Helen Yendall’s Writing Blog

I’m a writer and creative writing tutor, based in the Cotswolds (UK).

After many years spent writing short stories for women’s magazines I decided it was ‘now or never’ if I was ever going to write a novel.

Thanks to the RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association)’s ‘New Writers’ Scheme’ and a successful application to the Kate Nash agency’s ‘Bookcamp Scheme’, which invited submissions from writers with a partially-finished novel, I got an agent (Kate Nash) and a 2-book deal from HQ (Harper Collins) in the summer of 2021.

My debut WW2 novel ‘A Wartime Secret’ (originally called ‘Maggie’s War’) was published in January 2022 as an e-book and in March 2022 as a paperback. One reviewer called it ‘Eastenders meets Downton Abbey’, which I rather like!

I am now represented by Robbie Guillory at Underline Literary Agency and my second WW2 novel, about the Women’s Timber Corps in Scotland and the Canadian Forestry Corps who worked alongside them, will be published on 4th November 2022 as an e-book and 22nd December 2022 as a paperback.

And in an amazing ‘plot twist’ which I didn’t see coming only a couple of years ago, I am now beavering away on novel number THREE….!

50 Responses to Helen Yendall’s Writing Blog

  1. Jo Ind says:

    Helen! Well done! It’s lovely to have a mooch around Blog About Writing. Congratulations on setting it up. It’s looking really good. I like the name and I’m impressed by the number of posts you’ve fired off. Enjoy your little bit of cyber-space. May it be the means of wonderful writing, fun-filled pictures and interesting conversations.

  2. Hi Helen, I just saw the blogaboutwriting link on your posted comment and thought I should have a look — good on ya! I can see me in many of your procrastination descriptions… NANOWRIMO is a great thing; friend of mine ran it as an adult ed class and when I finally took it, out of sheer curiosity, it was: BRILLIANT. Broke my lifelong block on writing about my ancestor Eprhaim. So then I ran a small class and that worked too.

  3. Ralitza Gilbert says:

    Helen, the blog is fantabulous – masses of useful stuff! More importantly it has a distict voice (like you told us, our writing alwasy should). It is so lovely to hear your soothing voice again, Helen. I have missed that. I’m subscribing now. Thank you.

  4. Hi Helen,
    I’m the administrator of the THRESHOLDS short story forum, and I just wanted to let you know that I’ve added a link to your blog to our Resources listings. This is a great site which I know will be a source of inspiration and advice to our readers.
    Best regards, Loree

  5. CLARE BASKOTT says:

    Great blog! Really interesting and inspiring…….will be putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard this week! Am really intriqued about NANOWRIMO, want to find out more. I will be subscribing……

  6. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award (Part 2) « Sally Jenkins – Writer

  7. Annette says:

    I see the last post here is a few months old? Nevertheless, I would like to add my vote of thanks and congrats on a blog that is as much for the writer “out there” as the writer here!

    Kind regards

    Annette x

  8. Emma says:

    Hi Helen
    Have finally got round to subscribing and hope to find some inspiration!

    Emma Cooke

  9. Sharon says:

    Hi Helen
    I’m Sharon and I run a successful on-line writing circle for womag writers called Fiction Addiction. (It’s free to join).
    Thanks for the updated info about WW guidelines, kindly passed on from you to one of our members and then on to us!
    I’ve now placed a link to your blog spot on our links page.
    Best of luck with your blog – it looks great!

  10. Christine Cherry says:

    Helloo…. With a bit of help from my friends (aka a handy visit from niece and nephew only to happy to assist the less techy-minded), I’ve finally found the joys of your blog… love it, matey. Thanks for the encouragement re tackling the 21st century world of writing , and all the things I can explore through blogaboutwriting.. time I got started now on the minisaga… Get back to you soon, now I’ve subscribed to this brave new world… Thanks again…YMCx

  11. johannanield says:

    Hi Helen
    I’ve just found your blog and have become an instant fan! There’s so much information here, and I love the way it’s presented, so I’ve subscribed and will look forward to your future posts. In the meantime, I thought I’d drop in simply to say “Thank you” for sharing 🙂
    Best regards
    Johanna Nield

  12. toxicvegan says:

    I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award because I love reading your blog
    Thank you!

    • Thank you -that’s very kind! What do I have to do in order to ‘accept’ it?!

      • toxicvegan says:

        Hi Helen,

        You just have to follow the instructions – I did a blog post and did the things they said (thank the person who nominated you – list 7 things about yourself & nominate 15 blogs yourself)
        Yours & Sally’s are such great blogs for writers – thank you!!

  13. Sian says:

    Hi Helen,

    Hope you are well!!

    Have you read the book ‘Before I go to sleep’ by S J Watson?

    A must read, although it can take some getting into definately worth it! Fantasic twist, we all like a good twist! I read it in two weeks, which for me personally shows its a good read!

    Dad and I have been to see him tonight as part of Birminghams big read. It was very interesting as neither of us have ever been to see an author talk about his/her book before. The most inspiring thing was he just wrote, didn’t have a plot or characters just put pen to paper. The hardest thing for me is to think of characters and plot and then I give up and don’t do anything.

    So after his talk I am now going to put pen to paper and see what happens!

