Shirley Prather attended the University
of Detroit for two years and later received a diploma as a Para-Legal
from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.
She retired from the Contract Dept. of John Hancock Insurance
company in 1993 where she worked for 17 years. The first book
Shirley ever wrote (never published) was in 1990 when she was
laid up with broken my leg. MURDER ON RYE was published
in October, 2000.
Prather's novel is a fast-paced combination
of romance with English mystery. The novel's most successful
moments are Prather's description of everyday English life..."
Hugh Gallagher of O&E
Pageonelit.com: Where did you grow
up and was reading and writing a part of your life? Who were
your earliest influences and why?
Shirley Prather: I grew up in Detroit,
Michigan the eldest of five children. Reading was a very big
part of my life. I had read all the Nancy Drew book that were
available by the time I was 14 and most of the classics.
I was a rather good student. When I was in the
eleventh grade I had an English teacher by the name of Miss Merriam.
Miss Merriam had never been married and was a hopeless romantic.
I wrote a short story about meeting a boy in Leamington, Ontario.
She was so taken with that short story that she became a mentor
in all future endeavors while I was in high school with regard
to writing and English Lit.
Pageonelit.com: Why did you write
MURDER ON RYE. Tell us about this book.
Shirley Prather: My daughter, Laura,
a lawyer by education, was sent to work in Metropolitan London
for three years. She works for a plastics company and did all
work and entertaining clients. Her life pretty much paralleled
Lindsay's life up to a point (the murders and prison break were,
of course, all my imagination). Laura was totally subsidized
while she was there, she did travel extensively and she did date
an entertainer on the Strand. I went to visit her for extended
periods of time. She was living
such a glamourous life while she was there that I thought, what
a great scenario to wrap a mystery around, as so MURDER ON
RYE was born. I thought this way I would be able to put her
experience in England in a permanent place and time.
Pageonelit.com: Where did the title
MURDER ON RYE come from?
Shirley Prather: The title, MURDER
ON RYE, refers to the Rye area of SE England (E. Sussex)
where a lot of the story takes place (a bit south of Dover).
Pageonelit.com: What has been your
feedback from readers and book reviewers? What do they say to
you about their interpretations of these books? What do they
like about the book?
Shirley Prather: I have had very
good feedback on the book. I was surprised to find that men like
the book almost more than women, which surprised me. But then
I have been asked for Laura's telephone number since they were
so impressed with Lindsay Roberts.
I have also had many people tell me that they really
enjoyed the book because it took them back to a time when they
had visited SE England or the club on the Strand in London. Verrick's
on the Strand really does exist as Smolensky's. And the 1920
murals on the walls are really there. Lindsay's flat is really
there too. I could have supplied pictures for all these places.
I had a very nice review by the local newspaper
and I have had not bad reviews by several website reviewers and
online mystery magazines(except for one).
Pageonelit.com: Tell me about your
publishing experience -- The good, the bad and the ugly...
Shirley Prather: I got very frustrated
looking for an agent and I found that most publishers would not
accept a manuscript without an agent. I found it a catch 22.
I felt I had something to say, so I went with iUniverse.com an
internet publishing company. I found the cover work well done.
I found the book was made available at all online bookstores
and the big booksellers provides the book by special order. The
book is available to booksellers through Ingrams. The most lacking
feature of going with an internet company is the deficit of publicity.
I found exposure very limited. I guess it is up to the writer
to make their own publicity when they are published by an internet
or small publisher.
Pageonelit.com: Are you working on
a follow up? Or something totally different?
Shirley Prather: Yes I am beginning
to work on the next book tentatively called, UNLIKELY SUSPECT.
I was in England and Scotland in September doing research for
project featuring Lindsay Roberts and Detective Chief Inspector
Pageonelit.com: What was the last
book you read?
Shirley Prather: The last book I
read was DEAD ON CUE by Sally Spencer. It is, of course,
an English mystery. I have read everything mystery writers, John
Grisham, Martha Grimes, Elizabeth George, Deborah
Crombie and many others have written. Sally Spencer is English
but Martha Grimes, Elizabeth George and Deborah Crombie (I think
Deborah has dual citizenship)and of course, John Grisham are
Pageonelit.com: Do you have any hobbies?
What are they? How do they enhance your writing.
Shirley Prather: I am a big golf
nut. I think the best of life is writing all winter and playing
golf all summer. On one of the trips to visit Laura we went to
the British Open golf tournament at Lytham St. Anne. I have also
been to the Masters and two US Opens.
And I am an avid reader. I also write articles
for womens' magazines. So when I can't play golf I have plenty
to keep me busy which keeps me a happy camper.