Guest Edition

Pamela Livingston–What Was on Her . . .

Pamela Livingston

Today we have a real treat! It’s the first time we get the inside story from a publisher—and a new one at that. Pamela Livingston bought the San Francisco based Goosebottom Books last year. In her role as ‘Mama Goose,’ Pamela hopes to expand their “Treasuries” of Real Princesses and Dastardly Dames to include more under represented personages and voices.

Pamela is particularly well suited to the role of publisher. Before taking it on, she wore a wide-range of hats related to publishing: writer, ghost writer, indie bookstore manager, and conference organizer. In fact, in addition to her duties as publisher, Pamela is currently busy putting together the Book Passage Children’s Writer’s Conference in Corte Madera, California.

But enough for the introduction! Let me turn things over to Pamela so we can hear first hand What Was on Pamela Livingston’s . . .

Desk This Week: Sitting below the shelves of photos and first editions signed to the one and only Elaine Petrocelli, stacked atop my desk at Book Passage are the “final” schedules of our Children’s Writers Conference and travel details for agent Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer de Chiara Literary Agency and editor Allison Moore of Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Everything else in the burgeoning pile becomes far less daunting whenever I remember to look-up to a glowing photo of chimpanzee wrapped Jane Goodall smiling down at me. The desk in my home office, aka The Goosebottom Nest, perches above a valley and has a great view of an elementary school playground, it’s narrow shelf is just wide enough for an Egyptian alabaster vase stuffed with quills. The eggs in this nest are manuscripts requiring blurbs, manuscripts requiring editing, and manuscripts that I haven’t quite decided what they need… To wade through the islands of story and beautiful illustrator submissions toward the much rockier shores of tax and incorporation documents, I watch the playground’s horizon and untangle the branches of words.

Travel Schedule: i just returned from a week in Taos, New Mexico reconnecting with a family of potters I’d written papers about back in my anthropology days and happened to be in Albuquerque for The Gathering of Nations. With Book Passage’ conference looming, I’ll be a grounded goose in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area until July.  However, planning conference attendances for Goosebottom is nigh and I’m looking forward to my first EBMA (Educational Book & Media Association) and the ABA’s Children’s Institute. Il più grande of children’s book conferences is in Bologna, Italy, and I can’t wait to see dear friends, eat gelato, and meet children’s literary folk from all sectors of the globe in March of 2019! Sono molto eccitato!

‘Finish Today!’ Post-it: Tteensy, tiny, hopefullly *final* edits on a memoir of a boy who survived the Armenian genocide and a couple of chapters of a political book I’m ghostwriting. This is a rather large post-it note day!

Story Wish List: Ah, an advanced picture book or middle grade biography of Raziya Sultana (1205-1240 ad), the only woman to rule the Delhi Sultanate.

Bed Side Table: I am coveting the first rough translation of Mina Witteman’s Boreas, luxuriating in Kate Bernheimer’s Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales, still crying over Junot Diaz’ personal history essay The Silence  in the April 16th edition of the New Yorker, breathing-in Haleh Pourafzal and Roger Montgomery’s Hafez: Teaching of the Philosopher of Love, reaching for Michael David Lukas’ The Last Watchman of Old Cairo, and I’m hopeful that tucked into my post office box is fellow VCFA Secret Gardeners’ Cordelia Jensen and  Laurie Morrison’s “Every Shiny Thing” – can’t wait!

Favorite Street: My favorite streets are portals to magnificent views, yet I know the name of too few. Alcatraz Avenue provides a stunning view of San Francisco and the bay all the way down from the Berkeley Hills; Then there is a street in Cairo where you turn a corner and see not just a tip or a corner, but all three pyramids and it ends at the camel and horse stables. I’ve been lucky to love every street in London, Paris and Rome I’ve trod. Of course, if you combine food with views – then you have something quite special! In front of the Temple of Dendura a man in a white kaftan makes the best falafels right on the sidewalk. Go, eat, see…

Kitchen Counter: Bags of loose Paris Singapore 1837 TWG Tea and tins of a Mandarin tea covered with glyphs, plus gorgeous California “Globe” artichokes nestled with Gilroy garlic heads in a 1960’s copper “mod” enameled tiered cookie tray.

Dream Guest List: Oh, I’m so looking forward to Allison Moore staying over during the conference and have hosted many wonderful folks such as Natasha Yim. I have to include our faculty and guest speakers from VCFA’s Writing for Children and Young Adult’s MFA. Now, there are some intriguing impossibilities due to the physicality of time, those dream historical personage’s such as Lawrence and Gerald Durrell, Aphra Behn, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edith Wharton, a slumber party with a slew of Renaissance painters, Margaret Wise Brown and Beatrix Potter (but I’d prefer to go to their places). Frederick Douglas, and any of the women portrayed in Goosebottom’s Dastardly Dames or Real Princess Treasuries. Of course, hosting their retinues might require a castle – and some guards at my door.

Mind: What is foremost on my mind involves creating an atmosphere where conference participants and faculty are both learning and enjoying themselves in the most comfortable way possible. Our conference is intimate, set at the location of our store just north of the Golden Gate Bridge where we share meals together outdoors on the brick patio with Mount Tamalpais watching over us. It’s about creating a space and a pace where everyone’s needs are met, surprises are delightful, and connections flow with ease. Given that this conference is a couple of decades old, it’s wonderful to be in a position to play with the fine tuning in order to connect participants with their goals. It’s like planning a party for all of my favorite people!

You can keep up to date with Goosebottom Books by visiting them online at

If you are interested in the Book Passage Children’s Writer’s Conference, simply click below:r


8 thoughts on “Pamela Livingston–What Was on Her . . .

  1. Thank you for this lovely interview, Pamela and Sandra! I wish I could attend the conference. However, I’m heading off to Portugal, and I’ll keep an eye out for princesses and dastardly dames. Do you have the Angolan leader Nzinga Mbande as part of the series yet?

Leave a Reply