Rena Rossner

MG Urban Fantasy

WINTERHOUSE (January 2, 2018)

Ben Guterson was a high school and middle school teacher in New Mexico and Colorado for a decade before working for several years at Microsoft as a program manager. He and his family live near Seattle in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

My overall road to publication was very long, though once I found my stride with WINTERHOUSE, things seemed to move forward relatively quickly. I had been writing for many, many years–adult novels, rather than children’s books–and I received some interest from agents and editors along the way, though nothing ever took hold. When I finally turned my attention to middle grade literature and really devoted myself to getting a solid draft completed, I was able to connect with a great agent, Rena Rossner, and then a wonderful editor, Christy Ottaviano, and suddenly all the pieces came together.

I was a public school English teacher for ten years.

I’m interested in helping a novice writer find his or her way. I’ve had some nice guidance along the way and would like to help other writers discover their own creative path forward.

I’d love to connect with an enthusiastic and committed writer who is interested in creating a well-crafted, “old-fashioned”-esque MG novel that features likable young people thrust into semi-magical, mysterious situations. My hope is that the person I work with would have a love of language for its own sake and in the service of the overarching plot/character elements.

  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

I enjoy books with a bit of mystery and magic, though I’m not really into fantasy or horror at all. I like a story that is firmly grounded in the real world, where the basic rules of reality apply; but then something a bit weird or fantastic intrudes, and the MC enters into an experience where there is some slight bit of magic, along with a lot of intrigue and atmosphere.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

I’d be able to provide big picture/overall feedback as well as some more detailed line editing or in-text notes to provide deeper insight into word/sentence/paragraph-level possibilities for revision.

Someone who views feedback simply as a means of improving a story and is able to respond/explore without defensiveness but as a way of finding deeper possibilities in the writing. I’d also love to work with someone who is committed to writing interesting, novel sentences without rushing.

I like stories with spunky, realistic characters at their core, along with well-realized supporting characters. I prefer MG/young characters who talk and act like real kids, without being too precious or jaded. Most of all, I love stories that have a bit of an old-fashioned, timeless feel to them.

I’m not really into stories that are heavy on tech–sci-fi, deep fantasy, and horror are not what I’m looking to review.

May be helpful to take a peek at the “Various” section on my website? http://benguterson.com/