Vanessa Curtis

Vanessa Curtis – Editor

I'm an award-winning Young Adult and Children's author who works as a literary consultant/editor in all genres, specialising in YA fiction.


I love working together with authors to make their books commercial, marketable and the very highest standard possible. Whether you want an in-depth editorial report on all aspects of your book or some help writing a query letter or synopsis, I aim to give you an enjoyable and productive time as we work on your book together. Although I am an award-winning Young Adult historical novelist I also love working on contemporary fiction, historical fiction, biography and paranormal books.

I review books for all the leading national newspapers such as The Times, TLS, Guardian and Independent newspapers. I was children's critic for the Herald Newspaper for a number of years. I have worked as a consultant for Cornerstones and also as an editor of a literary journal. My awards for my Young Adult fiction include winning the Young Quills Award for my novel 'The Earth is Singing ' (Usborne) and winning the Manchester Children's Book Awards for my first novel for kids, 'Zelah Green (Egmont). My most recent novel is 'The Stolen Ones', a harrowing tale of a young girl being caught between two mothers as a result of the 'Lebensborn' program in World War Two. It has just won the Young Quills award for the teen category.

As an agented author myself I am up to date with current trends in the industry and have a strong idea of what agents are looking for. As a literary consultant I have over twenty years of experience helping authors to shape and improve their novels with a view to submission. I enjoy the editorial process and am an expert in helping you to hone, tighten and rewrite your book so that it stands the best possible chance in a very competitive market.

Biographies & Memoirs
Coming of Age Contemporary Fiction Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Middle Grade Women's Fiction
English (UK)
  • Waterstones Prize Shortlist, winner of Manchester Book Awards, winner Young Quills Award, Carnegie-listed, also shortlisted for NASEN/TES, Young Minds, Warwickshire and Portsmouth Book Awards

Work experience


May, 2005 — Present


Jan, 1998 — Present

Over the past twenty years I have helped many novelists, new and experienced, to rewrite and hone their books and novels to a high standard. I have published over ten of my own books (details can be found further down this page) and have won several awards for them. As the editor of a literary magazine and also a contributing book reviewer to the national newspaper, I have a keen eye for what sells and for current trends in publishing. I specialise in editorial assessment and developmental editing. My developmental editing takes the form of an in-depth report on your novel which can be tailored to suit your requirements but will generally give you feedback on the following aspects of improving your novel/book:

Characterisation - how to create really compelling, memorable characters

Plotting - I use a particular template which is fantastic for plotting out taut, fast-moving fiction

Sentence construction - how to avoid over-writing and repetition etc

Dialogue - how to make it believable and to use it to avoid passive writing

Similes and metaphors - how to use them to avoid 'telling' rather than 'showing' in your work

Believability - how to create fully-rounded, believable characters

Originality - how to write as only you, the author, can, so that your submission stands out in the slush-pile

Query letters:

I also have an in-depth knowledge of the publishing industry so can also help you put together a succinct, professional query or selling letter to an agent/publisher, along with a professional package designed to put you, the author, in the best possible light.

I look forward to working with you!


The Stolen Ones

Vanessa Curtis

My name is Inge. I am sixteen. I live in Munich. Food is rationed, though the war ended years ago. My boyfriend is Jewish. My parents would not approve, so I hide this from them. I think they are hiding something from me, too. Letters arrive on my birthday, bu... read more
The Hidden Houses of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell Presents a biography of place that studies the 'hidden houses' in conjunction with the novels of Virginia Woolf and the diaries and letters of both Woolf, and her sister Vanessa Bell. This book provides a gl... read more
A wonderful book for teens about one girl and her uncontrollable obsession. Ideal for girls nearly ready for Jodi Picoult.My Name is Zelah Green and I’m a cleanaholic. I spend most of my life running away from germs. And dirt. And people. And I’m just about do... read more
Baking Life of Amelie Day
The wonderful second in Vanessa Curtis’s books for teens about one girl and her uncontrollable obsession. Ideal for girls nearly ready for Jodi Picoult.My name is Zelah Green – and I’m still here. Summer’s supposed to be good, right? But I’m stuck at home with... read more
I've just moved into a creepy old manor house with my family. And it feels like the house is waiting for something. I can't explain all the things that are happening here. The maids I hear sobbing... The cold breath of... Life? Death? I don't know. I can't tel... read more
I'm Lilah May and I'm ANGRY. So angry that I'm about to be excluded from school, my parents can't control me, and only one person in the world understands me. And that's my best friend, Bindi. I haven't always been this way. It all started with my brother Jay.... read more
Lilah May used to be angry. VERY angry. But not any more. She's got her temper - and her life - back under control.Or has she?Things with her best friend, Bindi, are going from bad to worse. The whereabouts of her brother Jay is still a mystery. And gorgeous A... read more
The Earth is Singing

Vanessa Curtis

Vanessa has 28 reviews





Wallace B.

Wallace B.

Feb, 2024

For as long as Vanessa is available to edit, I will always seek out her advice first. Even when she makes a critical point she makes it kindly and it is impossible to take offence.
Vanessa C.
Thanks so much for your loyal custom and kind comments, Wallace. It has been a real pleasure watching you hone and improve your writing
Alex M.

Alex M.

Aug, 2023

Vanessa gave a comprehensive reporting on my novel, which she delivered to me earlier than quoted. She had some very lovely feedback and was also candid about what she thought didn't work. Her critiques were constructive and helped me direct my editing. She was also happy to answer specific questions I has about my story. I would definitely recommend Vanessa!
Vanessa C.
Thank you very much, Alex. It was a real pleasure working with you and I admire your enthusiasm and commitment to improving your novel.
Anna R.

Anna R.

Jul, 2023

Vanessa helped me to refine my query letter giving me clear feedback. She was very quick to respond to my questions and followed through on the agreed timeline.
Vanessa C.
Thank you, Anna. Wishing you every success with your book.
Wallace B.

Wallace B.

May, 2023

there are insufficient stars to reflect the quality of Vanessa's editorial skills. I have a lot of rewriting to do but I greatly appreciate the guidance given.
Vanessa C.
Thank you for your kind feedback. I am very impressed at the way you take my feedback on board and keep working at your books.
Wallace B.

Wallace B.

Dec, 2022

I trust Vanessa's professionalism completely and if I write another book there is only one person I would choose to edit my work.
Vanessa C.
Thanks so much, Wallace. It is always a pleasure to work with you.

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