|Q: Stephanie, when
did you start working at Wesleyan University Press?
A: December of 2003.
Q: What is the mission of WesPress?
A: To have a vigorous publishing program in the fields of poetry, dance
criticism, ethnomusicology, scholarly science fiction, film studies, and
Connecticut history. Our books are grounded in good scholarship, and have a
variety of audiences, including scholars, undergraduates, and the interested
general reader. Through garnering media coverage for our books and selling
copies throughout the world, we are able to project the name and image of
the University, enhancing its reputation as an academic institution of the
Q: How do you describe your role within the Press?
A: As the publicist, I am the main liaison with the media, including book
reviewers, reporters and radio producers. I also work to set up events for
our authors. These are online at
http://www.wesleyan.edu/wespress/authorevents.html. My other
responsibilities include upkeep of our Web site and submitting our books for
a variety of national and international awards.
Q: Do you read all the books?
A: I donít read all of our books from cover to cover, but do read at least a
portion of each one to get a sense of the subject matter and who the
intended audience is.
Q: How do you promote the books?
A: The main role I have in promoting new books is by trying to get review
coverage. I keep a database of reviewers and reviewing publications. Using
this database I create a mailing list of potential reviewers for each title
we publish. The people on the list receive a review copy of the book or
other promotional material. I also set up author events for some of our
books. Events are particularly important for reaching poetry buyers.
Q: WesPress books have won several awards in the past. Are there any awards
up and coming?
A: Yes. Alice Notleyís Grave of Light is now a finalist for the Quill
Awards, in the poetry category. Reed Business Information, owner of
Publishers Weekly, organizes the Quill Awards. The awards ceremony is
broadcast on NBC. The winner will be announced in September. And Samuel
Delanyís About Writing is a finalist for the Hugo Award, an important
science fiction award that will be announced in late August.
Q: Is your work primarily done within your office?
A: I spend the bulk of my time in front of my computer, corresponding with
the media and authors via e-mail, writing press releases, and preparing
mailing lists. E-mail has superseded the telephone in many ways, but I still
do find myself on the phone quite a bit, especially when working to set up
events, where there are a lot of details involved.
Q: What are some of WesPressís newest titles and where can people browse all
A: The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen, Jacob Weidenmann: Pioneer
Landscape Architect, and Traces of Light: Absence and Presence in the
Work of LoÔe Fuller are three of our upcoming books. We also have a new
book by Jean Valentine, Little Boat, coming out soon. Valentine won
the National Book Award for her last book, Door in the Mountain,
published by us in 2004. All of our books are online at
Q: What do you like the best about being a book publicist at a university?
A: I love books, and I love the variety of books that we publish. I really
enjoy meeting new people, so it is great to work with our authors and the
media. Even if I only 'meet' them by e-mail or over the phone, it is really
fun to interact with so many people who have such a vast array of interests.
I enjoy working at a university press because I feel that we publish books
that really add something to the intellectual life of both the academic
community and individual readers who might not be affiliated with a
university, but who still have a passion for reading and learning.
Q: Who do you work with at WesPress, and where is your office located?
A: I really enjoy working with Suzanna Tamminen, director and
editor-in-chief; Leslie Starr, assistant director and marketing manager; and
Eric Levy, senior editor. Our authors are wonderful people to work with as
well. I often find that their passion for their work really becomes a
motivating factor for me. We are located across from the Physical Plant Cady
Building at 215 Long Lane.
Q: You're an advocate for the Wesleyan Adult Fitness program. What programs
do you take and why?
A: The Adult Fitness program and the Freeman Athletic Center are both
wonderful resources that all faculty and staff should consider taking
advantage of. The programs offered by the Adult Fitness program are free and
offered daily at lunch time during the academic year. Thereís really
something for everyone. Iíve taken Pilates, which is a wonderful, low-impact
way to stretch and strengthen your muscles, as well as the power stretch,
dance and walk/jog classes. There are ballroom dance classes, water
aerobics, rowing, and Tai Chi, too. You can find out more at the Adult
Fitness web site:
Q: Youíre training for a 13.1 mile, half-marathon run as a member of the
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training. When is this race and how
are you training?
A: The race is October 13th, in Hartford. I train by running three times a
week and cross training on the alternate days. To cross train, I work out
using a stationary bicycle or strength train by lifting weights. During the
academic year, I take part in Pilates or one of the stretching classes as
Q: What does your team raise money for, and why are you personally doing
this? How can someone make a donation?
A: You can donate to my cause through my personal Leukemia and Lymphoma
Society Web site at
The money goes towards research for new treatments for blood cancers, a
field that has actually made much headway in recent years. The survival rate
for children with leukemia has greatly increased, due to research for new
treatments. So the cause is very worthwhile in terms of the progress that
has been made. In the past, I have had friends whose immediate family
members have been impacted by both leukemia and lymphoma. Iíve been getting
mailings from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Societyís Team in Training Program
for years now. It is a program that asks athletes to participate in running,
walking, and cycling events, as well as tri-athalons, as a way to raise
money and awareness for the LLS. When I received their new brochure this
past spring, I happened to be getting back into running in a more serious
way, so I decided to give Team in Training a try. Iíve found that their
program is very supportive and really keeps you motivated to keep training.
Q: Aside from running, what are your hobbies?
A: I enjoy canoeing, hiking and fishing, and I do read a lot. Iím a member
of the Byron Society, which is a group dedicated to the study of the
Romantic poet, Lord Byron. The writers of the Romantic era are among my
favorites. I also enjoy nonfiction. Right now Iím reading God is Red
by Vine Deloria, a Lakota anthropologist. It is a very enlightening book.
Iíve read the bulk of it while working out on the stationary bicycle at
Freeman Athletic Center!
Q: Where did you go to college and what did you major in? Where were you
A: I went to the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, majoring in
liberal studies. I also participated in a graphic design certificate program
at the University of New Hampshire, which was quite extensive as far as
certificate programs go. And I attended the publishing program sat Pace
University in Manhattan. Before moving to Connecticut to work at Wesleyan, I
spent almost three years working as the Northeast region publicity manager
for Arcadia Publishing, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Arcadia publishes
pictorial histories of towns and communities around the country.
Q: Where are you from originally? Do you have family in the area?
A: I was born in Fitchburg, Mass., but my family moved to Wells, Maine, when
I was 3. I grew up in southern Maine, where my parents and my older brother
still live. Locally, I live with my boyfriend of three years, Colin, and our
three cats Java, Mama Kitty and Snitter.