INTERVIEW by Margaret Blake

Tell me a bit about yourself.

Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born on 19 May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany.
Her family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. They moved around in Germany until finally settling in Munich where Gigi studied architectural drafting and met Albert in 1965, marrying in December 1967. She worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich.
Since her uncle was a writer, she tried to write short animal stories herself. Nothing further came of it, but she 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 adoptive parents of twin girls the year after. They lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992.
Two years later Gigi was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, she withdrew, thinking that she would probably soon be dead, like her friend who died of cancer, but her two little girls gave her the courage to keep going. After a few years, still among the living, her brain started to work again, so she thought, ‘Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life’.
She remembered the time she wrote short stories and got inspired again, seeing her husband Albert writing the story of their adoption. Her English became increasingly better so she pressed on to develop her creative writing.
Albert taught her how to use a computer and she wrote many short stories. She entered them in competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave her confidence to go on writing. One day the idea for the TALON series came to her and she spent the next several years bringing the story and the characters to life.
She now loves writing and spends most of her time at the computer, developing new story lines. She also loves travelling, 4×4 touring, swimming, gardening, handcrafting, reading, fossicking and enjoys good adventure DVD’s or going to the movies.

What prompted you to start writing?

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 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.

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 genre do you write in?

I started writing for children, but many reviewers tell me, that the books are for everyone, from the age of reading to 99 years old. Why? Because there are life lessons in.

I 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 happened to me, nothing more and because I am not accepting it as something bad, what I can’t change anyway. 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.

Why do you like to write in this genre?

I love animals, always have and always will and I love birds. Can you imagine flying? Sitting or laying on a big bird, feeling its feathers under you and grabbing them to hold on? Soaring up high and over trees and rainforest and lakes, and mountains? I can. So it was obvious for me to write about a bird.

Are you Indie or traditionally published?

I am Indie published, since the traditional publishers didn’t want to publish them, when I first contacted them with the first book in the Talon series, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. One rejection letter after the other flew into my hands. They have not seen the great advantage about the books. What they can bring to children, to a family.

Which do you prefer, ebooks or paperbacks?

I personally prefer paperbacks. I think they are easier to read, to hold a book and not the device for an e-book. In my case, my window-phone. But since the bookstores have mostly closed here in Australia, I am getting now the e-books. However one advantage do have the e-books, they are cheaper.

What is your all-time favourite book?

Well, my all-time favourite books are sci-fi. I know, completely different from my writing. But I am reading children’s books as well and review them.

Have you any hobbies?

Yep, I have. Reading, reading, reading. To be transported into another world, the author of that book one is reading, how fascinating is that? (smiles)

But that is not all. I love good movies and DVD’s. I love going for a drive into the country with my husband in our 4×4 car. And do fossicking. Australia has lots of fossils, Dinosaurs as well. I also love swimming, gardening, handcrafting.

Are you a movie or music buff?

A complete Movie buff and DVD’s, and TV shows. Adventure movies, shows. But never soaps, romance or love movies. That’s valid for books as well.

What are your favourites?

I love adventure movies and animation movies. I absolutely love the two movies: “How to train your dragon” and “How to train your dragon 2”. Then there is a series as well with short stories. We just found out that Netflix have the series there. So we watch at least one episode each night. (And when we are at the end, we just start from the beginning again) Love, love, love them. I wish my talon books would turn out like Toothless in the movie. Well, he is a dragon and Talon is a bird. See some similarities?

What writing projects are you working on at the moment?

Since my latest book, TALON, ENCOUNTER, the fifth book in the Talon series just came out as paperback and kindle, I have started to write on the sixth book. I think I will call it TALON, RESTLESS.

Tell me a bit about them.

Better not. Or I give up too much, how the story will go on. But one thing I can say, the family is planning to go for a holiday to Australia and Matica, my main character is devastated. She can’t see Talon.

Where do you get your ideas from?

I actually don’t know. They just pop into my head. But sometimes, when I read a book or see a show on TV, an idea pops into my mind; or even when we are out on a drive. I have to have always paper with me to write it down, not I don’t forget it. That unfortunately has happen many times already and so I lost some idea. But if I don’t know them anymore, I don’t need them, right?

Do you have beta readers or do your family and friends help out?

Unfortunately my family or friends does not like reading my books. So I have an editor. She also is my publisher. And she just loves my books.

List your publications, each with a two sentence description and their purchase links?

Book 1: Talon, come fly with me

With patience and a sense of adventure, Matica, after she was rejected by the locals, befriends a pair of condors she named them Tamo and Tima. This is the beginning of many incredible adventures with Talon, the offspring of Tamo and Tima. It is a story of hope, determination and love.

http://www.amazon.com/Talon-Come-Fly-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/dp/B00J2643PG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 2: Talon, on the wing

In this book Matica has scores of adventure and near disasters with Talon. And a love between her, Matica and Amos is growing.

http://www.amazon.com/Talon-Wing-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/dp/B00J264EJQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 3: Talon, flight for life

Matica and her father, Crayn, have to walk to a bigger city to get the tickets for their holiday in Australia. On their way home, disaster strikes. Will her father survive? How will Matica cope with it? Find out.

http://www.amazon.com/Talon-Flight-Life-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/dp/B00J2646HG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Book 4: Talon, Connected

This story is far more than a kid’s story. It is a story about growing up, friendship and the challenge of moral choices and respect. Ride along during the ongoing adventures of Matica and her best friends, the condors Talon, Tamo and Tima.

http://www.amazon.com/Talon-Connected-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/dp/B00HY4ISJU/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 5: Talon, Encounter

Action packed from beginning to end, Talon Encounter will keep you on the edge of your seat, as the poachers are back.

http://www.amazon.com/Talon-Encounter-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/dp/B018FNCA6K/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Please include your webpage, twitter and Facebook addresses.

My website: http://www.gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com

http://www.amazon.com/Gigi-Sedlmayer/e/B003U8G4WC/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

https://www.facebook.com/gisela.sedlmayer

https://www.facebook.com/gigisedlmayer/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

https://twitter.com/GigiSedlmayer

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAIAAAT8qC4BsRq-0bz_DHsd26fl2Co4XpUqDjo&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

http://www.amazon.com/Talon-Connected-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/dp/B00HY4ISJU/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 5: Talon, Encounter

Action packed from beginning to end, Talon Encounter will keep you on the edge of your seat, as the poachers are back.

http://www.amazon.com/Talon-Encounter-Gigi-Sedlmayer-ebook/dp/B018FNCA6K/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Please include your webpage, twitter and Facebook addresses.

My website: http://www.gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com

http://www.amazon.com/Gigi-Sedlmayer/e/B003U8G4WC/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

https://www.facebook.com/gisela.sedlmayer

https://www.facebook.com/gigisedlmayer/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

https://twitter.com/GigiSedlmayer

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAIAAAT8qC4BsRq-0bz_DHsd26fl2Co4XpUqDjo&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic