Next in our series of interviewing AMACOM employees is Ashley Hamilton. She started as an Editorial Apprentice back in 2007 and is now a Marketing & Sales Coordinator. She also has very curly hair.
What were you doing before you joined AMACOM?
Finishing my B.S. degree (and Connecticut state certification) in secondary English education (grades 7 through 12), with a minor in teaching writing
What are some of your responsibilities as a Marketing & Sales Coordinator?
I try to do as much as possible to market our books to as wide an audience as possible. This involves coordinating book events for authors, but I have other responsibilities, as well: for instance, I often work with our ebook vendors to get our content distributed far across the globe. It’s interesting to imagine as soon as a vendor posts a title to his site, one of our books will be immediately available to someone in Asia, Australia, England, you name it, no shipping required.
What are the big challenges you face in your job?
I find that coordinating book events can be quite challenging, as it requires a lot of… coordination… between authors, event managers, & other staff; however, a successful event always pays off in the end, because I can see how much the authors enjoy connecting to their audience on a personal level.
What AMACOM book are you really excited about right now?
I’ve been working on the memoir called THE BOX FROM BRAUNAU by Jan Elvin, and I am definitely excited about it. The themes (the Holocaust, family, war, survival) resonate with everyone who reads it, I think.
What book are you reading at the moment?
Right now I’m reading THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver. I love it. Barbara is one of my all-time favorite authors (starting with THE BEAN TREES in middle school), so I’ve always wanted to read it, but its length of 600-plus pages was a little bit daunting, even for a former English teacher! Eventually, a relative gave me a copy, though, & as soon as I opened it, I was engrossed. Kingsolver’s writing is sparse, yet so descriptive. She doesn’t waste a word, & her ability to write from five different characters’ (Orleanna Price & her four daughters) points of view is amazing. The reader believes a fully-grown woman is speaking, then each of her teenagers, then her five year-old daughter. It’s unbelievable.
The story is about an intense Evangelical Baptist preacher named Nathan Price who brings his wife, his four daughters, & his mission to the Congo in the 60s. It’s set against the political situation that was broiling at the time- the Congo’s fight for independence against Belgium & its tragic consequences- so the backstory is enthralling, but the family’s story is, if anything, even more so. Again, the themes within the story (politics, family, war, sin, redemption, love, pride, etc.) are so complex, valuable, & personal that everyone who reads it will find some connection to the story. I think the major discovery for me was the history & politics of the Congo- fascinating, devastating, & yes, tragic. I can’t put it down!
What book do you want everyone to discover?
Besides Barbara Kingsolver’s books? JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clarke. It’s magical (literally & figuratively).
Since quotes are almost always trite, I will end with the title of one of my all-time favorite books: STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER.