Meet the Ricochet River 25th Anniversary Crew

Welcome back to Rivers of the Pacific Northwest! Before we head any farther downstream, I’d like to introduce myself and the rest of my crew. We’ve added some top-notch talent this term, and they deserve a spotlight.

First up, Tyler Mathieson, our fearless leader through the stormy seas of Rhythm in the Rain, will graduate soon, and I am honored to be taking the helm. Over the past year I’ve watched Tyler take a group of mostly novice Oolies and turn us into a strong, efficient crew capable of handling the incredible pair of projects we’re working on today.

A great deal of this work revolves around editing. Robin Cody has sent us some exciting new material for Ricochet River‘s 25th anniversary edition, and we’ve been hard at work with Brian Friesen, developing his manuscript. Fortunately, our crew is overflowing with editorial talent. Katey Trnka, onetime head of Ooligan’s editorial department, is a language specialist. Though she’ll be graduating this term along with Tyler, I have no doubt both books will be more beautifully written having started their journeys with her guidance.

The sheer amount of editing to be done has attracted some new team members, including Elizabeth Nunes and Brendan Brown. Brendan actually worked on the team during Rhythm in the Rain‘s early days and is back now to share hard-earned lessons. Elizabeth comes to us fresh off last term’s wildly successful Write to Publish team and is ready to flex her editorial muscles.

For the next couple months we are lucky to have Maeko Bradshaw on board. Maeko, who will head up the acquisitions department next year, knows how to identify the gold within a manuscript and will be an invaluable asset as we help Friesen shine up his novel. And here to ensure we navigate the entire editorial process successfully, we have next year’s editorial leads, J. Whitney Edmunds and Nicholas Shea. Eventually we’ll have to share these three with the rest of the press, but for now we get the full benefit of their editing superpowers.

As much of the crew is obsessing over characters and commas, a few heroes are looking ahead towards future challenges, like marketing. It’s never too early to think about the audience for a book, and we are fortunate to have several crewmembers who specialize in keeping wind in those sails. (Or is it sales? Nautical marketing puns FTW.) Amanda Taylor, who will someday, I’m calling it now, be responsible for a viral marketing campaign that will blow your mind and win the internet, helps us think big picture. I can’t wait to see some of the ideas she is developing go live. Meanwhile, our resident design experts, Alyssa Hanchar and Julia Skillin ensure that everything you see from us will be beautiful and interesting, whether it’s a promotional bookmark, a web banner, or your new favorite meme.

Finally, our newest crew member, John Leavitt, comes to us courtesy of PSU’s MFA program. John’s a fiction writer himself and has joined this term to get a sense of what goes on behind the scenes at a publishing company. When I asked him for his thoughts on Ooligan so far, he said, “I had no idea you guys did so much work! There’s a lot more to it than just printing books.”

Indeed, there is a lot of work to do, much of it still to come. But with a crew this good, I have no doubt we’ll keep our heads above water, run the rapids, weather the storms, keep everything ship-shape, and sail smoothly towards publication. Someday I’ll even run out of nautical metaphors—but I don’t sea it happening yet.