Saturday, September 8, 2012

Treasure Hunting with Gigi Pandian

Gigi Pandian is a mystery writer, photographer, and graphic designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the child of two cultural anthropologists, one from the southern tip of India, the other from Albuquerque, New Mexico. 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. Gigi was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant for her debut mystery novel, Artifact, which was released August 28, 2012.

Gigi Pandian will appear at a Mystery Readers Literary Salon with Janet Dawson on September 19


One of the reasons I love Janet’s Mystery Fanfare blog is that her posts short and sweet – a combination of intriguing photos with interesting tidbits she knows mystery lovers will appreciate. So when Janet asked me to contribute a post here, I thought I’d give you some background about my debut mystery novel, Artifact, in a style appropriate to this blog – through photos.

In Artifact, the first book in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series that came out August 28th, historian Jaya Jones travels from San Francisco to London to the Highlands of Scotland, piecing together the secrets of a lost Indian treasure hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj.

I wanted to write a mystery that combined a puzzle plot of a traditional mystery with a treasure hunt adventure. I know treasure hunts are traditionally considered a guy genre, but why let guys have all the fun?

I’ve loved treasure hunts since I was a kid, and I never outgrew that fascination. I got a taste for treasure hunts firsthand when I tagged along with my anthropologist parents on their research trips. Dunnottar Castle in Scotland inspired the setting of Artifact.

Dunnottar Castle was once used as a hiding place for the Scottish Crown Jewels. How can you look at this view and *not* want to write a mystery involving a treasure that takes place along the dangerous cliffs of the Highlands of Scotland?

Traveling in India, I was overwhelmed by the living histories of so many different cultures. I’m more familiar with Scotland, but I knew I wanted to weave Indian history into the story, so I created historian Jaya Jones, whose historical expertise is the British East India Company.

I spent years having fun scribbling story ideas in notebooks, and I might never have gotten my act together to finish the novel had it not been for the Malice Domestic Grants Committee. They saw potential in the book and awarded me a William F. Deeck Malice Domestic Grant. I used the grant to travel to the UK to finish doing research for the novel at the British Library in London.

Suspense Magazine says “If Indiana Jones had a sister, it would definitely be historian Jaya Jones,” and I hope other readers will agree.

1 comment:

Gigi Pandian said...

Thanks for inviting me, Janet!

Since this post appeared today, I should also mention that tonight is the book launch party for ARTIFACT. For anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area, please feel free to stop by the event in Oakland at the independent bookstore A Great Good Place for Books: