Friday, January 2, 2015

Interview and Recipes Based on Our Characters with Father/Daughter Writing Duo Kurt and Jessica Hansen

Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

Jess and Kurt Hansen are co-authors of the Computer Love Inc. series. We recently self-published the second novel in the trilogy, Computer Love Inc. II: Gestation, and we are very excited to be part of a Bewitching Book Tour! As a father/daughter team, we are apparently somewhat unique as we haven’t seen many sci-fi father/daughter co-authors out there. Kurt has been donned as the creative genius behind the story, and Jess, in addition to contributing to the creativity aspect, is the English major.

Jess graduated college summa cum laude with a BA in English while Kurt began working on the first novel. Kurt is a songwriter, father, husband, and fisherman. The fisherman part is the issue: storytelling seems to come with the territory.  Together, the two of them worked on the story and have enjoyed every second of the experience in writing this trilogy.  

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

Computer Love Inc. II: Gestation is the second installment of our series titled Computer Love Inc. It is the story of an imminent biorobotics boom, a technologically advanced company, and characters that experience turmoil as the repercussions of their own creations challenge the boundaries of humanity.

Are you a parent?

As a father/daughter indie team, one of us is a parent. Kurt has worked in the aerospace industry for many years, hence his adoration for technology and sci-fi.
Jess is currently a freelance writer as well as a reporter for a local newspaper.

If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?

We have had so much family support while working on this series; we are totally humbled. Our entire family has been there for both of us through the early stages of writing, to the craziness that we now adore. Many discussions before, during or after a family dinner often result in the exchange of more ideas and excitement. So for this father/daughter team, it’s not about juggling family and writing, it’s all about our writing family.

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Naturally some of the characters are based on experiences we have had and personalities or traits of others. But we are not saying who! Lol

Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

Thanks for asking this question!

We open the book with a quote from Albert Einstein: “Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.”

The entire series examines the moral dilemma of exceeding our technology and the underlying effect it will have on humanity. The characters are faced with many situations where morals become nebulous.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

Kurt is a songwriter. The concept of the Computer Love Inc. series germinated from a song that Kurt wrote many years ago. He had an idea to compose a rock opera using the song as a basis for the story, but realized that he needed a story first. The song has been recorded and can be heard at our website by clicking on the music tab at
Jess is an English major and loves to write as much as she adores hazelnut coffee and running 5Ks (and half marathons!) for charities. During her senior year in college, Kurt and Jess started discussing the potential of creating a novel to self-publish.

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

Our entire family has a love for water - salt or fresh, pools, lakes, or the ocean, as well as any and all activities related to water. We’ve gone boating, fishing, swimming, and snorkeling. Jess also enjoys running, yoga, or really just any form of exercise in general. She is a coffee addict, and loves the scent of hazelnut coffee just as much as she adores the aroma of a book store.  Together, we have caught salmon while fishing on the Great Lakes, swam among fish while snorkeling in Florida, enjoyed the food and entertainment at the North Turn (the restaurant located at the original north turn in the first Daytona 500 races), and laugh together as much and possible. If we have a “guilty” pleasure outside of writing, it would be enjoying time with our family; though we never feel guilty about spending time together.

 Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?

As we are currently sci-fi writers this is a tough question - but then again, we are book lovers.  We both read the Harry Potter series together while Jess was growing up, so we’d probably pick those. J.K. Rowling’s imagination is truly admirable.

Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?

We are indie authors and currently have no boundaries. As indie writers, we always have something in the works!

Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?

Marius is our favorite, for sure. He is quirky yet kindhearted, and he’s also complex because his inner voices are constantly at odds with one another. It’s always been interesting to present him with complex moral situations and see how his character works through them.

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

Love this question!

The Computer Love Inc. series is currently planned as a trilogy. CL Inc. II: Gestation is our second novel in the series, and we are currently working on the third installment of the series. The story continues throughout each novel and we love to build on subtle ideas throughout the trilogy that end up being poignant later on in the story. I must say as authors, it is both exciting and painful to know the outcome of the trilogy before our readers do!

What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?

We are currently working on the third installment of the Computer Love Inc. series and we expect to self-publish it sometime before next summer.

What book are you reading now?

Jess is reading Yes Please by one of her favorite actresses, Amy Poehler. Kurt’s “to read” pile is overflowing, but Jess has recently passed along Dave Eggers’ The Circle, which he intends on reading over his winter break.

Recipes Based on Our Characters

If you’ve read Computer Love Inc. II: Gestation, you’re probably familiar with the fact that M2 is quite the chef, while most of the other male characters are lacking in cooking abilities. Specifically, John, Zak, and Marius enjoy his meal of sea bass and rare sea scallops, despite the tension in the scene during which they are eating.

Below, you’ll find drama-free recipes that will have your diners praising your cooking skills as if you were a flawless Companion yourself.

