Meet a Lerner: McKenna Balzer

Meet McKenna Balzer, one of our new digital interns!

1.      What brings you to Lerner?
I recently joined Lerner’s Digital team as a Digital Intern. In June, I graduated from Hamline University with a degree in English, Education and a concentration in Creative Writing. 
fell in love with everything about literature and the process 
of writing and creating. I knew that I wanted to be in a field where I was given the ability to be a part of something that I 
was passionate about and this opportunity at Lerner seemed 
like the perfect way for me to begin my journey in the world 
of publishing.
2.      Describe a day in the life of a Digital intern.
My first week has consisted of a lot of learning and asking questions. I am beginning to learn more about eBooks and 
the software involved in publication creation. I am becoming familiar working with metadata in programs like FlightDeck 
and helping with audiobook creation, as well. This has all been very new and very exciting to me. I look forward to learning even more!
      3.      What are you reading now?
Right now I am reading All-American Poem by Matthew Dickman, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite books. I’ve always loved poetry and after reading Dickman’s poem “Love” in a literature class my sophomore year of college, I was immediately drawn to the honesty and realness in his writing.
      4.      What’s your best source for finding new book           recommendations?
My best source for finding new book recommendations is conversations with my friends and family. I also love to walk the aisles of books at thrift stores to see what I can find. One of the great things about shopping for used books is occasionally finding a beautiful inscription on the inside cover and knowing that the book you found may have been very special to someone at one time.

5.      Top 5 (or so) favorite books. Go!
Two of my favorite poetry books are All-American Poem by Matthew Dickman and Piano Rats by Franki Elliot. I love to read poetry that goes beyond the romantic and discusses the reality of life and what it means to live in a sometimes very messy world. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was one book that I enjoyed after reading for a literature class in college; it was very fun to analyze! One of my favorite children’s books is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It seems the older I get, the more heartbreaking it becomes, never failing to make me so very grateful for what I have and what I have been given. Growing up, I also loved reading the children’s book Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Lavallee with my mom.
6.      Who do you admire, living or dead, and why?
I admire many writers and people who are passionate about their art, but no one compares to how much I admire my mom. It has meant so very much to me that she has always been there for me, encouraging me to constantly pursue my dreams. I am so thankful for all of the times she has happily listened as I ask for her opinion on my writing, or on anything, really. I truly believe one of the most wonderful things we can be given is love and support, and she has shown me that every day. I only hope to become half as kind hearted and beautiful as she is.
7.      If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
If I could live anywhere in the world I would live in Ireland. Coming from an extremely Irish family who celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a feast, I always had a great desire to go. After travelling there with a creative writing class this past May, I did not want to come home. Ireland was greener and more beautiful than anything I had seen in my life. The people were so friendly, and the history and beauty on every single street corner made it unlike any other place I’ve been. I look forward to going back someday very soon, 17 days was most definitely not enough time!