What would you do to help a camel with an injured foot? Yeah, I don’t know either, but retired veterinarian Malcolm Welshman would! In his latest book, An Armful of Animals, Malcolm brings us with him through some of his most unforgettable experiences. Filled with tales of bats, monkeys, dogs, and more, this memoir is one you won’t be able to put down!
Interviewer: Sophie Lin
Q: How was writing An Armful of Animals a different experience for you than writing your other books?
A: My first three vet books were fictionalised accounts of a young vet in his first couple of years in practice. An Armful of Animals, relates the encounters I’ve had with animals during my life so became a much more personal experience when writing it.
Q: What was your favourite part about being a veterinarian?
A: The interaction with owners and their pets and being able to help keep that relationship going when their pets needed medical care.
Q: What inspired you to start writing and become an author?
A: I was given a goose to fatten up for Christmas. Instead she became a pet. I decided to write that up as a feature for a magazine which was accepted. They then asked me to write a vet column which I did for 15 years. With all the material I consequently accumulated, I decided to use it as the basis of a book. Hence the first one appeared – Pets in a Pickle.
Q: What do you like the most about being a speaker on cruise ships?
A: Entertaining passengers and the subsequent feedback and rapport that gets established. So many people have great stories about their own pets.
Q: What do you like the least?
A: Inevitably there are occasions when things don’t go to plan; e.g., weather conditions not allowing a ship to berth; and that can be frustrating. The biggest upset I’ve experienced in the 44 cruises speaking engagements I’ve completed is the time I was on the first two weeks of a Christmas cruise. It should have taken us over the Caribbean. However, the air-conditioning system failed in the Canaries and so the Caribbean was cancelled and we were diverted to the Mediterranean instead. Many passengers were very disappointed.
Q: What is the greatest number of pets you’ve owned at once?
A: We used to have a house with seven acres. So over a period of time we had: 15 Shetland ponies, 15 llamas, eight sheep, six budgerigars, a cat, a dog and a riding pony. Oh, and a huge aquarium full of fish.
Q: Throughout your life, you’ve traveled between the UK and Africa several times. What, in your opinion, is the biggest difference between the two?
A: As a lover of nature and animals, it’s the sheer diversity of Africa – from the heat and aridness of the Sahara to the lush tropical forests combined with the corresponding wide range of animal species which makes that continent so very different and so very special for me.
Q: Are you working on any other projects right now?
A: There’s quite a list. A series of features requested by UK magazines and online websites; topics being my love of trees, depression in dogs, cats in my life, anecdotes of encounters with parrots. A children’s novel is being considered for publication. Ongoing monthly column about my dog – Dora’s Diary.
Writing the fourth novel in the young vet series: Pets are a Pleasure. And formatting a book on the interaction between dogs and humans from the dog’s viewpoint: Rover Rules.
Q: Where can our readers find more information about you and your books?
A: My website: http://www.malcolmwelshman.co.uk
My current memoir, An Armful of Animals: http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H1HM7ZB
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: Being a retired veterinarian, part of the reason for writing the memoir was that I could then share memories of the animals that have played a role in my life. And through sharing that with like-minded people who also have a passion for pets, continue to experience and respect the important role animals play in our lives.