1. Gigi, thank you for coming today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
First I want to thank you, Elaine, for giving me the opportunity to express myself. I, Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born on 19 May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany.
My family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. We then moved a lot around in Germany where my father got the work. That meant that I changed schools 9 times. In the end I never made friends anymore, knowing that I would lose them anyway again. It was a very bad time for me and I was often rejected, because of not learning to make good conversation, never had the opportunity and so I didn’t have the skills to do so. So rejection was not new for me.
Finally we settled in Munich where I studied architectural drafting and met Albert, an Australian in 1965, marrying him in December 1967. I worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich.
Hearing that my uncle was a writer, I wrote short animal stories, since I love animals. Here I could express myself without laughed at and I could be the person I wanted to be. Nothing further came of it, but I developed a love for the written word and I started to consume books.
In May 1975, Albert and I moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, I started a handcraft business. As a specialty, I made colourful parrots of which I sold thousands in a few years.
In 1988 we decided to adopt from Fiji. We became adoptive parents of 3 ½ year old Indian twin girls the year after.
We lived in New Zealand for 18 years and moved to Australia, my husband’s home, in September 1992.
Two years later I was diagnosed with cancer. After the operation and radiation I just vegetated, thinking and knowing that I would be dead in two years. The TV was my friend. But I was there, never neglected the girls or my husband.
Finding myself still alive after two years, my brain started to work again. So I told herself, ‘Get a grip on yourself and make something out of your life.’
But not knowing what I could do, because I couldn’t go to work anymore, had a lot of pain from radiation damage, my husband said to me one day: ‘Why not write again?’ He was writing the story of our adoption in that time.
Yes, why not! But in what language should I write this time. The short stories I wrote in my youth, were in German. But living in an English speaking country, I have to write in English. Was my English good enough for the written word?
I started to write, in English, in a scrapbook the week after my husband Albert showed me how to use our spare computer. How good was that, after the crossing out and writing over in the scrapbook. It was heaven to write and my fingers flew over the key board.
And so I developed many short stories and have sent them in for competitions. None made it to the first prize, but I got a few very good comments. It gave me confidence to go on writing.
One day I wrote a short story about Matica and Talon. And this story gave me the idea to make it into a novel. And so the idea for the Talon series came to me.
Now I love writing, but I also love travelling, 4x4 touring, gardening, and I enjoy good adventure DVD’s or going to the movies.
2.Gigi, you inspire me! The next time I feel sorry for myself I’ll think of you and snap out of it. What genre do you write in? What drew you to it?
Children suffer from all sorts of affliction and through my book they can learn how to cope with everything, as Matica did, the main character in my book, TALON COME FLY WITH ME. She had to learn it in her early life. Children can find a “Condor” as Matica did. Not literally a condor, but every child or adult for that matter, they are battling with non curable afflictions, should find something that let them forget what is happening to them. Finding a “Condor” would help them to overcome that.
Parents can read my book to younger children so they can see that they are not alone, but that they can overcome it in a positive way, not in a negative way.
And that is all about my book TALON, COME FLY WITH ME, but not only the first one, in all of them.
In my late teens and having free time beside my work, writing manuals in the firm where my father worked, I wrote short animal stories. With these stories I could express myself, being me. I wrote what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be, but had never, and could have never done it.
The short stories I wrote, after I survived the cancer, they were all animal stories as well, but with children, loving them because they had an issue of being handicapped in one-way or another.
I know that there are lots of people and children out there, who are not accepted by their peers. Children are getting bullied in school, driven to suicide. We know that first-hand as well. We have adopted Indian twin-girls from Fiji. Mostly they were accepted, particularly in our church. But when I went shopping with the girls, some people looked at us, with the look on their faces that would say: How can she do something like that.
Since I went through the things Matica is going through, Matica is actually me. (I am not handicapped but faced lots of rejection in my life as well.) Matica and I, we are one person and we are looking for acceptance.
I say: Children with special needs or with disability, or are handicapped don't have an illness, so there is no cure and it's not contagious. They want what we all want, to be accepted.
But I think that my books are not only for children. As I said, adults face some illnesses as well, so my book is for adults as well as for children.
3.What do you think makes a book a page turner?
Firstly, I think the cover of a book must be showing something, something that would catch your eye when people are going into the bookstore. Then they will pick it up and look at the blurb in the back.
Second, the back-blurb must be short but showing what the book is telling you.
And then it must be a story, particular if it is from a new author, it must be something that wasn’t written before.
The purpose of my book, and hopefully it is a page turner, is to help children and adults alike to overcome some of their affliction; and feel that they are not alone. It’s a story about hope, love, inspiration but it also is Matica’s journey and her adventure.
But my book is for everyone, not only for the ones that face affliction. It should show them, that handicap and affliction can’t be cured but they are not bad.
That they are all alike to get noticed, that they will accept these people as well.
4. How many WIP do you have going?
The second and the third manuscript in the Talon series are finished and professionally edited. I am working on the fourth right now and being at the first revision.
I am waiting that a publisher will discover me, will see what the book is all about.
The second manuscript is called: TALON, ON THE WING
The third manuscript is called: TALON, FLIGHT FOR LIFE
The fourth manuscript is called: TALON, HUNTING THE HUNTER
I am planning about 8 books in the Talon series.
5. What other authors if any have influenced your writing?
C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia
Christopher Paolini: Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr
Cornelia Funke: Inkheart, Inkspell, InkdeathBut then I love Science Fiction: Frank Herbert’s saga of: Dune, read all 16 books twice now
Ben Bova: Mars and all his other stories
In a way, they all have inspired me.
6. Would you share your links with us?
www.writersportal.org/GigiShort animation clip about my book made by Martina Berger with the background music of my husband Albert:
7. We’d love to read an excerpt. Don’t forget to give us a buy link.
You can buy my book from my website or from all the Internet bookstores, like amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com or directly from my publisher.
Amos said, ‘Size is nothing. The heart is all that counts. And you have the best, softest and most caring heart I ever have encountered. Because of your heart, you survived the hardship the Indians have put you through.’
Matica smiled. ‘Thank you, Amos.’
“Lack of knowledge can do so much damage, cause so much pain.”
Her eyes clouded over when she continued. ‘Well, in a way they have told me, I know. But again, it is only now because of Talon. I see.’
He could hear bitterness in her voice.
‘Do not judge them and do not let it bug you. They did not know better. I thought you knew that. We still have to learn and understand not to reject unexplained things but help that person.”
“Be you, yourself, be happy again. Don’t let life pass by you. Don’t look back, look into the bright future. The future is as bright as the promise of God. Smile – it’s the most beautiful attire.”
“I can do it. These four words are the most power-filled words.”
“Self-pity is a useless emotion.”
“Self-pity can ruin one’s life.”
“Love and acceptance for each other, without boundaries.”
Gigi, you’re a wise woman! I love this excerpt. I hope your series does well, and I wish you and your family health and happiness in the future. Readers, here’s a live link to purchase Gigi’s book at Amazon.