And now for something completely different! Today I would like to give a very warm welcome to retired vet turned novelist, Malcolm Welshman. For those of you who read The People's Friend, Malcolm has become a firm favourite with readers of the magazine with his new vet series 'Tales From Prospect House'.
As a fellow writer for The Friend, and the owner of a cat and badly behaved step-dog, I decided to find out how the animals in Malcolm's life have influenced his writing over the years. If there are any questions you would like to ask Malcolm, please feel free to leave a comment and I am sure he will be more than happy to answer them.
My life has always revolved around animals ever since as a five year old I was allowed to keep two white mice. Within three weeks there were 15 of them!
As a lad in
acquired an African Bush dog called Poucher. She got attacked by a wild animal
and her badly mauled hind leg had to be stitched up by the army doctor.
Watching him operate made me decide I wanted to be a vet. During Poucher’s
convalescence she was asleep next to my bed when an army of soldier ants poured
through the room, ferociously attacking us. 25 years later I was to write up
that experience for a magazine and it became the first feature I ever had published.
As a lad in
also became the owners of an African Grey parrot. She was to be a constant
companion for over 23 years. I had just qualified as a vet, when I had to
operate on a tumour on her neck to save her life. That too became one of many
features about her. Nigeria
But it was a goose, given to me by a grateful farmer to fatten up for Christmas that really enabled my writing career to take off. One night, Gertie raised a cackling alarm that saved us from burglars. So there was no way we could have her for Christmas lunch. I wrote that tale up as a Christmas special for My Weekly and on the back of that the editor asked if I would like to do a monthly vet series. Of course I said ‘yes’. That series continued for 15 years.
On retiring from practice, I decided to write a novel based on my experiences in practice and the many animals I’ve met along the way. I’ve now written three books, the latest being Pets Aplenty, each one detailing the exploits of a young vet, Paul Mitchell, in his first 18 months in practice.
Even though I’m retired, animals still form an important part of my life and provide endless scope for more writing, Only last autumn when I was rolling back the damaged turves on our lawn caused by a badger seeking grubs, I realised that could be the source of another feature. And a week later it appeared in The Daily Mail.
We’ve a Yorkie-cross terrier called Dora. We were invited to take part in a National Geographic TV show called Leader of the Pack, in which the dog whisperer, Cesar Millan, put three couples through their paces to see which one would be suitable to provide a forever home for Dora. We were the lucky winners. Dora now writes a monthly dog blog on an international website describing the exploits of her Bossman.
It’s still a delight to find more animal adventures to tackle as I sit at my desk and try not to be distracted by the roe deer, jackdaws, badgers and rabbits that weave back and forth across the lawns outside my study window. But then they, like all the other animals that have formed part of my life, are to be thanked for giving me such a great source of inspiration to write.
Malcolm Welshman is a retired vet and author. His first novel, published by John Blake Publishing in May 2011, was Pets in a Pickle. This has a foreword by James Herriot’s son and quotes by Sir Terry Wogan and Richard Madeley, amongst others. The ebook version reached number two on Amazon Kindle’s bestseller list. The second book in the series, Pets on Parade, was published in April 2012 and the third, Pets Aplenty, in August 2014.
Malcolm also writes for several national magazines and has had occasional features in the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times. His vet series, Tales from Prospect House is currently in The People's Friend magazine.
Pets Aplenty can be bought here from Amazon for kindle, audio and in paperback.
You can find out more about Malcolm and his work on his website
Make contact with Malcolm on Facebook and Twitter @MalcolmWelshman