Kitty's brand of diplomacy and lobbying isn't quite as smooth as Jeff's--Washington parties, lobbyists of all stripes, and politicians from all states and countries present challenges a well-stocked iPod and quirky sense of humor aren't always up to handling. But when a shadowy assassination plot and a new set of anti-alien conspirators are identified, Kitty's the diplomat for the job--in between "Mommy and Me," "Diplomacy for Beginners," and the dreaded "Washington Wife" classes.
As explosions, assassination attempts, and murders pile up, the question shifts from "who's the target" to "will we all survive to see next week"?
Armed with only their wits, and dressed to kill, it's up to Kitty and the Diplomatic Corps to stop the bad guys from unleashing mayhem on all the world’s leaders. But will Kitty trust the right people, at the right times, or will going her own way prove deadly--not just to her, but to her daughter, Jamie?
Author Interview With Gini Koch
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Surely. I live in Hell's Orientation Area (aka Phoenix, Arizona) with my husband, 3 dogs (aka The Canine Death Squad), 3 cats (aka The Killer Kitties), and one spoiled daughter. Who agrees she's spoiled but insists she's not nearly as spoiled as the pets. And she's probably right.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I've always had story ideas, run scenes in my mind. However, I was told by a teacher that the only way someone could write was by outlining. And I believed and listened to that really awful advice for far too long.
Finally, though, there were a set of voices in my head that were so loud and demanding, I wrote them down to shut them up. And never looked back.
What surprised you the most about the writing/publishing process?
That, in fact, all those "absolutes" you hear about and are taught are all bunk. There is no "one way" to create anything artistic. No one has the right to say "this is the only way to do something". What they MEAN is "This is the way I do it, and so that means it's the way you have to do it, too." Which is, again, bunk.
I was very aware that publishing was a business, and a slow one at that, so nothing on the business side has been much of a surprise.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I'm possibly the most linear writer you'll ever meet, and I don't make that boast lightly. I have no set formula past "wing it 'til it works", which, so far, has indeed been working.
The most important thing for me is the right music playing. If I don't have the right music, the writing doesn't flow as fast or as well. The right song or band playing, though? Magic. Speedy, effective writing magic.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Characters, plots, and scenes that stick with someone after they've read them. Writing is art, and all art is subjective, so, in my opinion, if you like it, then it’s good (for you) and if you don't like it then it's poor (for you). But the art itself isn't good or bad, because that's all tied up in your reactions to the art.
For me, if I enjoyed it, it's good. Period. I'm a simple creature, really.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
"So what was decided without me?"
Jeff heaved a sigh. "Not much. James wanted to wait for you to get back."
On cue he popped his head in. Reader was still the best looking human I'd ever seen in the flesh, and if he wasn't gay and married to Gower, my life might be very different. Seeing as he was, however, the cover boy smile being flashed at me merely reminded me that someone thought my input was necessary.
"Girlfriend, while you feed the baby, want you thinking about a couple of key points I'm sure Jeff and Reynolds didn't tell you."
I tried not to visibly perk up, but failed if the grins I got from both Reader and Jeff were any indication. "Sure, James. Lay 'em on me."
He nodded. "First, Reynolds' 'source' happens to be our favorite investigative reporter of all time."
"Really? Chuckie takes information from Mister Joel Oliver?"
Reader shrugged. "Per Reynolds, the guy's almost never wrong. The second point, however, is that we have no idea if it's a lone assassin, a group, or anything else you can come up with. I'd like you to come up with everything you can, though, because we have less than two days to avert God literally knows what."
In Twitter Fashion use 140 characters or less, sum Alien Diplomacy for us.
See Kitty go to Washington. See Kitty and Washington not mix. Chaos, humor & bad times for bad guys ensues. With extra helpings of hotties.
How did you come up with a story that was such a whirlwind of events?
*cough* Um, that's how my mind works. It's just how it plays out when Kitty tells me what went on. Pretty much, I just let the characters tell me what happened and go from there. Seriously, that "process" of mine? Not really something regimented.
How long did it take you to write it, and did you have any writer's block along the way?
You know, I honestly can't remember how long. I'm on constant deadline these days (which, for an author, is a GREAT place to be), so I don't pay attention to how long any more. My only concern is "did I meet my deadline?" If my answer is "yes", then I'm a happy camper.
I don't have writer's block. I don't allow myself to. However, the promotion and public side of an author's life is very time-consuming and I've really had to learn how to juggle those two sides. Because I really ENJOY the public side, so I like Facebook, I love Twitter, and I truly enjoy meeting people. (My fans are my crack, basically. Is that wrong?)
Will we be seeing a following book in this series?
Yes indeed! Touched by an Alien, Alien Tango, Alien in the Family, and Alien Proliferation are all out and available now, with Alien Diplomacy coming April 3rd. Alien vs. Alien releases December 4, 2012. Books 7 & 8, Alien in the House and Alien Collective, are releasing April/December 2013. And I have through Book 12 mapped out (as much as I map) and I can "see" through 16 at this time. Normally the way I work is as I'm writing "this" book, I can "see" the next few that would follow it. Plus, some of what I think I'll cover in one book ends up being "too big" or not fitting, and so it's moved to another book.
How did you come up with the character Kitty?
I had a dream. It was a dark, noir-ish, horror dream. And I intended to write a dark, short, noir-ish horror story. Within three pages, though, the character's voice wasn't dark or horror-like so much as quirky and sarcastic. As I went on, I realized this character wasn’t going to fit into the mold I'd planned, and I allowed that. Kitty showed up, basically, and said, "Hey, here's the poop and scoop," and we went from there.
I always must ask, If you could pick one actor to portray Jeff on the big screen who would it be and why?
There are so many actors who I think could do it well, so my choice depends on the day sometimes. My biggest thing would be someone who could open the movie, have great chemistry with whoever was playing Kitty, and ensure the movie has legs.
As of this exact moment, I'm voting Chris "Thor" Hemsworth for the Jeff role. Ask me next week, however, and I could change my mind. (Or go back to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who, even though he's a little old for the role, would do an awesome job as well.)
Was there anything you find particularly challenging when writing this book?
Alien Diplomacy represents a lot of change for the characters -- jobs, where they live, social structure, and more. So, I had to not only learn a lot of diplomatic terms, but I had to make sure they were being used correctly (or incorrectly, on purpose, depending). I also had to learn an existing city well enough to make it believable. Research is fun, though, and thanks to the internet, relatively easy.
What were your feelings when you first saw the cover of your finished book?
Daniel Dos Santos is my cover artist, and I love his work. For this particular cover, he collaborated with Dave Palumbo, so it was interesting to see how they worked together and still came up with a great, kickass cover. Basically, I look forward to every cover, because I can't wait to see what Dan comes up with.
Official Fan Site/Alien Collective Virtual HQ: http://aliencollectivehq.com/
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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 G.J. Koch, 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 speaks frequently on what it takes to become a successful author and other aspects of writing and the publishing business.