I, Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born on May 19, 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany. My family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. We moved around in Germany until finally settling in Munich, where I studied Architectural Draughting and met Albert in 1965. We married in December 1967. I worked as Civil Draughts person in various private consultancies in Munich.
During that time and hearing that my uncle was a writer, I tried to write short animal stories. However, nothing further came of it, but I developed a love for the written word and started to consume books.
In May 1975, my husband and I moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, I started a handcraft business. As a specialty, I made colorful parrots of which I sold thousands in a few years.
In 1983, we became Christians.
In 1988, after years of careful consideration we decided to adopt and became adoptive parents of twin girls the year after.
We lived in New Zealand for 18 years and moved to Australia in September 1992.
Two year later, I was diagnosed with cancer. After the operation, I just vegetated around, watching TV all day. Nevertheless, I was always there for the girls, never forgot them, but thought that I be dead in a few years anyway. Eventually, my brain started to work again because I realized after few years that I still lived. Then, I told myself, get a grip on yourself and do something with your precious life’.
I thought about the time where I was writing short stories but then again, I now had to write in English. Nevertheless, I would give it a try to see how it would work out.
Albert taught me how to use a computer and so I developed many short stories. I sent them in to competitions and got sometimes very good reports back, but none made it for the first prize. However, it gave me confidence to go on writing. Finally, one day the idea of the Talon series came to me.
Now I love writing, but I also love gardening and cross-stitching and love to see good adventure DVD’s or going to the movies.
Tell us about the genre of your work.
The genre of my book is a children’s fiction but it appeals to adults as well. Matica, the main character, 10-year-old girl is growth handicapped.
You can read the first chapter of my book in my website and reviews people wrote about my book, friends and professional www.writersportal.org/Gigi
I love birds. Since I decided to write a story, a novel and if possible a series, I thought of the biggest land bird in the world; the mighty condor of South America. Then I asked myself, how could the story be there? So I thought of missionaries, going from Australia to Peru into a remote village. The girl had to be growth handicapped, to match the things she would be doing, and because of her handicap, the local Indians rejected her. Therefore, the story revolves around her, her hope, her courage, her inspiration and her love to earn the locals love and acceptance into their community with preserving the condors, with a great twist at the end.
Until now I have self-published the first of a series Talon, Come Fly With Me. The second, Talon, On the Wing and the third Talon, Flight For Life are finish and professionally edited, waiting to get published. Currently I am looking for a conventional publisher because I cannot do it with the self-publisher again, even I was very happy with what they did. Currently an agent has my book for consideration to see if he wants to take it over. In the meantime I am working at the forth Talon, Hunting The Hunter.
Can you tell us more about the character and the background for the series?
Nine-year-old blond Matica lives in a remote little village on a dry plateau in the Andes of Peru. She moved here with her Australian missionary and schoolteacher parents when she was five years old. Ever since she could remember, she faced cruel rejection because of her growth handicap. She is trapped in a body the size of a two year old. Because of that, the local Indians would not accept her into their community or allow her to play with their children. Under the watchful eyes of her parents who understand her, lonely Matica explores the plateau for entertainment.
With patience and a sense of adventure she befriended a pair of condors and named them Tamo and Tima. A strong bond and love developed between them.
Having an egg, Tamo and Tima try to fight off a couple of poachers but they succeed in stealing their egg from its ledge. Eventually Tamo drives them away but the poachers leave the egg between some boulders on the plateau. Being unable to bring it back to the ledge, Tamo and Time make it clear to Matica to take care of the egg, so she does.
Exactly on Matica’s tenth birthday, the condor fledgling ‘Talon’ hatches. The book then describes in detail how Matica helps Talon grow into the majestic bird he was meant to be.
Two months after confidently flying, the most unbelievably amazing thing happens. What Matica had dreamed of ever since she first befriended the condors, actually unfolds. That changes her life so completely that she can now see a positive side to her handicap. The Indians then fully accept the new Matica into their community.
This is the beginning of a time of incredible adventures with Talon and Matica, which is carried on in subsequent Talon books.
What ages do you direct your books?
I have aimed my book for the 9 – 13 group, but, as I said earlier, it appeals to more adults than children. It probably is, because it is a teaching novel as well, how to handle disability.
Can you tell us where your book can be found?
Title: Talon, Come Fly With Me. ISBN: 978-1-921578-72-4 (pbk.)
