Name: Melissa Hammer
Position: Senior Acquisitions Editor
Hometown / Home state: Wheaton, IL
Alma mater(s); major(s), minor(s): Bradley University; B.A. in English and Spanish, Professional Writing minor
Social media handles: @melbuhtoast on Twitter and Instagram
Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.
My job at the press is to seek out and contract new books to publish, specifically in the areas of military history, diplomatic history, Asian studies, political science, and public health. Once projects are under contract, I work with authors as they develop their manuscripts prior to submission and answer any questions they have about the publishing process.
What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?
Who Killed Betty Gail Brown by Robert G. Lawson – it was a story I was unfamiliar with since I am not from the area, but I love a good true crime murder mystery!
If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?
If visiting Lexington specifically, the perfect day would start with donuts and coffee from North Lime Donuts, followed by a morning walk at McConnell Springs Park. Then a stop at the Pepper Distillery District for lunch at Goodfellas and a beer from Ethereal, and maybe ice cream from Crank & Boom. In the afternoon, we would either visit the Arboretum for more walking, or – if it is raining – catch a movie at the Kentucky Theater and then dinner at OBC Kitchen. For a weekend excursion away from Lexington, I’d suggest renting a cabin at Cumberland Falls State Park – it’s BEAUTIFUL!
What’s your favorite word?
Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?
I’ve weirdly always loved the simplicity of Garamond.
Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?
When I was a kid I first wanted to be a waitress, then a dolphin trainer/marine biologist, and then I knew I wanted to work with books. It wasn’t until I started doing internships in publishing in college that I knew I wanted to work in book publishing.
What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?
I have had the pleasure of visiting almost every state in the US – I only have 10 left!
If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
I honestly have no idea. Perhaps Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter?
What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?
Any hidden talents?
It is more of a hidden talent now than it was in my early life, but I play the violin.
If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? Do you have a personal motto?
One of my favorite quotes is also my personal motto – and a piece of advice I would give anyone. It is “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” – e.e. cummings