Guest post by Val Kells
I firmly believe that if you work hard, invest fully in your goal, keep your nose clean, and mix it up with like-minded and similarly-driven people, good things are bound to happen.
Yes, fate steps in now and again: a right turn here, a left turn there . . . luck, chance, stars aligning. However randomly paths seem to meander, paths DO cross. Paths can cross in wonderful ways and result in wonderful accomplishments, if you’re lucky.
Above is a photo of my fantabulous executive editor, Vince Burke, and my equally fantabulous production editor, Debby Bors. They stand in the hallway of the Johns Hopkins University Press holding our latest achievement: Field Guide to Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay. Behind them are shelves and shelves of other noteworthy books and numerous awards our nation’s oldest university press has amassed.
Some five years ago I had an idea: revamp the out-dated and out-of-print Fishes of Chesapeake Bay. I posed the idea to Vince not knowing that he ALREADY had plans to do the same. He made phone calls, set up meetings, and ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom: the team of Murdy, Musick, and Kells was assembled; the proposal written; the contracts signed. Soon thereafter we began work on a current, comprehensive, and much-needed guide to fishes of one of the largest estuaries in North America. The paths of many determined people had crossed.
It’s hard to describe how fulfilling it is to see years of past work come to fruition many months later and long after the project was put to bed. Everyone had moved on to other projects, other work, new goals. Suddenly . . . surprise! It’s in print! Look what we did!
As I write this, the books are now in the warehouse and making their way into the hands of scientists, students, conservationists, fishermen, and naturalists—folks who love the Bay and care for the fishes that live there.
It was no accident. Stars aligned for a reason.
Val Kells is a marine science illustrator whose clients include publishers, designers, museums, nature centers, and aquariums. Her work has appeared in over 30 public aquariums and museums and in numerous publications. She is the coauthor of A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Maine to Texas, available from the JHU Press. Visit her website to learn more.