INTERVIEW WITH JP RATTO by THE WRITER'S LIFE
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
It’s great to be able to share our experience. One of the advantages of collaborative writing is expressed in the saying, “two heads are better than one.” Both of us are avid readers of mystery, thrillers, and suspense, and when we decided to write a novel, of course, chose that genre. We started with the type character that appealed to both of us and by extension would appeal to both men and women. Once we created Lucas Holt, we gave him a life—one that included his accomplishments as well as his tragedies. We knew where and how he lived, what kind of car he drove and all the details down to what he likes to drink. The plot for Everything to Lose slowly evolved, as we knew more and more about Lucas Holt.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
Once we settled on the plot, the writing was easy. However, we planned from the start to write a series with three books that would each have its own main plot as well as another subplot that would run through all three books and eventually be resolved in the last of the trilogy.
This was ambitious and challenging. The main advice we would give to anyone who wanted to do something similar is to plot out as much of the three books as possible in advance. This is especially hard for those who are pantsers—in fact, one of us is a pantser and the other an outliner—but an outline of some sort is key to making a project like this work.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
Our publisher is Limitless Publishing. Knowing the difficulty of being published, we were all set to self-publish—even had a cover artist chosen. An author friend suggested we submit to his publisher. We did and were thrilled when Limitless accepted our manuscript.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
Limitless Publishing is a rapidly growing small press. We were pleasantly surprised by the quick publication process. The timeframe from submission to publication is usually four to six months. Compare that to large publishers who don’t publish your work for up to two years after they accept it.
We are also surprised how time-consuming marketing and promotion is and spend hours a day on Facebook and Twitter, connecting with readers and other authors and posting promos for the book. We will periodically use paid online promo companies to promote our book as well. It would be great if we could hire a fulltime PA and spend more time on writing!
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
We are currently writing the second Lucas Holt novel and hope to submit it to the publisher in a few weeks for a spring 2016 release. Then we will begin the third novel in the series and plan to release it this fall or winter.
Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?
Right now, we spend most of our time on Facebook. We are members of two Limitless authors group, one of which is dedicated to promotional information. We have a website and hope to expand it to include a blog in the future—possibly a “he said, she said” format. While we are collaborators, we approach writing differently and often have to compromise on the process. We would love to share that with our readers and fellow writers.
Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?
We dedicate most of the middle hours of the day to writing and watch a few hours of television at night. It’s hard to wind down after so much mental activity. But still, we try to read before we go to sleep. Sometimes we can get through a whole page!
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
We wrote the book purely for entertainment and hope we’ve achieved that. However, if you create realistic characters and challenge them, there is an inherent message that with perseverance and making the right choices triumph will prevail.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
There are millions of writers with stories to tell and the publishing process can be overwhelming. We’ve all heard how important it is to stand out among the rest. The best advice we can give is to hone your craft, and learn to edit your own work. You can have a great story, but well-crafted storytelling and compelling characters will catch the attention of publishers and readers.