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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gini KOCH - Interview + Giveaway

I'm going to show some serious adoration for one of my new favourite authors. I recently reviewed Gini Koch debut novel 'Touched by an Alien' - and I freakin LOVED it! So much so that I want to spread that love. So this is me, introducing you to Ms. Koch and giving you an opportunity to get your hands on her hot little novel! Read the interview and enter to win!

Q: How did you get published - agent or slush pile?
A: Agent, all the way. I’m against tossing anything over the transom unless every agent in the world has rejected you. Honestly, I’m against the transom even then. If every agent rejected you, well, the answer is: write another book. (Of course, that’s my answer to everything, really, including Global Warming and how to achieve world peace.)

My query letters weren’t how I did it, either. I did a ton of research, scoped out the agents I really wanted, and then endeavored to impress. I met my most awesome agent at a writer’s conference. I can’t stress enough how important it is for writers to get themselves to the educational conferences, to learn and network.

Q: How long did it take you to write ‘Touched by an Alien’ – from idea to final draft?
A: *Cough* Per said awesome agent, I’m not at liberty to say. (I write fast and I type even faster.) I perfected what I call Writing from the Hindbrain on this book. The whole Alien series is very organic for me, so it flows out quickly and without a lot of angst. And I edit as I go, so for me that makes it all go faster, too.

Put it this way -- I don’t miss deadlines.

Q: How did you win the jackpot and get Daniel Dos Santos as your cover artist?
A: DAW likes me, they really, really like me!

Seriously, my amazing and wonderful editor ensured I got DDS as my cover artist, for which I am thankful every day. I had absolutely no pull in this in any way, other than writing the book.

Q: Did you have any say in what the cover would look like?
A: No, and thank goodness. Well, rather, yes --I did show my editor some mockups at her request -- but they wisely ignored my suggestions and gently explained that the cover had to appeal to all possible readers.

It’s very hard for writers to actually come up with good covers -- good artists are far better able to do it. Dan read the entire book (and enjoyed it, too, which was great to find out), and then encapsulated the entire story in one picture. He’s amazing. I never would have come up with what he did, and that would have been to my detriment.

He did it again for Alien Tango, too. The man’s awesome. A giant in his field. The best of the best of the best, sir! (And he was robbed of the Hugo last year, though, of course, my opinion could be a tad biased.)

Q: Were you already a fan of all things alien, or did you start reading and watching in the genre after you had the idea for ‘Touched by an Alien’?
A: Oh, I’ve been a fan of lots and lots different things, including aliens, for most of my life. I’m widely read in pretty much every genre, mystery, horror, humor, science fiction, and fantasy in particular. My grandmother was a HUGE science fiction buff and a Trekkie ‘til the day she died (she adored William Shatner in the same way I adore Chris Evans and Ben Affleck and she felt Patrick Stewart was pretty okay, too), so it was always a part of my life, whether I was reading or watching it or not.

So I’m an equal opportunity entertainment girl. But if we want to get technical, my heart belongs to the comics. I love what can be done in the comics (“Watchmen” is not only the greatest graphic novel ever written, but it’s one of the best novels, too), with characters, situations, stereotypes and so on.

In general, I like my aliens funny and romantic a lot more than serious, though. I also prefer them great looking, but that could just be me…

Q: In ‘Touched’, Kitty and Martini have a whirlwind romance. He is literally talking marriage from the get-go, and it’s quite refreshing. Did you ever reconsider (or redraft?) the speed of their relationship?
A: Well, no, not really. Mostly because I wasn’t going to argue with any of the characters about what was going on. From start to finish it felt like the characters were telling me what was happening (starting with their names and physical descriptions, btw) and I was just typing it down as fast as I could.

Also, remember that Martini is an empath. So he picks things up faster and differently from a human. And, okay, he’s also a little obsessive. But only ‘cause it’s Kitty and because of what he’s picked up from and about her.

I firmly believe in love at first sight -- I know too many happy couples who met and married in days or weeks to argue against that being real. I’ve also never been big on the idea that the guy you HATE who seems to hate you is the right guy. I’ve had some relationships like that, where it started out with all the “sparks” and fur flying and then turned romantic. They sucked in the very short run, never made it to long run. Call me crazy, but the guy who’s crazy about you and treats you like a queen might just be the guy you want to settle down with. It’s been working for me with the hubs, at any rate.

Q: Who is on your dream cast-list for a movie adaptation of ‘Touched’?
A: Ah, this alters daily. BTW, the temptation to say, “Not telling” is really high, because I don’t want a reader to necessarily think of who I ‘cast’ as BEING the characters. The characters look like themselves in my mind (and hopefully in the readers’ minds too). They aren’t based on any real person, they’re based on the people who are literally hanging around in my mind (and whining about how I need to get back to editing Books 3 & 4).

