Benedict Jacka is the author of the Alex Verus series, an Urban Fantasy series centering around Alex Verus, a mage that can see into the future. Alex is a recluse, being disillusioned from participating in the magical community that thrives in London, England. Nonetheless, he is drawn back into the magical community he had left behind when events and powerful figures conspire to use his abilities to their own ends, whether he likes it or not. Jacka’s latest book and the concluding volume in the Alex Verus series, Risen, comes out Tuesday, December 7th, 2021! Preorder at the links above!
1) Tell me about yourself
I’m the author of the Alex Verus series.
2) Were you a big reader growing up?
3) What did you do before becoming a full-time author?
A lot of different things—I was a bouncer in North London for a while, then worked as an EFL teacher, first in London and then in Romania and China. I was still writing part-time then, but most of my books were rejected and the ones that were published didn’t do very well, leading to more rejected books, which eventually made me give up on becoming an author and start training as a solicitor (lawyer for you U.S. types). But while I was in the middle of that I got an interested response from Orbit UK about the very last manuscript I’d sent in before starting my law course, and things developed from there.
4) Following the last question, what made you want to become an author?
I never particularly wanted to become an author, actually.
5) Do you still have a dream job or is this it?
Are you serious? I’m a successful author writing books that I love. That’s like winning the lottery in job terms. I’d have to be unbelievably greedy to still have a “dream job!”
6) Why choose Urban Fantasy?
I didn’t actually choose it—the Alex Verus setting grew out of a series of children’s fantasy series in a shared setting that I worked on over several years. When I decided to try writing an adult novel set in the same world, my publishers told me that “Urban Fantasy” was the name for the genre.
7) I love Alex Verus and I noticed that you have a pretty direct nod to Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files in your first book, Fated. Is Harry Dresden a big inspiration for the character of Alex Verus?
No, Alex’s personality isn’t based on Harry Dresden at all.
8) How does it feel to be releasing the last book in such a long series?
Really good! When I started writing Fated, I really wasn’t expecting it to turn into a series, much less such a long and successful one. It’s very satisfying being able to bring the story to an end!
9) What’s up next for you as an author? Are you working on a new series currently?
I’ve been working on some short stories/novellas set in the Alex Verus universe—the first one, Favours, came out earlier this year, and I’m planning to write another one after Risen comes out. My main new project, though, is a new urban fantasy series with a completely different setting. The first book’s about 80% complete and I’m hoping to get it finished by January or so.