Last month I had the honor of stealing about half an hour of time from Rhonda Hughes’s busy day to learn more about traditional publishing and Hawthorne Books, the press that published Jay Ponteri’s memoir, Wedlocked. (If you haven’t yet read Part I & Part II of my interview with him, check them out!)
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I first heard of Hawthorne Books last summer when Dora: A Headcase came out. A Facebook friend of a friend is friends with Lidia Yuknavitch, so I saw a lot of the unique, interactive promo Yuknavitch did for that book. It wasn’t until Jay Ponteri announced that Hawthorne Books was going to publish his memoir that the name started to register. And then it seemed like I started to hear about the small press or their books everywhere, including during my interview for VoiceCatcher with Trista Cornelius, who described Yuknavitch’s memoir, The Chronology of Water, as an example of someone doing something really innovative and honest with their writing. “She invented a way to speak from the female body to express her experience and her choices in life,” Trista said. “It was art. It didn’t ask for forgiveness or pity.”
Rhonda Hughes started Hawthorne Books about 13 years ago, after graduate school, with the vision of marrying form and function. “Books should also be beautiful,” she said toward the beginning of our conversation, and they should last. Especially in this day and age, when readers have a choice between an e-book and a print book, she feels readers need an incentive to buy the print book. Which is why they take such care in picking the materials and work with Adam McIsaac, their graphic designer, to create beautiful, eye-catching covers.
To read Sione Aeschliman’s full blog please go to her website.