Welcome to our ‘A Day in the Life’ blog series, where we’ll be interviewing members of the LBF team, industry professionals, and special guests attending our next LBF event.
This month’s interviewee is Lisa Sharkey, SVP and Executive Director of Creative Development at HarperCollins. Lisa has spent over two decades producing and writing, was a senior producer of Good Morning America, and has published more than 75 New York Times bestsellers.
We spoke to Lisa about her morning exercise routine, mushroom-based hot chocolate, and her advice for those looking to start a career in the publishing industry…
What’s the first thing you do after your alarm has gone off in the morning?
I practice a form of fitness called Artemis, which is a conscious movement practice that helps to improve concentration, posture and mobility. I practice it on Zoom with my sister who is based between Saint Vincent and Florida, with teachers who are based in Trinidad and Barbados.
Tea or coffee?
I drink coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, and a mushroom-based hot chocolate in the evening.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Working closely with authors and their books, evaluating proposals, creating book ideas, and scanning the internet for the next big book.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being able to have a positive and inspirational impact on the world of ideas and storytelling through the books I publish to the widest possible audience.
If you weren’t working in the publishing industry, what would be your alternative career?
I’ve already switched from television news to book publishing, but I am also a certified yoga teacher and bit of a ‘health nut’. I might start a workout and mind-body-spirit practice with my sisters.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to begin a career in your industry?
I have four pieces of advice:
- Pay attention to what is working in the marketplace and do not be afraid to take risks if you see something that fills a need.
- Always speak your mind with compassion.
- Get to know everyone on a personal level and enjoy the process of collaboration.
- Try to learn something new every day and spend time in nature. Look up from your phone (advice I also often need).
If you could only recommend one book, film, and TV show to someone, what would it be?
For a book I’d choose To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, for a film it would be Bohemian Rhapsody – I love music biopics – and for a TV show it would be Bridgerton or a late night comedy like Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show or The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
What are you looking forward to the most at LBF24?
The melting pot of ideas and trends, and seeing people who have all come together to find common ground in the name of books, despite differences in background, religion, and nationality.
I absolutely LOVE London. It is my favorite city and I have close friends and authors who live there, including His Majesty, King Charles lll whose book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at The World, I published in 2009.
Stay tuned for our next interview, coming soon …
Interested in book recommendations and reviews? Follow along with our LBF Book Club!