My website: www.writersportal.org/Gigi
Do your books have a teaching objective? If so, what is it?
Yes. That is why I believe it appeals to adult as well. They can see and apply the things I have written in there to their own children, if they have a disability, not only can children see, what they can achieve as well, what Matica achieved. They all can get a “Condor” in their own way. That means they can achieve whatever they want.
Talon says, “Children with special needs, have a disability, or are handicapped do not have an illness, so there is no cure and it is not contagious. They want what we all want, to be accepted.”
That is what my book Talon, Come Fly With Me, is about.
That is what my book Talon, Come Fly With Me, is about.
Also, Talon is saying, “Don’t look back, look into the bright future with Talon” (or with your individual Condor).
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?
I spent several days in the library when I started to write, now 15 years ago, to know everything about the Indians in Peru, everything about the condors. (Now you can do that on Internet) I also looked at maps of Peru. I had to decide on a place where condors would most likely dwell.
Matica, the main character in my book, is typically me. I had to face rejection in my earlier life, but no one helped me to overcome the rejection, as Matica does. My situation is not the same, I am not handicapped as she is, but in other things.
How did you develop the character/s of your in each of your books (If you have more than one)?
I just saw her in my mind and so I wrote it down. Her parents, most likely, are our best friends we met in New Zealand and here in Australia. They are both so kind and loving. Matica’s father, well, it is my husband.
Is there a unique character or a recurring character if you have more than one published or to be published book?
Matica is the most unique character in the first book and in the following books. Since it is a series.
What is your favorite thing about your book/s?
My condors I have created who are Tamo, Tima, and their first son Talon. Of course, Matica is as well.
Is your book illustrated? If so, would you tell us by whom, and if you worked with an illustrator, can you discuss that experience?
No, it is not illustrated.
How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre?
Because it is educational, that handicapped children are not different from any other child, but again it is an adventure story, it is about hope, it is about inspiration, it is about courage and love.
Are there any problems in getting children’s’ books published?
Yes, it is very difficult. I have sent my manuscript to many publishers but always got the rejection letter back. How many? I lost count. That is why I had it published with a self-publisher, but now they have become too expensive and so I cannot do it anymore. However, I have some very good reviews, not only from friends, and from professional people as well. I would like to share one of the reviews I got from a person I met in one of my networks:
"This was a great read! A very original plot and all the characters have a unique and likable voice. The writer has a knack for keeping you in and it was hard to put down. I almost read it all the way through in a few days! "I don’t want to give too much away, but the fact that the main character is much older than she looks, gives this book a special feel that I'm sure children and adults alike will relate to in some way!"
Why and when did you begin writing?
I started writing after I realized that I would not die after all that survived the deadly illness. Therefore, I wanted to make something out of my life. That was around 15 years ago.
What is your writing schedule?
I write five days a week, at least 2 to 5 hours a day. I am planning 8 to 9 books in the Talon series. The second, Talon, On The Wing, and the third Talon, Flight For Lief are finish and professional edited. The forth book, Talon, Hunting The Hunter I would like to get finish by the end of the year. Then get it professionally edit by my editor.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
Since the second and the third manuscript is finish and professional edited, I am writing at the forth now in the Talon series. Talon, Hunting The Hunter.
What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write and get published?
Never give up. One day it all will happen. That is my belief, and I am hanging on it.
Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
Never give your first draught to anybody to read. Rewrite it again and again, until you are really satisfied with it. I myself rewrite about 10 to 15 times. It always pays off. Always, it can only become better and better. I know that from myself.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I did create lots of cross-stitch pictures, and I also draw, with oil or with pencil. Gardening and 4x4 driving through the country with my husband and girls. Well, not so much with the girls anymore, because they are growing up now. I love to see adventure movies, DVD’s or go to the movies.
Anything else you would like to add?
I cannot see myself not writing anymore. It is in my blood. Often, I try to get inspiration going out, walking or so, but I never get inspired that way. I get it, when I put my fingers on the keyboard. Sometimes my ideas overpower me then my fingers are not fast enough to write.
What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?
My first book of the Talon series, finish and published, end of 2009. Now it is available as kindle, ebook and so on at amazon.com
I wrote many short stories for competitions, and even though I did not get first-place, I was often commended on my submissions.
The adopting of our twin-girls from Fiji.
You can learn more about Gigi by visiting these links:
My website: www.writersportal.org/Gigi