Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blogiversary Day 2: Interview and Giveaway with Gini Koch!

(Cover art copyright Daniel Dos Santos)

So, I recently read and LOVED Gini Koch's Touched by an Alien (my review here). I liked it so much I decided I had to give away a copy for my 1 year blogiversary celebration. When I asked Gini for some of her "free stuff" to give away, she also kindly agreed to do an interview!

Book Addict: Where did you get the idea for a race of super-hot guys? (And I love that the women are not impressed!) Anyone in particular you used for “inspiration”?

Gini: This book was very organic for me -- it felt like it wrote itself. Therefore, I wrote down what the characters told me. And, really, it’s my world, my rules. Why NOT have them be super-gorgeous to Earthlings? I’d rather spend time with a whole lot of gorgeous than not and figure most readers are going to agree.

Also, remember that, to the female A-Cs, the men just look ordinary. The A-C women are brains, not looks, focused, and they’re all gorgeous, men and women alike, so it’s not any big thing to them. Which is, you know, lucky for Earth folk everywhere.

In a lot of cases I do use good looking actors as models, but not for this book. Kitty looks like Kitty, Jeff looks like Jeff, Christopher like Christopher, etc., in my mind. They don’t look like anyone else out there. While there are people who could play them in a movie or on TV, it would still be an impersonation, not “them”.

Book Addict: I also love that the hero, Jeff Martini, is a super nice guy right from the beginning and not some jerk who treats Kitty badly and has to be redeemed. Speaking of Jeff (rowr!), did you chose his name for the irony or did it just sound good at the time? If you don’t want to give anything away, just check Y or N:

_____Y _______N

(just like in grade school, right?)

Gini: ROFL. His name is Jeff Martini because that’s what he told me his name was. I’m not kidding, the characters are in full control. I’m merely reporting. ;-D (I didn’t know his middle name until Terry, channeling through Kitty, said it, either. Welcome to the party that is my mind!) So, no irony consciously intended.

I’m really glad that there’s so much love for Martini. Because I fully expected to get a lot of complaints that Kitty didn’t end up with Christopher. But Martini’s the right guy for her, and I’m glad that came through and the readers seem to have embraced it.

And, I’m not a fan of the idea that the guy who treats you like dirt is, somehow, the right guy for you and that you should, therefore, kick the nice guy to the curb for the awful crime of treating you well and caring about you. There’s brooding and then there’s being a dick. I can take some brooding, but really, the dicks don’t get my chicks, at least not permanently.

Book Addict: Which leads us to Christopher – will we get to see a romantic storyline for him? All in all I did like him (and if Kitty’s mom likes him he must be an okay guy, right?)

Gini: Yes, but not immediately. I’m not going to say when, where, or how, but Christopher will score some action.

I like Christopher, too. He’s a great guy, a hero, just not the right guy for Kitty, in part because of how he acts when he realizes he likes her. In this world, there are three “right guys” for her, essentially, but Christopher isn’t one of them.

Book Addict: Is this a tease? 3 guys that are right for her? Have we met them yet? You’re killing me!

Gini: LOL, yes, it IS a teaser. All will be revealed (well, at least somewhat) in “Alien Tango”. And, technically, you have all the clues for who these three are in “Touched by an Alien”… *evil snicker*

And, yes, Angela does like Christopher very much. And she was pushing Kitty towards him, but more so that Kitty might possibly become aware that Christopher was interested in more than exchanging insults. Angela has a lot of experience with Kitty’s density, and Christopher is indeed more of what Kitty’s physical ‘type’ used to be.

Book Addict: With that in mind, will we see some side romance for the other characters? I like Reader and Gower, and a lot of romance readers enjoy a bit of m/m with their romance – will we see more of their relationship?

Gini: In terms of seeing more of Reader and Gower in the books, absolutely, and you’ll see more of them, and since they are a couple, you’ll see their interactions as Kitty sees them. But while I adore Reader and Gower, they’re an established couple, and this series is in first person POV, so you’re not going to see them in any intimate way.

I’m willing to do what I call a one-off, something that’s not “part” of the official series (like Janet Evanovich’s “between the numbers” books) but the series has to become very big before things like that are allowed.

But, you never know. If there’s enough interest from fans, I might do something special for fans only. We’ll just have to see. (Yes, I *am* being vague. It’s part of my mysterious charm. ;-D)

Book Addict: This is your first book – how did you score Daniel Dos Santos to do the cover? Do you have an amazing agent or did you just get lucky?

Gini: DAW likes me, they really, really like me! That’s the reason -- my editor rocks, and so forth. My agent IS amazing, but she didn’t affect the cover, that was my editor who is, admittedly, totally awesome.

Book Addict: I see you've been contracted for 4 books - will that be it? Do you have a set point to end the series or are you just going to run with it until you run out of ideas? Which leads to: are you a pantster or plotter?

Gini: No, 4 isn’t it, and I don’t have a set ending point. I can, and hope to, write these characters’ stories for a long time to come. I look at it this way -- I’m not the same person I was at 20 (and thank God, really), but I’m still interesting, and still have interesting things happening to me. I resent the idea that someone would think I’d always keep Kitty 27. She’s going to age and grow, just like everyone else, and just like everyone else in the series. And I think what you do when you’re 27 and single versus 30 and married with children is different, but still interesting. Plus, I’ll put a mini-van up against a sports car in terms of weapons toting and ramming effectiveness any day.

I don’t really run out of ideas. I don’t have writer’s block. I have the opposite -- more ideas than I may get to in my lifetime (and my family lives a long time). But, once I begin the writing process, I’m very much a linear writer (or pantster) -- I start with the title, then the first line, then write until the end. And I know when it’s the end. It makes it hard on my agent, because I literally need to finish a book before I can tell her what’s going to happen and how it’s going to end. But hey, it’s working for me.

You know, it dawned on me while writing this that I can’t stand the terms “plotter” and “pantster -- because the insinuation I take away from those is that a linear writer doesn’t plot and an outline writer never goes off course, and I know both of those to be false. (This qualifies as a deep insight out of me right now, btw, so take it for whatever that’s worth.)

Book Addict: What did you do to pay the bills before becoming an author? Or are you still working a day job and writing in your off time?

Gini: I worked in Corporate America in marketing. And, like many others, as of last year, I don’t work in Corporate America any more. It worked out -- writing’s been my real life for a long time now, and promotion’s a full time job once your book comes out. Plus, there are those other books to get finished. Oh, and the bills get paid by the hubs who is still one with Corporate America. No, I’m nowhere close to being able to live off my writing income. (Um, there IS income with this, right? Just checking…)

Book Addict: One of the recurring themes in this book is tolerance, and you address it without being “preachy”. Did you intend to include that theme as you were writing or did it just happen that way?

Gini: I’m glad it doesn’t come across as preachy, because I don’t want it to be. But intolerance, prejudice and bigotry exist in the world, and a whole lot of evil is done because of them. So they make for interesting themes to me, because they’re always going to be relatable in some way.

I was raised as a Quaker (Ben Franklin/Quaker Oats, not the Puritans) and found out as an adult that I’m actually Jewish. Quakers believe in tolerance and acceptance for all people and anti-Semitism’s been around for thousands of years. Both sides are an integral part of me as a person, so they’re an integral part of me as an author, too. It wasn’t a conscious thing, it’s just a part of the overall story the characters told me.

Book Addict: You’ve got a lot of great music interspersed throughout the book – just out of curiosity, how many Aerosmith concerts have you been to? (Or concerts in general, if you’d prefer)

Gini: Hmmm…well, not as many as I’d like. LOL. I think I’ve only seen Aerosmith 5 times live (and, yeah, I consider 5 times to be “only”…I could see Aerosmith every week and not feel like I’d had enough). I’ve been to a lot of concerts…at least 100 in the last 10 years. I love going to concerts and I have the same wide musical tastes as Kitty does, meaning I’ll go to almost anything. In one year I went to Steely Dan and Iron Maiden, and hit everything in between, too. That was a GREAT year, concerts-wise. As I think of it, that was also the year I sold “Touched by an Alien” and “Alien Tango”. Hmmm…I need to hit more concerts this year…

Book Addict: Any bits of yourself written into the book? Do you have any strange writing habits?

