Meet Robert and Joyce –
authors on the street!

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 truly began as an accident, but Robert’s ‘accident’ (a mangled knee) had already happened about 30 years before, during his career as a British mining engineer heading a First Response to Disaster Team across Europe/E.Asia. He never wanted to be a writer, never thought of it actually, until I asked him to begin his memoirs as a diversion while recuperating from leg surgery in 1994.  That first surgery sadly led to five more due to contracting the staph bacteria that was the forerunner to the flesh-eating disease. This became a much different type of fight-for-his-life than he had ever experienced in his dangerous job. It also produced three novels, one of which we self-published in 1998 … and that was only the beginning!  (Note: Joyce retired from Sidney Market in 2016.)

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 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. Today, despite his years (84 in 2017), that work ethic remains. Robert had a fascinating and eventful life living and working in many different countries. His 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 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!). Today, when some think he should be retired and enjoying his garden more, you will still find him having photos taken with his thankful fans as he sells his books at some Vancouver Island location. Bastion Square is his summer location for approx. five months and, later, a few weeks of indoor Christmas Shows, all God willing! (see Events). There are no longer any promises of continuing work. Robert’s mother once told him he was laughing from the minute he was born and today,  friends and fans still say he is one of the most upbeat people they know … that his smile drew them to him! Perhaps part of the reason he is still smiling is because of the thousands of people who visit him at his book stand to tell him how much they enjoy reading his books and often ask to purchase the latest novel (Silent Destiny was #11 and published before Christmas in 2014). (You’ll find a longer version of Robert’s Bio 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 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 … meeting Robert and in 1985, beginning a new adventure that changed year by year … and led to publishing Robert’s first book in 1998! I am a perfect example of how life can take over on it’s own accord and guide you to a wonderful new beginning but you have to trust in that guiding force whatever it may be. 

In 2014, Robert and I co-wrote our first novel in six years. Until he passed on his finished product to me, I hadn’t realized that he had included my own Scottish family history in this book. It is such an interesting part of Scottish history that I felt I needed to expand on his words and so I discovered even more about my Scottish roots.