Testimonials

Some of my clients have kindly shared their thoughts about why they enjoy working with me. I’ve collected these testimonials to help you see how I might be able to help you, and whether or not to get in touch with me about your publishing project.

Virginia has edited all of my novels and most of my nonfiction since 1997. While I rely on her editorial judgement, she is much more to me than a good editor. She is wise and experienced about many aspects of book publishing. I trust her. I love working with her and I recommend her without hesitation.

~ Lily Brett, multiple award-winning writer and winner of France’s prestigious Prix Médicis étranger for her 2014 novel, Lola Bensky

Virginia is a forthright, curious editor who didn’t hold back!  She provided practical, thoughtful and firm advice which was particularly helpful on China Baby Love’s structure.  Virginia’s detailed manuscript assessment gave me both the motivation and a framework to move forward in the final months of my writing.   

~ Jane Hutcheon, television journalist and author of China Baby Love (ABC Books, 2017)

If my novel, Surrogate, has a midwife then Virginia is surely it. I am extraordinarily grateful for her help and support over many years and several drafts. At several points I was completely lost and not at all sure what to do to move the manuscript to the next drafting stage – each time Virginia was there. For a range of personal and professional reasons I found it extremely difficult to finish my second novel. I do believe that Virginia’s frank but gentle guidance was crucial in helping me to finish a manuscript that I could submit to publishers with confidence. Not only did she give me excellent practical advice, helping me to address structural weaknesses and inconsistent characterisations among many other things, she also helped me to believe in the story I wanted to tell.

~ Tracy Crisp, author of Black Dust Dancing and Surrogate (forthcoming in 2017 from Wakefield Press)

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Virginia for almost a year and have found her to be an invaluable part of my writing. I’ve consistently been amazed at her ability to go right to the heart of my work and identify the way forward when we begin each coaching session and by the end have a clear understanding of my next moves. Virginia takes my work and uncovers the essence so together we make discoveries. I come away with a feeling of being “championed” rather than “coached” and excited about where to go next in my writing.

~ Bryan Thomson-DiPalma, who is writing a memoir

Writing and publishing a first novel is a long, solitary task. I was grappling with my manuscript in its (close to) final draft stage and knew I needed extra support to push it over the finish line. A writer friend of mine recommended I contact Virginia for a manuscript appraisal.

In our first phone call Virginia quickly understood what I was trying to achieve, and with a few questions she cut to the heart of the novel. Together we discussed issues with structure and narrative that might need to be addressed.

Virginia promptly delivered an extensive chapter-by-chapter report detailing the strengths of the manuscript, noting flabby sections that could be cut, homing in on inconsistencies in the narrative, and highlighting any problems with characterisation. The report was honest, thoughtful and professional, and pushed my writing and the story to another level. The manuscript is far better for her contribution and is now ready to be sent out into the world. Thanks, Virginia!

~ Janine Mikosza

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your wonderful edit of my manuscript, and for all of your wise and considered and kind advice.

~ Katrina Lawrence, author of Paris Dreaming (HarperCollins, forthcoming in 2017)

When I contacted Virginia I thought I was ready to approach publishers, but she challenged me to think more about the structure of my book. We developed a book proposal that included a detailed chapter outline and two complete chapters. Virginia’s editing of those chapters was strong but was extremely necessary for publishers to appreciate how my manuscript could be turned into a published book. We worked very well together and she provided the exact balance of constructive criticism and creative support to help me realise the messages in my own story.

~ Dr Steven Lin, author of The Dental Diet (forthcoming in 2018)

Virginia’s memoir mentoring was vital to the ultimate publication of my work. Her insights were helpful at every stage of the process – from big-picture thinking on narrative structure and focus, through to line-by-line editorial feedback at final draft. She is an expert editorial ‘curator’ and a godsend for a first-time author.

~ Fiona Higgins, author of Love in the Age of Drought (memoir, 2009), and three novels with Allen & Unwin: The Mothers’ Group (2012), Wife on the Run (2014) and Fearless (2016)

Writing can be a lonely pursuit, especially novel writing, where it seems all agent and publisher doors can seem impenetrable. To pass through can mean an almost superhuman effort, producing excellent work mixed with incredible luck. No published writer achieves it on their own and the smart and serious writer will equip themselves as best they can. This can mean having someone assess a manuscript, work on development of it, and editing. I was very fortunate to learn that Virginia was looking to help Australian writers get published. She helped me develop two novel-length manuscripts, and her attention to detail, her understanding of what my intentions were, her belief in me and my work, and her warm professionalism were welcome ballast as I tried to get my first book published. Virginia’s efforts mean that now I am with my dream publisher – Allen & Unwin, and in the hands of my dream person there, Jane Palfreyman. I can’t recommend Virginia enough to anyone looking to improve their work and in their efforts to be a published author.

~ Jenny Ackland, author of The Secret Son (Allen & Unwin, 2015)

Virginia’s editorial advice was priceless. She gave me an idea of how to shape the book and helped me solidify ideas to focus on for chapters. Once I’d rewritten my draft she then gave it a thorough cut and polish … which made the manuscript much more concise and engaging. She was very frank and non-judgemental with her feedback and helped me realise the general public might not be as interested in certain sections I’d written as I was.

~ Brad Hutchins, author of Game Set Cash! (Black Inc, 2014)

It has been said that ‘literary agent’ is a misnomer. In the present-day publishing world, agents do much more than just sell their clients’ books. This applies to Virginia. She was a great editor and confidante as I worked through early drafts of Becoming Westerly. She knew how to both push and encourage and bring out my best. I feel lucky to work with her.

~ Jamie Brisick, author of Becoming Westerly (Allen & Unwin, 2015)