Kev’s Author Interviews Presents:
My name is Gigi Sedlmayer
I live in Australia
A Short Bio
My name is Gigi Sedlmayer. I was born in Germany, Berlin in 1944 and married an Australian / German in 1967 living in Munich by then as my parents moved a lot around, going after the work my father did. So I had to change schools around 9 times. In the end I had no friends anymore, thinking I would lose them anyway.
In 1975 we moved to New Zealand. Because of language problems, 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 and became adoptive parents of twin girls the year after.
Living in New Zealand for 18 years we decided in 1992 to move to Australia, Gold Coast.
Two years later I was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, I withdrew, thinking that I would soon be dead, like my friend who died of cancer, but my two little girls gave me the courage and strength to keep going. And then finding myself still alive after two years my brain started to work again and I thought, ‘Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life’.
In my earlier life I loved writing short stories about animals. 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. And so I thought about that love again, since I couldn’t go to work anymore, having damage from the radiation and so lots of pain, my husband taught me how to use a computer. Writing many short stories, I entered them in competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave me confidence to go on writing. One day the idea for the TALON series came to me, and so in the next several years I brought the story and the characters to life.
Kev: What is your latest book about, Gigi?
My latest book in the Talon series is called: TALON, ENCOUNTER and is the fifth in the Talon series.
The poachers are back – and they are looking for Talon. They are doing everything in their power to capture him, and if they can’t get him alive, will kill him. Determent to get him with all cost the poachers run up against the might and will of Tamo, Tima and Talon.
It is the poachers against the condors, Matica and the Indians – with the poachers even taking hostages to win the war.
With the help of Tamo and Tima, Talon and Matica do the impossible, knowing they have to capture and stop the poachers or they will be back.
Between the poachers shooting at the condors, the crows playing their part, and Tamo being shot and injured, Matica goes above and beyond to help her beloved condors.
Action-packed from beginning to end, Talon Encounter will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Kev: Who or what influenced you to write it?
I am writing now for the last 20 years after surviving cancer and following two years of just waiting to die. After these two years and finding myself still alive, I began to think again and came to my senses. And there I thought, I had to do something with myself. So I thought, show the world that I survived and can go on living.
If I can do it, so can you. Since I couldn’t work in my traditional job any longer, I started to write, remembering the time I was writing short animal stories as a teenager, in Germany. In the beginning I wasn’t sure in which language I should write. But then I decided to write in English, since my English became better and we live in an English-speaking country.
Albert, my husband, taught me how to use a computer and I wrote many animal short stories, since I love animals. And to show the world what I can do, I entered them in competitions. More often I got very good reports and comments back, which gave me confidence to go on writing and that I am on the right track. One of the short stories was about Talon and Matica. Judges from the competition loved the story and so I thought, I could develop a series about Talon and Matica. And so the TALON series came to life.
My motto was and is: “Teaching Children Self-Confidence through Service to Others.” Children today face immense pressure to fit in with their peers. (As I faced in my own life) This pressure is leading to record rates of depression among preteens and teenagers and this to suicide. Parents look for ways to build their children’s self-esteem; however, teens look to their peers and popular culture for acceptance rather than their parents. This puts parents in a challenging situation. Most children of this age group have issues with acceptance and this is explored and resolved in a positive manner within the story line of the Talon series.
Matica shows children and teens that they can overcome great obstacles with love, patience and a selfless attitude toward helping others and experience exciting adventure on the way.
Kev: Did you do any specialised research for your story?
When I started the story and knew I had to set it in Peru, because only there are flying the majestic condors around, I sat in the library for 3 full days, studying everything about the Indians, their land, their culture and about the condors and their habits and all. In that time nothing was available on Internet, as it is now. When I look up something now, I go into Internet. How easy is that.
Kev: What challenges did you face while writing the story?
To face myself. When I started to write the book, I never thought of the things they came out then. I wanted to write an adventure story for children and see what came out of that. Because, like Matica, I was rejected in school, not because of the growth handicap she has. I had other things. I had to face what Matica is facing, rejection, and learned, even from writing the book, more and more to cope with myself, to overcome my own rejection and to realise that I have survived a deadly disease.
In a sense it changed my life as well. I have more confidence now as I never had before. I never thought I could write a story like that. But now? I can and I will write more stories about Matica and Talon and her adventure, her life.
Kev: Who is the protagonist?
I would say it’s Matica, my main character in my books. She has to face rejection and conquered it in a wonderful way.
Kev: What would you say is the protagonist’s greatest weakness or obstacle and why?
Matica’s weakness was herself. But as she did what she did, it actually became her strength.
Kev: What would you say is the main antagonist’s greatest strength?
I started to write the Talon series for children for the age of 9 years to teenagers. But, as reviewers tell me my books are for all ages, from 9 to 99 years.
Children suffer from all sorts of affliction and through my books they can learn how to cope with everything, as Matica did, the main character in my books. She had to learn it in her early life. Children can and should find a “Condor” as Matica did. Not literally a condor, but every child or adult for that matter, they are battling with none 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 books to younger children so they can see that they are not alone, but that they can overcome their affliction in a positive way, not in a negative way.
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.
