Friday, December 2, 2011

Interview with Gini Koch

I’d like to welcome our guest today, author Gini Koch. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free.

Yahoo, chocolate!

So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Oooh. See’s AND Godiva. I think I’m gonna like it here.

I understand you have a new release out called Alien Proliferation. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Well, it’s the best book ever written and a deal at twice the price! (Hey, you can’t blame a girl for trying.)

The Alien series follows Katherine “Kitty” Katt, the world’s best accidental badass, as she discovers first that the Roswell rumors are true -- with a twist -- the aliens are here to help us and, as an added bonus, they’re all gorgeous, and they’re all far more interested in someone’s brains and brain capacity than anything else.

Kitty not only learns that there are both good and bad aliens and lots of life on other planets, but gets involved in the fight to protect this planet. As the series goes on, there’s more than just parasitic aliens to deal with, as well as more secrets and conspiracies to discover and disrupt.

In Alien in the Family, Kitty got married, and in Alien Proliferation, after the wildest wedding ever, Katherine "Kitty" Katt-Martini and her Alpha Centaurion husband Jeff are hoping life will settle down. But alien attacks are on the increase, and someone is testing a dangerous new drug on unwilling subjects within their group. As if that’s not enough, Kitty and a number of the A-C women are expecting their first babies.

No one is certain what this baby boom will lead to, but after almost losing Kitty in childbirth, they discover that their newborn’s talents are off the charts -- and potentially dangerous. And just to add to their worries -- the bad guys want their baby.

The last thing anyone in Centaurion Division needs after that is a conspiracy to kill the heads of the C.I.A.’s Extra-Terrestrial Division and the Presidential Terrorism Control Unit, otherwise known as Charles Reynolds and Kitty’s mother, Angela Katt.

Then, suddenly, key members of Alpha and Airborne start vanishing.

Can Kitty, her remaining team members, friends old and new, and a totally unexpected new partner rescue everyone and figure out how and why Kitty’s become a superhuman? Most importantly, can they pull it all off before the event Kitty dreads most -- her Alpha Centaurion baby shower?

Alien Proliferation is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

*cough* Well, it fits the book. Welcome to life with a linear writer. LOL Actually, it truly fits the book, but I’d be giving things away about the whole series if I told you the full reasoning behind it. Basically, all my titles have both significance to the book and also have more than one meaning within the book. Clear as mud? :-D

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I didn’t decide. I’m an extreme linear writer. I write what the characters tell me is going on. So, I wrote Touched by an Alien, and it was deemed science fiction, or science fiction romance, depending. I don’t make the rules, I just have to live within them. Sometimes. LOL

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

It was the next logical extension of the three books prior. I tend to “see” the next few books ahead as I’m writing “this one”, so I’d already known where the storyline was going as I finished up Touched by an Alien and Alien Tango.

About half of my ideas come from my dreams (Touched by an Alien did, for example) and the other half come from songs, experiences, or the characters themselves. Alien Proliferation is more on the characters themselves creative side than anything else.

What are your favorite science fiction research books, and why?

I don’t do very much research for my series at all. Most of what I research I can find on the internet. My research, if you will, was reading lots and lots of science fiction and fantasy. I don’t actually write hard science fiction, but I read a lot of it, so I suppose I’d count everything I’ve read by hard SF authors such as Larry Niven, Ben Bova, Frederik Pohl, etc., as being my research.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Oh, I love all my characters, including my villains. And I like writing them because I love writing, creating, telling the characters’ stories, and generally being able to make things up and play and have it be something other people get to enjoy.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and world affect your character development?

I’m apparently the most seat-of-the-pants writer out there. I don’t do character sheets, nor interviews, nor anything else. While we were editing Alien in the Family my editor at DAW suggested I get a spreadsheet together of all the characters so she and I wouldn’t get confused. Which I did (and I wish she’d suggested that while we were editing Touched by an Alien, LOL). However, other than the most basic of information, I don’t have a lot in the spreadsheet. I literally know it all in my head. They’re all my creations. I know them, intimately, from birth to death, even if I only tell you part of their lives.

