Looking to learn more about life at HMH? Director of Marketing for Adult Books, Carla Gray, was nice enough to complete this week’s Meet Us Monday staff survey.
What do you do here at HMH?
I like to consider myself a walking Mariner backlist reference, but that only comes into play periodically. I do think of myself as Defender of Fiction, but that’s more like my super-hero status than it is my actual job. Sometimes I vigilantly remind others about manners, and often I police fashion choices. But mostly, I market our books.
What is your favorite HMH book of all time?
What is the last non-HMH book that you read?
Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
What’s your favorite at-work diversion?
Can you share a little anecdote about the office?
I first started at Houghton in Telephone Sales. I covered the East Coast, John Mendelson covered the West. We sat in adjacent cubicles, and across from John sat Kevin Logan. Each afternoon at around 4-ish, we’d engage in battle. We all had those ancient, dinosaur-like computer monitors; John kept a small rubber Buddha atop his, and Kevin had a tempting array of tchotchkes such as small, throwable bean bags near his. We’d line up in Kevin’s cube, and “Bean the Buddha.” Extra points if you not only knocked the Buddha off his perch, but also shut-off the monitor!
Do you have a favorite poet/poem that has special meaning to you?
Richard Wilbur! Last August, Liz Anderson and I drove to Western MA and spent a fantastic afternoon with the former Poet Laureate, who is as welcoming, generous, and lovely as is humanly possible. I’ve always loved his poetry, so meeting him in person (and hearing him recite poems, such as “Galveston 1961”) was an experience I’ll forever cherish.
What was the last book you read that wasn’t set in the U.S.?
George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by Miranda Carter
What’s your favorite word?
Right? (Annoyingly true. I’ve suddenly found myself using “right” as an entire sentence, followed by a question mark. Offensive stuff, right?)
What’s your biggest food guilty pleasure?
Oysters and kale. And I don’t feel guilty AT ALL.
If you could jump into an HMH book, which would it be?
Well, I’ll use this Q&A as an excuse to highlight what I’d likely do if I wasn’t happily employed in the HMH marketing department… I’d bet the horses full-time. A little-known backlist gem, recently resurrected by the digital revolution, is My $50,000 Year at the Races by Andrew Beyer. (Andy is the author of the three indispensible guides to horserace handicapping; Picking Winners, The Winning Horseplayer, and Beyer on Speed, all published by HMH.) I’d jump right into that book, and shadow Andy as he takes on the pari-mutuels.
Check out Carla and Liz’s video from their trip to meet former Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur!