Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guest Blogger - Gigi Pandian

One of the best things about my blog is the opportunity I get now and again to introduce readers to a debut author. Today, I'd like you to meet Gigi Pandian, the debut mystery novelist who was awarded the Malice Domestic Grant for Artifact, the first book in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt series. Today is publication day for Artifact. Congratulations, Gigi, and thank you for taking the time to introduce your book.


Guest Blogger Gigi Pandian

Thanks so much for inviting me, Lesa. It’s especially exciting to be here today, the day my debut mystery novel Artifact is officially on sale! Since it’s book launch day, I thought I’d share how this book came to be.

I grew up traveling with my anthropologist parents and devouring mystery novels featuring adventurous academics, like the Vicky Bliss and Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters. In junior high, I created a comic book about the adventures of Minnesota Smith, a female Indiana Jones.

As I grew up, I realized I didn’t want to be an academic myself, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have fun writing about them. When I set out to write a mystery novel, I wanted it to be a traditional puzzle-plot like my favorite mysteries, and to have the same sense of adventure and similar strong female protagonist as my Minnesota Smith creation.

The idea behind the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series is that in each book, Indian-American history professor Jaya Jones solves a present-day mystery linked to a historical treasure. In Artifact, Jaya travels from San Francisco to the British Library in London to a Pictish archaeological dig in the Highlands of Scotland, piecing together the secrets of a lost Indian treasure that are hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj.

My dad is from India and my mom did a lot of her research in Scotland, so those were two countries with fascinating histories where I’d spent time. So when it came to creating a character who could connect those histories, I found myself with Jaya, a woman born in India to an Indian mother and American father -- a character bridging two cultures who would understand the connections of countries with overlapping histories. In an early draft of her character, I thought she might be a journalist rather than a historian. Both are truth-seeking professions, but as I developed ideas for stories, I knew she was a history professor.

For years, I filled notebooks with story ideas and miscellaneous research. It was a fun hobby, but I was never sure it would amount to more than that. Then I discovered National Novel Writing Month. Signing up for NaNoWriMo and agreeing to write a 50,000-word novel in the space of a month is what helped me finally finish a novel, not just talk about doing so.

I liked what I’d written, so I submitted it to the Malice Domestic Grants competition that awards grants to unpublished writers who are writing in the traditional mystery genre. I couldn’t quite believe it when I received the phone call telling me that I’d won. It was time to start taking the novel seriously! I used the grant to finance a research trip back to the UK, joined my local Sisters in Crime chapter, and got involved with a wonderful writers group. It took me another few years to learn to craft a good mystery, and it’s been a lot of fun every step of the way.

Gigi Pandian is a mystery writer, photographer, and graphic designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant for her debut mystery novel, Artifact: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery, which was released August 28, 2012. To sign up for Gigi’s newsletter or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter, visit http://gigipadrian.com

Thank you, Gigi! And, good luck with Artifact and future books.

ARTIFACT: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery
by Gigi Pandian
ISBN: 978-1-938213-00-7
Trade Paperback
Gargoyle Girl Productions
296 pages


Trisha said...

This sounds right up my alley as a lover of mysteries (and archaeologist in my previous career). My library doesnt't seem to have it on order so I got it for my Kindle. Thanks for the recommendation!

Cindy Sample said...

Who doesn't love playing armchair archaeologist? There's nothing more entertaining than reading a well-written treasure hunt mystery and ARTIFACT is now loaded on my Kindle. Thanks for sharing your journey, Gigi, and congratulations!

Gigi Pandian said...

Thanks, Trisha!

Please feel free to recommend the book at your local library. I received advance notice that a review of ARTIFACT is going to appear in a library trade publication's fall issue (it isn't out yet so I'm not repeating it yet), so I hope the book will be available at some libraries soon!

Thanks for the note, Cindy. I've always loved a good treasure hunt, which is why I wanted to write one.

Lesa said...

Congratulations on your debut, Gigi! And, two Kindle sales this morning. Nice way to start off your day as guest blogger!

Larissa Reinhart said...

Great post, Gigi! So happy for you!

Gigi Pandian said...

Thanks so much for inviting me here today, Lesa! I'm so happy to be here on this exciting day.

Thanks, Larissa!

For those of you who don't yet know Larissa Reinhart, she's another new author who shares today as the book launch day for her debut mystery novel.

Sophie Littlefield said...

Lesa - you have the *best* guests! :) Delighted to see G2 here today. She's a dear friend, but she's also got talent to spare!

Jane R said...

Congratulations on the debut of your novel. I love mysteries that have an academic setting. Your book sounds like a real winner. I'm going to suggest to our local library that they add it to their collection. Thanks for visiting Lesa's blog today!

Dru said...

Nice post.

Congratulations on your book release today.

Gigi Pandian said...

Awe, Sophie, you make me blush ;)

Thanks for the good wishes, Dru.

And thank you, Jane, for suggesting the book to your local library! As thrilling as it is to be heading over to my local independent bookstore to see my book on the shelf, the thought of sharing the book at a library puts an especially big smile on my face.

Karen C said...

Congratulations on the release of your debut novel. I can only imagine how exciting it must be for you and I wish you lots of success. I'm tickled I have the chance to read a new book in a new series by a new author - lots of fun for me!!

Lesa said...

Terrific day here. Thanks, Gigi, and everyone for stopping by. I hope you had a wonderful debut day, Gigi! And, I hope you and Jaya have a long successful run!

Nancy Adams said...

Lesa, I'm a librarian, too, and just visited your state for the first time this summer, attending the ATLA (American Theological Library Association) convention. There's some spectacular scenery out there!

I had the privilege of reading ARTIFACT prepublication, so I can tell everyone here firsthand that it's a great read. Jaya is a wonderful character, and it was fun reading this post to discover her origins. I love the name Minnesota Smith! Maybe there's a future series for that character, too!

Best wishes, Gigi, for ARTIFACT's success!

Lesa said...


Thanks for stopping by to comment on Gigi's post. And, we do have some beautiful scenery here in Arizona. Quite a bit of variety. I'm glad you had the chance to get here.

Welcome, and I hope you come back sometime!