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.
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.
The last twelve months have been an intensely surreal and enjoyable time for me. None of it would have been possible without Virginia’s eye for a good yarn, her willingness to provide opportunity to novice writers, her guidance and support, and her impressive connections in the literary world. Her advice has always been the right advice. Throughout the entire process I have always felt that Virginia was acting in my best interests. Virginia has been an absolute joy to work with and she has delivered on her every promise. I cannot say fairer than that. I am now a contracted writer with one of the world’s most prestigious publishing houses. In just one year. I’m still scratching my head.