Locale: Service tunnel on the abandoned SpiceNine space station.
Agent Z: Hello again, Gini! Thanks for meeting me to share a few gargleblasters.
Gini: Happy to be here! I never say no to a gargleblaster.
Agent Z: Sorry about the locale, but there’s a price on my head again.
Gini: What did you do this time? Or should I just leave it to my imagination?
Agent Z: I’m innocent, of course. Let’s get started, shall we? I’m not sure how much time we have before the bad guys get here.
Gini: By “bad guys” do you mean the “Galactic Police”? Just askin’…
Agent Z: No comment. So, how long did it take you to write ‘Alien Tango?’
Gini: I’m not at liberty to say. Literally. My agent has this thing implanted where I can’t actually tell anyone certain things. How long something takes to write being one of them. Major plot points are another.
Put it this way -- I tend to fall on the faster side of the writing house. Not always, but usually.
Agent Z: The German rights were recently sold. How do you think all the U.S. cultural references are gonna translate?
Gini: I’m so excited about that! But, I honestly have NO idea. They’ve changed the title from “Touched by an Alien” to “Aliens in Armani”, which is a pretty good title, all things considered. So I don’t really have a guess. I’m hoping that one of my German fans will be able to tell me how they think the two versions compare.
Agent Z: Why do you think readers enjoy Kitty and Martini so much?
Gini: Because they’re funny. And because Kitty’s a real girl who carries a totally loaded purse, thinks well outside the box, and can come up with the right thing to do, even if it sounds crazy. And because Martini is totally, drool-worthingly hot and can make being overly committed to commitment seem beyond sexy and cool.
Oh, and their sex scenes steam up the joint. But really, I think it’s ‘cause they’re funny. (Readers may have a different reasons, of course. ;-D)
Agent Z: Is Christopher available? I’m really a very nice person when I’m not drunk and being hunted by evil aliens. I clean up pretty good. What do you think of my chances?
Gini: If you’re asking for the “real” Christopher, I’m sorry to say that, knowing you as I do, no, he’s not available. He’s not dating anyone right now, but as his Creator, I have to say that, sorry, you don’t quite fit what I think his dream girl would be. Mostly because I can’t recall a time when you WEREN’T drunk OR being hunted by evil aliens. OR the Galactic Police.
BUT, take heart. Because I had so much demand -- and because Kitty is NOT open to the idea of sharing -- I created a cloning machine. So, you can have a clone of any character or characters you want. To do with as you will. I don’t want to know what you do with them, by the way. So, list your clone selections and I’ll send them right over. I’m a full service author, me.
Agent Z: Clone? I don’t want no stinkin’ clone! And Gini, I hate to say this, but you’re hogging the gargleblasters. How on earth did a dedicated guzzler like you come up with the idea of A.C.’s being allergic to alcohol? What the hell were you thinking?
Gini: Hey, we all have our crosses to bear. Not my fault the A-Cs are allergic to alcohol. Well, okay, it is, but since I merely reported what the characters told me, blame A-C internal systems.
Besides, it’s kind of funny, to me, that they can’t drink. And that only Martini even tested that out. I mean, they can do so many other things, and there are so many times when I know both Martini and Christopher would love to get three sheets to the wind, that’s it’s cruelly evil fun that they cannot.
Agent Z: I’m afraid I have a confession to make. That last gargleblaster was laced with truth serum. It was an accident, I swear!
Gini: I know you swear, I’ve heard you, but I also know you did that on purpose.
Agent Z: And I’m gonna keep asking questions anyway.
Agent Z: Yes, I’m mad, bad and dangerous to know.
Gini: And that’s for your friends. Of course, having seen what you do to your enemies, I truly prefer to say on the “friend” side of the house.
Agent Z: So, tell me. If YOU were a dazzler, who is the ugliest brainy guy you’d fall in love with?
Gini: I can’t believe you felt you had to resort to truth serum to get this answer from me, and that’s the fact, Jack.
Albert Einstein. But he’s dead, so, if I were a Dazzler, I’d be like the other Dazzlers, and Stephen Hawking would be the MAN. Dazzlers do not care about looks. Looks are nice, but nothing is better than brains and brain capacity.
If I had more control over it, and was able to go for brains AND looks, I’d be in love with Chuck Reynolds, aka Chuckie. ‘Cause he is da MAN too. *cough* (Yeah, I can get crushes on my characters, too, what’s your point?)
Oh, and reality, as well as honesty and the truth serum, compels me to mention that I’d also be all for my own hubs, who is quite the smarty-pants as well as being a total hottie. (Hey, I married well, what can I say?)
Agent Z: Imagine that you sold the film rights to the series. Who would be your top picks to play Kitty and Martini? What song plays over the opening credits?
Gini: I hate this question. (Hey, truth serum!) Not that I don’t want to sell the film rights (I do, believe me), but the casting question. Because who I see as the characters and who the readers see as the characters is always different. No one actually looks like Kitty or Martini, or the others, to me. There are some who could play them, but not because they necessarily look like them, just close enough.
So my top picks would be whichever actress and actor could both play the roles well, be at least close enough physically that I didn’t want to throw things at the screen, and make the movie a huge, major success.
