I’m so blessed to have a new author spotlight with Author Gigi Sedlmayer author of The Talon Series.
Gigi welcome! I’m excited to have this time to pick your brain so let’s get started!
What made you want to be a writer?
Surviving cancer and finding myself still alive after two years of just sitting around, (but caring for our adopted twin-girls and my husband Albert) waiting to die, I finally came to my senses. Since I couldn’t work at a traditional job any longer. I couldn’t stand or sit too long, had too much damage through the radiation and it’s still very painful, and having bad feet, 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.
I remembered this time and so 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.
Tell us your series genre?
I actually thought, it would be a series for children, reading age, from 9 to 13 years. But it turned out to be for all ages, as some reviewers tell me.
Tell us about your book series and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback or hardcovers)
I let Matica, my main character, speaking in her own voice. It’s best to describe her and her books:
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 mum’s and dad’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. (You can read all about it in the series) 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.
How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
I would say, very important. But again, I have med writers, they never read, they just write their book. I read a lot and review them as well.
What book genre do you enjoy reading the most?
I love reading sci-fi and fantasy. YA books.
What genre will you absolutely refuse to read?
Erotica and Romance. I never would read them.
Share with your readers, what’s the best way to handle a less than outstanding book review?
Don’t dwell too long on it. It’s horrible, the first 5 seconds. I got one only with one star. I just couldn’t understand it, but it was there. Yes, I cried, but then I said, okay, it’s not my problem, it’s his/her problem. Next review.
Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
Live life the fullest, as much as you can. Smile as much as you can. As Crayn said in my book: Let your smile change the world, don’t let the world change your smile.
And: Smile – it’s the most beautiful attire.
And: “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 literally in your life, because that was for Matica, but something you can rely to, something you love doing, something to help others. Whatever it is, that makes you happy. The condors made Matica happy. You have to find yours.
What encouragement can you give to the aspiring author?
Never give up. Your book must have a good story line and a good message, as my books have, I believe.
What characteristics do you relate to with your main character Matica and why?
To face myself. When I started to write the book, I never thought of the things they came out then. I wanted to write an adventure story for children and see what came out of that. Because, like Matica, I was rejected in school, not because of the growth handicap she has. I had other things. I had to face what Matica is facing, rejection, and learned, even from writing the book, more and more to cope with myself, to overcome my own rejection and to realise that I have survived a deadly disease.
In a sense, it changed my life as well. I have more confidence now as I never had before. I never thought I could write a story like that. But now? I can and I will write more stories about Matica and Talon and her adventure, her life.
What are some of the challenges that face Matica?
I wanted to let children and parents know, that they don’t need to suffer more than they already do. So:
Children suffer from all sorts of afflictions and through my book they can learn how to coup with everything, as Matica did, the main character in my TALON books. She had to learn it in her early life. Children can find a “Condor” as Matica did. Not literally a condor, but every child or adult for that matter, they are battling with none curable afflictions, should find something that let them forget what is happening to them. Finding a “Condor” would help them to overcome that.
Parents can read my books to younger children so they can see that they are not alone, if they have some type of affliction, 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 books are for adults as well as for children.
What gave you the inspiration to write this Talon series?
“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.
Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
I hate to do the promotion. Mainly because I have no idea how to promote. My computer skill is not good enough for that anyway. So, why isn’t there anyone out there, who would love my books and so would take them and promote them for a fraction of the money the promoters are charging. I can’t do it myself, and I can’t give the books to someone and pay. I just don’t have the money.
Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
I can’t listen to music and write, it has to be quiet. I am looking lots of times outside, to clear my head for a little while, then I go on.
What is one special goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
Actually, no goodies. Sorry
What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
After I finished writing the first novel in the Talon series about Matica and Talon, I wrote query letters and sent my manuscript to several conventional publishers here in Australia. And guess what? I always got that rejection letter back. I even lost count of them. I tried for many years. I failed.
Next I approached an editor and agent and she edited my book properly. She loved my book and she tried to place it with a conventional publisher. But she too failed.
So, I looked up all the self-publishers here in Australia and decided to let my book be published by BookPal in Brisbane. At that time, they were new here in Australia and weren’t as expensive as the rest. They did a very good job with the designing of the cover page, the outlaying of the book, the distribution, and making an eBook. They also wrote a press release.
When I finished the second book in the Talon series, I approached them again. They were a bit too expensive for me then. But a friend of ours offered me to pay, because he just loved the first book and thought, the books has to go out, people have to read them. And now in the meantime I finished the third as well and published with BookPal again.
But now, since I finished the fourth and the fifth book I had to look for another publisher, since BookPal became too expensive for me. I found Aurora House. http://aurorahouse.com.au/ She is doing now a very good job, even better. We re-published the first four books with new covers. Better. And she has published the fifth book as well. I am happy with them, they do editing as well.
When you need some extra encouragement when going through your manuscript, who do you turn to?
