Nita remembers the moment, at 3 ½, that she realised she could read, and the world of stories opened up.
“I was always good with words,” she says, “and hopeless at almost everything else.”
After university Nita worked as a teacher of special needs students.
“I watched how the world gave them labels, and how they coped with that” she says. “They were resilient. I was impressed by their bravery.”
Later, wanting a change, Nita signed up for a publishing programme. She worked for Harper Collins in Toronto, starting as production editor, and working her way up to managing editor. She became a senior editor with Penguin before settling with Simon Schuster.
Nita has ghost written ten books for people through her role in publishing, but she didn’t tell anyone about her debut novel, through sheer fear.
“I sent it to various small submission agents, and when they liked it, sent it to Madeleine Milburn, who I really wanted. I was overjoyed when she accepted it.”
Who is Nita Prose?
Date of birth: 1972 in Ontario.
Education: University of Toronto, English and Drama; Ryerson University, Publishing programme.
Family: Partner, Tony. Small pug, Theo, father, and brother, Dan.
The Day Job: Editorial Director and Vice President of Simon Schuster, Canada.
In Another Life: “I’d split my time between being a dancer and an animal rescuer.”
Favourite Writers: Frederick Backman. Lisa Jewell; Ashley Audrain; Gail Honeyman.
Second Novel: “I’m toying around with ideas”.
Top Tip: “Read widely, read voraciously. The more you read, the more you understand what it takes to write.”
Website: www.nitaprose.com Twitter: @nitaprose.
The Debut: The Maid: Harper Collins: €14.35. Kindle: €9.71.
Molly is a socially awkward maid at a top hotel. When she finds the body of a prominent guest, and a murder hunt ensues, all her perceptions of the world crumble. But is she as naïve as her colleagues believe?
“In early 2020 I startled the hotel maid as she was folding the track pants I’d left in a mess. I thought what an intimate job she had – knowing so much about me. On the flight home Molly’s voice came to me. I wrote the prologue on a napkin.”
The Verdict: Funny, poignant and uplifting. Molly is a glorious creation.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 22nd January.
© Sue J Leonard. 2022.