During our author lunch in Houston last week, several of the gals asked if I could post pictures and tell a little about some of the other folks they connect with on occasion here at Barbour. So, this morning I strolled through a few departments and took some snapshots. Over the course of the next few Mondays, I'll introduce you to several behind-the-scenes Barbour employees.
Introducing. . .Paul Muckley
Title/Position at Barbour: Senior editor for non-fiction
How long have you worked at Barbour? I hit the ten-year mark in January 2008
What has been the biggest change (hopefully positive!) you’ve seen in your years with the company? Over the years, Barbour has tried to branch out into new and different areas, but within the past 24 months or so, we’ve really turned our focus (in non-fiction, at least) back to the “old Barbour” philosophy very impulse-oriented, mass market projects. We’re doing a lot fewer stand-alone projects, and more and more series-oriented titles (for example, Power Prayers…for Women, Men, Mothers, Teachers, etc. / The Top 100…Women/Men/Miracles, etc….of the Bible / Daily Whispers of Wisdom for…Wives, Young Women, Single Moms, Mothers of Preschoolers, Caregivers, etc.). It seems like the approach is working well for us, getting us back to the roots that served us well in Barbour’s early years.
What is your favorite task associated with your job description? I really enjoy overseeing the popular Bible reference projects we do…dictionaries, handbooks, atlases, etc. For a guy who aspires to appear on Jeopardy, those kinds of books are right up my alley.
Are there any areas under your supervision in which you’re actively searching for new projects? I’m not seeking many full-fledged proposals these days, but do welcome contributors for various collaboration projects. We’ll probably be developing some new devotional concepts in coming weeks, and I’ll be seeking help with a reference project or two.
What project is consuming your energies this month? Just finished a Bible atlas that turned out very nicely, and am wrestling a Bible handbook re-release that should have been an easy project…until we discovered that some of our files were lost in a server crash. Beyond those, my goal for this week is to finish an editorial plan for some larger reference projects.
Do you ever find time to read for pleasure? If so, what book have you read recently? On my own, I generally read history…and just finished a fascinating book entitled The Professor and the Madman (by Simon Winchester), the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary in the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries. Thousands of volunteers read just about every book in the English language to find examples of words and their definitions, and when they first appeared in the English language. One of the most prolific contributors turned out to be an American Civil War veteran, committed to an English insane asylum for a murder he’d committed in London.
I understand your family welcomed a new addition this past week. Can you tell us briefly about that—and about the rest of your family? My wife and I built our family through adoption, having gotten our seven-year-old daughter Hollyann and our five-year-old son Jayden at birth. Now that we’re both in our early forties, we figured we were done…until we got a call from the adoption agency on Monday, February 11, informing us that Hollyann’s birth mother had just had another child…and that she was hoping we would take him, too! Considering the circumstances, we said, “Of course”…and by the next night, had little Niall (pronounced like the river in Egypt) in our home. I have to laugh sometimes…life was starting to make sense in terms of our schedules, finances, and other plans we were making…but obviously, God had other ideas for all of us. (I really do believe He has a sense of humor…)
What church do you attend? We’ve been part of Alpine Bible Church near Sugarcreek, Ohio, for about a year and a half…and we love it.
Do you have a favorite work-related quote that motivates you these days? Maybe at this time last week, I’d have rattled off a worthy quotation…but as a semi-sleep-deprived new father, I have to confess I’m coming up empty!
Thanks, Paul, for serving as our kick-off interviewee and sharing insights into the man behind the non-fiction desk. skd