Non-fiction testimonials

From memoirs to ‘how to’ books, family histories to organisational case studies, we listen to your ideas for your project and help you get it done! Editing non-fiction projects can include a degree of coaching, if you’re a bit stuck. Please read on to find out about how these story tellers realised their goals with A story to tell

Dennis Gentilin

Dennis Gentilin

Though Dennis Gentilin describes his book as technical, I believe he has created an important addition to our understanding of ethics at a vital time. Based on his experience of working at the FX trading desk at the National Australia Bank, Dennis draws on the disciplines of psychology and philosophy to explain how we can all feel the temptations experienced by NAB staff during a significant trading scandal in the 2000s.

Even when writing a technical book, a great deal of creativity is required. The success of the book is largely predicated on how well the author links the concepts and ideas within it, and provides the reader with a narrative. Non-fiction writers, too, have a “story to tell”.

Doing this successfully is extraordinarily challenging, especially for a first time author. It is therefore understandable that I approached Ann from A story to tell… harbouring a lot of uncertainty about my writing. Had I done my topic justice? Did I dive into the academic literature too deeply and risk losing my readers? Were the concepts presented understandable to the layperson? Did the book “flow”? Most importantly, had I produced something that deserved to sit on a bookshelf?

Ann was able to allay many of my concerns, and not only provide me with the guidance that all first time authors require, but give me the confidence to take the next step in my journey as a writer – publication.

Dennis Gentilin author The Origins of Ethical Failures (out soon)

Maria Lacey

MariaLacey PublicityPhoto

Ann from A story to tell… is a compassionate, organised and professional editor. As an author sharing a very personal memoir One Path, Many Lights I felt sensitive and vulnerable, and Ann guided me through this journey with understanding, patience and thoughtfulness. I can’t thank her enough for the lessons within the editing process, such as exploring some of the finer details of my story, cutting back on adjectives and writing in a more concrete way, while still maintaining my style. I know I am becoming a better writer for the experience. I am presently writing another book and will not hesitate in engaging Ann to join me on this journey once again. Thank you.

Kiara Zindilis


It was an absolute pleasure working with Ann and A story to tell… Ann was most helpful in constructing my story into a piece of art. I found her very easy to approach and amazing with communication. She helped me to see my book from different angles and always prompted me to add more juice wherever she felt there could be improvement.

Not only did Ann help me to develop my memoir into something spectacular, she also helped me on a personal level as well. It was Ann who encouraged me to talk to people from my past and confront certain issues, all in the hope that this could improve my book.

My book was a personal memoir and I was very worried about my editor being judgmental or lacking in understanding. Yet with Ann my journey was in the hands of a very compassionate and understanding person.

We had regular Skype sessions while working together. Ann sent me emails relating to each chapter with her comments and questions about what needed improvement and I would respond accordingly. I was so positively astonished when I got the finished product; I was truly amazed. In fact Ann was so good at helping me edit my book that the publisher was willing to sponsor half of it. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for Ann and A story to tell… I am very much honoured to have my book edited by her. Thankyou Ann.

Kevin Hadley

Having served a five-year term as Victorian Executive Director of the Australian Marketing Institute I am often asked, “What is the most important skill required to produce an effective marketing strategy or campaign?”

The answer no longer fills me with dread as my head rumbles through all the tasks encompassed by the word marketing. In the end one word always stands head and shoulders above the rest: communication. By this I mean accessible and powerful communication to a target audience in need.

All too often great products and services fail to meet their potential in a competitive marketplace simply because the words fail to stimulate the imagination or even reach their target – physically and emotionally. If the old adage is true that 50% of any marketing campaign goes down the drain, why not improve the odds by engaging a creative and professional wordsmith genius?

In senior marketing roles over the past thirty years I have had regular need of writing and editing skills that include listening to and interpreting briefs of all types. I have finally found the perfect crew to meet my diverse objectives and have great pleasure in vouching for the team at A story to tell …

Yes, they offer reliable, creative and supportive service, but what mattered most was the time they took to truly understand my requirements. I’m hardly a big corporate entity but I do feel important to their team, and that’s a nice relationship to have.

Take the time to talk to A story to tell … for your communication needs. It’s an excellent investment in strategic, clear, effective communications.

Mike Adams

Mike Adams Bio Clear Background copy

I required strong guidance and coaching to bring my book The Intrepid CEO to fruition. I had the raw manuscript ready but I needed some magic to structure the book and strip out the excess, fine-tune the writing and strengthen my voice.

Ann Bolch created a plan to achieve this and in her unique way steered me through the process. Ultimately, Ann truly cares about writers bringing their work to life. She is a pleasure to work alongside; fun, smart, incredibly knowledgeable and a genuine partner on your writing journey.

We will work together again. There are more books to come! Thanks Ann.

Ana Sewards

Ana Sewards_Head shot

My grandmother’s story had been typed out and published in an old-fashioned format that was tatty and wouldn’t last much longer. Ann had a look at the manuscript and we then discussed exactly what I had in mind as an end product.

To start with I went to Office Works and they copied the manuscript onto a USB stick; this was then taken to the typist and passed on to Ann for copyediting.

Lu Sexton then proofread and laid it out.

Ann and I discussed what size I would like the book to be and the image for the front cover; I found a photograph of my grandmother which was appropriately placed with the title Marsie.

Lu managed the project to completion, and throughout Ann was available to help me. I made an order for six copies of the memoirs and am very happy with the result.

Gabrielle Bergan


Gabrielle Bergan’s heartfelt memoir Return to My Soul was in very good shape when it came to us from across the seas. She’d been crafting the story and shaping the words. Now she needed a fresh pair of eyes. Here’s what she has to say …

I came across Ann Bolch’s website while looking for an Australian editor to read through the draft of my first book, Return to My Soul, prior to publishing. I wanted to make sure that the manuscript was the best it could be. I could see from Ann’s website that she has a genuine interest in the art of storytelling, and that rhythm is important to her; the rhythm of a story is important to me too.

Ann replied promptly to my email, and we agreed on a copy edit. She was the perfect person for me to work with. I write concisely, but Ann showed me how to refine my writing even more, for which I’m grateful. During our Skype calls, I was able to discuss areas of the text that I was unsure about. This was very important to me because I had worked on my own with the manuscript for a long time and I had many questions. Because Ann had immersed herself in my story, our discussions were of great value. Ann is an experienced and good editor. She gives a lot of herself. She is honest in her feedback and when she’s unsure about something she’ll find out and let you know. She’s also reliable and keeps deadlines.

It’s been a pleasure to work with Ann. I recommend her warmly.

Gabrielle Bergan

Praise for Return to My Soul:

‘When advising my students about how to write crisply, I am going to refer them to your book as one of a handful of VERY good examples.’ Professor Maurice B. Mittelmark, Faculty of Psychology, Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Bergen, Norway.

Danny McAllister

Danny McAllister approached us wondering if the motivational blogs that he’d written over the years could work as a book. He had a structurally solid manuscript, with a sincere and passionate edge, that just needed a bit of a nip and tuck. For Danny’s version of events, please read on …

Ann took my first manuscript from wordy babble into a concise read that still reflected my aims and hopes for Frustration Point!

I loved our ‘chapter chats’. These were fun fortnightly sessions where Ann presented me with her thoughts on the strengths and areas for improvement for each of the chapters. Although there was a lot to do, she helped me break the work into manageable chunks, always coaching me to think about exactly what I was trying to say then helping me say it clearly. This method (of asking strategic questions and encouraging me to answer them) both kept the cost down and improved my writing. She taught me about the skills, quirks and habits of writing, which has inspired me to keep going. Before meeting Ann, I had feared that writing clearly and expressing my thoughts passionately might be beyond me. Now I know it isn’t.

As a personal trainer, I’m always thinking about how to get the best out of people. Ann’s gentle but unrelenting questioning, and engaging nature means she does this intuitively. Her advice on structure, flow and message guided the manuscript to become exactly the book I’d hoped for. I’ve had so much great feedback from people reading the book then making a commitment to change their lives for the better. I’m eternally grateful for Ann’s part in that. She’s a gem!

Danny McAllister: Owner McAllister’s Fitness; Author: Frustration Point: How to Break Through to Freedom!

Pepi Ronalds


Pepi’s fine essay on her first-hand experience of being in Japan during the 2011 earthquake is honest and moving. Essentially, we helped her organise her words, which in turn organised her thoughts, such that a stronger, more telling long-form piece emerged. Here’s what she has to say:

Ann Bolch generously cast her editorial eye over my essay ‘After Shock – Experiencing the 2011 Japanese Earthquake’. She tightened my prose while encouraging me and respecting my writer’s voice. At the end of the process I not only had a better essay but also a better understanding of my own writerly weaknesses and a list of things I can do to overcome them. That list remains a presence at my desk and I refer to it in the review phase of all of my work.

Ann is efficient in so many ways. As an editor she applies her sensitivity to improve words, ensuring clarity and meaning. Her IPEd qualification enables her to be consistent in editorial style. Her project management skills get everything done in an organised and timely manner. And she can write too.

If you want to see her work in action, check out her mark-up of my post in this co-production, ‘On Writing Tight and Loving Hard Arses

Ann is a sensitive and capable editor as well as great writer. Hire her!

Pepi Ronalds: Writer, Ghostwriter, Researcher

Helen Pike, Fernlea House

For a few years we had the great honour of volunteering at Fernlea House, a hospice in the Dandenong Ranges. One of our contributions to Fernlea was setting up their Memoirs Program and training volunteers in the art of asking the right questions, listening to the answers, recording stories and writing memoirs. The program still runs today …

We were pleased to have Ann Bolch’s skills on board when we set up our Fernlea House Memoirs Program. As a writer, editor and interviewer, she knew exactly how to ask questions of our guests to get their memories rolling and their stories flowing. And she backed up these concrete skills with patience, compassion and an interest in people.

As an example for other volunteers to follow, Ann recorded Fernlea’s first memoir with a man in his 50s who was dying of Motor Neurone Disease. Together, they laughed, cried and pondered their way through his life.

For around one hour per week for eight weeks, Ann recorded his story and transcribed the recording, then read back the details the following week, checking the tone and the facts, and making any required changes. With very little editing (to keep our guest’s story exactly as told), Ann compiled the transcriptions in a bound A4 booklet with accompanying photos. Our guest could enjoy the recognition of a life well lived and his family have a memento now that he is no longer with us.

As a further service, Ann trained other volunteers (alongside Leonie Scott and the late Frances Foletta) in the art of writing questions, creating a safe space to tell stories, and listening. She helped our volunteers learn the technical skills of recording, transcribing and editing the text. All this was done with respect for each person’s skills and experience. Ann’s professional and personal skills would be an asset to any individual or organisation wanting their story told.

Helen Pike, Manager Fernlea House