My rule is that if a character gets a name or a speaking part (but not both), I need to know what they’re about right now, and if they get a name AND a speaking part I need to know everything about them because they’ll probably be around and/or show up again. So, in the off time, I ask them to tell me about themselves. Which they do, which is why some minor characters in one book will be come huge or recurring characters in another.

It’s a party in my mind, but it works for me.

How do you go about building your world? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

Rarely, rarely, and rarely. I will occasionally create maps so I know where my characters are “now”, are going, and placed in relation to the rest of the world. I almost never chart, and drawings I only do for fight sequences where I’ve got to be sure I know where everyone is.

Seriously, I keep all this stuff in my mind. The act of writing down things like character bios and extensive world building removes the joy of discovery and the fun for me -- it makes everything work, and I hate work. I love writing, ergo, the things stay in my mind, and get to come out when I want them to. I have notes on everything I write, but most of them wouldn’t help anyone else to know what the heck I’m talking about.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Madeleine L’Engle, Arther Conan Doyle, O. Henry, Robert Benchley, Terry Pratchett, Robert Silverberg, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, P.J. O’Rourke, Woody Allen, Dave Barry…and many more besides.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Hmmm. I do a lot of promotion. I have to be honest and say that I think Twitter has probably given me the best return on my investment of time. And the book review bloggers have been very, very good to me. But I think all my promotion has filtered into my marketing mix in the right ways. In terms of physical promotion, my postcards do the most duty (mailings, working as business cards, filling in as bookmarks, working like flyers), so I will always do those, too.

What do we have to look forward next?

Alien Diplomacy releases April 3, 2012, with Alien vs. Alien coming Dec. 2012, Alien in the House coming April 2013, and Alien Collective coming Dec. 2013.

I also have the Martian Alliance Chronicles from Musa Publishing which is a series of short stories & novellas -- The Royal Scam is out now, and the second installment, Three Card Monte, will be out in early 2012.

I also write under a variety of pen names, and I have a lot out and coming out from Musa as Jemma Chase, Anita Ensal, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch. All are shorter works, short stories and novellas. Jemma Chase’s and J.C. Koch’s works are, so far, standalones. A.E. Stanton writes The New West novella series, which is a post-apocalyptic science fiction Western; and Anita Ensal writes The Neighborhood and The Asteroid Belt series (starting in December and January). The Neighborhood is rural and urban fantasy, and The Asteroid Belt is science fiction/science fiction romance. Both are serialized short stories and novellas.

My full bibliography is up at my website via my Author Splash page.

Thanks, Gini!

To celebrate her book release, Gini Koch is offering a free signed and personalized copy of Book 2 in the Alien Series, Alien Tango, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Contest is open internationally.)

(please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Gini Koch lives in Hell’s Orientation Area (aka Phoenix, AZ), works her butt off (sadly, not literally) by day, and writes by night with the rest of the beautiful people. She writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series for Musa Publishing. She also writes under a variety of pen names (including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch), listens to rock music 24/7, and is a proud comics geek-girl willing to discuss at any time why Wolverine is the best superhero ever (even if Deadpool does get all the best lines). She also speaks frequently on what it takes to become a successful author and other aspects of writing and the publishing business.

You can find Gini at her:
Blah, Blah, Blah Blog:
Twitter: @GiniKoch
Facebook Fan Page:
Alien Collective Virtual HQ/Official Fan Site:

Buy Touched by an Alien, Alien Tango, Alien in the Family, and Alien Proliferation at any bookstore or online.

Buy the majority of her other works from Musa Publishing (


Anonymous said...

Good morning Gini. Thanks for joining us here today. I'm running a bit short on the See's because my kids raided the stash, but I can always run out for more. Your brain amazes me in that it can remember all those details. I'd be lost without character sheets and details of my settings. I'm a true Virgo, I guess. Your ability to write quickly does too. How many books do you put out a year in all your different persona's? And I can barely keep myself straight! :) Enjoy your day with us and let me know if you need anything else.