Gini: LOL. I love this question -- someone has asked me that at least once a year ever since I started writing -- and every other day since “Touched by an Alien” came out. I honestly don’t know how any author could answer any other way than, “Yes, of course I’m in the book.” The stories come from my head, I’m the god, I’m in there. I’m in Kitty, yes. But I’m also in Mephistopheles and all the other villains. And every other character and thing in the book.

All your experiences, thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc., join together to help you create. Some authors bleed ink, some, like me, love the process, but all of us put all of ourselves into what we write. The trick is doing it in a way that still leaves you, the author, separate from your creation. Otherwise, you’re writing an autobiography.

I don’t think any of my writing habits are strange, though the hubs did, until he discovered that for any habit I have there are at least a third of the writing population doing the same thing. I’m lucky, I can and do write in chaos. I need music more than anything else, though pictures of “the hunk du jour” always help, too. (Oh, and my current Hunk du Jour is Nathan Fillion, but he’s certainly not alone…my Hunks List is a very, very long list.) But music is the most important.

Otherwise, I don’t think I do anything massively out of the ordinary. I find silence very hard to work in, and I’m not one of those “lock myself away in a cabin with nothing but me and the laptop” kind of writers. You lock me up in some cabin with no distractions, no music, no nothing but “the work and the silence” and I won’t come out with a book -- I’ll come out with a straightjacket.

Book Addict: You mention in the book Jeff and Christopher “swap” personalities – will this be important in later books?

Gini: To clarify, you’re talking about how the mutual trauma they went through as young boys caused them to flip personalities, in that sense. It’s important more in that it helps you see how each of them reacted to it because it helped shape the characters into who they are today.

Honestly, if Christopher’s personality was what it had been as a boy, he’d indeed have landed Kitty. But, such is not the way of the world, and he’s been how he “is” for 20 years versus 10, so it’s pretty set in stone. However, will there be flashes of the “old” Christopher and Jeff? Sure, but at this time they’re not huge plot points, more like character moments.

Book Addict: Any chance TBAA will be made into a movie?

Gini: Always a chance, girlfriend. I got immediate Hollywood interest when we sold “Touched by an Alien” and “Alien Tango” two years ago, but they wanted male-driven, not female-driven. (Yeah, I know, apparently every successful female-driven movie is an anomaly to those who run Hollywood. But I digress…) At this time, there’s none that I know of, but you never can tell what’s right around the corner.

Book Addict: Kirk or Picard?
Gini: Oh, this is a trick question…because there is Old Kirk (William Shatner) and New Kirk (Chris Pine).

Between Old Kirk and Picard, I take Picard. Between Old Kirk, Picard, and New Kirk, I take New Kirk. (But my grandmother would have taken William Shatner in a New York Minute. Shatner was to her as Ben Affleck and Chris Evans are to me -- total hotness.)

Book Addict: Movie Adaptions of Comics – yea or nay?
Gini: For the most part yea. They don’t all work, but when they do, they’re awesome. And I think I like more of the ones that supposedly didn’t work than most, too. (Gives the LOVE to “Daredevil” and “Fantastic Four”…Affleck was DA BOMB in “Daredevil” and Chris Evans IS Johnny Storm! And, now, apparently, also Captain America. Which, yes, of COURSE I’m going to see. Yes, yes, you rightly sense a trend. They aren’t the only two Hollywood hotties I love, but they’re in my top 10.)

Book Addict: Edward or Jacob? (sorry, had to squeeze that one in there, LOL!)
Gini: Jacob. Give me the hottie fur boy over the fanged brooder any time.

AND, yesterday the official cover was revealed for the next book - Alien Tango (release date Dec 7!)! Isn't it gorgeous? I cannot wait to read this book!

(Cover art copyright Daniel Dos Santos)

Thanks so much Gini for being my first interview - it was a lot of fun!!!

If you'd like to learn more about Gini or her books, check out her website here!



I have one copy of Touched by an Alien, along with a signed bookplate, signed cover flat, and Alien collective magnets to give away!

Here's the deets:

Open to all but you MUST follow this blog. Because Touched by an Alien has such a rockin' soundtrack - leave a comment and tell me your favorite band or a concert you've been to! Or, if you have a question for Gini, ask away!

+1 tweet (leave link)
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+3 put my button on your blog (so I don't feel like that kid on the side of the playground in the funny clothes who brings an onion for lunch every day)

Ends June 29 at midnight central time.


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