Kurt Hansen is a co-worker friend of “The Human”. He and his daughter co-write the Computer Love sci-fi series. Kurt is also an accomplished songwriter and has several videos on YouTube! His daughter Jessica is a freelance writer and a marathon runner! Meow, I can’t wait to sink my claws into this interview!!!!!!!1 Kurt’s a really cool guy….even if he has called me a “Feline Fuzz Ball….”
- Meow, Welcome Kurt and Jess! Tell us a little about yourselves! How did you get into writing?
Kurt: Thank you,ROCCO. I’ve been a songwriter/storyteller and musician for decades. Over the years, I’ve developed an appreciation for both stories told through music as well as the written word. Ultimately, an attempt at writing a rock opera is what led me to become an author that loves writing novels in addition to writing music.
Jess: I’ve had my head in a book since my parents introduced me to Dr. Seuss, and I always enjoyed writing as well. I majored in English at Montclair State University and I currently work as a freelance copywriter, but my real passion is fiction. Together, my dad and I have become a father daughter co- author team and I think I speak for both of us when I say we really enjoy creating stories and working together!
- Tell us a bit about your latest book -
Computer Love Inc. III is the culmination of the Computer Love series. It takes our protagonist Marius, the head of the Computer Love Company, on a truly wild ride with a creation called the Guardian of Development, along with his cohorts John and Zak. We don’t want to say too much about it for anyone who hasn’t read the first two novels, but things at the company headquarters have escalated, and Marius’s team of elite Companions also have some events of their own that are unfolding.
- What drew you to the sci fi genre?
Kurt: I’ve been a bit of a Sci-fi nut since childhood. Our Computer Love Inc. series is actually a byproduct of a song that I wrote and recorded years ago. It’s a song that was created as a commercial for a fictitious bio-robotic company with the hook: “You need Computer Love. The song, along with others that I have published, can be heard on our website, www.ComputerLoveInc.com.
- Would you ever consider or have you ever written in another genre?
Kurt: Absolutely! In fact, I recently completed a collection of humorous short stories about my lifelong fishing and boating experiences. I’m currently seeking an agent and publisher for the project. The current title, although it is subject to change is Bait, Beer, and Bullsh*t.
Jess: As someone who writes for a living, I’ve completed a few ghostwriting projects that I can’t divulge, but let’s just say I’ve written about everything from raising goats to Feng Shui! My dream project would be to do a true crime project. Maybe one day!
· How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
We have to say that character creation and development is one of the most enjoyable perks of writing. Getting a feel for the characters as the book progresses and creating names to fit the characters has always been exciting for us. As a fun fact, one of our main characters in the Computer Love Inc. series is named Marius, after the not-so-well-known God of Mars. One of his quips in the books when facing perplexing situations is his use of the phrase “What on Mars?” Interestingly, Marius had a different name throughout the entire first novel – the decision to change it was very last-minute, but we haven’t regretted it at all. We think Marius fits his personality quite well.
Now that we are on the third book in the series, the established characters have such a feel to each of their personalities that much of it comes out in us. As we write a scene, we often know how they will react instinctively even before we get the text out on the screen. At this point, we always say that they tend to have minds of their own. In fact, most of our characters are pretty headstrong, now that we think about it… Perhaps that’s why they’re always getting themselves into such crazy situations!
- How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
Honestly, we have done both. In the beginning of the series, there was much “seat-of-the-pants writing,” and the pants were like a new pair of blue jeans. As the series progressed, we started to develop an outline that we actually followed – for the most part. Like all pairs of jeans, they just got more comfortable as time progressed, but we did find places that needed a bit more stretching here and there! We do enjoy writing segues that readers might not deem important in the moment, but end up having more to do with the outcome of the story than most would expect.
- Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
That’s a tough one, Rocco. That’s like asking which is more important: your canned food, or the can opener you need to open it! Most of us – cats and humans alike, we think – would agree that you can’t have one without the other. They really go hand-in-hand and are nearly inseparable. In order for your characters to develop thoroughly, they need to be faced by a unique problem, which of course is the conflict – one of the most critical components of the plot. But you could have a really intriguing conflict, and if the character doesn’t have enough depth, the story wouldn’t really go anywhere. Maybe characters are more important after all. But that’s a great question, Rocco.
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as writers? What keeps you motivated?
