Keiko F. Jones was born in Osaka, Japan. She came to the United States to attend Brigham Young University, where she was a member of Freshman Honor Society (Phi Eta Sigma) and graduated with a B.A. in linguistics and a minor in TESOL. While in school she volunteered teaching English to immigrants at the Provo Community School, for which she was presented the Carnation Community Service Award in 1990 by Utah governor Norman Bangerter. After graduation she continued at the school as one of the faculty. She began at Signature Books in 1993, currently as the business manager. Her most recent preoccupation is her adoption of two dogs?”an intelligent Australian shepherd and a goofy German shepherd.” She adds that she “lives on the wrong side of the tracks, enjoys lazy weekends reading mysteries, going with friends to movies, dining out, traveling, and walking on the wild side!” One of her special skills is kimono making (she has a diploma from the Nara Wasai Senmon Gakko). Of her life, Keiko says, “It’s not perfect, but I like it!”
Connie Disney (pictured here with grandson Gabrael) was born in Oregon, where her parents had a farm behind the Tillamook cheese factory. Later they relocated to California’s Central Valley. She attended the Church College of Hawaii and BYU where she studied art “and unfortunately never set foot inside a science class.” One summer was spent working on Mission Street in San Francisco for BART, “back when it was still a twinkle in its creator’s eye,” and (“sigh!”) selling Berkeley Barbs on weekends. She is the former art director for Sunstone magazine and is currently the production manager at Signature Books. She says she has “always loved books, especially how they look and feel in your hand and how they work … though some of ours look and feel better than others.” She art directs the Mormon Women’s Forum quarterly newsletter and spends weekends watercoloring with friends or having them over for a platter of steamed mussels and a bottle of Perrier. “When I grow up,” she says, “I want to be a blues musician.” She also likes traveling to Italy with her “husband and sweetheart” John Keahey, author of Venice against the Sea: A City Besieged. She says her heroes are her children Noel, Emmaly, and Sol, and grandchildren Gabe, Xana, and Vianne. Her “favorite bumper sticker” is: “My Karma Will Run Over Your Dogma.”
Greg Jones was born and raised in Provo, Utah. He likes time in the mountains camping and attending Burning Man. Audio electronics and home theater is a hobby, along with gardening. He and his partner have 2 Cairn Terriers which are rather demanding of any free time. Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Tosca, Ben Harper, FSOL, and Nine Inch Nails are just some of the musical groups he enjoys. True Blood, South Park, Dexter and Real Time with Bill Maher are television programs regularly watched. His favorite reading is fantasy novels and current events. What is an ideal weekend for him? ”Hopping in my truck and making a beer run to California with people you love, great music, …and your tent.”
Greg oversees the warehouse and order fulfillment along with IT support.
Tom Kimball was born in Salt Lake City but raised in the blue-collar neighborhoods of West Valley. He entered the child labor force at age 13, riding his bicycle across town to work at a print shop. Having acquired “a taste for money,” he moved on to ever bigger and better jobs as a pizza delivery guy, a bellhop at the Salt Lake Hilton, and a producer of his brother’s community talk radio show. After an LDS mission to Birmingham, Alabama, he returned to the East to live in Fairfax, Virginia, to work for the federal government’s Security Protective Service just outside of Washington, D.C. It was in Virginia that he met his wife, Page. Next came the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia and a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf. Shortly after the first Gulf War, he took a related job with Rockwell International in Australia, where Tom’s and Page’s first two children were born in the outback town of Alice Springs. They “returned” to their ancestral roots in Utah so that Tom could indulge his fantasy of working at a book store. He then spent the next five years employed by several LDS related bookstores. Tom is currently the marketing director for Signature Books. Page and Tom live with their family in American Fork, Utah.
Jani Fleet was born back east where she attended parochial school before moving out west for college. She financed her unive-rsity studies with a job in the campus library, along with other part-time positions. She graduated with a degree in psychology?only to turn around and work at a publishing company. (Perhaps her love of books from early childhood on was a hint of what awaited her. And believe it or not, that psych degree does have application in the world of publishing, especially at Signature Books!) She has been at Signature for over fifteen years. In that time she has become legendary for a keen eye in proofing manuscripts (okay, some authors would characterize this as a VERY picky approach, but nothing escapes her notice) and for her grasp of grammar and style. She is also famous for her knowledge of popular culture with an emphasis on science fiction, especially Star Trek, having once won a trivia contest at the Las Vegas Hilton’s Star Trek: The Experience. She loves dogs (pictured here in front of Signature Books with Sheba, the above-mentioned goofy German shepherd, and Pebbles, the above-mentioned intelligent Australian shepherd [see Keiko Jones]). Jani has trekkie friends around the world in South America, Europe, Canada, and the United States, and sees them at sci-fi conventions both here and abroad. Her innate love of travel and appreciation for other cultures have grown through attending these conventions.