    Me and dad are missing your class and will no doubt be back in the future.

    Sian x

    • Sian, lovely to hear from you! No, I haven’t read that book – but it’s on my list of ‘must-reads’ as so many people have recommended it. I couldn’t go to the talk tonight because, of course, it’s the Woodlands Class, but I was really pleased that you and your Dad went along. (My writing buddy Sally was going so she’ll probably write about it on her blog!) It’s always interesting – and inspiring – to listen to authors talk about their work. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Bye for now!


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  15. Vikki says:


    Am setting up my own blog and wanted to say how inspiring this one is – just the way to set up a blog about writing, and full of interesting and worthwhile content.

    Also enjoyed your story in WritersForum very much!


  16. Paulina Czarnecki says:

    I’m enjoying your blog very much! 🙂

  17. Julie says:

    Hi Helen,
    This is a question about your random words competition. I’ve not yet had a short story accepted by a paying magazine but I was runner up in my local writers group ‘story on a postcard’ competition. There was no prize but it was published on their website so would I be classed as a new writer or not. I don’t want to be disqualified for entering the wrong competition!
    Many thanks.

  18. Julie says:

    Thanks Helen.

  19. I’m following your blog. Wow! It’s one of best information blogs I’ve read. I just started my blog and hope to some day have it up to par like yours.

  20. Nina Milne says:

    Just found your blog. Its great. As a short story writer I will definitely be checking in regularly.

  21. Nina Milne says:

    Via Suzanne Ross Jones blog. I didn’t really realise there was such a community of short story writers/ bloggers – its lovely. Nina x

  22. Hi Helen!

    I love your blog and wondered if you’d be interested in being interviewed on my blog for my Talking Tuesdays post next week. I’ll basically ask you ten questions on writing (or reading – whatever you fancy).
    My blog is http://www.aplaceonthebookshelf.blogspot.com

    If you’d like to be interviewed let me know!
    Best Wishes,

    – A Place on the Bookshelf

  23. Jaci says:

    Hi, Helen,

    Loving your blog and all the info you always provide. I am also a “follower” on Twitter (sounds cultish, doesn’t it! And a bit “stalker-ish”) 🙂 Was wondering if you had something on archive about how to promote an indie-published book (I know it seems a bit of a tangent from women’s mags short story type things). I’ve just done it and doing a freebie weekend for it. (On Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Runaway-Samantha-Smartypants-1-ebook/dp/B00EK4WE7E/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1378433976&sr=1-1)

    But other than blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting and making myself a member of an Indie Author group, I’m kind of stuck with what else to do to reach a wider audience. I did read your blog on how to blog better, and I’m slowly trying to incorporate those ideas in my blogs, but I’m a bit “virginal” with the blogging thing (even though I’ve been blogging a bit, I still have heaps to improve!)

    Anyway, we’re enjoying the Spring here in Sydney, Aust. Hope you are still having some sunshine though autumn has arrived for you!!


    • Hi Jaci

      I know exactly what you mean about the self-promotion thing and marketing etc. Huge learning curve!!! And I’m only just starting out… so much to take on board.

      It’s worth checking out Joanna Penn’s blog http://www.thecreativepenn.com/ which is full of marketing information for the indie-author. She’s got heaps of good advice and there are links, downloads… all sorts of ideas.

      Good luck.


  24. Hi Helen,
    Just discovered your blog! I’d googled you because I wanted to mention you and your Writing Magazine article about gremlins in my own blog, engagewritebrain.blogspot. Blogging is a relatively new departure for me… A bit like Jaci, I’m still finding my way…!

    Anyway, I’ve signed up to yours so look forward to reading them. 🙂

  25. Cat Lumb says:

    Not sure how you feel about blog awards, but I have nominated you and your blog for a Lighthouse Award.
    For more information and the award guidelines, see my post here: http://catlumb.com/2014/02/25/the-lighthouse-award/

    Feel free to accept and pass on the baton or gracefully decline.
    Take Care,

  26. Pingback: On surviving Writer’s Envy | Elizabeth Haynes

  27. monochromebear says:

    Hello! I chanced upon your blog and, reading through it, found it both absolutely adorable and also inspirationally interesting! I myself have an interest in writing, and so I was wondering whether you – as a more experienced author and person in general – could maybe check it out? I would really love some comments from an experienced person such as yourself so that I can continue improving. Thanks!

  28. Pingback: Welcome to my blog | MorgEn Bailey's Writing Blog

  29. Emma Ashton says:

    I found your blog details on Twitter and decided to have a peek. Looks good so am looking forward to reading more.

  30. veronicabright103 says:

    Hi Helen,

    My name’s Veronica Bright, I’m writing my own monthly blog, and this time I’m talking about setting up a blog and trying to take a unique angle on whatever people write about. I would like to mention your blog, and if you don’t mind, I will direct my readers to your latest blog. I know they’ll enjoy it!
    If you’d rather I didn’t, please let me know. The blog will be online tomorrow.
    Happy New Year,

  31. Hello Helen,
    Congratulations on your many successes! I’m currently writing my first book and I also started a writing blog a few weeks ago. I’m encouraged by you and you make me want to keep going. Please check out my blog at http://terryannthewriter.com.

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