Agents

Callen Martin

About

Callen (he/him) joined Bell Lomax Moreton in April 2023 to assist Lauren Gardner across her list and the wider agency with social media. He worked previously at another literary agency as an Agency Assistant & Partnerships Manager and, in the freelance space, as a manuscript assessor, sensitivity reader, and writing competition judge. Now, as of 2024, he is actively building his own list.

Callen grew up in foster care and graduated Bath Spa University’s MA in Writing for Young People in 2019, becoming the first care-experienced person in the history of East Sussex to study at Postgraduate level. As a queer, working class man, Callen is passionate about representation in publishing; especially that of the care system.

Areas of Interest:

Callen’s first bookish love will always be Children’s (for readers aged 7+), YA and New Adult fiction, across all genres, in all formats. In these areas, he is swept away by diverse, heroic, fun, and captivating titles that balance their strong characterisation and emotional depth against plots that he, and young readers, just have to keep turning the pages of. In children's fiction, he's drawn to stories that will leave kids desperate to read one more chapter before bedtime, begging their parents / guardians / carers to let them do just that.

“Though it’s definitely a book’s unique premise and hook that intrigues me, it’s the voice of the characters and their emotional depth – their heart – that I fall in love with. That's what I stick around for.”

Passionate about the editorial side of agenting, Callen is looking for potential, not polish. He is very happy to be surprised by the books submitted to him. For more guidance on his taste and a non-exclusive list of his current areas of interest, please see below:

A non-exclusive list of TV shows, Films, and Other Media that Callen would love to see in book form:

  • The Age of Adaline (film) – Books that sit in that sweet spot where science and the speculative meet.
  • Do Revenge (film) – Pacey and twisty Teen / YA / New Adult stories that take those tropes we all know and turn them on their heads.
  • The Sea Beast (film) – Adventurous Middle Grade where the status quo is soon challenged and young children are shown to change the world for the better. Found family, determination, and real character heart, all wrapped up in compelling stories and worldbuilding.
  • Damsel (film) – Children and Young Adults overcoming impossible odds by their sheer will and determination. Stories where the villain is shown to have heart too (the dragon, in this case) and the true villain is someone else entirely. The sibling relationship, the drive, the subversion of classic expectations such as the ‘damsel in distress’… YES.
  • The Lost City (film) – Middle Grade or Young Adult books where the real world and fictional world collide and our child / teen protagonist is helped along on their adventure by a fictional character they admire and draw strength from.
  • It's A Sin (TV show) – It's important to Callen that we don't shy away from our past or our history (especially our diverse history) and that we allow children and Young Adults a safe space to explore big topics. Books that manage to make him laugh on one page and cry on the next are exactly what he's after.
  • Taylor Swift (music) – As an avid fan of Taylor Swift, Callen would LOVE to see anything that could be compared to a Taylor Swift song. By this he means her lyricism, emotive edge, and ability to feel both intimately personal and universal at the same time.

Callen's favourite books (in no particular order):

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E.Schwab 
  2. There May Be a Castle by Peirs Torday 
  3. Malamander by Thomas Taylor 
  4. Shadowscent duology by P M Freestone 
  5. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge 
  6. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness 
  7. The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune 
  8. The Library of the Unwritten by AJ Hackwith 
  9. Jayben and the Golden Torch by Thomas Leeds 
  10.  Girl, Goddess, Queen by Bea Fitzgerald.