By Sara Dorame
Hayley Gonnason, born on the 4th of July, certainly sparkles like a firecracker. The sparkle comes in handy working as a Publicist for children’s books at Tricycle Press, an imprint of Ten Speed Press, which was recently acquired by Crown Publishing, one of four divisions of Random House Inc.
Before landing her dream job, Hayley worked at a small publishing house in Arizona. “There was a field filled with prairie dogs outside my window,” she recounts with a smile. “Every once in a while the elk would come by and munch on the vegetation.” But her dream was to move closer to the water, and when she saw the job posted on Publishers Lunch, she was thrilled to apply. “Tricycle Press publishes some beautiful books, including the Hairy Maclary and Slinky Malinki series. I felt that I had to be a part of this creative and innovative company. I flew out for an interview, and within a month I had landed the job of my dreams and moved to the Bay Area.”
Promoting literacy is extremely important to Hayley, which is why she’s proud to be able to really stand behind Tricycle’s children’s books. “Check out Adventures of Cow, and Adventures of Cow, Too—two books that make great gifts for people with a quirky sense of humor. We’re also launching A Curious Collection of Cats with well-known Bay Area graphic designer and debut children’s book illustrator Michael Wertz at Diesel Books in on April 9 in Oakland at 7 pm. Join Michael for appetizers and drinks, and take home a great gift book for anyone who likes cats.”
Hayley hasn’t completely shaken the country life though. “I live on top of a hill in Berkeley with my landlord’s chickens. Literally in the coop with them…Just kidding!” She loves hanging out at Jupiter’s in Berkeley, because it has a great atmosphere for talking, relaxing, and drinking a beer by the fire.
She admits that unfortunately she doesn’t have a lot of free time to read for fun because of the demands of her job and everyday life, but when she does, she can be found browsing in the aisles of the independent bookstore Pegasus in Berkeley where she makes a beeline for the children’s book section and always find great deals. “Picture books are often underrated and overlooked,” she says, “but the stories and the art can be so amazing and life changing! Owning a really good picture book is like owning a beautiful piece of art. I love Pegasus.”
Regarding traditional books versus electronic reading devices, she’s a fan of the former “I’ll probably never own an electronic reading device,” she admits. “There’s something sacred and personal about opening that first page and closing the last chapter of a book. It’s a relationship that I treasure when I have the time to do it. Plus, it’s like a mini accomplishment you have right on your shelf.”