New novel is an
eastern adventure

Author Maureen Saunders
Author Maureen Saunders
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A DAVENTRY woman has published a novel using her experiences of working in the Middle East.

Maureen Saunders, who writes under the name Alice Over, wrote her latest title The Desert Iris using the knowledge and experience she gained working in Kuwait in the early 1960s.

Mrs Saunders said: “I applied for the job on a bit of a whim really in 1959, but then I got it.

“At the time I was working as a nurse at British Timken and the job was for a nurse at the Kuwait Oil Company’s hospital.

“I flew out there. We stopped at Beirut in Lebanon and we were escorted off the plane at gunpoint.

“At that time Kuwait was a British Protectorate and I remember the British troops being flown in.

“When I got to Kuwait I found it was a very male-dominated environment – obviously it was almost all men in the oil industry and the army too.

“The only western women were a handful of teachers and nurses, so it was a good situation for us women!

“While I was out there it was the transition from British rule to being independent.

“But there was a threat of war with Iraq and the British troops were called in.

“I was there for three years. I got married and my first daughter was born there. I had a wonderful time.

“Twenty years later I was working in Saudi Arabia with an oil firm again. I got to meet the Queen – she flew out and shook all our hands.

“When she asked where I was from, I said Northampton as I didn’t think she’d know where Daventry was.

“The Duke of Edinburgh was there too, but I think he had his eyes on the Filipino nurses!”

The book is based around a young nurse who leaves England to work in Kuwait and gets embroiled in intrigue.

Mrs Saunders said: “It’s a bit of a spy story really.

“This girl gets involved with a pilot and doesn’t realise she’s being used to get access to things they otherwise wouldn’t get to.

“I used my own experiences to write it, but it’s not my life, and it’s been embellished a lot as well.”

The Desert Iris is available from Daventry Post Office in Sheaf Street.