I’m thrilled to have GJ Koch on the blog today! You may know her as Gini Koch (author of the Kitty Martini series), and she’s also the author of the spankin’ new Alexander Outland: Space Pirate (out June 5th). Gini was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, and there’s a copy of Alexander Outland up for grabs, so be sure to check out the details at the end of the post!
Gini, you’ve had wonderful success with your Kitty Martini series, and now you have a brand new book with Night Shade Books coming out in June, Alexander Outland: Space Pirate! Can you tell us a bit about it?
Awww, thanks! And, absolutely!
Trouble’s brewing out in space, and Alexander Outland — the least likely hero in the galaxy — and his eccentric crew have to save the day, despite the fact they’d prefer to take the money and run.
Alexander Napoleon Outland is the best pilot, and ladies’ man, in the galaxy. But Nap, as his friends call him, is more than that — he’s a schemer with a heart of gold he desperately wants to hide, a soft spot for other people’s cargo and his exotic weapon’s chief, and the unerring ability to find the biggest misfit on any planet or space station and somehow join that person onto his crew.
Nap’s not your classic hero, but that tends to make him the right guy for the job…whatever the job happens to be.
Was it fun to write a completely different story outside of the Alien Series?
Yes, very fun. Nap and his crew are a blast to write. I really enjoy these characters so much, and I think readers will, too. There’s tons of action, lots of wisecracks, danger, romance, intrigue, and the most horrific “underwater” experience any crew’s gone through in a long time.
As with everything I write, of course, many things surprised me, which is part of the fun of being an extreme linear writer. I also focused more on the humor in this book, which was a different kind of writing experience. Believe me, it’s work to ensure that there are at least chuckles and preferably snorts, giggles, snickers, and belly laughs on every other page. But I think it was worth it. Night Shade agrees, and I hope all of you do, too.
Do you have plans for more books in the Alexander Outland universe?
Yes, indeed. This story stands alone, but there are absolutely wrongs still to be righted, mysteries still left to solve, and valuables still left to snatch. I’d like the series to at least go to a trilogy, maybe more. But that’s up to Night Shade. They’re making the decision in August as to whether the first book is doing well enough to continue on. So, um, everyone needs to pre-order Alexander Outland: Space Pirate and then rush out and buy lots of copies when the book releases (June 5, 2012), please and thank you very much!
What are some of your favorite authors or books?
Oh, so very many. Terry Pratchett, Robert Benchley, P.J. O’Rourke, Dave Barry, Robert Silverberg, and many, MANY more. I also have a lot of authors who are friends these days, so I don’t list them out very often because I don’t want to forget someone.
What are you reading now?
Sadly, it’s more like “what are you waiting to read when you get a break?” than actually reading. It’s wonderful to be a full-time author, but it’s really cut into my reading time. I have Seanan McGuire’s and Marsheila Rockwell’s latest books waiting on the top of my TBR pile, along with three P.J. O’Rourke’s and a host of others. I have one of the best TBR piles out there, because most of mine are signed. 😀
If someone were to start reading sci-fi for the first time, are there a few titles that you’d recommend starting with (aside for yours, of course!)?
Well, I honestly do recommend mine, because mine are not “scary” science fiction; soft science fiction is probably the best place to start because we soft SF writers don’t toss all the scientific and mathematical explanations in there. (BTW, I love to read hard SF, but I don’t like to write it. Go figure.)
Try Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time series. I know it’s YA, and an older series in terms of when it was first published, but it’s a total classic, resonates for adults as well as kids, stands the test of time, and is just an amazing story. It’s also science fiction with a strong heroine and some romance. Pretty much a perfect entry point.
I also recommend short stories as a really great way to get your feet wet within any genre. DAW put out a short story collection last year, Love and Rockets, which includes a story by me writing as Anita Ensal (“Wanted”) in it. Science fiction romance was the theme, and there are a wide variety of authors and stories in it. It’s great to read a short story and “discover” an author that way, because most of us will have novels out there as well that you can find and enjoy.
Beyond that, I’m probably better with authors than specific books. (Anything by DAW or Night Shade is, of course, automatically awesome and should be included on every bookshelf. Hey, I’m a loyal kind of girl and I think my publishers rock it, hard.)
For those more into the action side of the house, try Michael Stackpole, Alan Dean Foster, or Jeff Mariotte. For those more into the romance side of the house, try Linnea Maxwell or Lois McMaster Bujold. For those more into the humor side of the house, try Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series. For those more into the horror side of the house, try Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Trilogy. For overall, all around awesomeness, I point to the classics and Grand Masters, so
I’d recommend anything by Robert Silverberg, Isaac Asimov, or Clifford Simak. Some of these may be a little more advanced than “beginner” level, but they’re all great writers and great reads.
