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.
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.