Meet a Lerner: Lara Neel

Meet Lara Neel, Lerner’s Trade Marketing Manager!


First, you’re the author of two titles on knitting and crafting. What’s your author bio?

This is correct! My not-updated-in-a-while bio reads: “Lara Neel published over 150 free knitting patterns in three years for the Math4Knitters, Crafty Living blog and podcast. Now, when she’s not dreaming of more books, she’s knitting, sewing, and trying to figure out how to get enough time to spin and weave. Her work has appeared in Knit Edge, Petite Purls, The Ennea Collective, and Knitty.”

How did you get into children’s publishing?

I became interested in children’s publishing after my love of craft books brought me into marketing in the publishing industry. The company I worked for, at the time, cut way back on their craft books as they were increasing their children’s program. I love all books and I really liked the leadership and vision of the children’s marketing team leader, so I transitioned. The switch stuck!

What were your favorite books as a kid? What are some favorite books you’ve read recently?

I loved A Wrinkle in Time, which led me to A Ring of Endless Light, which was a very intense book to read at a young age! Recently, I’ve been bouncing around from Ursula Le Guin books, anything by Nelson Algren that I can find, and The Lost Tudor Princess by Alison Weir. I also learned to sew a few years ago, so I read every sewing book I can get.

Say you’re trapped on a desert island—what 5 books would you want with you?

Oh, man. Cookbooks seem out of place on a desert island, so I can leave all of them behind.

  • Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitters Almanac (a whole year of ideas to knit!)
  • I’d like to pretend that someone will publish Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam together so that I can count them all as one book. That’s a semi-survivalist set of stories, so it would at least keep me mindful about uses for maggots.
  • Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible might make me feel less lonely.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein might make me happy to be alone!
  • Pattern Cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear and Leisurewear by Ann Haggar would be a very useful book to have. I’m not likely to need to create my own swimsuit from scratch in my normal life, but on a desert island, who knows?

What are your hobbies besides reading?

I love cycling, sewing, knitting and I’m also 100% obsessed with my kittens, Victor (14 months old) and Wolfgang (13 months old). I haven’t figured out how to manage them all at once, so I alternate.

If you ask about my kittens, be prepared for a dissertation-length discussion. Chats about my other hobbies aren’t quite as dangerously long.

If you weren’t in children’s publishing, you’d be a…

I suppose I would be a full-time author and instructor. I love teaching people new-to-them skills and writing!

Thanks, Lara!

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One thought on “Meet a Lerner: Lara Neel

  1. Laura Purdie Salas

    Knitting and kitties and books! Some of my favorite things–along with A Ring of Endless Light, which is one of my top three favorite L’Engle novels. I adore Madeleine L’Engle. Nice to meet you, Lara!

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