Ben is winner of the International Reading Association Award and three-time winner of the Western Writer’s Golden Spur Award. His novels have been nominated to and have won many State Reader’s Choice awards. These novels include Rescue Josh McGuire, Sparrow Hawk Red, Stranded, Countdown, Petey, Touching Spirit Bear, Red Midnight, Tree Girl, Ghost of Spirit Bear, and Jungle of Bones. His novels, Rescue Josh McGuire, Petey and Touching Spirit Bear have been optioned for screen production. Ben’s articles and photos appear in numerous magazines around the world, and he has been featured on national TV with Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures. Ben has received wide recognition for the impact his novels have had in the lives of young people dealing with bullying and tolerance, most recently in People’s Magazine and on Anderson Cooper’s 360 AC Show on TV”.
Ben is known for his in-depth research and the magical worlds he creates. His research has included flying to the North Pole, going undercover with narcotics agents, living with the homeless in Mexico and with the Massai in Africa, riding a horse across the United States from Minnesota to Oregon, boating the length of Mississippi river, driving overland from Montana to the tip of South America (the Terra Del Fuego), over 1000 parachute jumps and racing sled dogs in Northern Minnesota.
After living in a log cabin in Montana with his wife, Connie, and a black bear named Buffy that he saved from a research center and raised for twenty-seven years, Ben more recently moved to Anacortes, Washington, to begin a new chapter in his life living near the ocean with his wife Connie and exploring the islands and the inside passage on his trawler, appropriately named “Spirit Bear.”
When visited recently at his new home in the Pacific Northwest, Ben had this to say about his new life and outlook living on the ocean. “This recent pandemic we have all experienced has given me a new outlook on life and our futures on this precious planet we call Earth. I hear people speak about wanting to get back to ‘normal’ and much about the negative aspects of what has happened. I choose to believe that the normal we seek is not the old normal, but rather a new normal that allows us to see life from a fresh perspective filled with very positive aspects. I see people realizing life should not be taken for granted. I see people appreciating family and friends more fully. Many people are reevaluating their jobs and occupations more critically. Taking deeper breaths of air. Not being in such a hurry. Realizing that kindness actually does trump anger, and that giving can triumph over taking.”
Ben’s new life has taken on a slower and more deliberate pace than before. When asked recently how his life had changed since moving to the ocean, he smiled and replied, “I have spent a lifetime planting and raising roses, but now I spend more time smelling them. That is even better.”