Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Annick-versary!

June marked a very impressive achievement for our production manager, Heather: 25 years at Annick Press! Over the years, Heather has developed an impressive archival memory when it comes to the Annick list--something that her coworkers (especially the newer ones!) definitely appreciate. In honor of her contributions, Annick's Toronto office had a celebratory lunch, then headed back to the office for cake and presents (and a few touching speeches).

In the following interview with Heather, she reflects on publishing, books, and how Annick has changed over the past 25 years.

1. Why did you want to work in publishing?
It was actually my "back-up" plan. After graduating from University with an English degree (and no actual job skills) I was thinking of journalism school. I thought I should have a back-up plan for that and found out about a publishing course. I went to an information seminar about the course and I was hooked. All I'd ever known about publishing was editing. About two months after starting the course, I knew I never wanted to be an editor! Coincidentally, my grandfather was an editor at General Publishing--and used to bring us all kinds of books.

2. Tell us a bit about what life was like at Annick when you started. How have things changed?
When I first started, there was only myself and the two owners/publishers Anne Millyard and Rick Wilks. We were in two and half rooms above a bagel shop! Eighteen months later, Anne and Rick bought the Annick house. We thought we'd never fill it. The three of us did everything. Gradually, more and more people joined us, specializing in different areas. Now, Anne Millyard has retired and we're full to the rafters with people!

3. How did you move into Production?
At first, I did a little bit of everything (except editorial). I had the production skills thanks to the publishing course and I liked it--a lot. As more and more people joined Annick and took over their areas of specialization, I got more and more focused on production. Of course, in a smaller work environment, we all still do a lot of "other duties as required"!

4. What’s your favorite part of your job?
Anything remotely hands-on. When I started we were still doing paste-up with repro' type! I loved that. Now it's all computers, but there are still some things that emulate that "craft" part of production. Manipulating electronic layouts. Working in Photoshop. Mostly our designers do that now, but occasionally I still get to.

5. What’s the most challenging part of Production?
Trying to get books in on schedule if they're delayed. Trying to keep costs down.

6. Name some of your favorite books.
Hmmmm. Two Solitudes by Hugh Maclennan; the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (I re-read it every few years), Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (heh--I have a thing for post-apocolyptic books and movies).

I read a LOT of YA fiction. Right now I'm anxiously awaiting the third installments of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the Life As We Knew It trilogy by Susan Beth Pfeffer (OK, that one's available, but only in hardcover).

Picture books? Nicholas at the Library by Hazel Hutchins (one of my all-time favorite Annick books). The Chester series by Melanie Watt. I love Chester.

I definitely prefer fiction, in all genres, to non-fiction.

7. What non-book-related hobbies do you have?
I swim--a LOT. I belong to a competitive club. I've competed, off and on, since I was nine. We train three times a week. I like distance the best and this summer I'll be doing a 1.5 km (.9 mile) open water race. Last year I did 3 km but the water was really rough (3 ft waves) and cold and it was not enjoyable. The longest I've done is 5 km (3.1 miles) and I loved it. Someday I'd like to try 10 km.

I also do a lot of things with my hands--I guess that's the production side of me. Jewelry-making, cross-stitch, sewing. But NOT knitting.

And I love plants. I have a lot of houseplants and a vegetable garden on my balcony. However, I'm kind of a "survival-of-the-fittest" gardener. Tough plants only!

1 comment:

Terry said...

Loved reading about you at work! Congratulations on your 25 years at Annick!