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Camy Tang Interview

by Rel Mollet

"We try so hard to do things on our own—even though we might have good intentions—when all God wants is for us to rely more on Him and look to Him for our identity, our righteousness, and our sense of being loved."
-- Camy Tang


Camy Tang grew up in Hawaii and worked for years as a biologist/researcher until she felt God’s call to return to the writing that she had loved as a student. She now writes "romance with a kick of wasabi" and, with her husband, is a staff worker with the youth group at her church. Visit her website at www.camytang.com.


REL: Why Christian fiction?

CAMY: I felt called to write fiction for Christians. I know that might sound cheesy, but it’s true. I love reading fiction and I love writing fiction even more. When I finally gave my writing up to God, he confirmed that He wants me writing fiction, and more, that He wants me writing for Christians (as opposed to non-Christians in mainstream fiction).

It is quite a jump from biologist to romance author! How/why did you make the transition?

I was a writer first, but God asked me to lay my writing down—completely. Literally. It was a huge fight, but eventually I shoved my manuscript under the bed (where it still resides, because it’s complete dross) and stopped writing fiction. I went into biology work because I really enjoyed it in college.

Then a few years later, God gave me the green light to pick up my writing again. It seemed a little strange for a biologist to suddenly decide to write fiction (again), but I hadn’t expected a chance like this after I’d given my writing up to Him, and I wasn’t about to argue!

Writing is obviously in your blood - was there a particular person who encouraged you to nurture your gift?

My Mom was a high school English teacher, and she totally encouraged me to do it. She even let me monopolize our old Apple IIe computer and dot matrix printer! (Remember those? The sound would drive her nuts when I was printing out something.) She was my first reader, where she obliterated all my excess commas.

Sushi for One? by Camy TangWhat writing project are you working on now?

I’m working on a few proposals for new novels. One involves a dog, so I’m very excited! I figure, all those painful months of trying to train my butt-headed dog Snickers have GOT to pay off eventually!

You are a bit of a pioneer in the CBA, with your main characters being Asian. How do you feel about that?

I didn’t originally write Asian characters, but in studying the market, I realized that the CBA didn’t have many Asian American (as opposed to Asians from Asia) characters. I started to think about taking a step like that, and then I got a very clear word from God for me to “write my heritage.” I didn’t get any clearer than that! I’ll keep doing it until He tells me not to.

Please tell us the inspiration behind your unique series?

It was a bunch of different things, but mainly it was from talking with friends about our relatives. Everyone I know, whether Asian or not, had a relative who would nag them about being single and getting married. I took all their stories and impressions and molded them into Grandma Sakai, the worst kind of nagger I could come up with. The four cousins evolved from there.

We meet each of the characters from your subsequent stories in Sushi for One? Can you describe each of the cousins in one word?

Lex—jock

Trish—flirt

Venus—cactus

Jenn—doormatOnly Uni by Camy Tang

Only Uni, Trish’s story, is your latest release. You tackle difficult subject matter yet inject a lot of humour, cultural details and matters of the heart and faith ~ how do you find the balance?

I originally set out to just write a funny, entertaining story. But in creating Trish’s character, I realized that she has more depth than just a flirty biologist (I had the same thinking when creating her cousins). The deeper issues came out of the complexity of traits I gave to Trish, and so while most of the story is funny, there were moments when she had to deal with her issues with herself and with God, and so the humor took a backseat.

How do you go about choosing names for your characters?

I completely SUCK at coming up with names. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I used friends’ suggestions and a random draw of books from my bookshelf.

Any ideas who you might cast in a movie of Only Uni?

There’s an Asian American actress in the TV show Chuck who’s perfect for Trish—Julia Ling. She’s sassy and funny and the right age, and she just looks like Trish to me, although with less makeup than she has in her character on Chuck.

What impact do you hope this book has upon the reader?

I am really hoping that readers will be encouraged to call on God even for the little things that happen to them, and not just the big things. We try so hard to do things on our own—even though we might have good intentions—when all God wants is for us to rely more on Him and look to Him for our identity, our righteousness, and our sense of being loved.

Single Sashimi by Camy TangCan you give us a sneak peek at Venus’ story, Single Sashimi?

Sure! Here’s the blurb: 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 Operating 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 …

You are quite a Jane Austen fan! Favourite novel, please?

Persuasion! There’s something I just admire about Anne Elliot—her strength, consciousness, and the sadness of her regret. And it’s got to be one of the most romantic stories I’ve ever read!Camy Tang

What are you reading at the moment?

A SOLDIER’S FAMILY by Cheryl Wyatt, and A WOMAN AND HER EMOTIONS by Gayle Roper

Favourite movie and favourite line from a movie?

Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version (well, it’s technically a miniseries and not a movie)

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen as Mr Darcy?

Colin! Although I liked Matthew in MI6.

Colin Firth or Richard Armitage?!

RICHARD!!!!

Who inspires you?

Debbie Macomber. She spends time in her Bible every morning before starting her work. She doesn’t often get critical acclaim for her novels, but she doesn’t let it get her down—she keeps putting out wonderful stories that millions of people enjoy.

Camy Tang Snickers Captain CaffeinePlease tell us a little about your family (including Snickers!)

My husband is called Captain Caffeine on my blog, because he is an espresso connoisseur. When I got my first contract, I promised him anything he wanted—and he chose this expensive, stainless-steel espresso maker imported all the way from Italy. Since then, he makes a latte (or sometimes just espresso) every morning. He’s getting to be quite a good barista.

Our other family member is our mutt Snickers, whom we adopted from the Humane Society. She’s a complete and utter butthead, but we love her because she’s so darn cute.

Please share some of your faith journey...

I was very lucky because I had a babysitter who was Christian, and she took me and my brother to Sunday School when we were younger. However, the church was very small and there weren’t anyone my own age—everyone was much older. So I knew about Jesus, but I didn’t really give my life to Him until I went to college, where I met Christians my own age who really lived out their faith and had a relationship with God that I didn’t have. Now I wonder how I ever took so long to surrender to Jesus. I’ve worked for eleven years in my church youth group, and I try to help them to live in Christ early in their lives, in a way I did not.

Some essential Aussie questions

When/if you make the trip Down Under what do you want to see first:~

YOU!

A platypus or a koala?

Koala! They’re so cute!

Barrier Reef or Uluru (Ayers Rock)?

I’ve never heard of Uluru, so I’d probably want to see that.

A cricket match or a game of Aussie Rules Footy?

What in the world is Aussie Rules Footy? I’m almost afraid to ask.

Any last words?

Thanks so much for the interview! I do want to let people know that I have a website contest going on right now, giving away FIVE boxes of Christian fiction! Plus it’s open to international readers! The contest is exclusively for my newsletter YahooGroup subscribers, so join today: Click here!

Thanks for having me here!

Camy

Rel MolletRel Mollet is a lawyer, wife and mother of three young daughters and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Reading has been her passion since childhood. She is a Book Club Co-ordinator and has her own website ~ relzreviewz ~ dedicated to reviews and author interviews with the sole aim to support authors writing from a Christian worldview. She believes Sir Francis Bacon's (1561 - 1626) creed, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body".