Friday, August 19, 2011
Children's author, Gigi Sedlmayer
AUTHOR: Gigi Sedlmayer
BOOK TITLE: TALON, COME FLY WITH ME
PUBLISHER: BookPal, in Brisbane, Australia
From my publisher: http://www.bookpal.com.au/StoreAdmin/Categories/PaperbackBlackWhiteSmallSizes/tabid/130/CategoryID/59/List/1/catpageindex/6/Level/a/ProductID/527/Default.aspx
My Website: www.writersportal.org/Gigi
I also have a short animation move made by my friend Martina Berger, with the background music from my husband Albert.
Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.
I had cancer 15 years ago. After the operation and the radiation (which damaged my tissue and bones so I still suffer from that) I did nothing. I waited to die. I was there for my husband, I was there for my children, they were only small at that time. But otherwise I did nothing. The TV was my best friend. So one year went by, another year went by. Then suddenly, one day, as if I got a knock on my head, I realized that I was still among the living. But what now? Should I go to work? But what should I do? I had no idea. That night I walked with my husband, and we talked. It was actually the first time after the operation that we really talked. I was alive again. My husband then said, ‘Why not start writing. You did it before.’ I looked at him, stunned. Writing? What should I write about? Animal stories again? In English, in German? I told him that I would think about it.
So next day, I actually sat down and started to write a story. It flowed out of my hand. Just like that. Didn’t need much to think about, it just came. I wrote the story in a scrapbook, with lots of crossing out and writing over. It looked a mess, after I inspected it. I thought that couldn’t go on like that. But I loved the writing.
Next weekend my husband showed me how to use our spare computer. Oh, how beautiful that was. No problems with crossing out there. My story developed nicely. Then I found out through writing clubs that you could send your story to competitions, so I sent it in. I didn’t get the first prize, not the second either, but I got a very good commendation. It inspired me to go on. I wrote a lot of short stories, send them all in. I always got good commendations.
So finally I wanted to write about a bird. I love birds. So I wrote a short story about Matica, the growth-handicapped 10-year-old and about condors. But the story had to be set in Peru where the condors live. Here the local Indians rejected her. It is her hope, her inspiration, her love and her adventure. When I finished it, I thought I could write a novel about her and the condors and maybe even a series. So the Talon story began.
Every child or adult, that is battling with something, should find something that lets you forget what is happening to you. My advice is: Find your “Condor”, as Matica did.
And, never give up in life, there is always something coming around the corner.
Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?
When my girls were little, I had a fixed time for writing. And that was during school hours. I picked them up from school then we did homework together, then cooking until my husband came home from work.
But since they've grown up, my writing habit is different. One day I write all day, another only an hour, or two. I have not given myself a rule or a writing habit. But I write every day.
What influences your writing?
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, there some people looked at us, with the look on their faces: How can they do something like that.
Since I went through the things Matica (the main character in my books) is going through, Matica is actually me. (I am not handicapped but faced lots of rejection as well.) Matica and I, 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.
And that is all about my book TALON, COME FLY WITH ME, but not only the first one, in all of them.
Is this your first published work? What other types of writing have you done?
Yes, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME is the first published book I have.
I plan about 8 books in the Talon series. The second and third in the series are finished and professionally edited. I am working on the fourth now.
The first book TALON, COME FLY WITH ME is about how Matica and her missionary parents came to Peru. Because of her growth handicap the local Indians don’t accept her into their community. Lonely she is looking for something else to play. So she, with great patience and a sense of adventure, befriends a condor pair she names Tamo and Tima. A strong bond and love develops between them. And then, she with her father rescues Tamo and Tima’s egg from poachers and she incubate it and name him Talon. The book describes in detail how Matica helps Talon grow into the majestic condor he was meant to be. Then what Matica had dreamed of ever since she first befriended the condors, actually happened.
The second book TALON, ON THE WING is about how she is finally accepted into the community because of her preserving the endangered condors with her great deed.
In this book she has scores of incredible adventures and near disasters; also love develops between her friend Amos and her.
Matica is now very happy that she is small and didn’t want to have it any other way. She was accepted, she was loved. What more could she have? All her rejection, her hardship, her loneliness was over. It is as if a door was opened for her that was shut before and now she begun a new life. It was a new era in her life.
Also the Indians promised Matica that they would always protect the condors from any poachers, if they should ever return.
The third book, TALON, FLIGHT FOR LIFE.
Matica’s family has decided to go on holiday back to Australia. Matica and her father walk to the next big city of Cajamarca to purchase the tickets, and some food supply and medication for Pajaro, the spokesman of the village. They would be away for a week.
This is a test to see how Matica would cope with being away from her condors when they go on her holiday. She misses them terribly, but still has an adventurous and very good time with her father walking through rain forests and other parts of the beautiful country of Peru. She sees macaws, toucan, monkeys and a tame puma in the city of Cajamarca. They even encounter a wild puma on the way. The condors come every day and visit them wherever they are.
In Cajamarca they heard that the poachers are back and snooping around, asking for condors. Matica is devastated, and wants to go home quickly, to tell her condors, that they have to be aware, that the poachers are looking for them again.
