Ben has been the assistant at JABberwocky since September 2015. In April 2015, he graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English literature, and emphases in Shakespeare and creative writing. Four months later, he picked up and moved from Utah to New York, where he interned at at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management for three weeks before starting at JABberwocky.
Before working at JABberwocky, Ben did internships at Dystel & Goderich, the Bent Agency, A+B Works Literary Agency, and Shadow Mountain Publishing, where he gained a range of experience in the publishing industry.
Aside from reading, Ben enjoys playing instruments. In college, he played keys and vocals for a “Wrock” band called Percy and the Prefects, where he played the role of Cedric Diggory and sang original songs about Harry Potter characters. Yes, this is true. Needless to say, he is a huge Harry Potter fan.
I’m not currently open to unsolicited queries, as I’m primarily responsible for managing Joshua’s query inbox (see his blog for details). However, the eventuality is that I will open for queries sometime down the line. At that point, I look forward to hearing from you.
What I’ll be looking for sometime down the line
I’m already actively building my client list, so technically this is what I’m looking for right now. However, since I’m not open to queries, the only way to get in touch with me about your novel is if I visit a conference, if I do a guest lecture, or if you were referred to me by a friend.
Middle Grade: My tendencies lean more toward the outrageous and silly when it comes to MG (think Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY or Niel Gaiman’s FORTUNATELY, THE MILK or THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster), but I’d love to read an epic series in the caliber of PERCY JACKSON or Brandon Mull’s FABLEHAVEN. I enjoy the occasional retelling of a classic fairytale like Gail Carson Levine’s ELLA ENCHANTED. And I love fully illustrated novels like Brian Selznick’s THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. I’m open to contemporary MG as well, as long as the characters are fun to read and the plot keeps me interested (like Louis Sachar’s HOLES or FRINDLE by Andrew Clements or BRIDGE TO TEREBITHIA by Katherine Paterson).
Young Adult: I want to read strong voices that stand out and demand to be heard. I want stories with strong characters with unique world-views that readers can connect with on a deep, emotional level. My primary interests lie in the speculative genres (think Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK or Maggie Stiefvater’s THE RAVEN BOYS or Diana Wynne Jones’s HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE)—urban fantasy or science fiction, historical fantasy, steam- or gear-punk, high fantasy, etc. However, I do enjoy contemporary novels, and am looking for a few strong contemporary authors (like Jerri Spinelli’s STARGIRL or Gary D. Schmidt’s THE WEDNESDAY WARS or S.E. Hinton’s THE OUTSIDERS). I want to read contemporary stories that leave an impression on the world, that help readers form new opinions and develop into adults, without preaching or telling an obvious morality tale.
Fantasy and Science Fiction: I like rich world building, strong characters, intricate plots, maps at the front of the book, high tech inventions, tense conflicts, all the stuff you see in your favorite fantasy and sci-fi stories. But I want stories that go deeper than that. I want your book to make me think while I read. I want your book to change how I see our world. I want the issues of your story to be relevant to societal issues happening today. And I want the fantasy/sci-fi elements in your book to be creative and fresh and something I’ve never seen before. I want your book to affect people, to help change their lives and see good in the world, despite the bad that’s happening around them. I want to read about the struggles of men and women in your worlds that reflect how men and women struggle (or have struggled) in our own. I like classic tales retold, like Neil Gaiman’s ANANSI BOYS. I tend to enjoy upmarket fantasy a lot, like Paolo Coelho’s THE ALCHEMIST. Stories about alien invasion and survival (like ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card) are always good. I want to read a hero’s journey like STAR WARS or LORD OF THE RINGS that doesn’t copy things from either of those stories (aside from, you know, the hero’s journey). My tendencies lean toward Fantasy and Sci-fi directed at both adults and children.