Ask Gini!

Some of my Hook Me Up! Subscribers have been asking questions. Lots of questions. Some of them prying questions, but hey, we’re all friends here, right?

And in the effort to remain au courant and transparent and all those other wonderful professional-like things (stop snickering), I figured, why not post said questions along with my answers so everyone can join in the fun?

So, read on for (possibly) all you ever wanted to know about me…and then some! (Have a burning question for me? Shoot it over to with “Ask Gini!” in the subject line and keep an eye on this page for the answer.)

You asked! I answered.

Q: Where did your ideas for "Touched by an Alien" come from?

A: I got this idea from a dream I'd had. It was supposed to be a dark short story (original title was "Killing Superman"). I didn't know, when I started writing it, if the main character was a man or a woman. But the voice that came out wasn't dark, and it was quickly apparent it was a female...and she was quirky. By the time Martini arrived on the scene, he twinkled, charmed me and Kitty, and the rest is, as they say, history.

As for the rest of the ideas, um, well...the characters told me what was happening. I just wrote it down for them.

Q: What's the best and worst things about being an author?

A: My friend, awesome author Erin Quinn, said it best -- deadlines. They're the best thing for you (they prove you have a writing career, for one thing), but they can be your worst enemy, too.

Right after deadlines, though, are rejections. They never stop sucking, no matter where you are on the writing journey.

Q: What do you like best about being an author?

A: I’m answering this one because, a) it came from a different subscriber than the previous question, and b) because the question is phrased a little differently, the answer’s different, too.

What I like best about being an author is the fact that I get to do what I love and share it with others. I get to create these fabulous and fun worlds and characters, and get to spend my time with them. I’d write even if no one else ever read a thing of mine. That others do, and seem to like what they’ve read, is the greatest thing in the world.

Q: What's the best scenario for you to write in?

A: Chaos. I need music, and I prefer it to be loud. It’s easier for me to write in the middle of a crowded train station than in a silent room. I can, and do, get things written while the TV is on, my music is going, and my family are having a discussion with each other and me. And the output is just as coherent as anything else I write…take that as you may.

Q: Why do you write?

A: To shut up the voices in my head. No, really. Something will spark an idea, and all of a sudden I have these people in my mind, sharing their life stories and adventures with me, and then whining about how I’m not giving them enough attention. I had to write to get them onto a page and out of my head.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: Pictures of good-looking men.

Okay, okay, that’s not totally true, or at least, not only true. I get most of my inspiration from music, particularly all forms of rock ‘n’ roll, and I do mean all forms, and from my dreams. I dream in color and have good recall. The pics of hunks help a lot, as do random things that strike me as different. But, without music, there would be no writing from me.

Q: What authors inspire you and why?

A: Louis L’Amour, and not for the reasons most think. The man had close to 400 rejections before he sold one piece. He just kept on writing and writing and submitting and submitting. And now, everybody knows his name. Any setback, every rejection, I just remind myself of what L’Amour went through, and it puts things right into perspective: Hard work and perseverance are the keys to all success.

Q: How is it Kitty figures out things they way she does? She's just a marketing manager, so how is it that she's able to figure out what's going on and what to do?

A: What you do for a living doesn't define all that you are or how smart, wise, street-smart or intuitive you are, at least, I really don't think it should. Not everyone goes into the most exciting and glamorous jobs in the world, but just because someone's a marketing manager, or a clerk, or a schoolteacher, or a stay-at-home mom, it doesn't mean they're not capable of stepping up to the plate when the situation demands it. Truly, I refuse to believe that what our jobs are is the sum definition of what WE are. That idea depresses me much more than the fact that evil exists in the world. Besides, we hear about stories of average people doing something heroic all the time. Everyone's more than just the sum of their parts, so to speak.

In Kitty's case, she's quite bright and she's quirky. She knows a lot about music, women's rights, genetics, animal sciences -- things that interest her. Plus, while she may not know what her parents really do for their living, she's their child, and they've been passing along things to her, like how to spot terrorists, without her realizing it.

I give individuals a lot more credit than I give the herd mentality. In Kitty's case, she's thrust into an extremely unusual situation, and she reacts just like her mother would -- this is one of the two people who raised her and therefore influenced her, of course she's going to react like she's seen her mother do all her life. She thinks in many ways like her father's taught her to -- cryptologists are detectives, after all, and they can't always think in a linear fashion. Same thing with those trying to bring down terrorists, which is her mother's line of work. Plus her best guy friend is not only a brilliant nerd, but he's Mr. Conspiracy Theories.

So she's had 3 very important people in her life all training her to think in both a linear and non-linear fashion, to question the status quo and the accepted version of how things are. Nature and nurture are both at work in Kitty, and the result is the right girl at the right time, because of who she is and how she thinks and looks at things -- which based on who she is and who's raised and influenced her, isn't necessarily the way others think and look at things.

Q: Gini, this isn't about your books but it's about your little 'toy' you are pictured on. I was wondering if you could tell me where you got it?

A: It's a Spyder, which is a Y-set up motorcycle. The company that manufactures them is Canadian, Bombadier. There are only a few dealers around, so I'd recommend checking their website to find a dealer near you! (BTW, they're da BOMB, especially if you're like me and love to ride but spend your time on the bike worrying that you're going to wipe out. LOL)

Q: If the ACs come from a planet that is that warm and has two suns why are they not dark-skinned? Like African people?

A: There are dark skinned and lighter skinned A-Cs, and not just the ones who are hybrids like Gower. Kitty mentions it when she's looking at all the agents in the superbeing holding shed -- that there's every color and such so that no one would be denied their "type". I just didn't feel it was something to focus a ton of space on. (There are plenty of people on Earth whose ancestors come from very hot climates that aren't dark-skinned -- those of Jewish descent, for example :-D) It’s one of the reasons A-Cs have no race issues -- they’re clear that skin color has no bearing whatsoever on a person’s worth.

Q:I see you’ve sold to Musa Publishing, and not just as Gini Koch. Why do you use other pen names, and will I like them?

A: I use other pen names because I write in different voices and genres, and in different voices within the same genres. As Gini, I write fresh and funny speculative fiction. But I don’t always want to “have” to be funny.

Not to say that, say, Anita Ensal can’t be funny, but I like being able to explore stories with a different feel to them. (And I sold as Anita Ensal before I sold as Gini Koch, too, so there! LOL)

Anita Ensal writes what I’d call more thoughtful SF/F, even though she’s got a whimsical streak. Jemma Chase writes paranormal -- Jemma loves the vampires, werewolves, and other paranormal beasties. J.C. Koch writes horror. And A.E. Stanton writes stories set in the past or in a post-apocalyptic future. (And yes, a lot of romance and action sneak in to many of these because, hey, I like romance and action.)

Will you enjoy them? I hope so! I’ve done my best to craft the best stories I can in these genres, staying true to the voice of each name. Will you like each voice? Only one way to find out!

Q:With my hectic schedule these days, I hardly have time to sit down and read a physical book anymore (which for me, is unacceptable). And so, I discovered audiobooks as my alternative. My question, will any of your books become available in Audio format? please say yes, and soon.

A: Audiobooks would be great. And I’d love to have them. But...

Penguin makes the decision for when a book goes to audio format. There are a variety of things they look at to determine if audio is going to be a format they’ll make money with for any particular author/series. And since publishing is a business, they do need to make money. So, right now, the answer is “somewhere in the future I hope”. The bigger the series gets, the more likely audio format is, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility, just not in the “coming really soon” category.

Q: Please can you tell me how many Alien books we can look forward to?

A: Right now, I’m contracted through Book 8 of the series. I’m mapped out (as much as I map) through Book 12, and I can “see” through Book 16 as of right now. Per my editor at DAW, as long as readers keep on buying the books, DAW plans to keep on publishing them. So, it’s all on you guys! :-D

Q: I really wanted to know if you would ever write a really quick but descriptive version of Alien Proliferation for Christopher and Amy because during Alien Proliferation I kept wanting to know how Christopher and Amy felt.

