Benedict Jacka

Benedict Jacka portrait image to appear alongside the Benedict Jacka biography.

One overcast day in November I sat down at a study cubicle in my school library. I was 18 years old and in my final year at City of London School, and the library was on the third floor, looking out over the River Thames. I was supposed to be working but instead I stared out of the window across the water, and when I finally picked up my pen what I began to write in the back of my exercise book wasn’t schoolwork but the notes for a story.

To this day I can’t tell you why I started that story that afternoon. I’d written stories before, but no more than any other bookish kid – usually they were done for a school assignment or quickly abandoned. But for some reason this one stayed in my head and sometime over that winter I opened up a Word file on my computer and started writing. I didn’t really have a plan, I just wanted to see what would happen.

I kept writing, and then kept writing some more. Winter turned into spring, spring turned into summer, and by the time I finished at the end of that year what I had wasn’t a story but a 100,000 word novel. Somewhere along the line I’d had it suggested that it might be publishable, so I sent it to some agencies to see if they were interested. They weren’t, but by the time that had been established I’d finished a second novel and was ready to send that out instead.

I kept writing through my time at Cambridge University, leaving three years later with a BA in Philosophy and a very good agent, Sophie Hicks from Ed Victor Ltd. My first three novels had been children’s fantasy, but the one that finally got published was children’s non-fantasy, a book called To Be A Ninja (later reprinted as Ninja: The Beginning).

It took me a little under 7 years to go from that day in the library to being published for the first time, and it’s been just short of another 7 years from that first publication to today.

This biography is an extract from the official Benedict Jacka website: http://benedictjacka.co.uk/

Benedict Jacka books reviewed

Bibliography

Alex Verus series

  • Fated
    Hidden in the lanes and byways of Camden London sits a shop, just a little shop, but if you know where to find it and have need of something a little magical, then the Arcana Emporium is the place for you. The owner already knows you are on the way; being able to see into the future helps with that. Alex Verus has hidden from the world for many years, but old wounds scar the longest and one-time friends and new enemies will come knocking. The forces of Dark and Light want Alex and his unique abilities and neither side is taking no as an answer. Alex will need quick wits, luck and good friends to come out of this one. I guess Alex didn’t see this one coming.
  • Cursed
    Things are going well for Alex Verus. He’s on moderately good terms with the Council, his apprentice is settling in and his shop in Camden is gaining quite a reputation. But when a mysterious woman bursts into the Arcana Emporium one night with an assassin on her tail, Alex is thrown into a plot to revive a long-forbidden ritual. His old enemies are after the secret, as well as a Council mage named Belthas and a mercenary named Garrick, and at least one of them is trying to get Alex killed – if he only knew which. He can see the future, but knowing who to trust is something else.
  • Taken
    Welcome to Fountain Reach. Ancient seat of the Aubuchon dynasty. Majestic setting of the White Stone tournament. Alex Verus's (not necessarily reliable) reputation attracts all sorts. Most are plain bonkers. Yet there's one invitation he just can't refuse. At Fountain Reach, Alex is perfectly placed among the noted and notorious to figure out why apprentices have been vanishing. But the tournament is a minefield of ancient grudges and new threats, and Alex can't afford to miss a trick as his elusive adversary stays one step ahead in this most dangerous of games.
  • Chosen
    Life is quiet for Alex Verus. Amazing. With a flat full of friends (and the occasional fish), and business booming, why not enjoy the humdrum here and now? But of course that's too good to be true. In a sudden and cruel pincer movement of fate, Alex finds himself fighting a sinister and powerful gang as well as his own demons - for the same crime. Held hostage by the choices of his past, Alex's future is now in jeopardy...
  • Hidden
    Alex Verus is a diviner who can see probable futures - a talent that's gotten him and his friends out of many a tough scrape. But what happens when someone doesn't want Alex's help? Alex's friend, the life mage Anne, distanced herself from him when she found out about his past as a Dark apprentice. Now she's in serious trouble, but wants nothing to do with him. Alex has to start wondering if Anne's problem is really with him - or if there's a secret she's trying to hide. On top of that, rumours are swirling around London that Alex's former master may be back in town. Alex has no idea what his agenda may be, or who it involves...
  • Veiled
    Alex Verus is a mage who can see the future, but even he didn't see this day coming. He's agreed to join the Keepers, the magical police force, to protect his friends from his old master, the Dark Mage Richard Drakh. Going legit was always going to be difficult for an outcast like Alex, and there are some Keepers who aren't keen to see an ex-Dark mage succeed. Especially when Dark mages are making a play for a seat on the council, for the first time in history. Alex finally has the law on his side -- but trapped between Light and Dark politics, investigating a seedy underworld with ties to the highest of powers, will a badge be enough to save him?