INTEVIEW WITH OUR OWN CAMY TANG!!!
As part of her SUSHI FOR ONE Blog Tour.......I am SUPER, DUPER THRILLED to present an interview with my good friend and debut Zondervan author Camy Tang.
Enjoy and PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS TO STOP BY FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF CAMY'S DEBUT NOVEL!
To enter for the book drawing, simply leave a message stating so in the comment section. Leave contact info or check back THIS FRIDAY to see who won.
Also, Camy is having a fantabulous contest on her blog. See the info at the end of this interview for a chance to win baskets of Christian Fiction, AND an iPod Nano!!!
> 1. When did you first know you wanted to write?
When I read Anne McCaffrey's Pern books, especially Dragonsong and
Dragonsinger. It totally made me want to create my own fantasy world
and cool heroine. So I took over the family's Apple IIe computer (am I
dating myself? LOL) and chugged out my 500+ page fantasy manuscript.
> 2. What are your other passions besides writing?
I've really gotten into knitting the past few months. I've discovered
that it helps me to write because I need the tactile stimulation when
I'm in right-brain creative mode. I also really like the challenge of
making things for myself and for others. I just recently finished a
knit skirt edged with hand-knit lace (for me to wear to church).
> 3. If your three current heroines from your Sushi Series could write a blurb
> about you, the author of their stories, what would they each say?
Lex (from Sushi for One): She's an okay volleyball player, and she
gets hit by so many balls it's past coincidence and it's gotten into
scarily freaky, but she's nice.
Trish (from Only Uni): She's cool! She leads a rockin' worship team on Sunday.
Venus (from Single Sashimi): I like her. She's efficient, logical, and
she says what she means.
> 4. What would be the highest compliment a reader could give you regarding
> your writing?
"This book was so fun, I told all my friends to go out and buy a copy!"
> 5. What do you have to have each day before you begin to write...as in
> something you bring to your desk with your hands, or something on your desk,
> and why?
There isn't anything in particular I need each day to write, unless
it's the fact that I've elevated my monitor, keyboard, and trackball
so that I can stand as I write. I alternate sitting and standing at my
desk during the day because it's better for my back.
> 6. Is your writing journey how you envisioned it? Or different? If so, how
It's funny, but my writing journey is nothing like I envisioned it.
For one, the first book I shopped around was DREK and I'm embarrassed
so many editors and agents saw it. I had always envisioned polishing
my work and sending out a jewel of a manuscript, but my knowledge of
the craft was so poor that what I thought was a jewel wasn't even
close. That's the "Bad Book," which is buried in the depths of my
For another, I didn't realize how bad I am at time management until I
started writing full-time. I suck at it! I thought it would be heaven
(and a piece of cake) to spend only an hour at emails and the rest of
the day on writing, but I quickly discovered that wasn't the case. I
have to work really hard to be efficient during the day, and while
some days I do well, other days i don't do so well. I'm ashamed to say
that I had better time management when I was working full-time.
However, thankfully I'm getting better at it.
However, one thing I did envision about my writing journey that's come
true is how much I love what I do. I really enjoy what I'm doing now
and I'd do anything--even going back to work in biology in order to
pay the bills--just to be able to keep writing fiction.
> 7. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep learning more writing craft. I'll be brutally honest here, what
you think is brilliant is not as great as you think it is (remember I
mentioned the "Bad Book"?). My mistake was in shopping my manuscript
when it wasn't ready. I should have just spent my time working on more
books, learning and improving my writing craft, finding more critique
partners. Some writers sell their first or second book, but most have
to write several manuscripts before they perfect their craft enough or
hit on that really unique story idea that makes an editor sit up and
> 8. It's unusual for debut authors to contract (especially three books! WOO
> HOO YOU!) with a bigger house such as Zondervan. What advice would you give
> to those targeting bigger houses? Do you think it's easier to break in with
> category romance versus single title? And why?