A: It’s possible, though certainly not the whole book, LOL. Right now, it’s unlikely (I’m working on Alien vs. Alien as this question has come in), but if I have time to do something like this to post up at Deathless Prose or Expanded Universes I might go for it. You never can tell. But if I do, my Hook Me Up! subscribers will be the first to know about it!

BTW, there is no such thing as “really quick and descriptive version” of anything. I don’t toss out anything at my readers, even a one-off like that, and because this series comes from Kitty’s viewpoint only, moving into either Christopher or Amy’s viewpoint wouldn’t be quick (or easy, LOL).

Q: I just wanted to know if you were going to give Chuckie a love interest. He needs one and I want to see him happy. LOL

A: Oh, I love Chuckie, so I agree with you. And yes, he will get a love interest. Not saying who, not saying when, but I CAN say that he won’t be lonely and pining forever.

Q: Have you ever thought of putting out a compilation or anthology sort of thing? Like a list of all your characters with a short bio and pictures would be great. Maybe in a binder or spiral style so new pages could be added with new books. I tried doing this for myself and I keep losing the notes, and there are so many great characters it would be nice to be able to take a quick peek to refresh oneself as to who's who. Normally I wouldn't ask for pictures as I like to use my imagination but I think your illustrations are spot on.

A: First off, must say again that Dan Dos Santos does awesome work, doesn’t he? Let’s all gaze lovingly at the covers for a moment…

Now, to your real question. This isn’t the first time this has been asked, so I figured it was time to get it up over here!

Because more and more readers have asked for this, I have been thinking about it. And my answer is…I have to ask DAW. LOL What you and others are asking for isn’t a simple undertaking, and artwork would mean Dan would have to be involved, and that just turned the proposition into a book, versus a “thang” so to speak.

I’m open to this sort of thing, but the publisher makes the ultimate decision. However, since the question’s now officially “out there”, I can promise that I’ll be discussing with my editor and keep you posted on the outcome!

Q: Who would you pick to read the audiobook version?

A: Hmmm. That’s a toughie. My initial reaction would be “Whoever stars in the movie.” Not that there’s a movie yet. LOL So, I guess if I were asked to choose at this very moment in time, either Drew Barrymore or Emma Stone.

Q: Hello Gini,
My sister is a big fan, she has everyone of your Alien series and monitors when the next book will come out. My question is, how do you turn out your books so quickly? I think your Alien series has maybe a 4 month gap before the next book hits the stores. Do you have help writing them? How many hours do you write a day? I'm currently in the middle of writing a book that I hope will one day get finished and published. I've been writing it for almost 2 years and it's only halfway done. Then the editing nightmare will start. How do you do it and keep your inspiration and motivation?


A: I'm on a two book a year contract with DAW, and the books come out in May and December, so it's a six month gap in between. Sometimes I'm quite late, but deadlines, the desire to get paid, and not wanting to disappoint my fans are big motivators for me, as are the tears of my editor whom I don't actually want to make cry. No, I have no help writing them. LOL I'm not James Patterson. (I mean, oh to BE James Patterson, but I'm not, so it's all on me.) Basically, the hours I write a day vary, but the key is to sit your butt in the chair, put your hands on the keyboard, and write. Beyond that, I love writing. I love everything about it, including editing, so it's something I WANT to do, not something that I HAVE to do. Well, I have to do it because the voices in my head won't let me stop, but that's kind of the fun part, too. :-D Never give up, never surrender, consider that working on multiple projects might be helpful (I wouldn't have a career if I'd focused on one thing, only, until it was done), and if you're looking for a great, free resource, the Absolute Write Water Cooler/Forums is the largest author's education and watchdog site on the 'net, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

See wasn't this fun? Stay tuned for more answers to your burning questions.
You know you want to.


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