Kathleen Herald headshot with outline

Kathleen Herald

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

joined Dark Horse in June of 2021

I moved to the Bay Area in August of 2019 for my Masters’ degree and started looking for full-time work when I graduated this past May. As luck would have it, DHC was right nearby. I interviewed remotely and even though the dog I was house-sitting barked the entire time, it worked out!

You know how in other jobs you get started and there’s sort of a boring waiting period while you settle in? Here, I was able to get right to it so I’ve been busy and enjoying myself since day 1! 

Blue piano

This gorgeous piano is Kathleen’s newest acquisition and the centerpiece of her Bay Area apartment!

I love being in an admin position because there’s always something interesting, time-sensitive, and different to take care of. which keeps me energized and engaged without negatively affecting my ability to write in my off-hours. Once I worked in a position where I wrote copy (mostly food-related puns!) throughout most of the day and I discovered it was really hard to focus on my writing when I got home, because I’d used up all my writing energy. Here I have a long list of concrete tasks that don’t sap my creative writing energy. It’s the perfect fit!

Yes, so at the very beginning it was a bit bewildering…I kept thinking, “well, I know some of these words!” I enjoy a steep learning curve like that, though, especially in a place that’s so welcoming. Nobody expects me to be a scientist, obviously, but my lack of field-specific knowledge doesn’t disqualify me from the conversation. Everyone is respectful and there’s a lot of near-immediate inclusivity and trust, so it’s a really comfortable place to be a new hire.

Creative writing with a focus on fiction. My publications thus far have been overwhelmingly non-fiction so I’m interested in scratching that fiction itch. I’m working on my first novel, actually, and it’s simultaneously my most and least favorite thing!

I’m about 65% of the way through the first draft. It’s about a mother and a daughter and is set in the 1970s, in a conservative, religious, family-oriented small town. The women are coming to terms with society’s view of them and their view of themselves in the wake of the father’s departure. It’s first person, from the daughter’s point of view.

I wanted their experience to be during a time of a feminist and sexual awakening, and the 70s felt like the right fit. These women go through a process of seeing each other differently, which affects them both greatly. Women are liberated and empowered by how we treat each other, and this mother-daughter pair gives me a lot of both knowns and unknowns in their relationship. Plus, my mother’s older sisters grew up in that time frame so I’m able to do a lot of fact-checking just by talking to my aunts. For example: what happened in the seventies if you called someone and they weren’t home? That’s the sort of thing that feels obvious to someone who lived through it, but someone like me has to build an awareness of those details.

In general, rituals and ‘sameness’ to my day gives me anxiety. I love unpredictability, freedom, constant challenges. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of doing something that I’ve done recently and I’ll think, ah, I should make a new recipe or maybe play something on the piano.

Yes! I’m a classically-trained pianist. My siblings and I were home-schooled so my parents had some freedom in what we focused on at any given time and one day they decided their kids should all be classically-trained in piano so, that’s what we learned next. When I moved here I missed my piano, so I took a suggestion to check on Facebook Marketplace and sure enough, I found one! My sister refinished it for me and painted it a lovely ocean blue and now it’s my pride and joy, and the centerpiece of my apartment. See above!

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