I can’t wait to dig into Koko the Mighty! Will you give us a bit of a teaser?
The first novel was an adrenaline romp, and Koko the Mighty picks up virtually seconds after the closing moments of the first book. Because I plan on continuing her story, I wrote the sequel to broaden (at least terrestrially) the scope of Koko’s world. Clashing ideals, difficult personal relationships, and deeper development of Koko’s nemesis, Jackie Wire.
Can you give us a hint as to what new characters will make appearances in this book?
Foremost there’s a blue synthetic Mastiff named Gammy. There’s also a pack of scabby de-civ freebooters led by a slime-ball called Trick as well as a duo of recluse scientists, both of whom have intentions that are less than honorable. A whole mélange of vulgar side characters orbit the central plot, and there’s lots of jumping around with several global locations.
Was it a bit easier to write this book since you have Koko’s “world” pretty fleshed out? Did you have to do any additional research for this one?
Shortly after I started drafting Koko the Mighty, I remember talking with novelist Lou Berney about how hard it is to write sequels. Make no mistake; writing sequels can be like punching yourself in the face over and over. People inevitably compare your second effort to your first, but you can’t really worry about all that. You just write the best story you can. As research goes, I did talk quite a bit with my neighbor about storms in the northern Pacific.
How would you say Koko has changed the most since the last book?
In the sequel, Koko challenges herself to change her self-centered outlook. Not to give anything away, but by the end I believe her core shifts in a way she never expected.
What have you enjoyed most about writing these books?
Working with my agent and my editor—they’re both wicked smart and super supportive. I also enjoyed getting good feedback from readers.
It’s been a while since we caught up… Have you read any good books lately? Anything you’d recommend?
I loved every page of Philip Connors’ Fire Season, and Don Winslow flat out crushed it with his long-awaited Power of the Dog follow-up, The Cartel. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of collected essays…guys like Gay Talese, Sam Harris, and Hall.
What’s next for you (and Koko)?
Right now I’m working on a standalone crime novel set in space. Once that’s done and if things work out, my aim is to tackle a third Koko book. I’ve written an outline for the third. It’s really quite ambitious. Insane, actually…with cataclysmic stakes. Wish me luck.
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About Koko the Mighty:
With an outstanding Ultimate Sanction bounty still on her head, Koko Martstellar (ex-mercenary and saloon madam extraordinaire) and Jedidiah Flynn (former orbital sky-cop) have narrowly escaped death in paradise. Rescued during a storm, Koko and Flynn are taken in by what amounts to a self-sufficient outlander cult. To save Flynn’s life, Koko barters her warrior skills and assists the de-civ group in fending off their most imminent threat: a horde of genetic-mutant raiders. However, even with the group’s foes bested and their idealist lifestyle somewhat enticing, being among the outlander de-civs doesn’t sit well with Koko. In spite of the de-civ group’s hospitality and Flynn’s arguing that they have it pretty good, Koko suspects something is amiss. People within the outlander group’s interlocking compounds keep disappearing with flimsy explanations—people like the girl who died on the cliff before Koko and Flynn’s rescue—and soon the group’s leadership assesses Koko as a threat to their secret agenda. As the mystery unfolds, Koko’s limits and loyalties—perhaps even her love for Flynn—will be tested.
And as if that isn’t enough, bounty agent Wire has managed to track down Koko and, after a little politicking, is preparing to lead an army of genetic-mutant raiders in a last-man-standing battle against the cult . . .
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