Dear Mr. Pratt -- We have the habit of finding good authors and reading everything they write. You have joined a special club at our house with your novels. Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, and John Grisham are three of the modern-day writers in this category. My wife hopes you are working on book #4 and that it is not too long in coming. Keep up the good work! — Gerald Bolen, Oklahoma
The kind words quoted at the top of this page from Mr. Bolen of Oklahoma -- and those from many other readers -- meant a lot to me during great days when I was trying to figure out my road. I was stringing together one novel after another in the late 90's and early 2,000’s but...
I was just Jim, a guy-next-door, who had survived two life-saving surgeries in the 24 months before becoming published in 1997 when The Last Valentine took over my life.
Becoming a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, along with having The Last Valentine become THE LOST VALENTINE in a HALLMARK HALL of FAME World Premier and CBS Movie of the Week -- starring Betty White and Jennifer Love Hewitt and viewed by 14.5 million -- was a privilege of a lifetime. Hard-earned, it took 11 years from the first script to the actual movie. Grateful, I never could have imagined this honor.
What probably appears a disappearing act by me for more than a decade, was in reality, something else.
After 6 published bestsellers, including The Lighthouse Keeper, Ticket Home, Paradise Bay, Dad the Man Who Lied to Save the Planet, Mom, The Woman Who Made Oatmeal Stick to My Ribs, and the first success of The Last Valentine, I still had a contract to complete.
I was under enormous ongoing physical disability challenges which began years earlier. At that time, the youthful years of spine-wrecking football injuries to the back and neck, along with almost daily blinding headaches since my final game, resulted in chronic pain killer use, both over-the-counter and prescribed.
Medical doctors seemed to brush me off and I was left to suffer, dope up, smile, and repeat this endlessly. In fact, it was my "normal," but at some point your faking becomes breaking.
I considered how privileged I felt to hear from readers from all over the world. Readers and their experience with the words I pen are always at the forefront of my mind. I did not want to let a great and growing audience down.
Writing and creating a new novel wasn't the problem -- that was where I found relief; I could manage my physical requirements at home. Public communications -- nationwide book tours and "live" publicity events via radio and television appearances -- were my challenge simply because of exhaustion coupled with hard-to-hide physical misery.
I realized that forcing the body through chronicity of life-long spinal, head, and neck injury-caused pain from younger years was having a negative impact on family, some friends, and even professional contacts.
I found myself unintentionally sabotaging relationships. I couldn't mask spine and concussion-related torments as well as I hoped. When it finally became apparent to me that some of my behavior alienated others, I knew something had to give.
Feigning a smile in public for the camera, I struggled to know what to do, while relying upon heavy dosing of painkillers to see me through the constant 24/7 pain that began in my youth. The heavens were not answering regular petitions, and doctors at that time offered no hope.
When an answer came through much soul searching; an answer I did not want to hear, I very reluctantly obeyed. It was as if my deceased father whispered into my ear, and those words are sacred to me now.
So, what happened to Author James Michael Pratt for over one decade?
Perhaps I took Robert Frost's "Road Less Traveled" a bit too seriously, but then...
At Backstory I go into detail with text and audio, why a choice to be a simple neighbor and silent writer-- Jim, a guy next door--was made, and how the journey through pain, choices, and life experiences from 1971 to the present affects my writing to this day. In it, I hope to encourage fellow sufferers as I offer a transparent view into the personality one becomes over time.
JAMES MICHAEL PRATT—TODAY
I hope you may have enjoyed that audio piece found at the "Backstory" link. Reaching through the thin veil of memory, to places that those times alone possess, is cathartic and I hope it may be used to a listener's advantage in examining their own backstories.
I produced many works during those quiet years from 2005 to the present day. They are deeply heartfelt and now becoming delivered to you over the next several months and years with “Free Reads” and “Sneak Peeks” found in my private “Once Upon a Time BookClub." Immediately scheduled are 8 books to be re-released or released for the first time over a 5 year period.
Healthy, eager, and grateful to have you here at my 2022 launched website, I am looking forward to publishing and making great book reading memories together with you over many coming years!
James Michael Pratt