What made you choose a special needs person as the main character in your story?
I love birds, so I wanted to write a story about a girl who flies with birds. However, the girl had to be small enough to fly, so she had to be a special needs girl.We adopted twin girls from Fiji as special needs children when we lived in New Zealand. They are not disabled, but they are schooled as special needs because they can’t be separated. I understand the hardships a special needs child suffers – I was bullied in school because I needed glasses at a very early age – and I wanted to bring that out in my book.
Why is South America the background for your story?
I have always loved condors, and they have fascinated me for a very long time. They are also one of the only birds large enough for Matica – the main character – to ride. Peru was the best location because of the condors.
Will your heroes be traveling to other countries or continents in the sequels?
Yes, in the course of my five books Matica will travel. She will go to Australia to see her relatives on holiday where she will receive treatment to grow taller. When she comes back, she will be too big to fly on Talon, the condor, anymore. However, Matica will find out that she loves music, and learns the mouth organ in Australia. She will also go on a church trip to India for a year to relieve another missionary, and there she will encounter tigers and befriend one, as she did with the condors.
Do you think your book will encourage special needs people to travel?
Special needs children are not sick, so they can’t be cured. They are people like you and me. They have to learn to cope with what they have and to live like normal people do. My book is about gaining self-esteem and not thinking of special needs as an affliction. It’s about being bigger than your problems, looking past them and being normal. The Condors gave Matica the encouragement to be someone in life. She was rejected in the beginning by the Peruvians because they didn’t know better, but soon they learn that she is a person too. They begin to respect and love her, and her parents encourage her to live like an average person. In the second book, there is an episode from another village, where there is a boy with the same condition as Matica, and his parents and brother have to deal with the natives’ request that they kill him. It’s a heartwarming story in addition to a girl flying on birds.
Any plans to make your book available as a book on tape or as a read along?
My publisher is producing my book as an e-book for Kindle. I hope it will be soon available; however it is not on tape yet.
Gisela Sedlmayer is an author, originally from Munich Germany, currently lives on Australia’s Gold Coast.She has written ‘Talon’ the first book of a five book series about Matika a special needs little girl living with her missionary parents in Peru.