In these times when readers are responding to our books “more than ever,” when our authors—including Richard Blanco, Imani Perry, Robin DiAngelo, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, and Bettina Love—are appearing in the media, their ideas going viral on social media, their voices being heard on so many platforms, we thought it might be good to take a break to focus on some of the staff who work hard to find, shape, edit, produce, and promote those works. Our blog series “Beacon Behind the Books” introduces to you a member of our staff and gives you a behind-the-scenes look, department by department, at what goes on at our office. And not only our staff, but our interns, too!
This week, we introduce you to our marketing intern, Noelle Tardiff!
What drew you to publishing, Noelle? How did you find your way to Beacon?
I feel like so many people I’ve spoken to who work in publishing have always known they wanted to be a part of this industry, but that’s definitely not the case for me! When I was in high school, I thought I wanted to pursue some sort of health science career, but then I had the classic “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” freak-out just before it was time to apply to schools. My mom encouraged me to think about the subjects I truly enjoyed studying, and those were always my English and Latin classes. I ended up connecting with a family friend who works in publishing, and she was the person who showed me how much you really can do with an English/Liberal Arts degree!
In terms of how I found my way to Beacon, I had a lot of help from my boss (also my amazing publishing mentor) from another internship. I was searching for summer internships, and she knew that Beacon would be a great fit for me because of its meaningful mission and incredible staff!
What is one book on our list that has influenced your thinking on a particular issue?
Mona Eltahawy’s The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is absolutely amazing. It was the first book I got to work with this summer, and I ended up reading the whole thing in about a day! Women are so often told that we shouldn’t be angry, ambitious, profane, violent, attention-seeking, lustful, or powerful, but that’s not true at all. Owning those qualities and defying the patriarchy is so important, and you can’t help but to want to do so after reading this book.
What helps you focus when you’re at work?
I have a playlist I like to listen to when I’m working on designs or more creative projects. I get super distracted if I listen to music while I’m reading or writing, though. I’ve been a dancer my entire life, so sometimes I’ll find myself making up dances to music in my head rather than actually doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
How much of what you learned in college have you found vital to your work?
So much of what I do in school has been useful to me during my internship. I’ve taken book publishing classes that focus on designing covers and writing marketing plans, so getting to see all of that happen with real books is so fun! I’ve even found that a lot of my extracurricular work has been helpful. I’m the marketing director for my dance company, so knowing how to use Photoshop and InDesign was great. I’m able to get a little more creative with my work than I would be if I had to learn those programs now.
What’s your advice to someone interested in entering the publishing field?
Something that has been helpful to me is having a mentor in the field. It’s great to have someone to go to for advice about internships, jobs, and school! Not being afraid to ask about opportunities has been an important part of my experience as well. I got my first internship in publishing after my freshman year of college just by sending an email! If I hadn’t done that, I don’t think I would have learned as much as I have about the aspects of publishing that I like, dislike, and would consider pursuing as a career.
In an alternate universe, what career would you have?
I always say that in an alternate universe, I would be an interior designer. I’ve always been pretty creative and visual, and walking through the pillow section of HomeGoods is just the best.
Hobbies outside of work?
My favorite hobby outside of work is dancing! I’ve been a dancer since I was two and have studied styles like tap, jazz, ballet, modern, pointe, and lyrical. About two years ago, I started choreographing for my school’s dance company, and that’s been an exciting new challenge for me. I’m very lucky that I got to continue dancing throughout college.
I have two right now: Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness and Why Won’t You Date Me? with Nicole Byer. Getting Curious is fun for a lot for a lot of reasons, but I love it because it dissects complicated political, cultural, and historical topics in a way that’s funny and intriguing. Why Won’t You Date Me? is hilarious, and I feel like most people can relate to the crazy dating stories Nicole tells.
I found my favorite food this year when I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. It was at a breakfast restaurant called The Ruby Slipper and it was so good that my friends and I got up early the day of our flight so that we could eat there one more time. My friend didn’t want to leave her leftovers behind, so she somehow got them through airport security and ate them on the flight home. I would go back to New Orleans just for the food.
On a normal day, though, anything involving buffalo chicken is my favorite.
Favorite thing about Boston?
My favorite part about Boston is that it has a little bit of everything. I’m from New Hampshire, so I appreciate that I’m still not far from the beach and the mountains, and we still get to experience all four seasons (except when New England decides to skip over spring). I also love that it’s small enough to walk around so that I don’t always have to take the T.