I certainly don't think it's "easy" to break into category romance. In
fact, it's darn hard. Even though category romances are shorter books,
the editors still require a high standard of writing. Krista Stroever
has the reputation of being one of the best and hardest editors in the
business. I get very frustrated with writers who flippantly dismiss
I think the decision to target category versus single title depends on
the writer. Sometimes, you're just a big book writer. Other times,
you're able to write succinctly and emotionally at the same time.
I'm actually a rather succinct writer, but the manuscript that sold
for me happened to be a single title. It's actually a shorter book
than a lot of other novels out there.
There's also the undeniable fact that a lot of category writers
eventually write single title novels. Some of the biggest names in the
business have done that--Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Cathy
Whether you target single title or category houses, I think all
writers need an agent. For one, a lot of houses are relying on agents
rather than their slush pile for manuscripts--in fact, many houses
don't even accept unsolicited manuscripts anymore.
However, writers need to be SMART about picking their agent. Spend
time talking with them and with their clients. Figure out their
working style and communication style, and determine if it's a good
fit for you.
> 9. How much emphasis do you think authors should put on promoting themselves
> before they're published? What are some of the things you did?
I always tell writers to only do what you WANT to do. Don't do
anything you don't want to. If you don't like blogging, then don't
feel pressured to do it. If you don't like teaching, then don't do it.
If you don't like booksignings, then don't do it.
If you only do what you like doing, then you actually find you're more
open to occasionally moving outside your comfort zone for promotion. I
don't like doing booksigning, but I'll do one occasionally. The rest
of the time, I do what i enjoy most--blogging.
The only non-negotiable for a writer is a website. It's your business
card on the web, telling people what you're writing and about
yourself. They're very inexpensive and very easy to set up.
Marketing before you're published is helpful but not necessary. I
happened to have an internet presence before I contracted, and that
helped to beef up my marketing plan in my proposal, but the difference
was that I was blogging within my marketing brand. If you blog about
something totally different from your brand, it doesn't help your
career much. If you market yourself before you're contracted, be very
selective about how you do it, what your focus is.
> 10. How much emphasis do you think authors should put on promotion and
> marketing once they're contracted? What are some of the best marketing ideas
> you've heard of? I just loved your homemade cards by the way! I might use
> that idea. LOL! and by the way, Camy's chopsticks are THE coolest marketing
> tool I've seen!
Thanks, Squirly. Again, I think writers should only do what they want
to do, what they can afford to do. I also think writers need to be
SMART about what they choose do spend their money on. The chopsticks
were both cheap and fit in well with my brand.
> 11. How important is your faith to your writing?
God has really impressed on me the importance of being faithful in my
quiet times with Him. I couldn't write without His blessing on it. I
couldn't write without the right attitude in my heart, and that only
comes through vigilant prayer and study of the Word. Francine Rivers
and Debbie Macomber both spend an hour or two with God every morning,
and while I'm not up to a couple hours yet, I do try to emulate their
faithfulness and discipline. I earnestly want that time to become
vital and important to my day, every day, no matter what I have to do.
> 12. What are you working on now, and when can we expect another release from
I'm working on a new series proposal right now, but my next release is
Only Uni, Trish's story, which comes out in February 2008.
> 13. You are big on networking. How important do you feel networking was to
> your journey to publication? What are some effetive ways to network in your
Networking was one of the most important things I could ever do. After
all, that's how I met you!
Meeting and becoming friends with other writers--both published AND
unpublished--is vital for a writer's journey. I met my prayer partners
and critique partners through online discussion boards and
conferences. I met a few published authors who were able to give me
advice for the journey. I personally think a writer becomes too
arrogant and delusional without other writers for critique, prayer,
> 14. Who has been your favorite character and why?
Venus, whose story is Single Sashimi, releasing in the Fall 2008. I
like how brutally honest she is. She's also as slender and sexy as I
wish I was (sigh).
Thanks for the interview, Squirly!
>You're very welcome, Camy!
Also, Camy has a huge website contest going on right now. She's giving away baskets
of Christian fiction and an iPod Nano! Only her newsletter YahooGroup
subscribers are eligible to enter, so join today!
Please visit Camy's web site here: