Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Interview with Gini Koch!

I am so happy and excited to have someone that I absolutely adore back on my blog again! She has quickly become one of my favorite authors and was nice enough to grant me another interview as well as bring along some of my favorite characters with her! *chants Martini, Martini!*

Please welcome back the Leader of the Alien Collective: Gini Koch!

Welcome back to Hanging With Bells Gini!

Thanks! It’s great to be back!

Last week must have been an exciting week for you with the release of Alien Tango, book 2 of the Katherine "Kitty" Katt Series. This book was pure awesomeness! (My review can be found here) Could you please give my followers that haven't read the book a little info on it?

Thanks again, and yeah it was, exciting and BUSY! In addition to everything else, I just got back from a signing in San Diego at Mysterious Galaxy, which was very cool.

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.

From the science fiction side, we see much more of Centaurion Division that we did before, including more of how they work with government agencies. We also see Alpha Team under a variety of deadly attacks. A good portion of the action takes place in Florida at and around the Space Center, and we have a different kind of alien involved, as well as a different kind of enemy.

From the romantic side, in addition to some conspiracies that catch everyone pretty much by surprise, Kitty and Martini are having the ever-present relationship challenge of “does your family like me, and why not?” I think everyone can relate to that issue and the desire to impress the family of the person you love. Plus there’s a romantic rival that Martini may have seen coming, but not like this, and whose presence could change everything for Kitty.

There is so much going on in this book and because of that, I experienced a wide range of emotions. From laughing like a demented Hyena to crying and blubbering to myself. Did you experience any of these feelings while writing the book? (There is nothing to be ashamed about if you were laughing like a demented Hyena by the way.)

LOL, you know, the emotion I usually feel when I’m writing this series is joy combined with a kind of anxiety in terms of the need for speed, because the ideas come fast and furious and I’m racing to keep up with them. Normally I get the full emotional impact when I’m doing edits, which, since I edit as I go, is still within the boundaries of the initial process, so yeah.

In terms of humor, if it doesn’t make me laugh, it doesn’t make it in the book. Without giving anything away, the last quarter of Alien Tango was quite a rollercoaster for me, probably because it’s one for Kitty. And also because of things that happen and who’s involved that if I even mention a little will be total spoilers. So, stopping now.

But as an author, it’s really gratifying to hear that someone enjoyed your book with the full emotional spectrum. That’s our brass ring, so to speak, so thanks, I feel great!

You also introduced so many awesome new characters in this book. The Martini Family are exactly how I expected them to be. They seem so familiar because they are just like any normal family. Were any of your family members the inspiration for some of the characters in your books?

Not mine so much, my in-laws are wonderful, but I certainly have friends who went through similar situations. And lord knows I dated enough guys before I met the hubs that I had plenty of experiences to draw from. And families are, for the most part, families. We’re all a lot more similar than we want to believe, and the family dynamics are, therefore, similar.

While on the subject of characters, there is one thing about your characters that truly makes me happy. As an African American woman it is truly refreshing to see so many African American characters in your books! It's also great to see that we are aliens as well! LOL!

And HOT aliens, too, it must be mentioned! I grew up in Southern California and I was surrounded by a variety of ethnicities, cultures, religions and so on. To me, a multicultural landscape is normal, so that comes into my writing naturally.

The Gators were also a nice touch. They had me howling the loudest! How did you come up with the idea to have them in the book? *chuckling*

When I was researching the Kennedy Space Center I discovered their alligator preserve and it just sort of clicked in terms of having alligators involved. HOW they got involved, and how intimately, however, was all Kitty’s doing.

My friend Colette (A BuckEye Girl Reads) said something to me the other day that I just had to include in this interview. Why Kitty for a nickname instead of Kat, Kit-Kat or Kathy?

Because that’s what Kitty’s parents, and her friends therefore, call her. Kit-Kat, as readers will discover, is Kitty’s sorority nickname, so that’s used. In my vast world experience, there are a ton of Kathys, but I only know one Kitty, one of my aunts by marriage, whom I happen to think is awesome. And Kat Katt just seems kind of silly to me. (I know, I know, there are people who don’t like Kitty Katt. And to them I say, “Sorry, that’s her name.”)

I said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again -- this series was very organic for me, and the characters told me their names, I didn’t name them. I didn’t nickname them, either, they were nicknamed by the other characters.

I HAVE mentioned that it’s a party in my mind, right?

Sounds like it and I love it!

The both of us, Colette and I, would like to know if you have any other pen names that you write under. That way we can stalk you more.

Oooh, I love stalkers! Yes, I do, and in fact, I have two short stories under my Anita Ensal pen name coming out in two DAW anthologies. “Wanted” is in Love and Rockets, a Science Fiction Romance anthology, which released the same day as Alien Tango, last week on December 7th, so that’s on the shelves and in eformats all over now. “Being Neighborly” is in Boondocks Fantasy, an Urban/Rural Fantasy anthology, which releases on January 4, 2011, also in mass market and all eformats.

As there’s more current news on other pen names you shall, of course, be among the first to know!

I feel so special!

I read the awesome news on your blog that there are going to be even more books in this awesome series! What are their names and how many book do you have planned for the series?

Yes indeed! Alien in the Family comes out April 5, 2011 and Alien Proliferation releases Winter 2011. And, DAW has purchased Books 5 & 6, so Alien Diplomacy and Alien vs. Alien will be hitting the shelves in 2012, presumably on the same schedule.

As for how many I plan, as many as DAW and the readers let me write. I have through Book 12 mapped out (as much as I map) but yes I could go longer than that. It’ll depend. The characters will tell me when they’re through, but Kitty assures me she’s not done rockin’ and rollin’ at this time.

More books = More Martini! Make it happen DAW! The readers want MORE!

Did you plan from the beginning to use the word Alien in all of the titles?

Well, if we define “the beginning” to mean after I realized what I was writing was going to be a light and frothy science fiction romance novel and not a dark short horror story, and therefore I needed to change the working title, yeah. Publishers like to have something to tie a series together, and the word “alien” seemed the most logical to me. Plus it gave me a lot of room to have fun with the titles.

Alien in the Family is the next book up in the series and based on the blurb alone, it sounds as if it is going to surpass the awesomeness of Touched by an Alien and Alien Tango.

Awww, thanks, and I hope so!

Love the cover!

Oh, me too! The hubs says it’s his fave so far. I love them all. Some days I like one more than the others, but really, they all rock.

There's an axe and something that looks like a light saber. Some kind of rodent, cat, and reptilian creature! There's also AC's galore (WHOO HOO!) Martini kicking butt and Kitty...with blood on her dress. That totally makes sense by the way. Do you come up with ideas on how you want your covers to look, or is that all done by the cover artist?

There’s a doglike creature in the back, too. And more. All the awesome is done by my cover artist, the uber-awesome Daniel Dos Santos. He did ask me for some descriptions but that was it. He reads the books and basically comes up with the awesome all by his lonesome, though I think my editor has some input.

I’m frankly happy to have little input into the covers. Dan’s ability to boil down the entire book into one image is, to me, beyond amazing, and it’s not a talent I possess.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Gini. Greatly appreciated! I hope you don't mind if I now ask some questions to your characters?

Oh, sure. They love the spotlight. A little too much sometimes, but hey, can’t help how you’re made, right?

Martini and Kitty, welcome back to my blog!

Kitty: Thanks! It’s great to be back!
Martini: Hey Bells. Lovely outfit you’re wearing. Very flattering.

blushes and says to self, Stay cool Bells, stay cool!*

So much has changed since you've both been here. I've read Alien Tango and I have to say wow, what a wild ride that was! I also gotta say, Martini you are the man! You really did you thing in this book!

Martini: Thanks! See? Some people appreciate me.
Kitty: I appreciate you!
Martini: Ha. Not as much as you appreciate him.
Kitty: Don’t be ridiculous.
Martini: I hate him. I really…hate…him.
Kitty: Oh, geez. Get used to him being around. Besides, you were awesome.
Martini: I’ve mentioned that I don’t enjoy the last part of the book nearly as much as everyone else does, right?
Kitty: Yes, yes, you’ve made your point there. It all works out in the end, Jeff. Bells, a little help here?

While reading Alien Tango, my love for all things Martini has deepened. I gotta say this...*looks at Martini* you were so sexy in this book! *growls* Do you truly realize how sexy you are? I mean there were moments were Kitty was in danger, or dying, and all she could think about was how sexy you were! Forget about Ryan Reynolds being People's Sexiest Man Alive! You should be on that cover!

Kitty: Um, not the help I was looking for but…
Martini: I really like her! Thank you, Bells, that’s very sweet and flattering of you to say. I’d be honored to be on the cover of People, but I think it could be damaging for Centaurion’s image.
Kitty: Oh, I know something you don’t know.
Martini: What’s that?
Kitty: I’ve seen what The Creator’s sent to The Editor.
Martini: Do I want to know?
Kitty: Probably not.
Martini: Can we go back to Bells building my ego up? Thank God someone does.
Kitty: Oh, blah, blah, blah. You know how I feel about you.
Martini: True…true…of course, I also know how you feel about him.
Kitty: Overly worried much? Who am I sitting here with?
Martini: Me. And I plan to keep it that way.
Kitty: He’s so possessive, but it’s endearing. Most of the time.

Through all of the sexiness, it also made me realize just how awesome your lady love Kitty is. You did your thing in this book as well. *fist bump* You were really there for your man when he needed you and you two are truly meant to be together and make a great team.

Kitty: Yeah, well, you know, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do…and a woman’s gotta do more.
Martini: She’s a little tiger, isn’t she? No one’s braver than my girl.
Kitty: He’s so sweet, you have to admit.

You know who had lots of face time in this book and had me laughing while reading his scenes in Alien Tango? READER! I think you are the bomb!

Reader: Finally! Someone wants to interview me!
Kitty: Oh, James, everyone loves you, you know that.
Reader: Yeah? Well, I expected a lot more play than I’ve been getting, girlfriend, is all I can say. So, thank you, Bells, for giving me the shout out.

How many times a day do you think you use the word Girlfriend at the end of a sentence? I really don't think you use it enough!

Reader: Depends on the day, really, girlfriend. Depends on the day.

You know I try to use that word while talking to a friend of mine, but she doesn't like it. *looks at Marquetta* She says that it belongs in the 90's! Could you persuade her to get with the program and embrace it? It totally makes everything sound better!

Reader: I’m bringing “girlfriend” back. Oh, and for the record? Despite what Timberlake says, sexy never left, at least not where I was. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a little retro, take it from a gay man with style.

Let me just say that you all are an absolute joy and I appreciate you all taking the time from your busy schedules to come back to my blog. You all are always welcome here at Hanging With Bells and I cannot wait to see what you have in store for us in the future! A big thanks for keeping Earth safe!

Kitty: Thanks, awesome to see you again.
Reader: Great to, finally, be here!
Martini: Here’s another autographed picture.
Kitty: Oh really? What’s this one say? Huh. “To the lovely Bells from her Jeff”. Excuse me?
OMG! "HER JEFF" Squeeee!
Martini: Just being polite.
Kitty: HER JEFF?
Reader: Wow, do we have to go or what? Look at the time.
Kitty: HER JEFF?
Martini: In the sense that this picture is hers and hers alone.
Kitty: HER JEFF? How many more pics are out there, with “her Jeff” on them?
Martini: Ahhh…
Reader: You probably don’t want to know, girlfriend.
Kitty: Jeff, how many?
Martini: A few. I just thought it was nice to say, I mean, they’re so complimentary and sweet and it’s not like I’m moving in with them.
I thought I was the only one! *pouts*
Kitty: Really? That’s your entire defense?
Martini: It was. I’m not getting out of this without pain, am I?
Kitty: No, you’re not. I feel the need to call “him” coming on.
Reader: Uh oh. Okay, hey, look! A parasitic superbeing!
Martini: Nice try, James. I know you’re lying.
Reader: Really, Jeff, learn when to take the lifeline when it’s thrown at you.
Kitty: James is right. Look, a superbeing. Let’s go kill it. I, at least, currently feel like killing something.
Martini: Out of the frying pan into the fire. Great. Bye Bells. Hope I see you again. Soon.
Umm...I guess I hope so as well. *looks at Kitty*
Kitty: Bye Bells. Love you, despite Jeff’s apparent inability to turn the charm off for even a minute.
*wipes brow* Whew, she's not going to kill me!
Reader: You love the charm, girlfriend, you know you do.
Kitty: True. I hate the charm sometimes, but always love the charmer.
Martini: I’ll take it.
Kitty: And he’s smart, too.

Gini, thank you for writing a series that has me laughing from start to finish.
Always great to be here, and glad you like our brand of funny science fiction action romance.

Because I love this series so much, I'm giving away Touched By An Alien and Alien Tango as part of my monthly Share the Love Giveaway!

You just have to be a follower of my blog. Click on the link under the pic below to learn more about the giveaway!

Thanks again to Gini and her wonderful characters for another awesome interview!



  1. Excellent Excellent Interview!
    Gini gives such great responses.
    Thank you for having her here & to Gini for sharing.
    All the best,

  2. RK Charron - Thanks for always leaving such wonderful comments. :D

  3. The best interview I've read all year! Bells, I'm so glad Kitty's not that mad at you! Keep those Alien books coming. I can't get enough of the AC!

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE this interview! Bells, I love how much of your personality comes through in your questions and little add-ons, that always makes the interview fun. And Gini, same to you, your answers show a lot of personality and it's so much fun to get to know you:)

    And can I just say, the character interviews were fabulous and hilarious and made my day! Well done ladies:)

  5. LMAO Gini as always was HILARIOUS!!! not to mention Kitty, Martini and Reader... LOVE YOU!

    Thanks for this Bells!

  6. C, Jenny, Larissa - Thanks for the awesome comments! I love thinking of different kinds of questions to ask Gini and the characters. Gini is such an awesome sport and is so much fun. She always puts a smile on my face.

  7. Hey, I live for the fun, odd questions!

    @RK - thank you!
    @C - Kitty says: Nah, I'm not mad at Bells. It's not HER fault. I mean, Jeff's a hunk and a half, I get it. The less said about that "Her Jeff" thing, though, the better.
    @Jenny - thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Oh, per Reader: If more people interviewed me, girlfriend, you'd love every interview this much.
    @Larissa - per Reader: You say you love me, and yet you don't interview me. What's up with that?

    Yeah, Reader's been waiting for his interview 15 minutes, what can I say?

  8. @Gini-We'll have to do something about that. We can't have Reader being unhappy now, can we?

  9. Her Jeff? HER JEFF? Okay. I'm trying not to panic. I'm okay.
    What an awesome rule to have that you must laugh at the jokes in the book, too. It definitely makes all the difference because I laugh out loud while reading them.

  10. AWESOME POST!!! Touched By An Alien made me giggle out loud so many times!

    Congrats to Gini on the release of Alien Tango!! Dan Dos Santos definitely represents your books with the cover art perfectly! I can't wait to read this one!

    Great interview, Bells!

    Please don't enter me as I've read the first in the series, and have the second one ready to read. But I wanted to drop by and say HI!!

  11. @C - I sense more 15 minutes for Reader on the horizon. LOL

    @Amber - Glad the books make you laugh! Oh, and Martini says: I'm still your Jeff, too, Amber, don't worry. Kitty says: Uh huh. I know about the pillow case, girl.

    @Pamela - thanks, I'm glad this series makes people laugh! And, yeah, DDS is just da BOMB, isn't he?