Tuesday, September 04, 2007

This Week From CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Sushi for One?
(Zondervan, September 1, 2007)

Camy Tang is a member of CFBA and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One is her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) comes out in February 2008!

To celebrate the launch of her debut novel, she's got a huge contest going on. Camy is giving away baskets of Christian novels and an iPod Nano! Only her newsletter YahooGroup subscribers are eligible to enter, so join today.

For more information about the contest, visit her website.
Contest ends October 31, 2007!


Lex Sakai’s family, big, nosy, and marriage-minded, is ruled by a crafty grandmother. When her cousin Mariko gets married, Lex will become the OLDEST SINGLE COUSIN in the clan, a loathed position by all single female family members.
Lex has not dated for years.
Grandma homes in on this fact and demands, bribes, and threatens Lex to bring a boyfriend (not just a date) to her cousin’s wedding.
Lex does not want to date ... not since that terrible incident a few years back ... but, Grandma doesn't give her that choice.
Lex's options are slim because she has used her Bible study class on Ephesians to compile a huge list of traits for the PERFECT man (and the more she dates, the more she adds to the list).
The one man she keeps running into (and is completely attracted to) doesn’t seem to have a single quality on her list. It’s only when the always-in-control Lex loses control and lets God take over that all the pieces of this hilarious romance finally fall into place.

Camy was gracious enough to submit to an interview and answer some questions. She's also giving away a copy of SUSHI FOR ONE?, so leave a comment and enter to win this wonderful book. The winner will be announced Saturday, September 8th.

Camy, thanks for taking the time to visit with me at On The Write Path.

Thanks for letting me chat with you!

Your first novel, Sushi for One, released this past month. Can you tell us a little about how the story went from idea to published novel?

People have asked me if Grandma Sakai is based on my own grandma. No, she’s not. However—unfortunately—she’s a conglomeration of my friends’ aunties, mothers, and grandmothers.

I think lots of people can relate to at least one relative who’s always pestering the single people in their family about getting married and having kids. Sometimes it’s amusing, sometimes it’s downright annoying.

I wondered what would happen if the Buddhist matriarch of a family fell down hard and heavy on a close-knit group of cousins who all happened to be Christian.

I also wanted the cousins to be not-your-average chick lit heroines—I wanted them to be characters that readers would relate to and yet find intriguing. So I made one a jock, one a flirt, one a cactus, and one a doormat. The Sushi Series was born.

I loved Lex Sakai. And I loved a peek into the Asian culture. How much of your life made it onto the pages of Sushi for One? Are you an athlete like Lex?

I made Lex as good at volleyball as I always wished I was. I’m nowhere near as good as Lex is—although I have watched games with women who ARE as good as Lex, and they’re simply amazing.

Lex isn’t that much like me, but she has traits that I wish I had, like volleyball skill. Lex says exactly what she’s thinking and doesn’t care what people think of her, which is kind of how I wish I was. She’s also pragmatic and logical—again, the way I wish I was!

One of the most stirring scenes for me centered around the painting in the pastor’s office. Is that entirely fictional?

Actually, that painting was inspired by a story I heard in college. A sculptor had been commissioned to sculpt a statue of Christ on the cross, but it was so gruesome and horrific that the church members didn’t want it.

The sculptor had purposefully made it gruesome because that’s how the crucifixion was—it wasn’t pretty or mournful, it was downright horrible. The sculptor had wanted to show the depths of Christ’s sacrifice so that we could more keenly feel how much He gave for us.

I don’t know what happened to the actual statue, but that story haunted me for many years. I remembered it as I was plotting the storyline for Sushi for One, and made it into a painting hanging on the pastor’s wall.

What sort of response have you received from readers so far?

Most people have enjoyed the book, which makes me very happy!

How do you handle the great reviews and the not so great ones?

Throughout this entire writing journey, God has constantly reminded me that my success or failure is entirely in His hands. That’s hard for me, because I tend to want to control everything, or at least, feel like I have control.

So when I see reviews, I really try lift them all up to God and not let them affect me, whether good or bad. I’m not always successful, but at least I’m trying.

You also have a critique service (http://www.storysensei.com/). How are you able to balance your family, church, writing, and working with other writers?

Funny you should ask that, because recently, God has convicted me about setting firmer boundaries in my life. He’s revealed to me what my priorities are—my family, my church youth group, and my writing. I take on critiquing jobs when I have time, but I’ve been better lately about saying no when I’m just too swamped with something else.

What are some of the common mistakes or shortcomings made by newbies that you run across in your critique service?

Not enough conflict. Donald Maass says it best—he recommends for writers to add some form of tension or conflict into EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE. This is because unlike real life, conflict is what keeps people interested in the story. Basically, make something “not right” in every single sentence on the page.

Most writers think that’s insane when they first hear it, but I always tell people to try it for a page in their manuscript and then compare the before and after. It sometimes requires some major rewriting, but people always notice how much more riveting the writing and the action is after adding more conflict and tension.

What advice would you have for authors not yet published?

Complete something new each year. I meet lots of writers who keep revising the same story, or who start lots of things but don’t finish them.

Editors and agents want to know that you can complete a manuscript and that you have more than one book in you. You don’t want to be a writer with lots of different great story ideas but no complete manuscript, or a writer who only has their one manuscript that’s been polished for the last several years.

When you start submitting to agents and editors, try to have at least three manuscripts done. In my experience, a writer’s third complete manuscript is usually about the level where it’s good enough to submit.

What’s coming next for you?

In February, the second book in the Sushi Series, Only Uni, comes out. That’s Trish’s story. And then in the Fall of 2008 will be Single Sashimi, which is Venus’s story.

Also, right now I’m running a contest on my website where I’m giving away baskets of Christian fiction and an iPod Nano! Only my newsletter YahooGroup subscribers are eligible, so join today:

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. And congratulations on Sushi for One!

Thanks for having me here, Erica!
Be sure to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Sushi for One? I can tell you, I stayed up ALL NIGHT reading this one (got to bed at 6 am) and loved it. You won't be disappointed!


  1. Thanks so much for having me here on your blog, Erica! I'm so glad you liked the book!

  2. Sign me up, Erica. It sounds like a fun book.

  3. I have it--it's a great read! 6 AM Erica?!?!

  4. I'm looking forward to this read!

  5. Count me in, I am looking forward to reading this! Thanks:-)

    kpuleski [at] gmail [dot] com

  6. Please enter me for the book. forest_rose[at]yahoo[dot]com

  7. I'd love to win a copy of this book!