Who We Are
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 television editor/producer Darryl Bates, the longtime Pasadena resident is a board member of PubWest and Immaculate Heart High School and the LA restaurant critic for Westways magazine. Here she is in Los Angeles Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and 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. For PPB’s tenth anniversary, she wrote this popular piece about lessons learned in publishing for LitHub.
5 Questions for Colleen
Recent favorite books: A Gentleman in Moscow, Nina Revoyr’s new Student of History, and Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mysteries
What you’re watching now: Endeavour, Derry Girls, Berlin Station, and tennis
What you’re listening to now: Phoebe Bridgers, Emerson Star (both are hometown kids hitting it big), the audiobook for Daisy Jones & the Six, and several podcasts, including the Satellite Sisters and Freakonomics Radio
Current favorite local restaurants: Fishwives in Pasadena, Fox’s in Altadena, and, walking distance from the office, Poncitlan for tacos and Lincoln for the spicy shrimp bowl
What’s on your nightstand: The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal, Normal People by Sally Rooney, and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnerman, which I dip into regularly
Marketing manager 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 (belated) European honeymoon with music-engineer husband 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: Schitt’s Creek and reruns of Parks & Rec... always need some laughs!
What you’re listening to: Lizzo of course.
What book do you want to read next? Everything on my TBR list to start….
Publishing assistant Julianne Johnson is a creative, an adventure-seeker, and a people-watcher. She studied English, humanities, and graphic design at Azusa Pacific University and plans to get an MFA in creative writing someday. Her dream is to write stories that will inspire children and young adults. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably ice skating, drawing, or exploring the outdoors.
5 Questions for Julianne
Somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit: Japan and Greece! Japan because I’m part Japanese and I’ve always wanted to experience more of that part of my heritage, and Greece because I’ve always wanted to see the blue roofs in Santorini.
Books you haven’t read yet but probably should: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, my entire TBR pile…
Favorite movie: I think I watch Howl’s Moving Castle at least once a month. I’m a sucker for beautiful animation, fantasy, and fun characters!
What are you watching right now? I’m almost always rewatching Friends. I also like documentaries.
If you had to pick one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? The Jessica roll from Aloha Sushi in Azusa. Or maybe some good carne asada tacos with onion and cilantro. Or some homemade tamales. Or my mom’s mizithra cheese pasta.
Operations manager Katelyn Keating intended on having a life among words when she was a communications major at Skidmore, but she ended up working in animal health instead. Now, after earning an MFA in creative writing from Antioch, she’s back in the land of literature. Animals still, however, remain a big part of her life, from the menagerie she and her husband, Chad, have in their Pasadena home to her writing work, starting with her MFA thesis: “A Horizon of Dogs: Canids as Companions and Narrators in Contemporary Fiction” (an Antioch Library Research Award finalist). Katelyn’s writing, which often addresses human/animal interaction, has appeared in Tahoma Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, Flyway, and the anthology In Season: Stories of Discovery, Loss, Home, and Places in Between. She’s served as editor-in-chief of Lunch Ticket and was a 2017 Los Angeles Review of Books/USC Publishing Workshop Fellow before joining the faculty in 2018. When not working with Prospect Park Books, BookSwell Club, and The Biosynergy Institute, she’s at work on a novel and an essay collection.
5 Questions for Katelyn
Favorite spot now that you’re back in Pasadena: Sage Vegan Bistro for cocktails and cauliflower.
What you most miss about working with animals: Barn chores! Cleaning stalls is meditation, exercise, and quiet contemplation all at once, surrounded by horses.
One book you really love: Just one? Since we’re talking about animals, I love The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, mostly for the exquisitely rendered character of Almondine. She is at once herself and also Ophelia, whose role and fate she must inhabit in this Hamlet allusion. Did I mention she is a dog?
What you’re watching or listening to right now: The two most compelling series I’m currently infatuated with are The Terror and The Handmaid’s Tale (I’m in season 2).
On top of your nightstand reading pile: Since having to do away with piles of actual books in my bedroom because of strange allergies, I’ve converted to digital. I can’t quit my newfound true-crime (reading) spree, thanks to the likes of The Red Parts, The Fact of a Body, Son of a Gun, Columbine, and The Other Side. So in my LA public library digital holds lists, I’m waiting for Under the Banner of Heaven and The Feather Thief, alongside memoirs like Heart Berries and fiction like The Incendiaries. It’s anyone’s guess which will deliver to my tablet first, and very exciting when they send them all at once.
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, Hometown Pasadena, 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 partner 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 Tina Wallin. The Altadena resident has recently mastered PPB’s new royalty software and is making sure that the accounts balance and everyone is paid promptly.
A valued 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, Leilah Bernstein, Sharon Cohen, Maya Packard, Nancy Ransohoff, and Jean T. Barrett
And finally, the amazing army of sales reps, marketing mavens, inventory managers, and book lovers at Consortium Book Sales & Distribution