100 Drummond Rd, London, SE16 4DG