Donna Marie Del Grosso said...

Hi Gini!
it's funny Kim said "your brain amazes me..." because as I read the interview, I had been wondering how you can still function (somewhat) normally with all of that going on in there! LOL!
Seriously, can't wait for the newest Alien. As for life quieting down for Kitty and Jeff--- ROFL!

Gini Koch said...

@Kim - must...have...more...chocolate... LOL. I'm an Aquarian, maybe that's why, but it's a lot easier for me to keep it in my head than write it down.

As for how many books a year I write, it depends on the year. Some years it's a lot, some years it's less.

@Donna - it's a controlled form of schizophrenia; I make it work for me. I'm actually better functioning since I started writing than before -- because the voices were always there, but without the outlet, they tended to overwhelm my interest. (That really does make me sound crazy, doesn't it? Ah well, the hubs wouldn't argue about the diagnosis...)

Na said...

Hi Gini,
I have heard a lot of great things about your books and mainly that they are entertaining. I read a lot of books from multiple genres but sci-fi stories are still relatively new to me. I'm on the look for stories that will endear the genre to me and I think your books are it.

I'm glad you have an outlet for the voices. It would be a sad thing to shun them away where no one will hear of them.

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

HI Gini! *waves* As you can see I continue to stalk you from blog to blog :-D What can I say, I passionately love Kitty and co. and can't miss the chance of discovering a tidbit of info in an interview :-) I just wish Christopher would make more appearances *sighs* Or if he's camera shy, what about a 1-on-1 coffee and chat with me *winks* Ok, off to get my mind from the gutter and off of Christopher ;-p lol

Gini Koch said...

@Na - my books are like the gateway drug for science fiction. Give 'em a shot (and, hey, if you win Alien Tango, then first time will BE free, LOL).

@Stella - I love my stalkers! And, all you have to do is ask -- Christopher loves to get the spotlight. ;-D

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Gini, I'm wondering how you come up with your own pen names -- is that part of the "party in your mind," or do you use some other method for picking a pseudonym?

Laurie, thinking you might have more than anyone else I know!

Estella said...

Do not read a lot of SF, but your series sounds very interesting.

Gini Koch said...

@Laurie - sometimes there's a method to the pen name madness, and sometimes there isn't. :-D I do have a lot, I'll be the first to admit. And yeah, it's all part of that party in my mind. ;-D

@Estella - thanks! I hope you give the series a try!

Connie Flynn said...

Wow, Gini, I always wondered how your mind worked and now I know. Just kidding. Seriously, though, I think you've got a terrific gig going with the Alien series and am looking forward to the next books. I also enjoyed reading about your experiences with writing it.

Thanks for stopping by for cyber-chocolate and Therapy. We all shared in it and have grown :-)

Alex @ The Blethering Bookworm said...

Thank you for another great interview Gini. I am loving seeing your interviews popping up all over, they are such a joy to read and all have be smiling. :)

Gini Koch said...

@Connie - Thanks, Connie! Glad you enjoy the party that is my mind. ;-D

@Alex - So glad you're enjoying, Alex! {HUGS}

Tina LaVon said...

I love the covers!

Gini Koch said...

@Tina - thanks, me too! Daniel Dos Santos is a fantastic artist!

Sarah said...

I absolutely adore this series & have been stalking the postman waiting for my copy of Alien Proliferation to arrive. Then I checked on Amazon & found out it won't be delivered until January *cries*

I guess the good news is that the book must be selling well to have such a long delay!

Gini Koch said...

@Sarah - oh, wow, really? Not until January?!? I'll happily take the view that it's selling well and they need to print more, but, um, I'd check and see if your local bookstore might have a copy sooner than that. (Like, say, tomorrow. LOL)

Erin Quinn said...

Hi Gini, sorry I missed your day here but chiming in late. Glad to see all the Aliens populating the bookshelves! Way to go girl! Keep up the good work.


Gini Koch said...

@Erin - Aw, thanks and {HUGS}!