I’ll list who I think could play the characters right now, as opposed to who I listed when I first wrote and then first sold the series. Again, none of these actors look exactly like I see the characters, but they’d be good casting choices and could play the characters well in a movie or TV show. (Martini, in particular, is nothing like the people I’d suggest to play him, they’re just the closest I can come up with that could handle the role. Christopher too, come to think of it. And Kitty. LOL. But they all approve of the actors listed.)

Kitty -- Drew Barrymore, Alicia Silverstone, or Isla Fisher
Martini -- Paul Telfer, Hugh Jackman, or Dwayne Johnson (all with Patrick Dempsey’s hair)
Christopher -- Chris Evans
Reader -- Matthew Bomer or Johnny Depp
Gower -- D.B. Woodside
White -- Mark Harmon or Robert Redford (because, sadly, Paul Newman has left the soundstage)
Lorraine -- Scarlett Johansson
Claudia -- Jessica Alba

Q: And on that note… have you sold the movie rights to ‘Touched’?
A: No, though we did have immediate Hollywood interest two years ago based on my log lines. The production companies were looking for male-driven, however, not female-driven. But, you know, if/when the series is a big success, things may change. We can but wait and see (and encourage everyone and their mother to buy “Touched by an Alien”).

Q: What’s your favourite alien-themed movie?
A: LOL, I essentially got asked that question by SF Signal for my (first!) Mind Meld, so I have my answers all ready and didn’t even have to struggle (unlike the freaking casting one, which took the better part of two damn hours to research…you’re lucky I like you…).

I have more than one: “Starman”, “Men in Black”, and “Galaxy Quest”. I could watch those over and over again (come to think of it, I DO watch those over and over again…)

My least favorite is “E.T.”, btw. Always hated it, always will.

Q: Favourite book of all time?
A: Argh. A toughie. I mean, really and truly. It’s probably cheating to say, “The Complete Works of O. Henry” or “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” (though those would be my first choices). So, I’ll go with “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. (And then try to ignore all the other books clamoring to be moved into that #1 slot. Yeah, it’s a party in my head, thanks a lot.)

Q: Favourite author?
A: This is also a toughie. It’s probably a toss up between Robert Benchley and Terry Pratchett. Though I adore Robert Silverberg, too. I’m stopping there. I have many, many more, but refuse to share them, mostly on the grounds that I could list dead authors until your blog exploded, and I know a LOT of living published authors now, and I’m not going to get caught in the ‘you don’t like my stuff?’ trap this question always opens up.

Q: Can you give us the low-down on ‘Alien Tango’?
A: Sure, since you asked so nicely. It’s the most awesome book ever, even more awesome than “Touched by an Alien”! (Okay, fine, can’t blame a girl for trying.)

For Katherine “Kitty” Katt, Alien Super-Being Exterminator, anti-alien conspiracies, threats from outer space, and a couple of killer alligators are all in a day’s work. But internal alien schemes and some major romantic complications bring new meaning to the term ‘chaos and confusion’.

It’s been five months since Kitty joined Centaurion Division, working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri. She and Jeff Martini have grown closer as a couple and life looks rosy. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of Alpha Team are called out to investigate and are immediately embroiled in life or death situations that scream ‘political conspiracy’.

The team must survive repeated murderous attacks, remove a mysterious space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty’s old high school boyfriend. And that’s all before the masterminds decide Kitty’s extermination is vital -- and take matters into their own hands.

Q: Are you contracted for a 3rd ‘Kitty Katt’ book?
A: Not yet… :-D. Put it this way -- watch those Hook Me Up! messages and keep an eye on the Blah, Blah, Blah Blog posts because I expect to have news on that soon. And it would be news that I would certainly consider good. Bounce-worthy, even.
Readers who are pining for a fix, however, can hit my website -- -- and visit my Expanded Universes page. I’ve got a variety of shorts up there in Random Musings and The Misadventures of Kiki, as well as an online, serialized novel, The Creation Agent, for my web readers only. It’s not Kitty, Martini and Christopher, but it’ll get you through to “Alien Tango”. Well, combined with re-reading “Touched by an Alien”, anyway.

I have ONE copy of ‘Touched by an Alien’ to give away.
All you have to do is:

Become a follower of my blog (if you aren't already)
Leave a comment (with a way to contact you) – only ONE comment per entrant

This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway.

Contest closes 20th May and I will post the winner on the 25th.