Biography

“From a master of moral fiction…”   Booklist

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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 three 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

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James Michael Pratt has spent the past ten years developing a variety of privately sold titles in faith and personal growth categories, as well as screenplays, including one war documentary—Between Iraq and a Hard Place—which won best film and director awards at film festivals nationwide.

Returning to the territory that earned him bestseller acclaim with The Lost Valentine and four other romance titles, he likes to say he began his writing career as a boy at play in the wide-open back-lot fields of the Corriganville western movie ranch—which helped launch so many film careers of Hollywood’s golden era. Located within one mile of his boyhood home in the Santa Susana Mountains, James spent many enjoyable days imagining heroics with playmates in scripted acts of war and exploration.

Jim’s early love for reading and playing storyteller, blossomed into a status as a nationally bestselling author. Admittedly a romantic, a boyhood love of reading and listening to the personal heroic tales of family and veterans of war blended well with his own sense of American heritage; a family tree reaching back to the first New England colony settlers with English Army officer-immigrant Lt. William Pratt, as well as Mayflower ancestors of the early 1600’s Plymouth Colony.

Pratt’s first professional writing experience came in the early 1980’s, employed to combine technical and promotional narrative with back-stories for an Los Angeles based financial company representing projects to investors. Taking note, he was next hired by one of the country’s foremost newsletter writers to run the editing of a financial home study course headquartered in the shadows of the Wasatch mountain ranges of Utah, where he now resides.

As time passed, and the financial newsletter company sold its interests, Pratt moved back to his native Southern California eager to explore the investment practices he had expounded upon and edited for. He rolled the dice and took the next ten years—as a new husband and father—to work the home building business during boom periods in Southern California’s growing defense contracting economy.

As many entrepreneurs attest, they often work hard and long hours at creating success to find some elements of longevity out of their control. Such was the case when nearly one million dollars in Pratt’s hard-earned real estate equity in affordable home building, evaporated in California’s saturated residential market with sudden changes in defense industry employment.

At this low point, James Pratt chose to become guided by a favorite author; James Allen and his 1904 worldwide bestseller, As a Man Thinketh. “You are the sum of your thoughts,” and “The oak sleeps in the acorn; the greatest achievements were at first and for a time, dreams…” Allen promised.

These unexpected changes to life motivated Pratt to go back to his dream of writing. Determined now to inspire readers through fiction, and being newly relieved of wealth, he asked his wife, “Where would you like to be broke at?” Her answer was to relocate to affordable, familiar, and friendly Utah.

Pratt’s breakout title soon followed. The Last Valentine, came while making a living to support his writing hobby, and was finished and represented prior to nearly succumbing from massive bleeding due to internal injuries.

His reflections of his father and mother’s romance during World War Two set the tone for the 1998-99 New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller. Three novels by St Martin’s Press followed, written one year after another. The Lighthouse Keeper, Ticket Home, and Paradise Bay appeared in hard/soft editions nationwide with rights sales to major literary book clubs, as well as in audio book, and in foreign rights.

In 2003 The Last Valentine was shepherded through the lengthy process of screenplay, then sales, and finally production, until in 2011 it became one of the top viewed Hallmark Hall of Fame and CBS Movie of the Week films ever produced. Renamed The Lost Valentine, it still plays monthly on the Hallmark Channel and Feeln network; and always as an annual Valentine’s Day classic.

In 2004 a well-respected publisher and book store company in the intermountain west—who had published the author’s great grandfather’s pioneer memoirs for its entire one hundred year company history—contracted Pratt’s two non-fiction parenting and success memoirs designed for their hardcover gift-book market and their fifty stores. DAD, The Man Who Lied to Save the Planet and MOM, The Woman Who Made Oatmeal Stick to My Ribs struck a note and became bestsellers under their newly created non-religious imprint Shadow Mountain, with regional independents and the private chain’s own stores from 2003 through 2005.

In 2005 Pratt added his fifth fiction manuscript, The Good Heart, a political-medical mystery category sold to the inter-mountain regional market by the same publisher.

During this time he co-wrote the screenplay of the same title in 2007 with Maryann Ridini Spencer, the gifted writer of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s adaptation of Pratt’s The Last Valentine. It has remained available for production interests along with Ridini-Spencer’s film option and screenplay based upon the 2002 national bestseller, Ticket Home.

In 2008 James was a producer for a war documentary examining two tours of duty in Iraq for a squad of Marines using their own footage from the experiences. All did not return. In a touching reveal of emotions and raw nerve, the young Marines tell their story of lost innocence in Between Iraq and a Hard Place directed by talented brother Rex Pratt of Santa Barbara, CA. It went on to win several film festival awards and wide national acclaim.

Additionally, from 2005 to the present, Pratt produced three more fiction manuscripts, two of which he chose to self-publish and which are often used in promotional ways to continue expanding a diverse fan and reader base. The Christ Report and As a Man Thinketh…In His Heart explore questions about today’s world, what is at stake with the choices we make, and the historical past in ways that his other novels have not.

Maturing as a writer, and learning from the experiences over the years, James is at a new place but also a familiar one in his writing career as he introduces his latest romantic fiction manuscript to the marketplace, When the Last Leaf Falls.

James feels his writing skills are now established in four categories:

 

  • General Fiction — Romance/Historical/Inspirational
  • Inspirational Non-Fiction — Memoirs & Success
  • Thriller/Mystery — Science/Political/Current Events
  • Screenplay Adaptation

 

Pratt has been a guest over the years on hundreds of radio talk shows, and has appeared across the country on all major networks and cable television shows including FOX, CBS, NBC, and ABC.

His stated mission in writing has not changed since his first novel, The Last Valentine:

 

“To lift and inspire the human heart.”