Eight months after Sheree Petree accepted a management job with the Telephone Company in Pasadena, California, she was transferred to Santa Cruz, California, as an Assistant Traffic Operating Manager (ATOM) in the Phone Company’s Central Office. There, she managed thirty operators and two non-management supervisors.
Hiring college grads directly into management was a new concept for the company, and old-time operators weren’t sure they liked the idea. Reporting to a 23-year-old rookie who barely knew which end of the cord to plug into the board irritated them. They tested and tricked Sheree until she finally gained their grudging respect.
It was in the Central Office, overseeing a room full of operators, that Sheree asked herself, "What if?" What if a customer suspected the operator of overhearing something private, even incriminating? How would he find that operator? How would he silence her?
The plot for NUMBER, PLEASE was born. Still, the story idea would linger in Sheree's mind for many years before it served as a springboard for her first published novel. Meanwhile, Sheree resigned from the company in 1971 to form her own public relations company, Personalized INFO–MEDIA. With clients in 43 states, INFO-MEDIA specializes in developing and promoting public involvement programs that benefit local communities. She is especially proud of Mission Cataract, U.S.A., a project she developed that offers free cataract surgery to people across the United States who have no means to pay for the surgery.
For her career excellence, Sheree was recognized as one of the San Joaquin Valley's top ten Business and Professional Women of 1993. Among her many other honors was the 1994 Silver Touch Tone Award for the best public relations marketing project for hospitals.
All this while, Sheree's memories of her early days with Ma Bell were percolating in her head. Adding to the brew were remembrances shared by her late husband, Ron, who was a Telephone Company District Manager. His lifetime membership with the Telephone Pioneers of America, the world’s largest industry-related, community service organization, enabled Sheree to maintain close contact with the Bell System and the women who wore the headsets.
Number, Please, the first in a series of Telephone Company mysteries, won the Dark Oak Mystery Award, 2001, sponsored by Oak Tree Press and is dedicated to the Telephone Pioneers of America.
When not at her computer, working on her next Telephone Company mystery, Sheree enjoys reading, walking and working out at her favorite gym. She keeps a constant ear tuned for Telephone Company stories from those early years and is ever watchful for memorabilia from the industry. She would especially enjoy adding to her collection an honest-to-goodness phone booth from the 1960s.
To schedule an interview or signing with this entertaining author/businesswoman, contact Sheree at firstname.lastname@example.org.