Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our Gigi



Gigi is…well, darn. What is Gigi exactly?

I’ll start with the obvious stuff: she’s beautiful. There, I said it. Actually, she’s freaking gorgeous…I don’t mean to be superficial, but please. Long black shiny wavy hair. Flawless skin. Rockin’ bod. Incredible smile. Deep brown eyes that carry any number of secrets in their depths…

In fact, that’s it!

Gigi Pandian is mysterious. In a good way. She’s an intriguing blend of exoticism with a kind of down-home unpretentiousness. She has this quiet calm about her, interrupted most frequently by an adorable little smile that lets you know she’s in on the joke…in fact, she’s probably telling the joke.

Every time I’m with her I can’t help but appreciate the lovely, subtle way she has of moving through the world…of course, that might have something to do with the fabulous, sexy-yet- comfy rubber-soled shoes she always wears.

I first met Gigi at my first professional writers’ conference, Malice Domestic, where I was stumbling around like a deer caught in the authorial headlights. Gigi came rushing up to me in the aisle after my very first panel, introduced herself, and earned my undying love by comparing my books to those of Elizabeth Peters. In fact, we then went on to bond over our mutual love for Peters’ smart, academic heroines and adventure-mystery novels. Only later did I learn that Gigi was picking up a William F. Deeck Malice Domestic grant at that same conference, for her novel Artifact, featuring treasure-hunting Indian-American historian Jaya Jones. She went on to be a finalist in the 2009 St. Martin's Press / Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. Since then I've been lucky enough to read some of her work-- trust me: she’s a wonderful, hard-working writer, one of those who will surprise no one when she announces she’s sold her novel for bucket-loads of money. Gigi walked away from a PhD program when it got too tedious, moved to the Bay Area, met the love of her life, and started working as a graphic designer –not for one of the ubiquitous tech companies crowding out the area, but for the ACLU. She works for the organization dedicated to defending the Bill of Rights. Yes, Gigi’s Just. That. Cool.

Of course, she could hardly help it. She’s the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. And then she spent a bunch of time in Edinburgh, Bath, and London. I mean really. That’s an awesome back-story for any heroine, real or fictional.

Oh! I almost forgot the most amazing thing about Gigi -- she's an artist. The woman has an amazing relationship with cameras...she favors cheap ones that over- and under-expose photographs, because she likes to just see what happens. Our Gigi doesn't feel the need to be in control of everything; rather, she likes seeing where luck leads her. Check out some of her amazing fine art photography -- it's breathtaking.

The other night Gigi sat across from me at dinner and confessed, over wine, that she and her partner share a “geeky commitment to changing the world” by working for non-profits and pursuing art and writing and cooking up all sorts of schemes that I won’t divulge here. Suffice it to say that our Gigi dreams big. And the best part is, I have no doubt that she’s going to achieve those dreams, and change our world for the better.

And she’ll accomplish it all with apparent ease…quite mysteriously.

9 comments:

Sophie Littlefield said...

gigi's photos are some of my favorites in the whole world...and i've seen a few, in fancy-type museums and so forth. she's damn talented. and yup, you got the mystery/goodness thing in there too. but you know what i just recently learned? she's pretty adorable when she's got a little bitty buzzz....

Rachael Herron said...

I'm so sad I missed the bitty buzz the other night! Oh, you got Gigi in this -- she is, I think, officially the coolest Pen, and she doesn't even try (that might be part of it). Someday I long to be less scattered and half as smooth as Gigi is completely naturally.

Lisa Hughey said...

You completely captured Gigi!! she isn't trying to be cool, she just is...and her work is woderful. Can't wait for Jaya to be in print :)

Lisa Hughey said...

woops. Wonderful, her work is *wonderful* (that's what I get for eating and typing at the same time!!)

Gigi Pandian said...

I'm not used to blushing, but you got me. But Juliet is being modest, since we know she's the coolest ;)

Virna DePaul said...

Wow, thank you for this insight into Gigi. I suspected she was awesome and now I know!

L.G.C. Smith said...

Julie, this captures Gigi brilliantly. Gigi, I love your quiet, sane, cool yet passionate vibe, your vision, your artful ways of being. I vote you the Pen most likely to be a bodhisattva. :)

Martha Flynn said...

Fearless, gorgeous, smart AND artistic....thank God she's the bestest or we'd have to hate her!

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