Before I landed a great NY agent, and a book deal, and published books, and fans, and all that comes along with all of the aforementioned, I never used to watch television. I didn’t watch TV because I didn’t have time. I worked full time, was a wife and mother, and used all my spare time (ALL my spare time) writing.
These days, I’m still a wife and mother, but I now write full time. What that means is that I actually have a modicum of spare time. (Not much, but some, and hey, some is better than none, right?) My husband and I both work from home (which is awesome, I must say), and in addition to our daughter, we also have three dogs (aka The Canine Death Squad) and three cats (aka The Killer Kitties). The pets are really USED to having both Mommy and Daddy at home. Meaning that when my husband’s done working and I’m taking a break between my afternoon writing and my nighttime writing, we tend to stay at home. Because the pets are lonely without us. (Or so they tell us and we tell ourselves.) So nowadays, we actually watch some TV.
As anyone who’s known me for about 5 minutes is already aware, I’m a huge fan of “Castle”. I’m also a big fan of “Dancing with the Stars” and now “The Voice”. Believe me, DWTS and The Voice being on at the same time is really giving the DVR a workout. But I digress…
I bring all this up because a couple of seasons ago (the Kirstie Alley season), one of the stars on DWTS -- upon learning that they were going to have to learn two new dances and then do a bonus round, in one week -- said to her professional dance partner, “They just never let you get comfortable, do they?”
It’s true, and part of what makes DWTS so fun to watch, but it’s also true in real life. Lo these many years ago now, I got a wonderful job that required one big thing -- move my family from Los Angeles, California to Phoenix, Arizona. It was a change we were a little worried about, and we didn’t want to leave California, our friends, or, worst of all, our family. But it was the best thing in the world for us, and for me in particular, as I wouldn’t have started writing if we hadn’t moved here.
This also holds true in terms of writing a series. If you want to keep things fresh, fun, and interesting, you can’t let your characters get comfortable.
I write the Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books/Penguin. When it all started (Touched by an Alien), Kitty discovered that the Roswell rumors were true, but with a twist -- the aliens were here to help us, and as a side benefit, they were all gorgeous. As the series continued, Kitty got further into Centaurion Division and discovered that there was a lot of bad out there, both internal (Alien Tango) and very external (Alien in the Family). She also got engaged, and then married. Then the ultimate life change a person can go through happened (Alien Proliferation).
But, for me, that wasn’t enough. Sure, I’d taken Kitty’s life and turned it upside down. She’s gone from marketing manager to superbeing exterminator to the Head of Airborne for Centaurion Division. She’s gotten engaged, married, and given birth. That’s a lot of change.
The changes have been fun, and Kitty’s been up for every one of them. So, I had to ask myself -- what would Kitty and Company do if they were faced with a change that sounds great, but puts each and every character out of their comfort zone? What about a change none of them really want, but know they have to accept?
In my newest release, Alien Diplomacy, which hit the shelves this past Tuesday, April 3, Kitty’s no longer the Head of Airborne and killing superbeings for a living. She’s now part of the Diplomatic Mission for American Centaurion, representing an entire race that’s hiding in plain sight. Kitty and her alien husband, Jeff Martini, no longer live in Arizona and New Mexico, but have had to relocate to Washington, D.C. Even worse, Kitty and Jeff, can no longer do what they both enjoy -- kicking evil bad guy butt -- because they’re public figures.
Not that this will stop the bad guys from scheming, or Kitty from doing her best to save the day with hairspray and rock ‘n’ roll. But now she’s got to do it diplomatically.
Well, as diplomatically as she can. Which, since it’s Kitty, probably isn’t going to win her any Decorum Awards. But, hey, that’s part of her charm, and that I refuse to change.
Being newlyweds and new parents is challenging enough. But nothing’s ever easy for Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, particularly not when they have to switch from being superbeing exterminators and Commanders in Centaurion Division to mastering the political landscape as the new heads of American Centaurion’s Diplomatic Corps.
Kitty’s brand of diplomacy and lobbying isn’t quite as smooth as Jeff’s—Washington parties, lobbyists of all stripes, and politicians from all states and countries present challenges a well-stocked iPod and quirky sense of humor aren’t always up to handling. But when a shadowy assassination plot and a new set of anti-alien conspirators are identified, Kitty’s the diplomat for the job—in between “Mommy and Me,” “Diplomacy for Beginners,” and the dreaded “Washington Wife” classes.
As explosions, assassination attempts, and murders pile up, the question shifts from “who’s the target” to “will we all survive to see next week”?
Armed with only their wits, and dressed to kill, it’s up to Kitty and the Diplomatic Corps to stop the bad guys from unleashing mayhem on all the world’s leaders. But will Kitty trust the right people, at the right times, or will going her own way prove deadly—not just to her, but to her daughter, Jamie?
So, what’s been the biggest change you DIDN’T want to have happen that turned out to be the best thing in the world for you?
One commenter will receive a copy of their choice of any of the first three books in the series (Touched by an Alien, Alien Tango, or Alien in the Family), signed and personalized. Open internationally. Contest is open through Friday, April 13, 2012.
Gini Koch lives in Hell’s Orientation Area (aka Phoenix, AZ), works her butt off (sadly, not literally) by day, and writes by night with the rest of the beautiful people. She writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series for Musa Publishing. She also writes under a variety of pen names (including G.J. Koch, Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch), listens to rock music 24/7, and is a proud comics geek-girl willing to discuss at any time why Wolverine is the best superhero ever (even if Deadpool does get all the best lines). She speaks frequently on what it takes to become a successful author and other aspects of writing and the publishing business. She can be reached through her website at www.ginikoch.com.
***Gini's winner is Lil! Lil, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing info. Thank you!***