Bates, Shelley

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Bates, Shelley


Education: University of California at Santa Cruz, B.A.; Seton Hill University, M.A., 2002. Hobbies and other interests: Raising chickens, playing the Celtic harp and the piano.


Home—CA. Agent—Donald Maass Literary Agency, Ste. 801, 121 W. 27th St., New York, NY 10001.


Administrator for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; freelance marketing editor for hightech companies.


RITA Award, Romance Writers of America, 2005, for Grounds to Believe.



Grounds to Believe, Steeple Hill Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Pocketful of Pearls, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2005.

A Sounding Brass, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2006.

Over My Head, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2007.


Shelley Bates made her debut as a romance author with the unusual RITA Award-winning "Elect" trilogy. Setting her novels within the world of a religious cult that oppresses its members, especially the women, the trilogy features a different heroine in each installment. Born and raised within the strictures of the Elect, they only comprehend its version of religion until a male character from the outside invades their world to change it utterly. In Pocketful of Pearls, twenty-four-year-old Dinah Traynell is living by herself for the first time after her father dies. The same day as the funeral, however, she meets a desperate drifter. Hiding him from the cult, she feeds and cares for Michael. Dinah, however, also serves as the mistress to the cult's leader, Phinehas, and when she hires Michael to do chores around the house it is not long before she comes into conflict with the domineering pastor. "With such a heavy theme, a thread of levity would have helped to make the novel more readable," remarked Melissa Parcell in a BookLoons review, nevertheless adding: "Overall, Shelley Bates forges bravely ahead with a topic many would shy away from." Booklist critic John Mort called it an "affecting story that rips away hypocrisy and replaces it with trust."

A Sounding Brass has the cult of the Elect undergoing changes after its pastor is put on trial for rape and a new leader arrives who tries to modernize its ways. Meanwhile, Claire Montoya, another woman protagonist raised within the Elect, begins to learn new things about God from a police investigator named Ray Harper. "Bates keeps this light story moving," according to a Publishers Weekly contributor. "The plot is somewhat predictable but enjoyable."



Booklist, October 1, 2005, John Mort, review of Pocketful of Pearls, p. 24.

Publishers Weekly, March 6, 2006, review of A Sounding Brass.


BookLoons, (November 25, 2006), Melissa Parcel, review of Pocketful of Pearls.

Focus on Fiction, (November 25, 2006), Sara Mills, review of Pocketful of Pearls.

Shelley Bates Home Page, (November 25, 2006).*