Our Meet the Team series spotlights members of the Smart Pop family through a Q&A designed to reveal the depths of our nerdy, pop culture–loving souls. Today, we’re joined by production director Monica Lowry.
What do you do at Smart Pop?
I’m the Production Director for the Smart Pop and BenBella lines. I shepherd manuscripts through interior design, typesetting, proofreading, indexing, printing, and shipping. On any given day I am working with international and domestic printers on project estimates, marking feedback on interior design sample pages, reviewing page proofs, creating schedules for new acquisitions, and managing a team of incredibly talented production editors and graphic designers. Smart Pop’s diverse content and packaging often require a more tailored approach to each book’s production, as each property or licensor may have its unique set of requirements. I make sure the department stays nimble to accommodate the different formats and schedules, and it is always extra rewarding when that beautiful book arrives from the printer!
What are your fandoms?
Halo, Destiny, Zelda, Frasier (all-time fave show), Halo, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Tamora Pierce, Firefly, Halo, Lord of the Rings, BoJack Horseman, Fruits Basket, Halo, Supernatural, Hey Arnold! (yes, you heard me, the 90s Nickelodeon show has a fandom), MCU, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Halo. Oh, did I mention Halo? HALO.
What show/movie/book that was seen as a critical or popular disappointment will you always champion?
Jurassic Park III. Velociraptors talking to one another? The Spinosaurus absolutely wrecking the T-rex? Alan Grant kicking a Pteranodon in the face?? Come on, that movie was so fun. I was obsessed for years.
What is your current binge?
Fleabag. Love that British humo(u)r.
What was your favorite childhood toy?
Remember the “Surprises”? Puppy Surprise, Kitty Surprise, Bunny Surprise? I loved those things. And Breyer horses—had a whole bookcase full of them. Basically anything animal-related. Absolutely loved it.
You’ve just been exposed to an origin story-amount of radioactivity, chemicals, and/or animal bites. What’s your superpower?
Okay, yes, flying would be great, talking to animals would be amazing, but at the end of the day there is no contest: I would have super self-regeneration abilities. Badass healing powers. Like, so good even Wolverine would be jealous. Every physical ailment ever—just poof—gone! Best. Power. Ever.
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
I’ve been to a lot of amazing places, but nothing tops New Zealand. The people are so friendly, and the scenery feels like it’s constantly trying to impress you. I was filled with such joy and awe every day of my visit. It was Lord of the Rings heaven with the set tours and landmark sightings, and Hobbiton was as beautiful as the movies portray it. Truly an astounding trip.
What is your favorite comfort food?
Pretzels. I don’t even mean the soft and warm kind. I mean the hard pretzels in the party size bag. Braided, twisted, stick, looped, doesn’t matter. It’s an obsessive love. It’s a save-all-the-preztels-in-the-chexmix-for-last-so-I-can-savor-them love. Coat ’em in honey mustard. Chocolate. Fill ’em with peanut butter. I’ll eat them all. Pretzels.
What is your most memorable celebrity experience?
It’s a tie. Both were photo ops. First was Nathan Fillion, who plays a main character in the Halo universe. (I don’t know what else he’s done…he’s, like, not very well-known in the pop-culture world?) He said “Hi, angel” when I walked up, and I died a little from fangirlitis. I brought two Xbox controllers, handed him one, and said, “Can we pretend that we’re playing an intense game of Halo?” And he said “absolutely” and it was all of five seconds, but it was so awesome. So shiny, you might say.
The second was Mike Colter. Who, yes, played Luke Cage and yes that show was dope—but I was there because Mike plays yet another Halo character in a live-action web series (are you seeing a theme here?). I walked up and called him by his character’s name: “Hi, Spartan Locke!” And he said, “Hi! Whoa, beautiful hair!” And I was once again fatally struck with fangirlitis. We took the picture, and he was so lovely.
What is your favorite way to share fandom with others?
I started a podcast with a gaming buddy to share our love of the Halo universe; it seemed the best way to channel our geekiness into a form where others might enjoy it, too. I also get so giddy when I see someone in public repping a fandom I love on a shirt, a hat, a tattoo, a laptop sticker. I always make a point to comment on it, and that few-seconds connection, that moment of pure excitement and joy we share, is why I love fandom so much.