Meet Laura Bennett

Every Friday, we meet a member of the BFS and peer deep into their soul (or, at least, a form they filled out). Want to be featured? Email us: online@britishfantasysociety.org

Name, including preferred pronouns
Laura Bennett (she/her)

Which region are you based in?
North West England

If you don’t write, what do you do? 

Literary Agent for SFF&H

Are you drawn to any specific SFFH sub-genres? 

I have a big soft spot for RPG Lit!

Your influences

Tell us about the book/film/thing that got you into SFFH: What was it? How old were you? What impact did it have on you? 

I used to watch Star Trek as a child with my mum—starting with the Original Series (I think on repeats!) and then with the Next Gen and all the way through Voyager. It was something we did together and definitely ignited my passion. I don’t even remember how old I was! I must have been quite young because I remember watching most of it as it came on TV. Probably aged about five and up.

How does that early influence show up in your work now?

I’ve definitely had a love of SFF since I was a child. When I studied creative writing at university I mainly wrote fantasy, and the same when I did my MA. When I became an agent there was definitely no question as to which genres I would represent! I definitely have a soft spot for a good bit of space opera.

What fires you up about your work?

I absolutely love making connections and meeting new people. I also consider myself incredibly lucky to get to talk to so many talented folks, and to be the first one to read a potential new author’s work (apart from critique partners, beta readers, friends etc of course!). I get very excited when a new book lands in my inbox from one of my authors, too.

Who do you look to as a genre hero? Why?

Definitely Robin Hobb. She was the first big epic fantasy I read by a female author and I found that very inspiring. (Image below comes from Robin’s website; source & © here.)

Your work

You’re stuck in an elevator for 60 seconds with a writer, and they’re pitching you their work. What makes you listen?

Definitely passion is the first thing. Then it’s that pitch line – X meets Y with a bit of Z, or the genre and age category. Sounds boring, but it’s really important for me to know straight off!

What are you working on right now?

Lots of things I can’t talk about, haha! I’ve just signed some brilliant contracts; the next two years are going to be SO exciting. So far I have eight books from three authors coming out in 2024-25 and hopefully more. I’ve also got a couple of new and exciting clients who I can’t wait to send on submission, and my existing authors have some amazing works that we’ve discussed together and I’m really looking forward to reading and editing.

What does your typical day look like?

Okay, so this is a weird one for me because I’m not a full-time agent. I’m actually full-time Mum for my two-year-old, and agenting is what I do when I get chance! I’ll pick one of the days when she’s at nursery because that’s when I get the most work done. My partner actually gets her up and out, and he wakes me up when he gets back. Then I grab a coffee and sit down at my PC to go through emails. Generally I’ll have some feedback from editors (so many rejections!) and I add them to my plethora of spreadsheets. Sometimes I’ll be working on a pitch for a book about to go on submission. And I do a LOT of reading! Nursery ends at 12.45 so I pick the toddler up and then hope she naps so I can squeeze in another hour of work (or video games, if I’ve got a lot done already!). 

What’s the best advice you’ve received that’s helped you in your work?

I have to constantly remind myself that it’s a business and not to take things personally. I HATE rejecting people but I have to be confident that I can work with somebody, sell their work, and not take any time away from my existing clients. 

What’s your preferred work soundtrack?

Lame, but: Silence. So much of my life has the background noise of, “Mummy! Mummy! Want a snack. Watch telly? Snack. Drink. Hold this car. Loki come here! Mummy, want a big cuddle.” I used to constantly listen to music (usually movie soundtracks when writing), but now I cherish the quiet.

The quickfire round

Sci-fi, fantasy or horror?

Fantasy

Quiet or loud?

Quiet

Dark or light?

Dark

Strict lines or genre blend?

Blend

Awards or bestseller?

Bestseller (I need to feed my child)

Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction

Poetry or prose?

Prose. I like reading poetry but I’m terrible at it.

Fiery new talented or tried and tested stalwart?

New talent!

Reading or listening?

Reading

Notebook or computer?

Computer

Favourite SFFH book of all time?

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Last book you read?

Howl’s Moving Castle

Any SFFH author on auto-buy?

Several – Brandon Sanderson, T.K. Kingfisher, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Gail Carriger, Charlie Holmberg, Seanan Macguire, Matt Dinniman, Nnedi Okafor … I’m probably forgetting some.

Favourite podcast?

Publishing Rodeo

The home stretch

What’s the best thing about being a SFFH person?

I’ll answer this as “an SFF agent” – It’s definitely getting to meet so many wonderful people and feel like I’m with my crowd. I love representing such talented writers and getting to be in the industry!

Time to plug your stuff! Where can we find you and your work? What have you got coming up? Consider this your advertising space

Find out more about the Liverpool Literary Agency on our website. We specialise in representing northern writers.

Find me on social media as Losbennett (increasingly less on Twitter, but I’m also on Threads and Bluesky), and the agency as LiverpoolLit. 

I’m also going to start a regular ‘ask the agent’ column for the BFS (which I’m very excited about!). Send in your questions to the BFS via the email below—anything you’ve ever wanted to ask an agent, but didn’t know how—and we’ll start to tackle them in January.

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