Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Interview with JP Ratto, authors of 'Everything to Lose'

JP Ratto is a husband and wife collaborative writing team. EVERYTHING TO LOSE is the first of a three-book series featuring private investigator Lucas Holt.

Judy began writing full time six years ago. She attended Hofstra University’s Writing Intensive in the summer of 2010, and participated in a Hofstra-sponsored writing and critique group from 2009 to 2012. She has written an upper middle-grade fantasy adventure and a children’s mystery chapter book. Judy also does free-lance editing.

Pete Ratto, a former member of the U.S. Navy serving half his enlistment with the U.S. Marine Corp, is a retired corporate accountant and is now writing full time.
Both are avid readers of mysteries, thrillers and suspense. Active in a critique group made up of local authors, they enjoy discussions on all aspects of the craft of writing. Pete enjoys photography, writing and going to the beach. In her spare time, Judy paints watercolors and to her husband’s delight, cooks an occasional dinner. They have a son and a daughter, both grown and living in New York. Pete and Judy live in southern Florida with their cat, Gillian.

For More Information

Title: Everything To Lose
Author: JP Ratto
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Pages: 250
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Private investigator Lucas Holt is on a mission…

Lucas Holt specializes in kidnap recovery. Ex-Delta Force and a former NYPD detective, he has spent the last fifteen years burying himself in case files to cope with the unsolved abduction of his daughter, Marnie.

Janet Maxwell just can’t let go…

After the death of Janet’s husband and son in a tragic car accident, she hopes Holt’s expertise can locate the daughter she gave up for adoption seventeen years ago. Janet knows her actions will have explosive repercussions for the girl’s father—presidential candidate, Todd Grayson. With no family, hope of finding her only daughter is all she has left. Or is there a more sinister motive?

There’s no greater incentive for a father than protecting his daughter…

On a mission to bury the constant reminder of his failure to recover Marnie, Holt agrees to Janet’s proposal. But at what cost? When his inquiries lead to news of the death of another woman, Holt can’t shake the feeling something is off about the whole case. And when new evidence surfaces about Marnie's disappearance, his drive to recover Janet’s daughter and his own become one and the same.
Crooked candidates, hired mercenaries, bitter lovers, and his own life on the line—will Holt find it inside him to risk it all in the line of duty? There’s no telling how far you’re willing to go when you have everything to lose.
  • Everything To Lose is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

Right now, we have a deadline for a spring release of our second Lucas Holt novel, so we spend most our time writing. When we’re not writing, we’re reading or watching crime shows on TV. Since we began writing mysteries we have become pretty good at guessing, “who done it.” We live in Southeast Florida and, after dining out, like to walk along the ocean. Twice a month we attend a writer’s critique group, which consists of wonderful local authors.

When did you start writing?

Judy: I started writing full time six years ago when our two children were in college. Lots of free time and peace and quiet are great for the flow of creative juices. I attended continuing education writing courses at a local university and did a summer writing intensive.
Pete: Years ago, I wrote several chapters of PI story as an experiment. I liked what I wrote but was too busy with work to give any serious attention to a writing career. I’m retired now and enjoy writing daily.
As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

We’d have to say the realization that we could work as a team. Working full time, Pete only had time to write as a hobby. I wrote with the idea of publishing, but wrote middle grade fantasy/adventure. Pete always read, critiqued, and edited my work before I submitted to my critique group. Since we both love mystery/suspense novels, writing for adults was a natural progression.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Judy: I would love to go to Ireland. My second unfinished middle grade novel takes place primarily in Donegal county Ireland, and so far I’ve been a Google traveler. It would be wonderful to visit Tory Island, which is rich in Celtic lore. I’d also like to see the Long Room Library at Trinity College in Dublin, where a battle between the young protagonist and demon monks takes place. 

Pete: I picture myself sitting in the corner of English pub with a pint and my laptop. I would let the creative juices flow and develop a brand new, never-been-done character, and read Rumpole of the Bailey.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Judy: Four whole hours? I’d paint watercolors. A hobby I love but haven’t had much time for.

Pete: How does that song go? “I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, cold beer in my hand…”

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

So far, we’ve kept Lucas Holt busy on the east coast of the U.S. Perhaps after the third book, we can expand his horizons. The Black Forest in Germany would be a great backdrop for one of his cases.

Back to your present book, Everything to Lose, how did you publish it?

Honestly, we were all set to self-publish, when a writer friend suggested we submit to his publisher, Limitless Publishing. We were thrilled when they accepted our manuscript.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

We didn’t make specific trips to any local for research. However, we are both from New York, so we know the city. We’ve been to Pennsylvania and Vermont and used those experiences.

Why was writing Everything to Lose so important to you?

Judy: We love reading books that are entertaining and wanted to write a story that would give readers a few hours of enjoyment and escape from their stressful lives.

Pete: The truth? I AM Lucas Holt and I needed to tell my story. (Judy rolls her eyes)

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

Since there’s nothing new under the sun, we have to give old ideas a new spin. Human-interest stories, current events, and technological news are great for sparking creativity. Then we brainstorm ideas to each other and come up with one that works for both of us.

Any final words?

We would encourage anyone who loves writing and is serious about publishing to spend time honing their craft. Take the time to read in the genre you write and learn the art of writing. Anyone can relate a story—but it’s well-crafted, smooth-story telling that will catch the attention of publishers and readers.
Thank you for the interview!

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