Not enough? Fine. Today, if a gun were at my head, which, in a sense, since I see yours out of the holster, it is, I’d go with Drew Barrymore for Kitty and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for Martini. Mostly because they’re both close enough and they both can handle comedy and action really well. (They’re both too old, in reality, but Drew still looks freaking 25 and my big man there can do anything he damn well pleases as long as we get that killer grin AND an eyebrow raise somewhere along the way.) I’d be open to Reese Witherspoon for Kitty, too, for much the same reasons as Drew. And Patrick Dempsey has Martini’s hair (as far as I’m concerned), but he’s both too old and physically a little too small. I’ve had Ryan Reynolds suggested, too, but he’d have to bulk up. Ergo, The Rock wins.
BTW, you didn’t ask, but the two actors I could really “see” as characters (again, they don’t look just like the characters do to me, but they could play them the best both physically and personally) are Matt Bomer from “White Collar” as James Reader, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt from “Inception” as Tim Crawford.
Song is much, MUCH easier. For “Touched by an Alien”, opening credits should be “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top. Along the way we should hear “Love in an Elevator” by Aerosmith, as well as every other song Kitty lists in the book. Closing credits should be “Whole Lotta Love” by Smash Mouth. (Told you the music part would be easier.) The soundtrack, btw, would be at least a double, maybe a triple, album.
For “Alien Tango”, opening credits should be “Roam” by The B-52‘s. Along the way we should hear every song Kitty lists in the book, again creating a double, potentially triple, album, and we need to hear some hot tango music for the score and Cheap Trick’s “Can’t Stop Falling Into Love”. Closing credits should be “Holding Out For a Hero”, whichever version they wanted (though I’d personally like Pink to do a cover of it for the movie…hey, we’re in the realm of fantasy at the moment, so ask for what you want!).
Agent Z: Bickering, loving, messy family relationships are a big part of the lives of your characters. Why?
Gini: Um, am I the only person with a family out there? Are not all families big, bickering, loving, hot messes? Why would aliens have it any easier than humans? And why should fictional characters somehow get out of having to explain to their dad what the guy they’ve known a day or so is doing in their room in the early morning hours? Or get to avoid having their family embarrass the hell out of them in front of someone they’re trying to impress?
Agent Z: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done while wearing an Aerosmith concert T-shirt? And let me remind you that you are still under the influence of truth serum and four gargleblasters.
Gini: Being on a panel about Christian Science Fiction. Swear to God. (Pun totally intended.) No, I don’t write Christian Science Fiction. No, I don’t know anybody who does. But it surely created a lifelong sisterhood and writer-hood bond between me and Marsheila “Legacy of Wolves” Rockwell, so it was all worth it.
BTW, I get put on the religion panels a LOT. You never want to miss a panel on religion, or what the far future will look like, if I’m on the panel. Trust me.
Agent Z: Who do think has been the biggest influence on you as a writer?
Gini: Wow, you’re batting a thousand with the questions I hate. LOL! Everyone I’ve ever read has influenced me, good, bad or indifferent. I don’t think it’s possible to not be influenced by what you read. So, everyone and no one.
I see the gun out of its holster again. Geez. Okay, fine. Robert Benchley. Humorist from the first half of the 20th century. If there’s any one writer who’s my main influence, it’s him. (Not what you were expecting, was it?)
Agent Z: I was expecting an unexpected answer. I’m smart that way. And a fine, fine answer it is too. Moving on - with two books and an anthology now released, what’s next for Gini Koch?
Gini: More books and another anthology. LOL. “Alien in the Family” releases April 5, 2011; “Alien Proliferation” releases Winter, 2011; “Alien Diplomacy” comes out in April, 2012; and “Alien vs. Alien” comes in Winter 2012. Under my Anita Ensal pen name, we already have “Wanted”, which is in the SFR anthology “Love and Rockets”, which is out now (from DAW Books). Following that, I have another Anita Ensal short, “Being Neighborly”, in the urban/rural fantasy anthology “Boondocks Fantasy”, which releases from DAW Books on January 4, 2011.
Oh, and writing, of course. That’s always what’s next in my little corner of the ‘verse. You can keep tabs on me at my website.
Agent Z: And now for the really tough question: I’m stuck on an abandoned space station with several empty bottles and a drunk, yet brutally honest writer, while a horde of tentacled aliens advance slimily towards us. The question is: WHAT THE HELL ARE WE GONNA DO???!!
Gini: Dude, this is an easy one. We smash the bottles and glasses, creating bar knives. First we toss the shards with expert accuracy, going for eyes, beaks, and main suckers. We grab bar knives in both hands, you go low, I go high, we stab and slash our way through, dumping alcohol on the beasties and tossing a few lit matches in for fun. Then we hoof it for the escape pods, ensuring that no beasties are there with us, and blast off for greener, or at least less tentacled, pastures.
Unless the tentacled aliens are good looking. (It’s possible. I could make a tentacled alien good looking, trust me.) In THAT case, we say, “Hey, Sailor Squid, looking for a date?” and then let nature, and the gargleblasters, take its course.
Agent Z: Well, I’m gonna sit back and let Gini handle the aliens. And while she handles that little chore I’d like to ask you all a question. Who is the ugliest brainy guy that you’ve ever had a fancy for?
Be seeing ya!
Postus Scriptus: To read the previous Agent Z & Gini Koch gargleblaster-soaked encounter, click here.