An author who has teamed up with a campaign to get people reading admits she's been thrilled "to walk into town and see my book on a billboard".

Andrea Michael is working with Watford Borough Council and local group Watford Writers for the One Town One Book initiative to encourage and inspire people to read more and participate in workshops and book clubs.

The 33-year-old author grew up in North London, mainly in Edgware and Mill Hill. She went to the University of East Anglia where she studied English and creative writing. She studied a Masters in creative writing for therapeutic purposes and now works as a content writer.

Andrea has lived in different parts of Watford for seven years and moved to Bushey in December.

Her novel The Book of Us is the subject for One Town One Book and she explained: "This is completely new for me and a lucky break, it’s been very thrilling to walk into town and see my book on a billboard".

The 13-time published author will be holding a number of writing for therapy writing workshops as part of the campaign.

During her dissertation - a one-year study working with women recovering from eating disorders - Andrea discovered how they could use writing to access an empathy that they hadn’t experienced before, using images or objects for the women to relate to.

Andrea Michael

Andrea Michael

She said: “A beautiful piece which someone had written was about being a shell, it was delicate yet empty inside. There was a lot of using symbols to facilitate conversation. Sometimes people would choose the same image but use them in a completely different way.

“I think these sessions are very good because they allow you to get to that deeper level which is quite hard to do when we’ve got social media, the TV, cooking and so forth, all of which make it difficult to find that space and get quiet.

“The Book of Us is about connecting with people and especially reaching out to those who you’ve lost touch with, it’s about having a bucket list, and going travelling. I’ve been doing a lot of ‘reading to travel’ to try and be elsewhere during lockdown.

"Up until The Book of Us I’d written romantic comedies, but with this one I feel like I had a bigger story to tell, I’d written romance for so long and actually having a romance about friendship seemed really appealing to me. Recently we’ve seen how friendship is so important.

"We focus so much on meeting our soulmate, when actually your soulmate or that most important person in your life might be your best friend who you’ve had for ages, it might not be a romantic relationship.”

The Book of Us is the subject for One Town One Book this year

The Book of Us is the subject for One Town One Book this year

Asked what Watford means to her, Andrea replied: “I came on my first date here with my fiancee, that was the first time I came into Watford. We’ve gradually dragged all our friends here. They’ve slowly moved out of London and are getting to the age of starting families so it’s been really lovely to build our own community here.

"We all thought we’d move here so we could still go back into London but actually we spend most of our time here. There’s more I will take advantage of because I can just walk to it, and I love finding all the great coffee places of which there are many."

Andrea is hoping lockdown has prompted an increase in the number of people writing "because we can’t go out, we go in.

“I think people are happier to have a go at stuff now, especially if you’re at home, why not try something new.

"I hope that people do come along to the workshops, they’re for everyone. You don’t have to be a writer, you don’t have to have enjoyed writing in the past, I’ve had people who were dyslexic but are happy to play and I think that play is a really big part of it, play is hugely therapeutic.”

More details on the workshops can be found at

Andrea’s next book The Things That Matter will be published in May in ebook and August in print at

Andrea also provides wellbeing tasks for people to have a go at. They can be found under her Insta stories: ‘Writing to Nourish’ on @andreamichaelwrites