Wendy Maitland interview for Virtual Bunch
Wendy Maitland was born in London in 1938 to medical missionary parents who were then posted to a war zone to continue their medical work. Unfortunately, their plans didn’t work out as expected, and they found themselves trapped in a terrifying war with its many dramas and narrow escapes.

Later, while trying to rebuild their lives after these experiences, they embarked on a journey to find a safe place to settle down. This quest led them to several different continents and countries.

After a lifetime of moving around, Wendy’s eventual safe haven was found on the unique island of Sark, where she has been happily living with her husband for the past 17 years.

During our conversation, we delved into Wendy’s authored and published memoirs about her life, available here, as well as her forthcoming writing projects and an array of other topics.

Wendy, what inspired you to write your memoirs?

I was asked to write about my war experiences for an archive held at The Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds. People reading this wanted to know what happened next after the war, so I went on writing.

Please can you provide us with a glimpse of what readers can anticipate when delving into your books?

You will be carried along on a wave of events and adventures flowing through the pages of my books.

Can you describe a particularly memorable or impactful moment from your life that you shared in your memoirs?

Trying to hide with my mother and local villagers on an exposed hillside in China as Japanese planes opened up on us with machine guns.

How do you believe your memoirs might resonate with readers who have had different life experiences?

People reading my books say they feel they are living my life as these experiences become real through the pages.

Memoirs from Wendy Maitland, photo credit: Amazon

Memoirs from Wendy Maitland, photo credit: Amazon

What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to write and publish his/her first book?

Set the scene with your first few sentences and then just go from there as the story unfolds in your mind. But keep reading books you enjoy to feed your subconscious and vocabulary.

What are you currently reading?

The Kite Runner, but finding it difficult to get into. If a book hasn’t grabbed me by the 50 page mark I give up on it.

During your life, you’ve resided in various locations. What were the most unexpected cultural distinctions or commonalities you encountered among the countries you called home?

America was the biggest surprise as I expected to feel instantly at home as an immigrant among people speaking the same language and sharing the same culture, but life was so very different there.

What was your first impression of the Channel Islands when you visited for the first time?

It is impossible to form a generalised impression of the Channel Islands because each one is different. Guernsey surprised me on my first visit as I hadn’t expected it to be so suburban and busy with traffic.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges related to living in the Channel Islands?

I don’t think of the Channel Islands as presenting challenges, only advantages.

Where do you go in Sark when you need to unwind and why?

Just being here on this island sets my spirit free as I need only to step outside my door to feel any cobwebs drifting away.

What are your future writing plans or projects?

When I came to live here Sark was still a feudal island, and then democracy arrived with all its upheavals. Each day’s events, anecdotes and comments have been recorded in my diary and I am turning this into an informal account of these times. Probably too candid for publication!

If you’d like to delve into Wendy’s wartime experiences, you can find her books on Amazon. She would greatly appreciate your feedback (! The titles available for your reading are “Rambles with my Family”, “Rift Valley Rambles” and “Rambles on the Edge”.