I could go on, but I won’t. Mostly because we’d be here forever with me saying, “Oh, and try THIS author!” over and over again.
What do you like most about writing sci-fi/fantasy?
I like everything about it, but the main thing is that when you write SF/F you get to ask all the ‘what if’ questions…and then you get to answer them. My Alien series started because I had a dream and then asked myself what if the super powered beings weren’t actually friendly towards Earth? Alexander Outland was inspired by a name I randomly came across, which made me say, “Oh, that’s a GREAT name for a space pirate. A rollicking, funny, cool space pirate. What kind of guy would he be and what kind of galaxy would he live in?”
SF/F along with Horror, also let you address social issues. These genres have always held a mirror up to society, either as a straight reflection or, in the case of humor and satire, as a refracted, skewed reflection. Needless to say, this series falls on the skewed side of the reflection matter.
BTW, the think I like best about writing Alexander Outland is that it’s set in the far future. I can pretty much do whatever I want and no one can tell me it’s wrong, so to speak. Which means I really get to play and go wild. As you’ll see in June.
I get your newsletter, so I know how involved you are with your readers and fans. For you, what’s the best part of doing signings, conventions, and author events?
Hands down it’s meeting and interacting with my readers and fans. Having someone tell me they love my book makes my hour, day, week and potentially month. I love talking to my readers and fans about my books, the characters, what else is coming, their favorites, which characters they relate to the most. I’d write whether or not anyone read my stuff, but I have to say getting to share my stories with people who enjoy them is, pretty much, the coolest thing. IN THE WORLD. Basically, my fans are my crack. (Is that wrong?)
The next best thing after getting to interact with readers and fans is meeting other authors, editors, agents, and others in the publishing business. It’s beyond cool to find yourself hanging out with your idols, having a drink, and comparing notes. Some of my new closest friends are other authors and publishing professionals I’ve met since this whole writing journey began, which is incredibly cool.
It’s a small world, really, and it’s usually only at cons and writers’ conferences when we get to be around those who all really and truly “get it” — what it’s like to listen to the voices in your head a whole lot more than the voices in your ears, what it’s like to see people and worlds no one else can see until you write them down and share them.
Have you ever said or done anything embarrassing at an event (that you’re willing to admit to)?
Depending on who’s in the audience, probably every time I open my mouth. LOL At the conference I was just at, I said that I didn’t think Afterwords were necessary at all…in front of Grand Master Joe Haldeman who, of course, uses Afterwords a lot to explain some scientific stuff or explain why he chose to do something (so as to avoid getting angry letters from fans). Of course, Grand Masters can do whatever they darned well please, but I think that really counts as a major Foot in Mouth moment for me. (Sadly, it’s probably not my worst one, either, but it’s the one I can currently remember, so there you go.) And also inevitably means that I’m going to end up doing an Afterword somewhere soon, because that’s how the universe likes to work.
When you’re not writing or traveling, and manage to find some downtime, how do you like to spend it?
What is this “downtime” of which you speak? It is a foreign term to me and my people.
In addition to being a full-time author, I’m a wife, mother, and “mommy” to three dogs (aka The Canine Death Squad) and three cats (aka The Killer Kitties). That means I do what every other working and stay-at-home wife and/or mom out there does — the equivalent of at least six full time jobs at the same time. So, like all the other wives and moms, I don’t get a lot of “me time”.
Honestly, I like to spend downtime sleeping. Because I don’t get much of that any more these days, either.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Pre-orders matter. I know readers don’t think they do, but right now, and especially for those of us whose print runs aren’t enough to make the New York Times bestseller list, pre-orders matter a hell of a lot. So, do your girl a solid and pre-order Alexander Outland: Space Pirate right now!
Other than that, for those who already read my Alien series, if you like Kitty, you’re gonna love the Outland. And for those who haven’t read anything I’ve written yet, why not test the waters with the funniest pirate this side of Captain Jack Sparrow (but with better teeth) and give Alexander Outland: Space Pirate a whirl? You have nothing to lose and a whole lot of fun to gain.
1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by GJ Koch by 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open to US addresses ONLY
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry
5. You must enter on or before 4/30/12
6. Giveaway book generously provided by Night Shade Books.
7. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
About the author:
G.J. Koch writes science fiction. Not the hard stuff, though. Because that requires actual scientific knowledge or at least actual scientific research. Knowledge may be power and research may be cool, but they take time away from writing jokes, action, and romance, and being witty in the face of death is what it’s really all about. Check out G.J.’s rollicking Alexander Outland: Space Pirate series from Night Shade Books and reach G.J. at Space…the Funny Frontier.