Well known and popular children’s author Gigi Sedlmayer interviewed by Uvi Poznansky
Who inspired you to start writing and how did your craft develop since then?
Surviving cancer and finding myself still alive after two years of just sitting around, but still locked after my two little girls and my husband, Albert, I finally came to my senses again. Since I couldn’t work at a traditional job any longer, I couldn’t stand or sit too long, Albert, my husband, taught me how to use a computer. I started to write, since there was nothing else for me to do. 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.
I wrote many short stories and entered them into competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave me confidence to go on writing and inspired me to go on. 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.
And my English is getting better and better and my ideas as well. My head is full with great ideas for the next books in the Talon series.
In what ways did your handicraft business inspire your writing?
When I grew up, I realized that I couldn’t go on in life what I was doing. I lived in a shell, as I described myself, I lived like a turtle, but hardly came out. Hardly spoke with other people, didn’t had many friends either. But I realized that I couldn’t go on like that. I was rejected by many people and in school as well, sins I had to change school about 9 times. Our family had to follow where my dad found work. I was put down. But then, when I met my husband Albert, I realized that I am a person as well, that I am not a turtle and that I, like everyone else, have a right to live. My husband saw me, my inside and married me. And so I became the person I was meant to be. Life itself inspired me. Particular after I survived the cancer. Life is too short for not doing something, the something you meant to do.
How much research went into writing Talon? Give us an example
I spent three full days in a library to get full information about Peru and their people, the land and about the condors and everything else I needed before I started to write the first book. In that time, there was nothing really available on the Internet yet, as it is now. Not even pictures of a condor. But there are. Love them.
How did writing help you overcome the challenges in your life, and did you write about such struggles in your books?
To face myself and the struggles I went through and being the hero in my own books. I don’t have the challenge as Matica has, but different things. I had to struggle nearly all my life. Matica is me.
And as Mira and Matica are saying in my books:
‘Sometimes the worst and greatest problems in life cannot be solved. They can only be outgrown.’ And I have been outgrown them. Many times, I might say.
Yep, I certainly am the hero of my story. I am even a hero in how I befriended the condors I named Tamo and Tima. I am also a hero raising Talon, the offspring of Tamo and Time, to the majestic condor he supposed to be. I am a hero because of defeating the poachers, defeating even my own sorrow.
What was the original inspiration you to write the Talon series?
I am very creative with my hands. Love doing things. But it’s always periodically. First I started with pencil drawings on the big ship we came over from Germany to New Zealand. And seeing that I loved doing it, and seeing how the people loved them, I went on in New Zealand. But strangely enough, I couldn’t really sell them. So I went to oil paintings. I loved it as well, but again, I couldn’t sell them. Then came the next thing, cross stitching. And again the same story. I did always animal, since I love animals.
I still have them all. The pencil drawing, the oil paintings, the cross stitches.
And then came the time, for writing after the trauma of the cancer and I survived it. I just love it now and wait for the big day, time, where the books are sold every day, and then, that they are discovered and made a movie out of them. I still hope. I will never give up hope. (From Spealberg)
I wanted to write a story about a handicapped or challenged girl to show readers what they can achieve if they put their minds not to the negativity but to the positivity. (As Matica had to learn it as well, and I have done nearly my whole life myself. Being rejected in school as well, I was always an outsider, keeping to myself in the turtles shell, had hardly any friends.) And since I love birds, I decided to let her have a bird. But then came, what bird? And then the idea went even further. What is if she could fly on the bird? That would be something. But to do that, she has to have a disability to be very small. But again, the bird has to be big as well. And there the condor came to my mind. I loved the condors before. Amazing birds. They are the biggest land birds (vulture) on our wonderful earth. And so the story about Matica and Talon came to existence. And then I had to set the scene in Peru close to the great Andes where the condors live. And so it came, that I decided to let her family go to Peru as missionary from Australia.
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.
Please give us an excerpt from your book.
Well, I maybe give some examples what is in my books. There are so many good proverbs I have written in. Here they are:
“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.”
“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.”
“Let your smile change the world, don’t let the world change your smile.”
“If you don’t know how to go on in life, whatever it might be, even if you have a disability, find a ‘condor’.”
Not really, for not everyone can find a condor, but whatever they would like to find and love, as Matica loves Talon.
That is just what Matica does in my book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Now she can handle every obstacle…
If you would like to read about Talon, Gigi’s books are available from all major online bookstores, including Amazon.com