On the way home they visit an old Incan dwelling where a nasty, huge spider bit her father Crayn on his ankle.
Her father had a bad reaction to the bite; his leg swells to double its size. He becomes very ill and delirious with fever. Matica doesn’t know what to do and calls for her condors who come and save her father’s life with a life-giving leaf.
The fourth book, TALON, HUNTING THE HUNTER
Since the condors healed Matica’s father with the leaf, Matica has to show the leaf to the elders of their community, Pajaro’s father, Elcano. Elcano is old, very old and on the brink of death. But Pajaro insists that Matica sees him and shows him the leaf.
Matica is frightened, but she went with Pajaro to see Elcano. Elcano is a very wise and educated man. He wants to take the leaf but then decided not to take it, even though it would have made him whole again. His life is finished, he said, and Pajaro should take over the village.
When Elcano dies Pajaro builds a pyre for his father. But just as they started the ceremony, they hear that the poachers are back.
The poachers begin to fight with the Indians, Matica and her parents and the condors.The poachers want revenge and want to get hold of Talon to kill him so Tamo and Tima could have another egg that they could steal and sell it to a zoo. But Matica’s family and the Indians, with the help of the condors become, engaged in the biggest fight of their lives. They conquer and defeat the poachers, holding them hostage until the police come to bring them to justice.
Also, Talon and Matica celebrate their birthdays – Talon’s first and Matica’s eleventh.
Why did you choose to write a children's story?
I love animals, and so I love writing about animals. When I was working in my late teens in Germany, I wrote short animal stories whenever I had free time. And now I thought, writing an animal story would be ideal for children. Children love animals. And then the idea came to me to write about a handicapped little girl. She was always rejected, like I was as well. And so the story about Matica and Talon was born.
What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?
When I thought the first book was finished, I wrote query letters to publishers here in Australia for many years. But I always got that rejection letter back. Then because of all the rejection letters (I lost count of them) I approached a self-publisher here in Brisbane, Australia. They published my first book TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. They did a very good job with designing the cover. They also wrote a press release and did the distribution as well. So my book is now available in all the Internet outlets, like amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and so on. My book is also available as ebook, for ipod, ipad and Kindle and all the other formats on Amazon.com.
Two month ago I approached an agent. He loved the idea, and I hope he will take it over. I wanted to try to get into the conventional publishers, because I can’t self-publish again. It has just become too expensive for the finished second and third manuscripts.
What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?
If you go to self-publish your book, you have to look out that they do the distribution as well. My self-publisher, BookPal did the distribution. I was very happy for what they did and the designing of the cover of my book. They did everything. Book layout and ISBN number as well.
What is your marketing strategy?
I have no real marketing strategy, because I can’t do much. I am still in a lot of pain, and I have bad feet as well. But I did a lot of book signings in many bookstores around here where I live and in Brisbane. I promoted my book in our church. I gave my book away to lots of people in the hope they would let it know to other people. I also promote my book in Facebook.
What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?
I think that after the experience having done it alone, it is better to have an agent. You can try to do it yourself if you can write a killer proposal letter. You maybe succeed. But I still think now the agent knows best. They know how and where to promote your book and know which publisher would be best.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I think best is to visit my website because I post every review and interview there.
Also in amazon.com:
Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?
It is not easy to be a children’s author, but if you don’t give up, it will eventual happen. That is my motto: Never give up. I have great hope of something coming around the corner. And if you give up, you will miss it. If I would give up, what would I have achieved? Nothing.
Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it will be available.
My book is available as I said above. In all Internet outlets and you also can order it at any bookstore.
Synopses of first book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME in the series of TALON
Nine-year-old blond Matica lives in a remote little village on a dry plateau in the Andes of Peru. She moved here with her Australian missionary and schoolteacher parents when she was five years old. Ever since she could remember she faced cruel rejection because of her growth handicap. She is trapped in a body the size of a two year old. Because of that the local Indians wouldn’t accept her into their community or allow her to play with their children. Under the watchful eyes of her parents who understand her, lonely Matica explores the plateau for entertainment.
With patience and a sense of adventure she befriended a pair of condors and named them Tamo and Tima. A strong bond and love developed between them.
Having an egg, Tamo and Tima try to fight off a couple of poachers but they succeed in stealing their egg from its ledge. Eventually Tamo drives them away but the poachers leave the egg between some boulders on the plateau. Being unable to bring it back to the ledge, Tamo and Tima make it clear to Matica to take care of the egg, so she does.
Exactly on Matica’s tenth birthday, the condor fledgling ‘Talon’ hatches. The book then describes in detail how Matica helps Talon grow into the majestic bird he was meant to be.
Two months after confidently flying, the most unbelievably amazing thing happens. What Matica had dreamed of ever since she first befriended the condors, actually unfolds. That changes her life so completely that she can now see a positive side to her handicap. The Indians then fully accept the new Matica into their community.
This is the beginning of a time of incredible adventures with Talon and Matica, which is carried on in subsequent Talon books.