Kev: Could you provide a short passage from your book to give us a taster?
A passage out of my first book: TALON, COME FLY WITH ME
The male condor spread his huge wings and hopped to the ground. Matica had to jump clear, out of the reach of his huge wings. Instead of flying off, as he normally did, he kept standing, turning around and looking at her. Matica’s eyes nearly popped out of her sockets. He’s so huge, she thought.
Standing stock-still and not folding his wings to his body, the bird blinked and waited for what Matica would do. Since nothing happened for the next few minutes, the bird tilted his head and grunted. Matica interpreted it as: what now? His mate screeched from the sky in surprise.
Matica couldn’t move. She was frozen stiff with fear and her face was as white as a ghost. The bird looked way bigger on the ground than he had looked on the branch. He folded his wings very slowly to his body now as if he knew he might frighten her, then he made another strange sound. Matica felt so small and thought: Will he kill me? But no, I’m alive. He can’t kill, just like Dad said.
Matica gasped for air and her pink colour came back into her face. She was amazed that this had really happened and she wondered: What should I do now? I think he’s afraid of his own boldness, and so am I. He’s watching me. I should move, do something. After all, I told him to come down … but he’s so big.
Kev: When you write, do write off-the-cuff or do you use some kind of formula?
Difficult to say. When I am sitting on the computer and want to write, the ideas just floating out of my fingers, my head, my thoughts and my fingers can’t write quickly enough. They just come.
Kev: How do you deal with writers-block?
What is “writer’s block”? Never had it, and hopefully will never get it.
Kev: Preference for writing: Day or Night?
I am writing nearly every day. So it’s day-time, since I can’t work any longer. (Radiation damage.) Sometimes I have too many other things to do, but mostly I do write every day. Well, today I am writing at the interview, to get the answers out.
Kev: What is your process for editing your work?
First I just write the story down as it comes out of my head and my fingers try to follow. But then comes the fine art; the re-writing and the re-writing and the re-writing. I think I become better now. The first book I think I re-wrote more than 20 times.
Kev: How do you come up with your book covers?
When I write the book I know exactly how the cover should look like. So I give that instruction to my publisher and she gives it further to her artist and he is doing the cover. If I don’t like it, he is trying as long as it takes. But he is good; don’t need too many changes, after the first attempt.
Kev: Do you think the book cover is important?
I have asked my husband when I had two or three different titles, and we always agreed to the one my books have now. I think the cover of a book is very important. When I am going into a book store to by a book or go into Internet to get a book or kindle, I look for the covers first, then the title, then I read the blurb in the back. I told my publisher how to do the cover, and provided “Matica” the girl.
Kev: Which publishing platform do you prefer and why?
Since I tried for so long on my own with traditional publishers, I prefer the self-publishing with my publisher I have now. She is good.
Kev: Do you face any daunting obstacles during the publishing process?
After I finished writing the first novel in the Talon series about Matica and Talon, I wrote query letters and sent my manuscript to several conventional publishers here in Australia. And guess what? I always got that rejection letter back. I even lost count of them. I tried for many years. I failed.
Next I approached an editor and agent and she edited my book properly. She loved my book and she tried to place it with a conventional publisher. But she too failed.
So I looked up all the self-publishers here in Australia and decided to let my book be published by BookPal in Brisbane. At that time, they were new here in Australia and weren’t as expensive as the rest. They did a very good job with the designing of the cover page, the outlaying of the book, the distribution, and making an eBook. They also wrote a press release.
When I finished the second book in the Talon series, I approached them again. They were a bit too expensive for me then. But a friend of ours offered me to pay, because he just loved the first book and thought, the books has to go out, people have to read them. And now in the meantime I finished the third as well and published with BookPal again.
But now, since I finished the fourth book I had to look for another publisher, since BookPal became too expensive for me. I found Aurora House. http://aurorahouse.com.au/ She is doing now a very good job, even better. We re-published the first 3 books with new covers. Better. And she is publishing the fifth now very soon.
Kev: What methods do you use to promote your work?
Well, that is a thing I am not doing too well. I am still a bit impaired and weak after I survived the disease. I also have big problems with my feet. Pain is a constant ‘friend’ with me. I am in several networking sites. My website: http://www.gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
Never to give up. Your success can be right at the next corner. When you gave up, you’ll never know.
Quotes from my books:
“Love and acceptance for each other, without boundaries.”
“Self-pity is a useless emotion.” “Self-pity can ruin one’s life.”
“Be you, yourself, be happy. 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.”
Matica in the second book is saying: “I see myself as a girl that likes to overcome all obstacles, all problems and all difficulties how bad they maybe, because I found out in my young life that I can overcome them, if I set my mind to it. I succeeded and so can you. Don’t stick your head in the sand, face your difficulties, face your affliction. Look for a condor as I have done, I don’t mean a real condor like me, but something you can identify yourself with, relay to it, love to do or like to be.”
Kev: Which social media platforms do you use the most?
Author page Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gigisedlmayer
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view id=83666990&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic
My website: http://www.gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com
Amazon.com author page: http://www.amazon.com/Gigi-Sedlmayer/e/B003U8G4WC/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Kev: Is there anything else you would like to add?