Name: Michael Dahl
Occupation/role at Stone Arch Books: Editorial Director and Acquisitions. I oversee all the editorial operations at Stone Arch, including list planning, story development, and working closely with the editors. I also handle submissions from new authors, acquire manuscripts, and manage freelancers. I’m also the author of the Library of Doom series.
Years at Stone Arch Books: I joined Stone Arch a few months after it began, in 2005.
Education: I went to school at Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota, graduating with a BA in English Literature and Theater.
What's your favorite SAB book?
There are so many! I guess my favorite graphic novel (so far) is Journey to the Center of the Earth. I’ve loved Jules Verne since I was in 4th grade. The art for this book is fantastic; the sea monsters are truly awe-inspiring. My favorite high-interest novel is Spies, a David Mortimore Baxter book. David is such a charming, likable, and real kid, and this particular story is funny and serious and smart all at the same time.
What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
I read constantly as a kid. I even read the dictionary – for fun. Yes, I was that nerdy kid in class who knew the difference between entomology and etymology. Bugs and words, two of my favorite subjects at the time. I was also a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Pilgrim's Progress. But the book that made the biggest impact on me when I was in 5th grade, and beyond, was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. She had me spellbound until the very last page. She was a genius.
What were you like as an elementary/middle-school student?
I was the bookworm. More like the book fanatic. Whenever I did a book report, I wrote it in the style of the book’s author. My teachers told me that I didn’t need to “embellish.” I really went overboard when I gave a presentation to the class on a book about ancient Egypt and asked for volunteers to be mummies.
What's your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Besides reading, you mean, right? Visiting graveyards and haunted houses. It’s an activity that combines history, biography, geography, the unexplained, and heaps of fresh air.
Tell us a memorable Stone Arch Books moment from the past year.
I was fortunate enough to speak at the EncycloMedia conference in Oklahoma City this past fall. I gave a presentation on graphic novels and how teachers can use them to get kids excited about reading and increase their comprehension skills. I was amazed when I walked into my room several minutes before the talk and found it was standing room only. It was a great audience. And afterwards, dozens of teachers and librarians told me that they had never considered adding graphic novels to their collections until they had attended that workshop. It was gratifying to be able to show people what an incredible new art form (and teaching tool) graphic novels have become.
What’s the best part of your job?
Working with a team of talented, creative people. I love brainstorming, collaborating with smart, enthusiastic editors, designers, authors, and illustrators, and creating something that we couldn’t do separately as individuals.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Working with a team of talented, creative people.
This is the first in a multi-part series, which will spotlight the members of the Stone Arch Books staff. Drawing of Michael Dahl by Brann Garvey.