Kurt: We are not yet full-time authors. I’ve worked in the aerospace defense industry for over 30 years. Outside of a 40-hour work week, I enjoy playing and writing music, spending time with my family, fishing, gardening, the list goes on… Time is a challenge. As far as motivation goes, writing and collaborating with Jess is awesome. Life is sort, carpe diem.
Jess: I’m a fulltime freelance writer, and sometimes “full time” means pulling late nights to meet a deadline. Otherwise, I’m also a proud “corgmom” of a one-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Yoda. Pile that on top of planning a wedding and training for marathons… It becomes difficult to find time to write! Luckily, I can always count on my dad for a little push of encouragement here and there. We’re both pretty good multitaskers, and we’ve learned to juggle our schedules. I’m also convinced that nothing in this world could be accomplished – for me at least – without coffee.
- What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
Although we originally thought of our Computer Love Inc. series as a trilogy, it is difficult to stop writing about characters we adore and know so well. That said, book four in the series has been started, as well as a second fishing story book with more humor and unforeseen outdoor circumstances and happenings.
- What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
Kurt: I work a Monday-through-Friday job and as I mentioned before, I tend to have a 40+ hour work week. There’s also a pretty long commute involved in my day. With that said, I can usually squeeze in a couple of hours on most week nights, as well as some additional time on the weekends.
Jess: Even though I work from home, I try to maintain structure in my daily routine. I work from about 7:30 to 5 or 6, but then my Fridays and Saturdays are generally lighter in terms of work load. That’s when I can usually do most of my “enjoyment” writing. Otherwise, I’m usually too burnt out from doing writing for my clients on weeknights.
- If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
Kurt: The Old Man and the Sea, for sure. I’d also bring 2001: A Space Odyssey because I consider it one of the greatest works in the sci-fi genre, and Tales from Margaritaville, because Jimmy Buffett captures the spirit of adventure so well.
Jess: Rocco, you’re really asking another tough one here. I’d like to be stubborn and just say “Impossible. Next question.” But I’ll be a good sport… I’d have to pick one thriller, like Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins or The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, because it’s my favorite genre. Then I’d also have to bring something for comic relief… any of David Sedaris’s books, for instance. Finally, I’d have to take a classic, like Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and actually read it to enjoy it instead of reading it as an assignment and dissecting every line.
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Kurt: OMG, there are many of them. On a professional level, outside of becoming a self -published author, I’d have to say writing, recording, and self-publishing a rather sarcastic song titled “Space Garbage”. On a personal level, rappelling Australian style, (face down) off of a 75 foot cliff.
Jess: Running a marathon, for sure. Also the most painful thing I’ve ever done. But I think I want to do another… Runners are much like writers in the fact that we’re all at least a little bit crazy.
- What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
Kurt: If not the songs I have published on YouTube, I would have to say the cut-off flannel shirts I wear on weekends.
Jess: I have 2 tattoos – one is a quill on my arm and the other is a dragonfly on my back.
- What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Why on earth would you get involved with writing, considering how difficult it can be to sell books? Answer: Because we truly love the process of it – for us, the enjoyment of writing is the reward.
- Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? .
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Kurt: Well, two of our favorite books, Martha Speaks and the Art of Racing in the Rain come to mind. My, those are sharp claws you have there, Rocco.
Jess: I have a serious allergy to cats, and I may be a little partial as a dog owner… but I will say that I spend a lot of my spare time watching cat videos online. If I could own a cat without going into anaphylactic shock, I would probably consider it!
Beach or Pool? Pool… after the beach!
Steak or salad?
Favorite Drink? There’s this tropical drink called Pirates’ Punch at Aunt Catfish’s, a restaurant down in Port Orange, FL. If you’re ever in the area, it’s a definite must!
Favorite Book? Kurt: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Jess: Definitely way too hard!
Favorite TV Series? Both: Game of Thrones
Kurt: The Princess Bride
Jess: The Princess Bride
Kurt: Alan Rickman
Jess: Bradley Cooper
Kurt: Tina Fey
Jess: Amy Poehler
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada (both authors)
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii for sure (both authors)
Finish this sentence: (Both authors)
If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Hemingway
If I had just one wish, it would beTo keep my loved ones happy and healthy, always
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be You Rocco, because you are a cool cat. Or our dogs, Jake and Yoda. They’ve got it made.
Folks, Kurt and Jess will give one lucky commenter their choice of either a $25 Amazon gift card or all three books in the Computer Love series!
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Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, August 21!