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.