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. I worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich.
Since my uncle was a writer, I tried to write short animal stories myself. Nothing further came of it, but I developed a love for the written word and started to consume books.
In May 1975, my husband and I moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, I started a handcraft business. As a specialty, I made colorful parrots of which I sold thousands in a few years.
In 1988, we decided to adopt and became adoptive parents of twin girls from Fiji the year after. We lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992.
Two years later I was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, I withdrew, thinking that I would soon be dead, like my friend who had died of cancer, but my two little girls gave me the courage to keep going. After a few years, still among the living, my brain started to work again, so I thought, “Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life.”
I remembered the time when I wrote short stories and got inspired again, seeing my husband Albert writing the story of our adoption. My English became increasingly better so I pressed on to develop my creative writing.
How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?
I am writing now for the last 20 Years.
I survived cancer and I came to my senses again. Since I couldn’t work at a traditional job any longer, I started to write. 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.
Albert taught me how to use a computer and I wrote many short stories. I entered them in competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave me confidence to go on writing. One of the short stories was about Talon and Matica. Judges from the competition loved the story and so I thought, I could probably develop a series about Talon and Matica. And so the TALON series came to life.
Can you give us a brief synopsis of your books?
The first novel in the Talon series: Talon, come fly with me
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.
Back when she was seven years old she had noticed a pair of condors soaring near the mountains. With patience and a sense of adventure she befriended them and named them Tamo and Tima. A strong bond and love developed between them over the next two years.
The book begins here when Matica is nine.
Tamo and Tima try to fight off a couple of poachers, but the poachers 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 continues in subsequent Talon books.
The second novel in the Talon series: Talon, on the wing
What Matica has dreamed ever since she first befriended the condors actually happened in the last chapter of the previous book, Talon, Come Fly With Me. And now the adventure continues.
Finally accepting Matica into their community with that incredible event, the Indians of Peru love seeing her together with Talon and his parents, Tamo and Tima. Now she has to tell all of her adventures with her condors to her classmates. Matica’s mother isn’t very impressed with that event, but she finally is turning around as well and loves seeing them together in that intimate way. Her mother first saw danger in it, but after seeing how safe Matica is with Talon, her mother gave her the go ahead.
Matica is now happy that she is small and doesn’t want to have it any other way. She is accepted, she is loved and she can have incredible adventures with her beloved Talon. What more could she have? All her rejection and hardship is over.
In this book Matica has scores of incredible adventures and near disasters with Talon. Also, a love between Amos and Matica develops.
The adventure continues.
The third novel in the Talon series: Talon, flight for life
Matica is walking with her father to the city of Cajamarca to purchase some food, medication and the tickets for their six month holiday in Australia.
On the way she misses her condors terribly, but still has an adventurous time with her father as they walk through rain forests and other parts of the beautiful country of Peru, seeing macaws, toucans, monkeys and even a puma.
In Cajamarca they heard that the poachers are back, asking for condors. Matica becomes distressed, and wants to go home quickly, to tell her condors.
On the way home they visit an old Incan dwelling. And there, her father falls ill with high fever after he is bitten by a spider.
Not knowing what to do, Matica calls for her condors. But the wait until they arrive is the hardest time she has ever had to endure.
Do you have a favorite line from the book?
Yes, I have a few:
“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.”
“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.”
“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’.”
That is just what Matica does in my book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Now she can handle every obstacle…
Who is your favorite character and why?
Well, my favorite character is Matica, but I love Talon, the condor. He is so funny but again so loving, with his mum Tima and his dad Tamo.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
To face myself. Because Matica is me. Not that I have her disability, but I was bullied in my young life, not physically, but with words. As I describe myself, I was like a turtle, I could crawl back into my shell and I would only come out. Later in my life I described it more like this: I was in a black hole. It was very hard to get me out. But while writing The Talon series, I faced myself and became a better person.
Do you do anything besides write?
During the holidays I love to go on 4×4 drives into the outback of Australia with my husband. I still love handcrafting, cross stitching, knitting, crochet, painting with oil or pencil, making soft toys. Everything that hands can create.
How can my readers get a copy of your books?
My website: http://www.gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com
Animation clips for the Talon books:
What’s next for you, Gigi?
I am just about to publish the fourth novel in the Talon series: TALON, connected.
I am currently writing the fifth: TALON, hunting the hunter. I am planning eight or nine books in the Talon series.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Gigi. It’s been great to learn more about you and your exciting adventure series. You’ve already received great reviews from your readers and we’ll be watching for your latest books in the Talon Series. — Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com