Ron Priddis says that this is a rare picture of him since he doesn’t get out much. “And maybe that’s the reason for the few extra pounds over what I looked like as a skinny kid growing up in the San Francisco- Bay Area.” He emphasizes that he wasn’t raised in the city itself “but in the boring, uniform suburbs.” He had a typical LDS upbringing: president of the Deacons Quorum, an Eagle Scout (a prerequisite to receiving a driver’s license in the Priddis household), and Pioneer Day celebrations spent at Lake Berryessa. In high school, he won a statewide forensics competition in Sacramento for a speech on Mormon renegade Samuel Brannan?an early indication of a future interest in Mormon history, especially of the renegade stripe. The speech led to an invitation to participate in a fund-raiser for Richard Nixon in San Francisco (a horror he was too naive to appreciate at the time). He went to BYU, served an LDS mission to Switzerland, returned to BYU, and along the way helped found the off-campus newspaper, The Seventh East Press. After graduation, he was hired by Signature Books to help research and write Brigham Young University: A House of Faith. Ever since, he has been with Signature Books, currently as the senior editor and managing director. Ron likes music (opera and world music a la Lisa Gerrard and Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn), sitcoms (BBC America), things German (can’t miss the Deutsche Welle broadcast out of Berlin), Italian restaurants, novels, and peace and quiet?something rare at the Signature Books office.
Devery Anderson and his three brothers were raised among the timber companies, paper mills, and aluminum plant of Longview, Washington, on the Columbia River. During high school he worked weekend graveyard shifts washing dishes at a restaurant known for its interesting aprés-bar crowd that would arrive each night at about 2:00 a.m. and wreak havoc with Devery’s circadian rhythm. After high school he attended Ricks College in Idaho before serving an LDS mission to London, England. Afterward, he returned to Ricks College, where he met his wife, Kandy. They moved back to Longview and began a family. For nearly a decade, Devery devoted what spare time he had to reading historical tomes while working at the local aluminum plant and raising children. He started a legendary Mormon study group that had about fifty members. When the factory began laying off people in 1993, Devery took advantage of an offer that allowed him to return to school, all expenses paid. He and Kandy sold their house, packed up the family, and moved to Salt Lake City where he began attending the University of Utah in the fall of 1994, eventually earning a B.A. in history. For one class project, he investigated the origins of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, which he later turned into an award-winning history, published as a four-part series in the journal itself. While in school, he also began studying the murder of Emmitt Till, the black teenager whose death helped spark the Civil Rights Movement. Devery contacted and became friends with Till’s mother. He has since lectured throughout the country and maintains a website, emmitttillmurder.com, on the topic; he is also writing a book on Till. Devery has researched and co-edited with Gary Bergera an award-winning series of three volumes on Mormon temple worship (MHA Best Documentary Book Award): Joseph Smith’s Quorum of the Anointed, 1842-1845; The Nauvoo Endowment Companies, 1845-1846; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000. He is now completing a biography on Willard Richards, an early LDS apostle who was present in the Carthage Jail with the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, when Smith was murdered in 1844. Devery is Signature’s e-book editor and is also helping edit the print-edition books.
Hatch was born and raised in Salt Lake, growing up he tended to enjoy history over football, tech over partying, old movies, current events, cutting-edge literature such as Blood Meridian, and films by David Fincher. He served an LDS mission to upstate New York, his first job was with Deseret Book, where he became the lead supervisor of one of their large stores. He earned a degree in history from the University of Utah and was managing editor of Sunstone magazine. He later supervised a team at the Verizon Wireless tech support department. In 2006 he annotated a first-person account of a Mormon dignitary, published as Danish Apostle: The Diaries of Anthon H. Lund. Hatch has been a staff editor for the Journal of Mormon History and blogger for “By Common Consent” in its early days. Hatch, “loves to read, write, watch old detective movies, cook dinner for my family, and discuss politics and religion—even in polite company.” He has written four feature-length screenplays and numerous shorts. One script, based in part on research by Signature editor Devery Anderson and having to do with the Emmett Till murder, was a finalist at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and semi-finalist for the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is hoping to publish his senior thesis tracing Cecil B. DeMille’s involvement in erecting monuments to the Ten Commandments in city parks. He has done research on LDS church president George Albert Smith. John’s spouse Emily is the owner of Carpe Diem Photography in Salt Lake City. They have two boys, Ethan, 10, and Matthew, 9.
Jason Francis has lived in Davis County most of his life. He met his wife, Michelle, at an LDS singles ward and married in 1999. He and his family love the ocean and visit it as often as possible. When asked, “So why stay in Utah?” “We also like Bear Lake,” he says, and has it as a backup to the ocean when they can’t get there. He became interested in design from his Clearfield high school graphic arts class. Growing up, he worked as a film stripper at a local newspaper called the Davis County Clipper and now jokes that “not everyone gets to be a stripper for the Clipper.” He also worked at the Utah Tax Commission archives and eventually became the graphic artist at Weber State Printing Services, a job he enjoyed because he was able to work and continue at school simultaneously. Jason graduated from Weber State University in 2012.