Publisher, founder, and editor Colleen Dunn Bates started her career by studying journalism at USC. She’s worked as a writer and editor in radio, newspapers, magazines, and books. It’s the book business that stuck. She started Prospect Park Books in 2006 with the publication of the first edition of Hometown Pasadena. A sixth-generation Southern Californian (yes, that means she surfs), Colleen takes great offense when New Yorkers mock Angelenos as airheads who don’t read. The mother of two adult daughters and the wife of the editor/producer of the TV comedies The Comeback and 2 Broke Girls, the longtime Pasadena resident is an emeritus board member of PubWest and the LA restaurant critic for Westways magazine. Here she is on LinkedIn, here’s an amusing profile of her in Booklist, here’s a Q&A with her on novelist Caroline Leavitt’s blog, and here’s a Black Hill Press podcast interview in which she rambles on about publishing. Oh, and now there’s yet another podcast, on The Business of Art, where host Russell Nohelty says she “drops knowledge bombs.”
5 Questions for Colleen
Recent favorite book: The Mothers by Brit Bennett. What an impressive debut!
What you’re watching now: The Crown, old episodes of Portlandia, and wishing Veep would return
What you’re listening to now: Phoebe Bridgers
Current favorite local restaurants: Eagle Rock Brewery Public House and Little Beast (Eagle Rock is where it’s at)
What’s on your nightstand: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and The Content Trap by Bharat Anand
Marketing associate Caitlin Ek is a La Verne resident, a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, a diehard Dodgers fan, and a lover of YA fiction. She’s had a passion for the book business since she was a teenager; she worked at Mrs. Nelson’s Books all through college, and besides working at PPB, she’s a library associate at the San Dimas Public Library. When she’s not scheduling author events, sending out publicity updates, or wrangling ARCs, she’s recovering from her recent wedding to music engineer Mark Montgomery.
5 Questions for Caitlin
Coolest thing about La Verne: Small-town feel but with local craft breweries and some good eating not too far away
Book that changed your life: Too many to name but a few: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (finally another young woman who read as much as I did!), Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (the start of my love affair with both fantasy and young people’s literature), and Their Eyes Were Watching God (the punch and ache this book brings is deep)
What you’re watching now: Brooklyn 99 and Last Man on Earth—some levity and laughs are always needed, and these shows deliver
What you’re listening to: Adele on repeat; also NAO and Lianne Le Havas
What book do you want to read next? Everything on my TBR list to start….
Editorial assistant Dorie Bailey is a Pasadena native, a voracious reader, a twin, and a new alumna of Scripps College, who lovingly completed her senior thesis on boy bands, Magic Mike, and the socialized female gaze. Dorie achieved fame at her elementary school for reading the entirety of the last Harry Potter book in only six hours, and when she was in high school, she wrote, designed, and published a teenager’s guide to Pasadena. She also really loves taking naps with her cat, Greyjob.
5 Questions for Dorie
Why publishing? I majored in Media Studies (read: film, TV, and Internet studies) in college, but was always drawn to the more reading/writing/editorial side of the discipline. Having grown up in LA, I knew that the Hollywood scene was definitely not for me—so, as an avid and speedy reader myself, I figured publishing was the best place for the intersection of my interests, my talents, and the fruits of my educational labor.
Your favorite trashy TV: When it’s not Bachelor season, I don’t do a lot of reality TV watching, but I did manage to power through three seasons of the incredible new Netflix show Peaky Blinders in three days.
5 desert-island books: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, anything by Markus Zusak, The Translation of Dr. Apelles by David Treuer, and Frankenstein—shoutout to Mary Shelley for inventing science fiction!
What you’re listening to now: I’ve really been enjoying movie soundtracks lately, and have had the music from both Obvious Child and Hello, My Name is Doris on repeat for weeks now.
What would your last meal be? Probably the thing I request every year for my birthday: a big Dutch baby pancake with powdered sugar, sour cream, and tons of fresh fruit—but only if my mom is the one to make it.
Before publicist Justin Hargett started his own business, Kickflip PR, he worked in-house at such outstanding publishers as Soho, Picador, and Basic Books—a lot of experience for a young guy. His expertise in literary fiction and mystery/crime has been a great boon to Prospect Park and our authors. Justin and his girlfriend, Alex, recently relocated from Brooklyn to LA’s Los Feliz, a short walk from Skylight Books. When he’s not reading and promoting books or listening to music, he’s watching sports and talking sports for the podcast The Big Game.
5 Questions for Justin
Favorite spot in your new hometown: Amoeba Records
What you most miss about New York: Bagels and the MTA
What you’re watching now: Arrow/Flash—great comic-book TV
What you’re listening to now: Great Cynics, a UK punk band, and a million other things
Book you want to read next: I just started A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley and can’t wait to finish it
Amy Inouye is LA’s book designer extraordinaire, with untold titles to her credit. She’s the Design Angel for Prospect Park, providing everything from cover design (Little Flower Baking, Who Wants Seconds, The Auntie Em’s Cookbook, Naomi Hirahara’s Mas Arai mysteries), to interior design and page layout, to creating advertising and marketing materials. Amy is locally famous for having saved the iconic 22-foot-tall Chicken Boy, aka the Statue of Liberty of LA; he’s now perched atop Future Studio, the Highland Park gallery and studio space owned by Amy and her artist husband Stuart Rapeport.
5 Questions for Amy
Favorite spot in Highland Park: Audubon Center at Debs Park. Technically, however, it’s in Montecito Heights. In Highland Park proper, the LA Police Museum
One book you cherish: Infinite Jest
Your perfect LA Sunday: Sundays start with a tap class, then it’s open for exploring LA, catching up on busywork, and/or napping
What you’re listening to now: the Hamilton soundtrack
Why a printed book? (1) it smells so nice; (2) it’s visually and tactile-y comfortable and comforting
The keeper of the books at Prospect Park Books—the financial books, that is—is Suzanne Nuzzi. Suzanne is a CPA and former CFO of a large food-service corporation who left the 8 to 7 for a more self-directed life as an financial consultant and Dilbeck real estate broker. The Pasadena resident and mother of two has recently mastered PPB’s new royalty software and is making sure that the accounts balance and everyone is paid promptly.
A new member of the team is foreign-rights agent Linda Kaplan of Kaplan/DeFiore Rights. Linda mastered the art of selling rights first at Hyperion and then at Crown Publishing Group, where she was VP, director of rights for a dozen years, before going out on her own in 2015 to represent several independent presses and agencies. She’s as comfortable on the floor at the London and Frankfurt book fairs as she is in her hometown of Montclair, New Jersey.
Lots o’ Other Folks
We are supported by an extraordinary team of freelance talent, starting, of course, with our authors. You’ll learn all about them by exploring our Books pages. We’d also like to give a shout out to:
Editors Margery Schwartz, Jenn Garbee, Pat Jalbert-Levine, Maya Packard, Nancy Ransohoff, Jean T. Barrett, and Nancy Kruh
And finally, the amazing army of sales reps, marketing mavens, inventory managers, and book lovers at Consortium Book Sales & Distribution