Jennifer Johnson-Blalock

YA Contemporary


August 29, 2017
Rebecca Barrow writes stories about girls and all the wonders they can be. A lipstick obsessive with the ability to quote the entirety of Mean Girls, she lives in England, where it rains a considerable amount more than in the fictional worlds of her characters. She collects tattoos, cats, and more books than she could ever possibly read.

I’ve been writing towards publication since 2008, and have learned so much about writing and publishing that I’d love to share with others! I’ve been successful in contests and Twitter pitch events, and in the slush pile, too. I’ve critiqued manuscripts and queries, and I actually really enjoy writing queries (I know, but it’s true). I want to help others with their writing, and with the publication process, as tough/wonderful/scary as it can be!

I’m looking to fall in love with a story. I love lyrical prose, but also sharpness; I love dark, difficult themes, but also beautiful love stories. If you find yourself writing “bad girls”, send them my way: characters who are messy and imperfect and harshly judged are so often the ones I can’t let go of.
I’m also interested in books told in unusual structures: skipping back and forth, multiple POVs, letters, texts, you get the idea.
Send me your own voices stories, too!
I’m looking for a mentee who I can help through not only the writing side of things, but also through querying, signing with an agent and everything beyond!
YA contemporary! It’s my absolute favourite to read, and everything I write. Within contemporary, I am open to a lot: I’ll take all your rich kid/private school/boarding school/Hamptons-set stories (think Gossip Girl, The Au Pairs) but I’m also super into stories dealing with mental health issues (especially depression, anxiety, eating disorders, OCD). I want all your dance books, especially ballet, and all your stories of girls falling in love with other girls. I’m also interested in thrillers/crime (think Kara Thomas and Abigail Haas) and anything where things are not quite as perfect as they first appear.
Not a right fit for me: fantasy, sci-fi, historical, dystopian, paranormal.
If you work with me, be prepared for questions! In my own work and in other people’s, I like to ask questions to get to the bottom of an issue and figure out the best solution. I don’t want to just tell you how to fix what’s wrong–I want us to work together and figure out why it’s wrong, then let you get to the best fix. If I love something about your story, I’m going to tell you a lot, probably with emojis and gifs and many exclamation marks. But I’m also going to tell you when something’s not working, and expect us to have a dialogue about why. I really want to help you produce the best, most polished version of your story that we can make.
For me, the ideal mentee would be enthusiastic, collaborative, and not afraid to kill some darlings.
Fave authors: Nina LaCour, Courtney Summers, Brandy Colbert, Sara Zarr, Corey Ann Haydu, Emery Lord, Megan Abbott, Nova Ren Suma.
Fave books: The Virgin Suicides, Speak, Cut, Finding Cassie Crazy, Junk, Gingerbread, Gossip Girl
Fave recent reads: When We Collided, How To Break A Boy, Firsts, The Darkest Corners, Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls, Far From You, Gabi, a Girl in Pieces
Fave films/TV: Mean Girls, Bring It On, Friday Night Lights, Six Feet Under, Pretty Little Liars, Party Down, Community, Center Stage, Heathers, The OC