Most of the time I go to my husband. We talk it through and all is well again.
How do you market your book? If it’s a marketing service, please give the name.
Since I hate the promotion thing and marketing, I actually don’t do much. But I promote my books in Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. I have just entered a cover competition with Authorsdb with the first and fifth book. Ab to now I won the finals for both covers. But now waiting for the GOLD, SILVER or BRONZE finals.
Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the BEST thing they’ve said to you.
When they read my book, they nearly always say, how wonderful the story is. But buying my books? They like to have a free copy. Okay, I give it to them. At least they do write a review then as well. Mostly 5 stars.
What is the worst thing someone has said to your regarding your work? How did you respond or overcome the criticism?
Didn’t had a negative yet. Not that I recall. Only one review with 1 star. That was bad enough.
Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
I trust myself. So, sadly to say, no one likes reading my books from my family. All too busy to do other things or working too hard to have the time. But I give it to my editor, and she loves my stories.
Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
Well, my first book signing was a very long time ago. But I have to say, it was great and I nearly sold all the books I had there. People were so friendly and asked what’s the story about. All in all, it was a good experience and I loved it. Did many more after that, until Angus & Robertson closed down their stores. Since then, sadly, I had no book signings anymore.
What are some of your hobbies when you’re not writing?
I like to relax, go for a drive with my husband with our 4×4 car, into the hinterland of Australia or even further, when going on a holiday, into the outback of Australia and hunting for fossils.
I also like gardening, watching good movies and DVD’s and, I am reading a lot, real books, paper backs, or kindle.
Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. Let them in to just who Gigi is.
I love blue, like the sky. All my clothes are mostly blue and grey. Favorite food? Well, potatoes and tomatoes. More German food then the food the people are eating here in Australia. Hehehehe. Can’t describe them. Love them. You have to come and I cook for you and see and test it for yourself.
Tell us your favorite novel?
My favorite series is DUNE, from Frank Herbert. All Ben Bova novels. All Sci-fi. Hehehe. But I do love YA novels as well. Like Fairies, Fantasy
What was your favorite children’s book growing up?
Since I grew up in Germany, I loved Karl May. You can’t get his books here. They are a big series as well. They were a mixture of sci-fi, adventure. I still have some of his books.
Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you love.
Fantasy book or science fiction?
Actually, both. I love Fantasy and sci-fi, but sci-fi more. Love to read them anytime.
Singing Christmas carols or watching someone sing Christmas carols?
Watching someone sing Christmas carols. Don’t like singing. Well, can’t really sing. hehehe
Favorite side with your Thanksgiving turkey?
Sorry, we don’t have Thanksgiving here. Never ate a turkey. But with a chicken, it’s the leg. Hmm
Watching Christmas light shows on T.V. or driving around to see the Christmas lights?
Both again, love to see the Christmas lights in real, and watch them on TV
A kindle or a paperback?
I love reading books, real books as paperbacks, but it’s more economical reading kindle. My shelves in my house are full with books. Can’t fit any more on them. So, it has to be kindle.
Thanksgiving dinner before 3 pm. or after 3 pm.?
If we would have one, it would be after 3 pm.
Favorite pie during the holidays?
Pastry I like, but not so much pie, or yes, shepherd’s pie. Hmm
Pie or cake?
Holiday flavored creamers or regular creamers?
Espresso or regular coffee?
Regular coffee with milk
How many days do you eat your leftover Thanksgiving dinner?
Well, all leftovers, only a few days. No longer
Are there any mistakes you have made during the publishing process? How did you learn from them?
Not really, I only say, when you start writing, don’t give up. Go on, press on. The success maybe right around the corner. When you give up, you will never know. So, stick to it. And with writing you are becoming better each day.
And what I am doing is, reading, reading, reading other books and write reviews. That will help your writing. Well, it helps me.
When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?
My trusted husband
What is one thing you’d like to address to your readers?
Never give up, success maybe is just around the corner, as I said earlier.
When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
I am writing on my sixed book in the Talon series. It is finish, but I am on the re-writing, and that I will do several times. I will call it: TALON, WINDSONG. So, it will be available, hopefully, early next year. With all the editing and publishing. It all takes time.
Book 1. TALON, COME FLY WITH ME
Book 2. TALON, ON THE WING
Book 3. TALON, FLIGHT FOR LIFE
Book 4. TALON, CONNECTED
Book 5. TALON, ENCOUNTER
All my books are available as paper back and kindle at amazon, B/N and all the other places.
Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome books?
My website: https://gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com/
But my editor and publisher is just in the brink of doing for me a new and better website.
My website: http://www.gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com
YouTube animation clips for the Talon books:
First book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0ontac7S20
Thank you, Aimee, for letting me express myself. Had fun answering all the questions.
You’re welcome! We loved having you. And I don’t know about anyone else but these novels need to be added to my reading list!
Ya’ all follow along for more author spotlight reviews!!