Gigi 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. They moved around in Germany until finally settling in Munich where I studied architectural drafting and met Albert in 1965, marrying in December 1967. Then I worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich.
As my uncle was a writer, I tried to write short animal stories. Nothing further came of it, but I developed a love for the written word and started to consume books.
In May 1975, Gigi and her husband moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, she started a handicraft business. As a specialty, she made colourful parrots of which she sold thousands in a few years.
In 1988, they decided to adopt and became parents of twin girls a year later. We lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992.
After surviving a deadly disease and couldn’t go to work anymore, I wanted to be an author, to do something with my life and to leave something behind. The thought came, since I love birds, to write a story about a big bird and a handicapped child. It had to be a really big bird. And there, there was only the huge and majestic condor. But they live in South America. Well, so be it. The story goes to Peru.
But not knowing anything about the Indians in Peru and not much about condors, I sat in the library for three full days, studying everything about the Indians, their culture, condors, and their habits. At that time, there was not much information available on the Internet, but it was enough to start. Unfortunately, there were only a few pictures of condors but there were enough to show what majestic birds they are. Now, the information is easy to find.
Now I was thinking of the plot. I wanted to write a story (for children and adults) about a handicapped or challenged girl to show others what they can achieve if they put their minds not to the negativity, which means on their affliction, but to the positivity.
As with Matica, my main character in the story, I did not have an easy childhood and was always an outsider, keeping to myself. I love birds and I decided to let her have a bird. But 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 and be very small. But again, the bird has to be big as well. And there the condor came to my mind. I love condors. Amazing birds. They are the biggest land birds (a vulture) on our wonderful earth. And so the story of Matica and Talon came into existence. I set the scene in Peru, close to the great Andes where the condors live and decided to let Matica’s family move to Peru as missionaries from Australia.
I wanted to let the world know that when you put your mind to something and really want it, you can achieve it. Matica was rejected by the local Indians because of her disability. She hated it, but couldn’t do anything about it. Matica was not always happy, even though she tried to be. So she chose to be kind over being right. She had to learn, but she learned it well because if you think that way, you will always feel good about what you do.
Because of my childhood challenges, I had to face being the hero in my own books. And as Mira, Matica’s mum says in my books, ‘Sometimes the worst and greatest problems in life cannot be solved. They can only be outgrown.’