With summer in full swing, we are bringing back our Employee Spotlights! Last year we all had so much fun getting to know a few Peaches, so we decided to keep the tradition going. (Check out the spotlights for Creative Director Nicki Carmack, Senior Editor Vicky Holifield, and Special Sales Manager and Subsidiary Rights Director Farah Gehy.)

Today we are thrilled to introduce Melanie McMahon Ives! She is the Director of Production and Manufacturing here at Peachtree, and she’s answered a few questions so that everyone can get to know her a little better.

Tell us about your history with Peachtree.

I’ve been here at Peachtree for more than 20 years. I came on board after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta as a freelance copyeditor and designer for The Official Report of the Olympic Games, a mandatory written record of games that’s required to be published within 2 years of the completion of the Games. It’s a beautiful 3-volume set done in both English and French, and it is something I remain extraordinarily proud of to this day. It was a contract job that was to last 9 months, but it stretched on a bit longer, and once the books were done, I wouldn’t leave! Or something along those lines. I moved into production shortly thereafter and have been here ever since. Before I moved to Atlanta, I worked for Longman Publishing, a division of Addison-Wesley Publishing in New York.

What are your top three favorite books, any genre?

Oh that is SO HARD to answer. I have many favorite books across multiple genres. I love classic literature, children’s books, and I love horror! I will say Stephen King’s It, Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, and Madeline L‘Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time. That doesn’t even scratch the surface though!

If you could be a literary character for a day, who would you be?

Ooh. Another tough one. My safe choice would be Elizabeth Bennett. I’ve always admired her quick wit, her strong spirit and tenacity, and her desire to accept nothing less than true love. A different choice might be one of Anne Rice’s vampiresprobably Louis. I don’t think I could resist the temptation to live possibly forever in a physical body even with all the emotional pain destined to accompany such a thing. I’ve thought about that quite a bit.

Who is your hero or role model and why?

It is no doubt my mother, Michele. She was just a teenager when she had me. She showed me just how far you can go with an incredible work ethic and lots of love. She made everything special when we had nothing at all. It is because of her I know what love is. She is my shining star. She taught me so much and has supported me through many a crazy time. She remains my best friend, my confidante, and my business partner! Shout out to my dad who’s been there every step of the way.

What is your favorite thing about working at Peachtree?

The books! I am so proud of all the books I’ve worked on over the years. Each one special in it’s own way. I can say I’ve had a hand in literally hundreds of them. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. And I’ve got to mention the people as well. All my colleagues are intelligent and lovely and creative. I am lucky to be surrounded by them all. It takes a village for a small company to do what we do and we do it so well!

In your position, what do you consider to be your secret weapon?

Multi-tasking! In a small company, you wear a lot of hats. It’s my job to take the manuscript to the bound book. This entails some storyboarding, typesetting and design, managing the costs and schedules of all the books, picking papers and cover stocks and cover treatments, deciding what books fit best at what printers, handling the manufacturing, and even the shipping from overseas of our picture books. It’s tough being the last rung on the ladder. I’m the last one to see anything before it goes off to the printer. But I’m also the first one to get the sneak peek of artwork, proofs, and bound advances. So that’s pretty exciting. Being able to juggle multiple projects, keeping them on time and under budget is my secret weapon.

Do you have any big interests or hobbies that you focus on outside of work?

I’m a hair accessory designer and have a modestly successful side business selling my designs. Other than that, I love spending time with my daughter and my husband and my friends.

If, in an alternate reality, you were to have gone a completely different career route, what would you have done?

From the time I was a small child I knew I wanted to be surrounded by books. I thought I might be a writer at one point, and I do some writing, but I’m more suited to the design-side of publishing. I’m lucky I’ve been able to be in publishing for most of my career. Thinking outside the box, I also love astronomy, so being an astrophysicist might have been pretty stellar. Carl Sagan is someone I admire very much.

Feel free to write any questions or comments for Melanie below!