Today we welcome Gigi Pandian, one of the nicest people on the planet and author of the acclaimed Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mystery series. Her debut, ARTIFACT, was named a “Best of 2012” novel by Suspense Magazine. In Artifact, historian Jaya Jones discovers the secrets of a lost Indian treasure may be hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. But she’s not the only one on the trail…For more information check out: http://gigipandian.com/books-stories/
Gigi has offered to send a signed copy of ARTIFACT to one lucky commenter—more details at the end of this post!
My Double Debut & 5 People Who Helped Me Get Here
By Gigi Pandian
A few years ago, I’d been having fun writing as a hobby, but I’d never finished anything I’d started. That changed when I discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and signed up for the crazy challenge of writing a full 50,000 novel draft in a month. I completed a draft of Artifact, and it was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant, the mystery genre grant to foster the next generation of traditional mystery writers. The grant convinced me I should take my writing seriously.
Once I finished revising my mystery novel — which took two years and a steep learning curve — I signed with a wonderful agent. She was pitching the book to publishers when I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. It was a month after my 36th birthday.
With my life upside down, I needed a positive project to focus on. Since I knew my novel was ready to be out in the world, instead of waiting on someone else’s schedule I decided to throw myself into publishing the novel myself. Coinciding with the successful completion of my cancer treatments one year later, Artifact debuted in August 2012.
I was having a blast: I held my book in my hands exactly as I’d envisioned it, threw a big party at a local independent bookstore, and was honored when one of my favorite novelists gave me a glowing book blurb. I didn’t think things would go any further. I was wrong.
Artifact started getting great reviews that compared it to an Elizabeth Peters novel. It was named a “Best of 2012” Debut Novel by Suspense Magazine. Then I received a 3-book deal to pick up the series. In August 2013, Henery Press re-issued Artifact, which will be followed by Pirate Vishnu in February 2014. I’m currently writing Book 3 in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series.
I love that I did things my way, because now I’ve got the best of both worlds. I’ve seen everything that goes into publishing, which was an incredible education. I emerged from cancer treatments healthier than ever, in part because I had a project I felt passionately about to focus on during chemo. Writing is a crazy business, but life is even crazier. I’m glad I’m enjoying every minute.
p.s. Here’s an addendum relevant to this week’s Debutante Ball topic:
There are so many people who made my double debut possible. Since I can’t list all the friends and family members who supported me along the way (that would make this post way too long!), here’s a short list of 5 people who inspired me on my journey:
- Elizabeth Peters, whose Vicky Bliss books inspired me to become a mystery writer.
- Chris Baty, who began National Novel Writing Month.
- Jill Marsal, my fabulous agent who has supported me every step of the way.
- Kendel Flaum, my incredible editor at Henery Press.
- My writers group, which I’ll declare a singular entity to thank them here!
Readers, who has helped you make your dreams come true?
GIVEAWAY! Enter to win a signed copy of ARTIFACT when you comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 3. Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries—just mention that you did so in your comments. We’ll choose and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck! US shipping only, please.
Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. After being dragged around the world during her childhood, she tried to escape her fate when she left a PhD program in favor of art school. But adventurous academic characters wouldn’t stay out of her head. Thus was born the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mystery series. Find Gigi online at www.gigipandian.com (or Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest)
Sign up for Gigi’s email newsletter to receive a free, exclusive Halloween-themed short story in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series this October: http://gigipandian.com/newsletter/.