Gigi Pandian followed in her mother’s footsteps on a year abroad to Edinburgh where she found inspiration for her mystery novels.
|Exchange student from Pitzer College
|Year of Graduation
Your time at the University
I first visited Edinburgh when I was 10 years old, traveling from California with my mom for my first trip abroad. My mom, who is a professor was doing research in Scotland that summer and she brought me along. I immediately fell in love with Scotland, so when I had the opportunity to do an exchange program during college, I looked into the University of Edinburgh. I was studying political science and the university had a great program, so it was a perfect fit.
One of my most memorable experiences was participating in the Freshers’ Play, where I performed at the Bedlam Theatre where my mom had performed thirty years before! Other memorable moments were walking up Arthur’s Seat with the Photography Club, meeting up with new friends at Negociants and picnicking at The Meadows.
It took several years to become good at both art and writing, but now I’m the Creative Strategist for a civil rights organization and a bestselling mystery novelist.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
I’m now a USA Today bestselling mystery novelist and it was my time spent in Scotland that inspired my Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series. After living in Edinburgh, I knew I wanted to set a novel there. My first novel, “Artifact”, is set in Scotland, and my novella “Fool’s Gold” is set in Edinburgh.
My career path has been a winding one. I loved living in Edinburgh during my junior year abroad, so I went to work in London after graduating from college. Then I began post-graduate studies in political science, but I felt myself pulled toward more creative work. I left the PhD program with to attend art school instead and began writing a novel. I was awarded a writers grant for my work-in-progress, and I used the funds to return to Scotland to complete research for the novel. It took several years to become good at both art and writing, but now I’m the Creative Strategist for a civil rights organization and a bestselling mystery novelist.
Study the subjects that interest you, not simply what other people tell you is practical or that you’re good at. It’s your life to live.