Gini Koch writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books, the Necropolis Enforcement Files series, and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series for Musa Publishing. Alien in the House, Book 7 in her long-running Alien series, won the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award as the Best Futuristic Romance of 2013. Alien Collective, Book 9, released in May, and Universal Alien in December. As G.J. Koch, she writes the Alexander Outland series, and she’s made the most of multiple personality disorder by writing under a variety of other pen names as well, including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch. Currently, Gini has stories featured in the Unidentified Funny Objects 3, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, and Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets anthologies, and, writing as J.C. Koch, in Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters, The Madness of Cthulhu, Vol. 1, and A Darke Phantastique anthologies. She will also have a story in the first book in an X-Files anthology series coming out in 2015.
For what age audience do you write?
I write for pretty much anyone, but I don’t write children’s or middle grade, and while I think my books are fine for mature YA readers, I don’t, as of yet, write YA. My main genres are Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Mystery/Suspense, but I write under a variety of pen names, so I kind of cover all the genre bases. The Alien series has a high heat level (call it a Hard R), but everything else so far is PG-13.
Tell us about your latest book.
It’s the best book ever and a deal at twice the price!
No? Okay then, the 10th book in my Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series, Universal Alien, is a book I’ve been building to for the entire series so far. It’s also a pivotal book in that it’s going to allow me to open things up and pretty much do whatever I want, whenever I want. Within good storytelling reason, of course.
It’s also the book that reveals the true identity of the Mastermind, which is a reveal that fans have been awaiting for several books now.
For those who haven’t picked up this series yet, start with Touched by an Alien. Trust me on this one. The series follows Kitty as she discovers the Roswell rumors are true, but with a twist – the aliens are here to help us and, as a side benefit, they’re all gorgeous. They also have talents and abilities that are far superior to those of humankind. They’re also at the center of every plot or conspiracy theory going. Kitty ends up using her natural talents – sarcastic wit, bravery, vast knowledge of pop culture, in-depth knowledge of comics, and love of rock and roll – to save the day. Basically, if Kitty’s around, hijinks ensue.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
Entertainment, enjoyment, laughter, thrills, chills, and perhaps a few thoughts about political, religious, racial, and socio-economic issues. But mostly entertainment. Because that’s my job.
Henry: That’s a lot! Clearly a bargain at the price.
Two of your books are titled Touched by an Alien, and Alien in the Family. Will there be other TV show-based titles in your future?
Probably. I tend to go for pop culture-ish titles, though not always. My short story in the Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets anthology, for example, is entitled “All the Single Ladies”. So more TV or movie references are inevitable.
Henry: I look forward to Babylon 90210 and Downton Asteroid. You’re welcome.
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
Meeting all my deadlines on time. Because I’m a gold medal, world class procrastinator and, happily, I have a lot of deadlines.
Henry: And here I’ve exacerbated things by asking you to do an interview.
What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?
Meeting your deadlines is extremely important. But I honestly knew that one already.
Probably the most powerful lesson is that what you write matters, many times more than you realize. I’ve had readers in terrible circumstances tell me that my books were what got them through the hard times. That’s a wonderful, and very humbling, feeling.
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?
Every single fan interaction. They’re all great, and I’d never have experienced them, or met all the wonderful people I have, if not for being a published author.
Henry: That’s right. We would never have met at a writers conference. And our lives would have been forever diminished. *swoons*
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Never give up, never surrender. And remember that grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and word usage matter, especially to agents and editors.
Henry: Wait. Editors care about your writing ability!?
Do you have any favorite quotes?
Oh, of course. These are probably my all-time faves.
“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying.” Woody Allen
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” W.C. Fields
“Never give up. Never, never give up. Never, never, ever give up.” Winston Churchill (yes, I know it’s a contradiction to the Fields quote. What can I say? I’m a woman of many moods, me.)
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ ” Eleanor Roosevelt
Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write?
Not really. I need to have music playing, anything in the broad spectrum of rock and roll, and definitely with lyrics. Other than that, finding the right band, song, or playlist for a book is, for me, the most important step. Beyond that, my only ritual is to sit my butt in the chair and write. That’s the only ritual that ensures success.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Because I write superhero fiction with my Alien series, I’ve been asked this question a lot and so have given it a lot of thought. Therefore, I choose Hyperspeed. I could get so much more done if I could do it faster than someone can blink.
Henry: The thought of you with Hyperspeed is a bit intimidating. 🙂
If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?
Oh, the hard question. Hard in that it’s really hard for me to limit it to three. I’m going to choose three who are dead, because I actually get to dine with many authors I admire these days. But I can’t run into these three at a convention. So I choose:
Robert Benchley, Charles Dickens & Mark Twain
The why is that Benchley is my favorite humorist of all time, Dickens is the reason we authors get paid, and Twain was the best social humorist of his and probably any other day. And they’re three of my all-time favorites. And I also think they’d be fun to eat with, since each would be trying to one-up the others in terms of witticisms and commentary.
If I got a bonus author, by the way, it would be Arthur Conan Doyle because Sherlock Holmes. I mean, ‘nuff said on that one, right?
What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?
Wow, another tough one. While I love vampires, werewolves, and really all the mythical creatures out there, I’m going to have to go with drop-dead gorgeous aliens who are enamored of humans and able to mate successfully (and frequently) with said humans. Because those aliens helped give me a writing career. So I’m partial to them.
Henry: So, you’re a Fifty Shades of Green kinda’ gal? 🙂
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Wait. You can do things other than write? I didn’t get that memo!
Henry: You are correct. It was a trick question.
What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-great grandmother, great-great-great to infinity grandmother, pet mother, and author. We know she’s taking over, wherever she’s going.
Where can readers find your work?
Everywhere! No, really, everywhere. All my books are available in e-formats, and most are available in physical format as well. The Alien series is in pretty much all bookstores, too.
But it’s easiest to find that everywhere via my Bibliography page at my website: http://www.ginikoch.com/bibliography.htm We try to keep it updated as regularly as we can, but do forgive us when deadlines mean you know where my books are faster than I do.
This interview is also posted on the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.