My guest today is author Camy Tang and I’m delighted to welcome her to chat about her writing journey.
For those of you who are not familiar with Camy’s novels, I’ll start by telling you that Camy writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Originally from Hawaii, she worked as a biologist for 9 years, but now she writes full time. She is a staff worker for her San Jose church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service, which specializes in book doctoring. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own…), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/.
Your latest book, Deadly Intent, comes out next month. What’s the book about?
Here’s the back cover blurb!
SCENE OF THE CRIME
The Grant family’s exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation–not murder! Then Naomi Grant finds her client Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, and everything falls apart. The salon’s reputation is at stake…and so is Naomi’s freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect–Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim’s ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn…and whom can she trust?
Also, for “extras” about Deadly Intent, click here and check out my blog posts.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
I did, but just before college, God convicted me that I was only interested in my name on a book and not writing for His glory, and He asked me to lay my writing down. It was really hard, but I did, and for most of my twenties, I didn’t write at all. Then when I got laid off from my biology job, God gave me the green light to pick up my writing again.
What would you say has been the hardest part of learning to be successful as a writer?
The entire process of submitting to God. This includes patience and trust in God’s timing. It’s too easy to think, “I want to get a contract by such-and-such date.” When really, it’s entirely in God’s hands. It’s always hard for me to remember that and live each day in that belief.
What about the publishing industry has surprised you the most?
How small it is. Editors, agents, and authors remember me and I would think wouldn’t know me from Adam. It makes me realize that these industry professionals are actually paying close attention to what unpublished writers say or write publicly, because they’re looking to see who the “new talent” will be.
In addition to your new novel, you also wrote the sushi series. Is there a difference in your writing process when you write a series versus a standalone book?
Not really. The only difference is that I purposely wrote in more characters in Sushi for One because I knew I’d be writing about the cousins in later books. Each main character or “major” secondary character goes through the same sort of characterization process—brainstorming, making sure their personalities psychologically resonate with readers, making sure they have strong motivations.
For those who are not familiar with the sushi series, can you give a brief overview of each of the three books?
Sure! Here’s the series overview:
Four cousins commiserate their single status—Lex the Jock, Trish the Flirt, Venus the Cactus, and Jennifer the Oddball. The only Christians in their large extended family, they vow to fight the stigma of the infamous family title, Oldest Single Female Cousin. But they have very different ideas about not acting as desperate as they feel about their bleak love lives. Who knew God would have His own plans of true love for each of them?
Here are blurbs:
Sports-crazy Lex Sakai isn’t too worried about “winning” the unofficial family title “Oldest Single Female Cousin” when her cousin Mariko marries in a few months. Her control-freak grandma is easy to ignore, until Grandma issues an ultimatum—if Lex can’t find a date for Mariko’s wedding, her ruthless Grandma will cut off funding to the girls’ volleyball team that Lex coaches.
Lex isn’t about to look desperate by dating every player in the dugout. She comes up with a stringent list of requirements from her Ephesians Bible study in her search for The Perfect Man. She always wins in volleyball—if she ups her game, she’s sure to succeed.
Then her brother introduces her to non-Christian, non-athletic, no-immediate-physical-appeal Aiden.
Aiden’s on the rebound from a girl named Trish, who dumped him because he wasn’t Christian. Then he discovers that Lex is 1) not attracted to him at all, 2) Christian, and 3) Trish’s cousin. No way is he hooking up with anyone from that crazy family, much less another hypocritical Christian chick. He’s certainly not masochistic.
Time is running out for Lex, and no matter what she does, she can’t find the right guy. Especially when she keeps running into Aiden everywhere. If only the list would stop getting longer and longer…
Flirty biologist Trish Sakai has alienated her best friends and her family because of her wild behavior with her artist ex-boyfriend, Kazuo. Then she finds her father kissing another woman, and her mom suffers a heart attack. Convinced God is punishing her for her sexual promiscuity, Trish comes up with three rules from First and Second Corinthians: 1) Stop looking at guys, 2) Only date Christians, and 3) Persevere in hardship by relying on God. If she follows them, God will restore her life to the way it was before her mistakes. If she can somehow regain her chastity, she won’t feel as dirty and unworthy as she does now. They’re only three rules. How hard can it be?
Handsome Spenser finds himself attracted to his coworker Trish, but his dinner invitation gets slammed down with a lame excuse about Corinthians and rules. That cools his ardor pretty quick. But then Spenser discover that his old enemy Kazuo needs Trish as the “muse” for his unfinished masterpiece painting due in a few months for a gallery show. Kazuo pursues Trish with everything he’s got, but Spenser decides to throw a wrench in Kazuo’s plans by pretending to pursue Trish himself.
Trish is going nuts trying to stand firm against two hunky guys. Her three simple rules aren’t so simple anymore . . .
Drake Yu. Why would Drake call her after … what, five years? Six?
Venus heard in his voice that resonance that was almost a growl, that titanium-hard determination to get what he wanted. And he usually got what he wanted. The voice said: “I want you to work for me.”
Not this time … If it was a choice between Drake and McDonald’s—she’d choose french fries. She’d never work for him again. It would take an act of God.
Venus Chau is determined to start her own game development company and launch the next Super Mario-sized phenomenon. However, she needs an investor to back her idea. When Drake Yu, an old nemesis, approaches Venus with a contracting opportunity at his sister’s startup, the offer to become Chief Technology Officer tempts Venus to think the unthinkable.
Venus would rather throw away her PS3 than work for Drake again … except Grandma bribes Venus to do this favor for Drake’s wealthy family with a coveted introduction to the most respected investor in the game industry. It’s also a short job—only a few months—so Venus won’t have to stand Drake’s presence for very long.
But one wild youth group, a two-faced assistant, and Grandma’s determined match-making threaten to make them both fail—or go insane. With the encouragement of her three cousins, Lex, Trish, and Jennifer, Venus discovers that even a wounded heart can undergo a beautiful transformation…
As you shape and mold your characters while writing a novel, do you develop a favorite or favorites that you hate to say goodbye to when the novel is completed?
Would you hate me if I said no? LOL While I like all my characters, I’m always itching to “meet” new ones in my next book! I also usually wrap up most threads in each novel so that I’m pretty satisfied they’re riding off into the sunset at the end of each book. That way, there’s no wondering what will happen to them. LOL Now I’m talking about them as if they’re real!
I love your cool tagline – “Camy writes romance with a kick of wasabi.” Where did the idea come from?
To be honest, it just popped into my head. I think it was a gift from God, because normally I don’t come up with taglines very easily. I also tend not to come up with any GOOD taglines.
As you know, Camy, my blog is a humorous storytelling blog. In keeping with that fun spirit, could you tell us your top three favorite chick flicks?
Pride and Prejudice (the BBC miniseries with Colin Firth)
While You Were Sleeping
Cranford (BBC miniseries)
Thanks for having me here, Sharon!