Nita Prose is not your typical debut novelist. As vice president and publishing director of Simon & Schuster in Toronto, she has worked with bestselling authors like Paula Hawkins, Ruth Ware, and Gretchin Rubin, and shepherded countless writers through the publication process. But navigating the publishing world with her own debut novel — The Maid, out now with HarperCollins — was a different kind of experience.
What's next for Prose? Firstly, she is excited about the forthcoming screen adaptation of The Maid, with Florence Pugh attached as Molly. In particular, she is looking forward to seeing the opulence of the Regency Grand depicted on screen. The novel’s hotel setting is almost a character in itself, with a façade of elegance, sophistication and glamour – and darker secrets behind closed doors. There is an upstairs-downstairs aspect, too, with the hotel’s workers living in much more humble conditions than the hotel guests.
“There is an illusion that exists for guests,” Prose observes, “one that we all buy into. And yet there are all of these service workers who are propping up that illusion.”
With a bestseller, I ask if she will take a step back from her publishing responsibilities to focus on her writing. Not necessarily — for Prose, writing and editing are ‘two halves of a whole’. Her priority is to keep doing the work she loves, which is to “tell stories or help people tell stories. It’s all I can do,” she laughs.