M2’s Sea Bass

This is a simple recipe that calls for ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen. Along with about 2 lbs. of sea bass, you’ll need:

-1.5 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
-3 tbsps. butter
-2 cloves of minced garlic
-1 tbsp. of fresh parsley, chopped
-1/4 tsp.  each of garlic, paprika, and onion powder
-pepper and salt to taste
-a squeeze of fresh lemon (optional)

Combine the seasonings (paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper) in a bowl. 

Apply to both sides of the sea bass. For the sauce, you’ll need to combine the butter, minced garlic, and parsley in a pan, heating just until the butter melts. 

Preheat the grill to medium high, and oil the grate lightly. Grill the fish for about 7 minutes, flip it, and then coat it with the butter sauce. Continue to grill for about seven additional minutes. Remove it from the heat, coat it with any remaining butter sauce or olive oil, adding a squeeze of lemon if you like. The recipe should yield four servings.

Even though Shonda is a Companion, her “original” grew up on boats, and thus, is very familiar with rum. She says that secretly, her father always wanted to be a pirate, and used this is as his excuse for drinking rum before 10 am. We think Shonda’s Painkiller Boat Drink is better suited for the later hours of the day, but we’ll let you decide.

Shonda’s Painkiller Boat Drink

2-4 oz. of Pusser’s Rum, depending on how pirate-like you’re feeling
4 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. cream of coconut
1 oz. orange juice
Top with fresh grated nutmeg
Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

Although the Computer Love series takes place during an unspecific time in the future, we describe meat and seafood as “rare” throughout the novels, saying that most food is plant-based or created by mankind. Thus, when M2 cooks up a dish of rare, real scallops for Marius and the boys, it really blows them away. We think his sesame sauce scallops will impress you and your guests, too.

M2’s Rare Sea Scallops

For this recipe, you’ll need:

1.5 - 2 lbs. large scallops
1 green onion, sliced (green and white parts separated)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsps. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tsps. sugar
½ tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. sesame oil
Dash of crushed red pepper
1 tsp. canola oil
Dash of black pepper

Allow scallops to reach room temperature by letting them sit out for about 10 minutes. Combine the sliced white onion with garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a cooking pan over medium heat. Add the scallops, sprinkling them with the black pepper. Cook on one side until golden brown; about 3 minutes. Flip the scallops over with a pair of tongs, again until golden brown or for about 2-3 more minutes. Once cooked, put them on a separate plate, covering them with foil. Keep the pan on the heat.

Add the sauce mixture from before to the heated pan. Cook until it thickens, or for about 45 seconds. Remove from heat, and drizzle over scallops. Garnish with the sliced green onions.

Computer Love Inc. II: Gestation
Computer Love Inc. Series
Book II
Kurt and Jessica Hansen

Genre: Science Fiction    

ISBN: 978-0989068338

Number of pages: 215
Word Count: 46,095

Cover Artist: Steven J. Catizone

Book Description:

After the sudden deaths of two previous Computer Love Inc. CEOs, Marius takes control of the company. Embracing the talents of his godson, John, and his best friend, Zak, he hires the boys to oversee the Companion Services Division.

Marius refines his breakthrough technology, the Brain Machine Download, and as a result, creates his double, M2, as the prototype. Together, they ignite the future of
Computer Love Inc. by acquiring an elite team of scientists to expand the company’s technological boundaries. Meanwhile, Marius struggles with the government’s demands for a clandestine initiative - the Secret Service Companion.

Between the looming government presence and the overwhelming force behind his new team of inventors, can Marius survive the outcome of his own creations?

Available at Amazon and BN

Excerpt #2:
The room remained silent.  Ten pairs of eyes were fixed on Marius, not even a single person consumed with a hangnail or discreetly checking messages on his or her unit.
“So then – and please forgive me when I say this, because often it seems that social delicacies elude me; I’m sure you all possess unique and likeable personalities, but really – it’s your brains that we’re after here.”
Again Marius paused.  By now, some gazes had shifted: faces looked amongst one another, gauging reactions – animals measuring a threat by observing the rest of the pack.
“Have you ever heard someone say, ‘Can I pick your brain’?  Essentially, that’s what I’d like to do here.  I need your brilliance, and I implore you to consider this proposal.  I would like to perform a Brain Machine Download on each of you in order to capture your intelligence.  Is everyone familiar with what the theory of the BMD is, or what it entails?”
If they were not familiar, no one spoke up or raised a hand.  Again, the looks flashed around the room – there were a few who wanted to know more, but, seeing that no one else had first spoken up, they remained quiet.  Marius had seen it.  Even in the wisest, cowardice lives…

About the Authors:

Kurt and Jessica Hansen reside in northern New Jersey . Kurt has worked in the aerospace electronics industry for over three decades and enjoys the outdoors, writing, and composing music. Kurt is easily recognized with a guitar in his lap, a pencil in his mouth, and a piece of paper in front of him.

Jessica graduated from Montclair State University, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in English. Her favorite pastimes include reading, running and spending time with her family. She can usually be found with a book in one hand and a hazelnut coffee in the other.

twitter: @ComputerLoveInc

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