Meet Robert and Joyce 
Award-Winning Authors

We are a Canadian husband/wife author team who live near Victoria, British Columbia situated in the beautiful Canadian Pacific Northwest. Our adventure in writing began as an accident. Actually, Robert’s ‘accident’ happened 30 years before, during his career as a British mining engineer in underground coal mines. At 24, he found himself taking a very dangerous job as the leader of a ‘First Response to Disaster Team’ that travelled to coal mines in many countries of Europe and East Asia. Writing began when I asked him to write his memoirs as a diversion while recuperating from leg surgery in 1994.  Unfortunately, much went wrong and he contracted a staph bacteria that was the forerunner to the flesh-eating disease. This now became a much different fight-for-his-life than he had ever experienced. It also produced three novels, one of which we self-published in 1998 … and that was only the beginning!  

J. Robert Whittle

J(ohn) Robert Whittle was born in 1933, the eldest son of 10 children, to an industrious but demanding, Yorkshire, England,  farmer and his gentle, but so hardworking, wife. Robert, beginning at the age of 4 1/2 years, wanted to help his family by delivering and selling their farm goods. His mother thought him too young and he had to wait until he was six! So at six, with his grandfather’s encouragement he started his own grass-cutting business (with shears!). He hired his friends to help and so began a life-long entrepreneurial history of this man known as Bobby … Bob … and then professionally as J. Robert. 

Young Bobby Whittle, even as a little boy, loved hard work and if it made money, he worked even harder because even this young, he knew that money got him things his family could not normally afford. Even to the age of 84 (in 2017), that work ethic remained. Robert had a fascinating and eventful life living and working in many different countries. His International education really began when playing cricket (wicket-keeper) representing England as a 13-year-old. At 14 years, he went to mining college in Leeds and by the age of 24 he became a mining engineer heading a specialized disaster team for the British Coal Board (one of his injuries later gave him time to begin writing in 1994). He will sometimes admit to visitors that he’s had every bone in his body broken at least once. If that sounds like an exaggeration, just know he loved his work and helped many grateful men in thankless situations. He was good at his job but paid for it heavily.

In addition, he always had his own business on the side … shades of Lizzie! For many years, when some thought he should be retired and enjoying his garden more, he could still be found having photos taken with his thankful fans as he sold his books at some Vancouver Island location. Bastion Square was his summer location for five, then four months every year for 14 years. Indoor Christmas Shows rounded off the year. (see Events)

Robert’s mother once told him he was laughing from the minute he was born. In recent years,  friends and fans often said he was one of the most upbeat people they knew … and that smile! Perhaps part of the reason he smiled so much was because of the thousands of people who visited him at his bookstand to tell him how much they enjoyed reading his novels.

Sadly, Robert passed away on August 17th, 2017 and we are all missing him. Joyce will continue to sell their books via this website and possibly some Saturday Markets come next summer. Some books (Lizzie Series and Victoria Chronicles Hardcovers) have been greatly reduced to lower than half price to reduce storage needs. (A more detailed version of Robert’s Bio is here)

   

Joyce Sandilands-Whittle

 “Prior to my 30s, no one ever taught me about setting goals, thinking positively or believing in myself … that seems like the Dark Ages to me now. Later, I learned that believing you can do something is only half the adventure … but what a wonderful adventure it has led me on!” My birth in Victoria, BC in 1945 made me a 3rd generation Victorian and a 6th generation Canadian. My mother sadly became a war widow five months before I was born, so we lived with her aging parents and she worked at the Hudson’s Bay Company to support us. Having the influence of loving grandparents was a wonderful experience for a young child, especially one who never experienced the love of a father.

I learned early about the importance of family. My mother, and later, my step-father taught me a strong work ethic by example. My first loves, beginning as a young teen, were reading, writing and music … especially singing which I hid in my basement bedroom until I ‘came out’ (of my room) at the age of 18 becoming a soloist at Job’s Daughters and DeMolay events, church and concerts etc! I married and moved to Duncan where I had two children, joined a large choir and, by the age of 27, I took classical voice lessons for a few years. It seems I drove my children quite crazy while I rehearsed my new love … Grand Opera!

As a single parent in 1977, I returned to Victoria where the next stage of my life was about to begin. I met Robert and in 1985, began a new adventure that changed year by year … and led to publishing Robert’s first of 11 novels in 1998! I am a perfect example of how life can take over on its own accord and guide you to a wonderful new beginning, but you have to trust in that guiding force whatever it may be. 

After a stroke in 2007, which three years later, robbed him of his ability to write, Robert never gave up on writing again. In 2013, Robert and I co-wrote our fourth novel … Silent Destiny, the first in six years. Until he passed on his finished product to me a year later, I hadn’t realized that he had included my own Scottish history in this book. This would be Robert’s last novel but his legacy will go on as long as his books survive in print, or on the internet and through Joyce’s efforts in the years to come.

All our books may be ordered on this website.