Name: Natalie O’Neal
Position: Acquisitions Assistant
Hometown: Hot Springs, AR
Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.
I assist Anne Dean Dotson and Melissa Hammer in acquisitions by securing peer reviewers for potential projects and working with authors during the submission process.
What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?
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.?
Well since I just moved here in January, I’m probably not the best person to answer this question. Some of my favorite activities so far have been hiking around the Red River Gorge and Raven Run and tasting the local fare. Who knew Kentucky had such good BBQ? I took my most recent visitor to West Sixth Brewing and then out to eat at County Club (a favorite in the acquisitions department). We also visited Woodford Distillery which was a big hit!
What’s your favorite word?
Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?
Georgia: A layout designer at the newspaper I used to work at told me it was the “most elegant font for paper,” and I have never thought otherwise.
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?
Ha! I wanted to be a National Geographic photo journalist when I was a kid. Also, a hot air balloonist and marine biologist (until I job shadowed someone at the local fish hatchery). But my real passion has always been for books. I lucked out and found my way into publishing during grad school.
What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?
If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
Can I bring an author to life? Because I would bring Jane Austen back to life. If not, I’ll settle for Elizabeth Bennet.
What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. Yes—this book resonated and echoed deep within me. I have never seen aspects of womanhood so artfully and heart-brokenly articulated.
What’s your favorite song to sing at karaoke and why?
Only the best song ever written—Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?
Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood’s job on The Great British Baking Show. Tasting breads and sweet treats for a living? Sign me up!