Having worked for MM/CVP for over 5 years, Laura is an integral part of the company. She is Rights Manager but also a vital member of the Marketing and Sales teams, as well as being the Commissioning Editor for the Second Language Acquisition series and two of our brand new series. MM authors will no doubt be familiar with Laura from her regular attendance at a number of linguistics conferences. In this post we get to know our resourceful Rights Manager a little better!
We know you have a whole variety of different responsibilities here at MM/CVP. What would you say is your favourite part of the job?
Gosh, now that is a really tricky question to get things started! One of the best bits of being a Commissioning Editor is seeing things right through from an informal idea to a published work. It’s always a special day in the office when new books arrive and we finally get to hold the product of sometimes several years of work, both by us and our authors, of course. I also love to attend conferences and meet our authors and readers in person and I’m always really proud to represent the company at our stand and see all our books together on one table – they always look so bright and inspiring. Before I decided on a languages degree I considered studying maths at university as I have always loved to play around with figures and formulae so my colleagues will probably point out that I’m often at my happiest in the office when I’m tinkering about with a new spreadsheet!
With all your different roles you manage a wide variety of work in office hours! Are your out-of-work activities similarly diverse?
Yes, definitely! I play all kinds of sport and spend most of my evenings running, cycling, playing badminton or netball (if you’ve never seen netball you can get a flavour in this video from the most recent Commonwealth Games – sadly I’m not quite up to this standard though!). When I’m not haring about I like to escape Bristol to the countryside. I grew up on Exmoor so love to return home for country walks and sea air, and to play cards with my Mum and Granny! Board and card games are highlights of winter evenings and I have been known to get addicted to completing rather tricky jigsaw puzzles! Of course, working for Multilingual Matters means I naturally also like reading and baking.
You mention exploring the British countryside but you must also get to travel to exciting places as part of your job. Where’s the most interesting place you’ve been to on a work trip?
I’ve been lucky enough to go to lots of amazing places both for work and on holiday. New Orleans with Ellie for the TESOL conference in 2011 springs to mind as the most memorable work trip. Not only was it my first trip to the US (and I spent most of the visit feeling like I was starring in one of the many American films I’ve watched or perhaps The Borrowers as everything seemed so big!) but the conference happened to coincide with the annual St Patrick’s Day parade and party which was beyond anything I could have imagined. We also enjoyed the famous southern hospitality first hand and tried many new dishes, including the confusingly named “grits and biscuit” which (to an English girl) seemed to be neither grits nor biscuit! Last summer I went on holiday to Italy and enjoyed several days relaxing at Lake Garda before an energetic hike in the Dolomites and a hot visit to Venice. It was a truly memorable holiday and one that I’d love to repeat.
You mention how much you enjoyed sampling American food in New Orleans. Do you like to cook yourself and if so, what is your favourite cuisine?
Yes, I love to cook, it’s about the only time I ever do something really practical and I find it really rewarding to eat something I’ve made from scratch. My all-time favourite dish is kedgeree (a rice dish made with smoked fish and eggs) and it’s what I make whenever I feel like being cheered up (I’m lucky it’s healthier than chocolate cake!). I have a very old and rather battered piece of paper with my mum’s recipe on it – she wrote it out for me when I first left home for university and I have used it dozens of times ever since.
Yum, that sounds delicious. You referred to going away to university. Where did you go and what did you study? Do you use any skills from your degree in your job?
I went to York to study French, German and Linguistics – York being about as far away from home as possible! I don’t use the foreign languages themselves at work (although being able to speak French was useful during my trip to the EUROSLA conference in France last year) but having a personal interest in foreign languages and cultures is certainly important for the job…I don’t for one moment think that I’d find working for a physics publisher quite as interesting or fulfilling! During my degree I did an Erasmus exchange to Germany and that in particular opened my eyes to other cultures and differences. I made friends with people who had come to Germany from all over the world and it was fun to be in such dynamic and varied seminar groups. This is not dissimilar to the Multilingual Matters/Channel View community where we work together with authors and customers in countries spanning the whole circumference of the globe.
It sounds like you’ve had quite a multilingual and multicultural experience before even joining the MM/CVP team! Thanks very much for answering our questions, now there’s just time for a few quickfire ones:
Running/cycling Two of my top hobbies, but as a bit of a speed demon I’ll take cycling.
Cereal/toast Cereal, preferably a mix of two different types in one bowl.
French/German At the risk of upsetting my German tutor, I’ll take French on this occasion.
Early bird/night owl An early bird – seeing the sunrise always makes me optimistic about the day ahead.
Board games/jigsaw puzzles I am a jigsaw addict but board games are more sociable, so board games please.
Time travel to the future or the past? Definitely the past, I’d love to meet the many families who’ve lived in my house over the centuries.