Caroline Oakley was my editor for many years and helped steer my Inspector Rebus novels and "Jack Harvey" thrillers towards bestseller status. I know her to be a thorough and engaged editor with both an eye for detail and an appreciation of when themes and plots aren't working as well as they might. She understands both the mechanics of storytelling and the poetics of good writing - and would probably query why I'd felt it necessary to use the word 'both' in consecutive sentences, as I did just now. I can't recommend her highly enough.
Shelagh was my first reader and is still the best. She has an editing instinct which is almost uncanny in its accuracy - she just knows where you're faking it, or you've lost the flow. And she knows how to encourage you where you're getting it right, how to nurture what's alive in any story, and help it to grow.
When I read advance proofs and judge competitions the writing so often disappoints at the level of editorship. Stories just don't feel ready. If you're looking for an outside eye on your work, that will bring decades of experience to your text and really help you hone your voice, you could do a lot worse than Caroline Oakley.
Shelagh supervised my Creative Writing MA at Cardiff and I always felt she was fully committed to me as a writer and understood me (and all her students) as individuals. Shelagh is sensitive and approachable, her input always making the work better but never imposing upon it. Even though my degree was some years ago, her advice and inspiration were invaluable to me and I still try to be mindful of the rigour and care she brought to the craft of writing.
I engaged Shelagh Weeks to review my novel in late 2018. We met to discuss the background to the book and my perception of what I felt I needed. Shelagh gave me a clear outline of what she would do, the cost and the timeline. I am delighted with the service she provided. She hasn’t pulled any punches and her feedback is constructive so I am able to work with it. Some of her feedback is obvious; I use too many exclamation marks!!! Some has made me reflective, such as asking me to consider the filmic perspective or the likeability of main character. I am enjoying the rewriting of my book as a result.
Sharanne Basham-Pyke, Director, Shad Consultancy
As part of the local writing group I'm a member of, Susmita regularly reads and gives me feedback on excerpts of my writing. Her suggestions are always considered and constructive, and invaluable for providing insight into how I should go forward.