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Author Interview: Gini Koch

Danelle Mallen / February 7, 2015

Gini Koch is the author of the Alien Katherine “Kitty” Katt series. Her fast, fresh, funny series kicked off in April 2010 with Touched by an Alien and just celebrated its tenth installment, Universal Alien, in December 2014. She also writes under a slew of pen names—G.J. Koch, Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch—for her many other writing pursuits, including her Alexander Outland series and shorter works for anthologies. She took a moment from her busy writing schedule to answer a few questions about her work and her life as a writer for the Tucson Festival of Books.

1. What inspired you to write your books?

I get about half of my story ideas from my dreams, and a good third of them from listening to music. The inspiration for the Alien series, or, really Book 1, Touched by an Alien, was a dream. I had a dark, scary, noir-ish dream, and I planned to write a dark, scary, noir-ish short horror story. Within the first page, the voice wasn’t coming out like I’d planned. It was quirky and sarcastic, but not dark. Then Jeff Martini zoomed onto the page and charmed me and Kitty both, and the rest is history.

The moral of that story is that the characters are always right. I didn’t fight the characters when they said their story was fun, funny, action-packed, and sexy. I just let Kitty tell me what was going on and wrote it down.

2. What's the funniest thing that's happened to you at a book event or on a book tour?

At my first stop on my book tour for Universal Alien, I was at The Poisoned Pen, and we were doing a live webcast at the same time as an interview and Q&A session with fans.

We were already underway when a woman came in with a dog stroller with a little dog in it. She meandered right through the center of the circle of chairs for attendees, and therefore right in front of the camera. She made a tremendous amount of noise sitting down as close to me and my interviewer as possible, then got up to get herself a piece of cake, again walking right in front of the camera. Then back with said cake, in front of the camera again. None of this was done quietly.

As she began eating, I saw horrified looks from those to my left, meaning those looking at this woman. I risked a peek – sure enough, it’s one bite of cake for her, then one for her dog, then her, then dog, and yes, of course using the same fork.

She finished her cake and got up, once again making a ton of noise and once again while I and the interviewer were still talking. Then she wandered the bookstore and grabbed one of my prize giveaways. I told her she couldn’t have it, she insisted that she wanted to buy it, I said again that it wasn’t hers to buy and she couldn’t have it, and this back and forth went on for at least a full minute and a half. Finally convinced to put the prize she could not have nor buy down, she then trundled on and disconnected the feed to the webcast with the dog stroller.

There was no real harm done, though the people watching the webcast had a few minutes of blank screen and confusion. But it was hilarious while it was going on and in retrospect. Oh, and no, she didn’t buy any of my books. She liked the cake I’d brought, though.

Showing that the cosmos loves its little joke, the question I was answering when this happened was: Where do you get your story and character ideas? My response was, “Sometimes, things just happen that are so bizarre and hilarious that you realize you’re going to put the person or situation into a book because you just have to.” Yes, she’s earned her spot in an upcoming book of mine. And her little dog, too.

3. If the Alien Katherine “Kitty” Katt series had a soundtrack, what would it be?

Anything by Aerosmith and Smash Mouth’s “Get the Picture” album. Plus a whole lot more. Kitty uses music a lot in the series, so each book really ends up with its own soundtrack. I have playlists up at my website, and I think my fan site is going to start listing all the music that’s in the books as well. Because there is a lot of music in each book.

4. What does the day-to-day business of being a writer actually look like for you?

Chaotic. LOL. I’m a linear, chaos writer, so routine is not my thing. I’m also a night owl, so I’m usually up late every night, writing. Usually I’ll drag out of bed and check email and social media while drinking coffee and waking up. I deal with any business things needed like promotion and contests and/or reply to my agent or editors, handle household stuff, then write. Some days that order is flipped. Some days I only write. It all depends on what’s going on. The thing that has to happen daily is that I get some writing done, whether a little or, hopefully, a lot.

5. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Three things:

  • You have just as much right to write as anyone else does. If you want to write, write.
  • Your first attempts will stink, and that’s okay, just keep writing new things and you’ll get better. Also, don’t just write “the end” and immediately self-publish; you’d be doing yourself and your career a huge disservice.
  • Never give up, never surrender.

6. What are you working on right now?

Book 11 of the Alien series, Alien Separation; Book 2 of my Necropolis Enforcement Files series, Night Music; “Alien Time Warp” for the Temporally Out of Order anthology; “Jaeger Meister” for the Kaiju Rising: Age of Mech anthology; and Book 2 of my Alexander Outland series, Alexander Outland: Space Avenger.

7. Where can we buy your books?

The Alien series is published by DAW Books, so they’re everywhere books are sold, including bookstores like B&N and The Poisoned Pen, as well as all online retailers. The same can be said for my other published work. All of my books are available in e-format, and most are available in print formats. Everything that’s available can be found at my website.

The Alien Katherine “Kitty” Katt series is a consistent B&N bestselling series, and Book 7, Alien in the House, was named the Top Futuristic Romance of 2013 by the RT Book Reviewers Reviewers’ Choice Awards. For more thoughts from Ms. Koch, visit her website or her blog.

You can find Gini Koch at the following sessions at the Tucson Festival of Books:

  • "Making Magic Real: Suspending Reader Disbelief" on Saturday at 4 PM
  • "Workshop: I Got Nuthin' – Battling Writer's Block" on Sunday at 11:30 AM
  • "Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, and Sci-Fi" on Sunday at 2:30 PM

Dani Weber is a writer and editor living in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and dog. If you want to hear more of her thoughts on books, video games, and comic books, you can find her on Tumblr atferociousqueak.tumblr.com.

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