Where do you work and how long have you been there?
I’m a partner at Abraham Associates, and I’m in my 12th year with Stu and the gang. Before that, I covered a good part of the midwest for Publishers Group West for about 6 years.
Where might we be surprised that you have also worked?
What would be more surprising?
1. I worked in a funky hot dog shop in downtown Downers Grove IL … for about a week. Hot dog water is disgusting water.
2. I spent a summer driving around with a couple other teens and pre-teens hanging “the circus is coming!” posters in neighborhoods all around Chicago.
3. I spent a couple of summers in my youth as a swanky country club caddy. Everything you saw in Caddyshack is real.
4. I spent part of one year during college working third shift, moving boxes from freight liners to delivery trucks in a Fed Ex Ground warehouse.
5. I worked in advertising agency right out of college – a tough first year in the workplace, but I loved getting to experience all the well-known ad agency stereotypes.
6. I also spent 9 months working at a dot-com before I was a sales rep. I got to watch a bunch of fast-talking people with one decent idea burn through their venture capital faster than you would believe.
What do you like to read?
My go-to comfort reading are classic mysteries. I was raised on Agatha Christie and her generation, and I spent the summer after college reading the collected Sherlock Holmes but I fell in love with noir and hard-boiled detectives when I started working in bookstores. I’ve been self-medicating since Nov 2016 by re-reading Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries in quiet hours, between work reading.
I grew up a science fiction & fantasy reader, too. And I love graphic novels and comic books. And literary fiction. And when time permits, I love history. So that keeps me busy.
Who are you when you're not on the road?
I’m the music-listening, recipe-and-restaurant-investigating, cocktail-making, stay-at-home partner to Laura. I love the part of the year when I get to be quiet and still, work at home, and have a tasty meal on the table when Laura gets home from work.
What bookstore(s) do you consider to be a hidden gem?
Where to start? I spend so much time in stores all around our territory that none of them seem hidden to me.
BUT since you’re making me choose from among my many, many beloved stores around the country:
My go-to local bookstore since we’ve moved to Minneapolis: Moon Palace Books.
The one that has a bookstore vibe most like the store I managed in California and feels most like coming home to me: Unabridged Bookstore in Chicago IL.
Most amazing blend of books and comics: Atomic Books in Baltimore MD
Getaway Vacation Town bookstore that I wished were much, much closer to me: Mclean and Eakin in Petoskey MI
Most amazing blend of books, coffee, snacks, comics, knitting, journals and pencils, and oh yes, built in a former movie theatre? Coffeetree Books in Morehead KY. Ok, that one’s a true hidden gem, and more people should visit Morehead! If you’re going, I can also tell you about a BBQ food truck near the store…
What publisher do you think more people should know about?
This is an even more tricky question than making me pick hidden gem bookstores. I love all my children! But here are three.
Coffeehouse Press (notable book: TELL ME HOW IT ENDS by Valeria Luiselli)
Gallic Books (notable author: my favorite French writer, Antoine Laurain, master of the tending-towards-black social comedy)
Biblioasis_books (notable series: Seth’s Christmas Ghost Stories – a yearly series of spooky short ghost stories, selected, designed, and edited by graphic novelist Seth.)
What is one of your most memorable moments or events as a rep?
This predates my actual rep life, but it’s all connected. My first bookselling job was at Anderson's Bookshop, in their Downers Grove store where the reps rarely set foot for buying appointments. An attentive sales rep passed the word along to the main office in NY that I was a fan of Jonathan Carroll and was hand-selling his novel Outside The Dog Museum. Soon enough, a package showed up for me, with a copy of his next book and a kind note welcoming me to the Jonathan Carroll Club. I’ve been smitten with sales reps and their power to share the love of books ever since. I’ve tried to live up to that example ever since.
I love sharing bookseller enthusiasm up the chain to my publishers. And I love sharing exciting new books and authors with booksellers.