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.