Ginger Clark

YA historical fantasy

SPECTACLE (Winter 2019)
Tor Teen

Tor Teen

The formal stuff: Jodie Lynn Zdrok is a 2019 debut (SPECTACLE, Tor Teen). She’s a marketing and communications professional with two MAs in History (Providence College, Brown University) and an MBA (Clark University). The fun stuff: I’m a sports fan, foodie, recreational triathlete, cat enabler (I have two), and traveler-every-chance-I-get. I have an incurable sweet tooth and a sense of humor (those two things are not related, but hey, we all need sentences with random pairings once in a while.) Go Ravenclaw!

A twisty, turny one like ALL THE BEST plots! I wrote a contemporary mainstream novel (adult) and got lots of interest, but after shopping it around on and off for 4 years, I put it in its final resting place. My next novel was a humorous MG and YAY, I got an agent! Except that the novel failed to sell after two rounds of submission. Then I toiled away at a YA historical fantasy, a far more challenging novel to write than the previous two. I finally turned it into my agent, refreshed my inbox tirelessly for 6 weeks…and then she dropped me. She didn’t connect with the MS and wouldn’t represent it, so my choices were a) trash it and start something new or b) part ways. We parted ways. I queried 5 agents *that day* and embarked on a 5-week intense roller coaster, fraught with more refreshing. (It was the Spring & Summer of Inbox Refreshing, let me tell you.) At last I got an agent offer, followed by another three. I signed with Ginger Clark (YAY!), did a lengthy revision for her, went on sub, almost got an offer within days but didn’t, shed many tears over many months, got an R&R…and then an offer! More YAY! And here we are, with publication in sight. 🙂

I’ve worked as an academic editor (4.5 years) and a manuscript reader for a literary agent (about 2 years), and I’ve been a freelance writer and editor for yearssss. I studied European History in school (my two MAs are in that), and I speak French and German. I am a beta for several writer friends, one of whom has an agent.

I wish I’d had a mentor when I was in the early stages of my journey. I bonded with fellow newbies, which was great, but it wasn’t *this.* I love the idea of rooting someone on and helping them get to that next level. A lot of writers–and I saw this as a manuscript reader–are B+ writers. I want to help writers present their A game.

I like dark and creepy, most any genre. Think historical fantasy, mysteries, psychological thrillers, ghost stories (and other supernatural), not-high fantasy, horror. ALSO, and completely different: Anything really, really funny.

  • Fantasy
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Historical
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
  • Historical Fantasy
  • ghost stories

I’m not one for high fantasy or worlds full of creatures (fae/vampires/etc.), but I’m game for “light” fantasy and, of course, historical fantasy. Dark and complex mysteries, yes. Cozy mysteries, not so much.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Email

I like to give notes directly in an MS, and these are often stream-of-consciousness (as a reader will perceive). Then I offer summary notes, and from there, any back-and-forth questions/follow up/clarification.

Someone who conducts themselves professionally and is open to feedback (not defensive or combative with regard to input). Someone who understands that feedback is designed to nurture and bring out the best. A sense of humor helps, too.

I love dark, creepy works, set in any time or place. Historicals with a mystery, thriller, or magical bent (but not historical romance). Ghost stories (or anything supernatural). Straight-up mysteries and psychological thrillers. Horror. And, randomly enough, humor. #balance

Romance isn’t my thing. I’m also not your best bet for high fantasy, overly creature-y works, or cozy mysteries.

A few favorite books from recent years, not in all caps because then this whole section would be all caps, and then you’d think I was shouting the titles at you: The Cuckoo Song (anything Frances Hardinge), We Were Liars (anything E. Lockhart), Bone Gap, Harry Potter (obvs), The Hazel Wood, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. Anything by AG Howard, Jennifer McMahon, Kate Atkinson, or Maggie Stiefvater. TV shows: Mad Men, Black Mirror, The Walking Dead, Westworld, Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, True Blood, the first season of Scream Queens, the first half of American Horror Story each season because it always collapses after that. Movies: anything by Wes Anderson, animated shorts, psychological thrillers, The Silence of the Lambs (a classic), The Sixth Sense, Marvel superhero movies.