I AM HAPPY TO INTRODUCE GIGI SEDLMAYER
AUTHOR OF “TALON, COME FLY WITH ME”
- What inspired you to write about condors?
Surviving cancer and finding myself still alive after two years of just sitting around, waiting to die, I finally came to my senses again. Since I couldn’t work at a traditional job any longer, couldn’t stand or sit too long, had too much damage through the radiation and it’s very painful, Albert, my husband, taught me how to use a computer.
Earlier, in my teen years, I wrote lots of little animal short stories by hand writing. Nothing came out of them, I just loved it.
Now I remembered this time and so I started to write little animal short stories again.
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.
It was 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.)
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 stay 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.
And now the incredible, unbelievable, remarkable and wonderful adventure with Talon begins after the incident that happened in Matica’s hut in the first book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME.
- What do you want your readers to learn from your novel?
My motto was and is: Teaching Children Self-Confidence through Service to Others. Children today face immense pressure to fit in with their peers. 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. Many children of this age group have issues with acceptance and this is explored and resolved in a positive manner within the storyline of the Talon series. Match (the main character) 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.
I wanted to let the world know that when you put your mind to something and really want it, you can achieve it. Match was rejected by the local Indians because of her disability. She hated it, but couldn’t do anything about it. As it is in real life, there is always the but.
Children suffer from all sorts of affliction and through my books they can learn how to cope with everything just as Matica did. She had to learn it in her early life. Children can find a condor as Matica did. Not literally a condor, but should find something that lets them forget what is happening to them.
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.
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.
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.
I also like to let Matica, my main character, speaking in her own voice. It’s best to describe her:
My name is Matica and I am a special needs child with a growth disability. I am stuck in the body of a two year old, even though I am ten years old when my story begins in the first book of the Talon series, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Because of that disability, (I am saying ‘that’ disability, not ‘my’ disability because it’s a thing that happens to me, nothing more and because I am not accepting it as something bad.
I can say that now after I learned to cope with it.) I was rejected by the local Indians as they couldn’t understand that that condition is not a sickness and so it can’t be really cured. It’s just a disorder of my body. But I never gave up on life and so I had lots of adventures roaming around the plateau where we live in Peru, South America, with my mother’s blessings.
But after I made friends with my condors I named Tamo and Tima, everything changed. It changed for the good. I was finally loved. And I am the hero and I embrace my problem. In better words: I had embraced my problem before I made friends with my condors Tamo and Tima. I held onto it and I felt sorry for myself and cried a lot, wanting to run away or something worse. But did it help me? Did it become better? Did I grow taller? No, nothing of that helped me.
I didn’t have those questions when I was still in my sorrow, but all these questions came to me later, after I was loved and was cherished. One day I looked up into the sky and saw the majestic condors flying in the air. Here and now, I made up my mind. I wanted to become friends with them. I believed if I could achieve that, all my sorrow and rejection would be over. And true enough, it was over. I was loved. I even became famous.
And so, if you are in a situation, with whatever your problem is, find something you could rely on and stick to it, love that and do with that what you were meant to do. And I never run from conflicts.
- Share about how and when you began your writing?
That people see and learn that they are not alone, if they have a disability, or an affliction or anything they might think is wrong with them. My books are to guide them to get self-confidence, to learn and to cope and to deal with all sorts of afflictions, conditions and disorders even being rejected by other people; to learn to face and to deal with being different, as Matica is, but again can read it as an adventure story.
Matica learned after she made friend with the condors, that she can be the person she meant to be. Her parents never said anything negative to her, they always lifted her up, even Matica wanted often to run away or even would do other bad things. But thinking of her positive parents, she never did. And now she is happy to have that great adventure with her condors.
Mira, Matica’s mother is saying: ‘Look for your condor as my daughter has done.’ She doesn’t mean a real condor like her daughter has found, but something that works for you, relates to you. Like it, relate to it, love it and love who you are, or do what it takes to be who you want to be.’
Quote from my book:
If you don’t know how to go on in life, whatever it might be, even if you have a disability, find a “condor”. That is what Matica did. Matica found the condors, but every person can find something else that they relate to, stick to it and do and be confident with it to get there, where you want to go, where you want to be. And then, as Matica, you can handle every problems and difficulties. All the rejections are bounce off of you.
“Teaching Children Self-Confidence through Service to Others.” Children today face immense pressure to fit in with their peers. 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.
- Who is your favorite author and why?
C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia
Christopher Paolini: Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr
Cornelia Funke: Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath
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 when I started to write. Now, since I do reviews as well, I do have a lot authors I do like, such as:
Deanie Dunn, Paul G Day Uvi Poznansky, John Holland and many more.
- Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
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. “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…
- Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never to give up. Your success can be right at the next corner. When you give up, you’ll never know.
- Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Some Excerpts I like to write here:
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.’ But then 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.”
“Lack of knowledge can do so much damage, cause so much pain.”
YouTube animation clips for the Talon books:
First book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0ontac7S20