After working for a year after college at the St. Petersburg Times, I moved to New York and took a job assisting Atheneum’s three editors, Barbara Anderman, Judy Kern, and Neil Nyren. The first week I was there, I typed a hundred blurb letters about “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney,” the first thing I learned from Neil Nyren, now the publisher and editor-in-chief of Putnam, about publishing a book in as specific a way possible. I acquired my first book, a biography of the Irish short story writer Frank O’Connor; Judy Kern, a genius editor, taught me how to edit it, and the late Harry Ford, the head of production and the poetry editor (at Atheneum and later at Knopf), designed the jacket. I’ll never forget the day he came upstairs, stopped in front of the receptionist’s desk I occupied, lifted the tissue cover off his design with a flourish, and said, “Well? What do you think?” I thought it was great.
I became an editor at Atheneum before leaving to join the Julian Bach Agency, which was like dying and going to heaven. Julian loves life and, more specifically, HIS life, which is pretty terrific (for a glimpse of it, read Jan Morris’s essay “Jewish Friends” in Pleasures of a Tangled Life). Everything was “great idea – try it!” He used to give me advice about being an agent. “What is the one quality an agent needs to be a success?” I couldn’t think: a nose for the new, a business head, an ability to extract large sums of money from people? “No. It’s SHEER ANIMAL ENERGY.” Sheer animal energy seemed to be the ability to be the last man standing, which Julian embodied until his untimely death, at age 97, in October 2011.
When Julian sold his agency in 1992, I went out and incorporated my own, starting the office in a sunroom in an apartment in Chicago, transplanting to a little room off the back garden of our house in Brooklyn, then moving to Manhattan in 2000. In 2011 we moved to a beautiful new office with a long lease in Maiden Lane, which we fell in love with partly because our address is also the title of an obscure noir film starring Claire Trevor, 15 Maiden Lane.
I have three daughters in college; when they were young, they gave advice to writers, which can be found here.
Things have come full circle since I first joined ARLA as an intern in 2008. I remember coming into the office each week and joyfully hunkering down with a pile of manuscripts. I have been called a “book addict” by friends, and my internship at ARLA was my weekly fix. Since then, I graduated from UCLA and worked for a scouting company and Penguin Books before rejoining ARLA in late 2014. I enjoy eating my way through New York City and exploring further afield whenever I get the chance (like this place).
I come from the world of marketing and events. Before that, I was the one who un-dangled participles in my friends’ college essays. Before that, I was what David Foster Wallace would call a SNOOTlet – a kid with an outsize vocabulary who spent most of her childhood up a tree with a book.
On the weekends, I haunt Manhattan’s used book stores and attempt increasingly complicated recipes in my tiny kitchen. I make a mean gumbo, if I do say so myself.