Dinner with a Marketing Associate, an Editor, a Cambridge Author… and his Family
By Stacey Kahn
As the marketing associate for life science and engineering titles, I work on a vast array of subjects. From Quirks of Human Anatomy to Compression for Multimedia to A Designer’s Guide to Asynchronous VLSI, the scholarship covered in these books can be somewhat overwhelming. And, while general correspondence with an author is normal, I rarely get to put a face to a name or discuss anything beyond the initial marketing of a particular book. That’s why attending meetings in my subject areas can be so rewarding. Here, I get to meet many of my authors, learning a lot more about the books themselves and the individuals that write them.
I was recently in San Francisco to attend the annual Biophysical Society Meeting with my editor, Katrina Halliday. It’s a meeting that does not vary from one year to the next. But on the third day of this year’s event, Patrick Dillon – an author who had just signed his contract with Cambridge – came by the booth and offered to take Katrina and myself out to dinner that night. I was worried that it would be uncomfortable and did not want to go but, not to appear rude to a future Cambridge author, I reluctantly accepted the invitation.
Patrick, wife and daughter in tow, picked Katrina and I up after the booths closed for the day and the five of us headed down to the Fisherman’s Wharf. Although a little awkward at first, once we ordered our dinners, the conversation began to flow more naturally. I learned about Patrick’s current research and the details of the book he is writing. But I also learned about why Patrick is conducting the research he is doing, why he is a professor at Michigan State, and why he has decided to write a book now.
As someone who rarely gets to experience this kind of interaction with an author, it was refreshing to be able to converse with Patrick this way. The opportunity to receive such a vast amount of insight from Patrick made me feel more connected to the future book and to one of my subject areas. It really made me appreciate the work that they do as well as the work that I do in support of them, and I would jump at the chance to go out to dinner with any of my authors in the future.
Patrick Dillon is a professor in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University in the Physiology Department. His research focuses on the physical properties of molecules that bind as complimentary pairs. Patrick also studies the physiological consequences of the binding of the pairs. His intention is to write a biophysics book, based on physiological examples (including at the cell and molecular level), rather than a physiology book with a biophysics slant. Patrick’s book is tentatively called: Biophysics: A Physiological Approach.