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When Natasha Boydell saw a local writing course advertised on Palmers Green Community, it inspired her to sign up and finally get stuck into writing the book that she’d always wanted to. Now, on the release of her debut novel, she shares her experience…

natasha boydell holding her debut novel the missing husbandOne post. That’s all it took. I was doing my habitual scrolling mindlessly through social media when I spotted an advertisement on the Palmers Green Community Facebook page for the Collage Writing Room in Wood Green.

They were promoting their upcoming courses and one of them caught my eye. It was called Prioritise Your Writing and was aimed at people who wanted to make progress with their writing project and focus on it without any distractions.

Is this a sign, I wondered? Or just another scary example of how well Facebook knows me? Either way, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was in primary school. I was that kid who was constantly writing stories or had my head in a book. But life, work, family etc all got in the way and I never quite found the time or headspace to realise my dream of actually writing a novel. I had ideas over the years but none of them stuck.

When I saw the course advertised, I’d been sitting on a story idea for a while. It had come to me when I’d been reading a book about a woman whose husband runs off to find himself. It was a beautiful book but I kept waiting for a twist or turn that never happened. Then an idea popped into my head and I enthusiastically thrashed out a few thousand words before abandoning it, leaving it neglected for months.

But it was still there, lurking in the back of my mind, and with my 40th birthday approaching I was starting to think, if not now then when? So, without giving myself a chance to overthink it, I signed up to the course which was starting in January 2020 and made it my new year’s resolution to finish my novel by the end of the year.

collage writing room pencil logo


Collage Writing Room has been delivering a full range of creative writing courses since 2013.

We offer an industrious and friendly community which supports every writer, no matter what stage they are at on their writing journey.

Writers tend to stay with us for many years as they take different writing projects through all stages of development

On my first day at ‘writing school’ I was suitably terrified, especially when my fellow course-mates talked about their amazing, thought-provoking works in progress. But everyone was so lovely and welcoming and there was a strong sense of camaraderie.

Early on I had to provide 2,000 words of my work to the others for feedback. Having your work critiqued can be intimidating. but the comments I received were immensely helpful and made a significant difference to my writing. I also got some valuable one-on-one time with the course tutor, who helped me iron out some plot issues I was having.

But for me, the thing that had the greatest impact was being paired up with a writing buddy. We set weekly word count targets and checked in on each other to make sure we were on track. With this motivation, I was regularly writing at least 3,000 words a week, often more, finding time that I didn’t even know I had before.

The course really gave me the push I needed – and had been lacking for years – and I had finished my first draft by the summer. I spent a month editing it, trying to make it as shiny as possible, before it was time to send it out into the world. Because writing a novel is fabulous and all, but it does rather help if people actually read it.

I started submitting to relevant agents and publishers. At first there was a flurry of activity – plenty of ‘thanks but no thanks’, a few personal rejections telling me that it was a near miss, and then one request for the full manuscript. I was so excited that I could barely sit down. It felt like my dream was finally coming true.

But weeks went by and nothing, apart from a steady stream of rejections. I knew this was an inevitable part of any author’s journey, but it was still fairly soul destroying. And refreshing your email inbox every five minutes for that length of time is exhausting.

I tried to shake it off and keep going. I searched for more publishers that looked like a good fit for my work. I started refreshing my email inbox every ten minutes instead.

Then in October I got THE EMAIL. It was from a publisher who had read my full manuscript, enjoyed it and wanted to offer me a publishing deal. It’s been more than six months and I don’t think I’ve quite recovered from the excitement yet.

But after peeling myself off the ceiling I set to work on my second novel, determined not to waste this incredible opportunity of having a publisher interested in my work.

My debut novel, a psychological suspense called The Missing Husband, is released this month. I’ve since signed a further two-book deal with my publisher and my second novel, The Woman Next Door, will be released in the autumn. I’m now in the procrastinating, scrolling mindlessly through social media stage of writing my third.

I hope my story will inspire others to follow their dreams too. This past year has taught me more than ever that life is short and unpredictable, and we have to grasp it.  

The Missing Husband, written by Natasha Boydell and published by Bloodhound Books, is available to order on Amazon now:

How would you cope if your husband disappeared?

cover of the missing husband by natasha boydell

Kate and Pete have been the perfect couple ever since they were teenagers. Fifteen years later they have two young daughters, live in a beautiful London townhouse and seem like they have it all. But one day, Pete leaves for work and never comes home. 

In a note Kate discovers, he confesses that he’s been unhappy for a long time and that he’s met someone else.

Distraught, Kate later learns that he has left everything, including his mobile phone, behind and sets out to learn the truth about her husband’s disappearance.

But is she prepared for what she will learn?

When nothing is as it seems, who can you trust?


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PGC Webmaster posted a reply #6066 18 Jun 2021 00:50
Natasha Boydell's novel The Missing Husband (see above) will be launched online on 29th June, along with a new novel by one of the tutors at the Collage Writing Room where Natasha polished her fiction writing skills.

The event is in collaboration with the All Good Bookshop, which is located near Turnpike Lane station.

Click here for more details