After a week of delicious spring-like temperatures, the weather in my neck of the woods has finally gotten into the Christmas spirit. BRRRR!!! (Sounds like an excuse to snuggle up with a good book while sipping homemade cocoa!)
For those of you who’re already tired of winter, how about some rays of warm West Coast sunshine for you courtesy of romantic suspense author Camy Tang. She’s dropped by for an interview and to give away a copy of her newest novel.
Camy is a native of Hawaii and now lives in the San Fransico Bay area. The biologist turned novelist has published nine titles with Zondervan, Guideposts and Love Inspired Suspense, with more releases to come. Camy incorporates many of her own experiences into her writing including hobbies like volleyball, running (the lady has done marathons), and knitting. Camy and her husband also spend time as youth workers at their Asian American church. To learn more about Camy, click here.
As a part of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaways, Camy is giving away a copy of her newest release “Protection For Hire.” To enter, just leave a comment (make sure to include your name and email)-that simple. (See end of post for Bonus Entries.) You can enter now through Friday, Dec. 23.
Don’t forget, you can enter each giveaway of the 12 Days of Christmas. Click here to see what (and who) you’ve missed.
This giveaway is open to everyone (no residency restrictions!)
Camy recently made my “buy everything this author publishes” list after I read “Protection For Hire.” My review is below (please note, it may contain SPOILERS.)
REVIEW OF “PROTECTION FOR HIRE” by Camy Tang
I’ve been told by more than one person (Mom and Amber) that I can be obnoxious when I predict the ending of TV crime shows and chick flicks.
Once you know the formula it’s easy to know the ending long before the last commercial break.
I’m a bookworm and to me books are far better than TV. So when I’m reading I crave a book that keeps me eagerly turning (or tapping) the pages until the last sentence. My standards for books are much higher than TV shows.
Camy Tang must have taken a cue from her days in the lab when she came up with the formula for “Protection For Hire.” She took the basic ingredients of romantic suspense and added in a kick of her trademark wasabi to create a five-star recipe that will keep you coming back for more!
Tessa Lancaster is a Japanese American with deep family ties. From the age of sixteen Tessa is known on the streets as a violent and ruthless enforcer for the Japanese Mafia (yakuza) until she sacrificed her freedom to protect the family. Fresh out of prison after serving seven years for a crime she didn’t commit, Tessa is free to return to “the family”-literally-the yakuza run by her Uncle Teruo. While in prison, Tessa is set free spiritually, encountering Christ and becoming a Christian.
Tessa sets out on a straight career path, channeling her skills into serving as a bodyguard for wealthy socialite Elizabeth St. Amant and her three-year-old son. But being from the upper crust doesn’t preclude Elizabeth from having problems. The socialite comes with a lot of baggage, including an abusive ex-husband and a missing fortune.
Tessa is grittier than most heroines-she’s trained in martial arts and we get to see her put her skills to the test against a variety of bad guys. She doesn’t doubt her ability to keep her charges safe but she’s going to have a harder time guarding her own heart. The case forces her to work closely with Elizabeth’s lawyer, Charles Britton. Tessa unknowingly lets her guard down to the man who led the charge to lock her up and throw away the key for her supposed crime.
The pair must try to survive assassins, gang rivalries, and exasperating family in their search to give Elizabeth her life back.
It’s not only evil that Tessa is battling. She faces temptation in the form of a disappointed mother, an angry sister and eager uncle who still see Tessa the same as they always have. Tessa must decide whether to handle things herself, the way she did when her life revolved around the yakuza, or fully follow Christ.
I was surprised that one of my favorite characters was Uncle Teruo. Tang does an excellent job of slowly growing his character into a man much deeper than just a caricature of the organized crime boss.
The first few chapters are heavy on description-though it’s integral to the plot and informative about the Asian mob community. The book quickly progresses to a page turning read with strong dialogue, an engrossing plot and characters you’ll care about.
Fans of books by Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock and Irene Hannon, and fans of female detective including Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series and the Sunny Randall series by Robert B. Parker will enjoy “Protection For Hire.”
INTERVIEW WITH CAMY TANG
OA: Camy, your slogan is “Romance with a kick of Wasabi.” Elaborate on that.
LL: Wasabi is a very hot (sinus-clearing) Japanese radish condiment used to give a clean-tasting little spice or kick when eating sushi or any raw seafood. Most of my stories have a hint of romance in it, and wasabi, with its Asian origin, refers to my Asian characters, that “kick” of sass in my contemporary romance, and that “kick” of danger in my romantic suspense.
OA: On your website you write, “Nosy relatives, sibling rivalry, and parental angst are the same whatever your ethnic background, and I hope my stories give people a fun taste of Asian American culture.” How does your ethnicity influence your writing.
LL: I am fourth generation Japanese American. Before I was published, I had been considering writing Asian American characters because there were so few Asian heroines in Christian fiction. However, none of the publishers were looking for multicultural stories, so I wasn’t avidly pursuing it.
Then, at the ACFW conference in Denver, Colorado (2004), Brandilyn Collins prayed over me and three other friends. I told her to pray for me however the Spirit led her.
The very first thing she said was to very clearly tell me to “write your heritage.”
I hadn’t told Brandilyn that I was considering writing Asian characters. I hadn’t told anyone, actually. This was the most specific word from God that I’d received about my writing. I wasn’t about to ignore it.
So my I made my next heroine Asian American. Around that time, I realized that no one else had written any contemporary Christian fiction with an Asian American protagonist.
I discovered that even though my characters were Asian, readers could relate to them because no matter what your ethnicity, families are all alike. And that’s the theme that runs through all my books.
OA: Why do you choose to write inspirational versus secular books?
CT: I prayed about that and God very clearly steered me toward the Christian fiction market rather than the mainstream market, at least for now. I don’t know why, but I know this is where God wants me to be.
OA: As you start the process of writing a novel, which comes first when you write a book, the plot or the spiritual journey?
CT: Each book is different, and for some books, the plot comes first, and for others, the spiritual journey comes first. For Protection for Hire, the heroine’s spiritual journey definitely came first.
OA: How do you choose which Bible verses to include in a book?
CT: As I’m writing the manuscript, I’ll typically have a certain spiritual theme and I’ll find a verse to fit that theme. For example, while writing Protection for Hire, I knew the heroine’s spiritual theme was about leaving her old life and walking forward in newness in Christ. So I picked Philippians 3:7-8 as the theme verses for the book.
OA: How do you balance showing a character’s spiritual journey without “preaching” to the reader?
CT: I write my characters the way I live my life. I don’t go around preaching to all my nonChristian family or friends, so I have my characters do the same. Everyone has both strengths and flaws, and I make sure my characters have the same strengths and flaws. When they reach a spiritual realization in the climax of my books, that comes out of their flaws and mistakes and the grace of God. I think my readers can relate to that and so they don’t feel preached to.
OA: This may be like asking you to choose a favorite child but do you have a favorite character or book that you’ve written?
CT: Actually, I really like Tessa the best. She’s street smart and can protect herself, but inside she’s very vulnerable because she’s been hurt so badly by the two closest women in her life, her mother and sister, and she’s only now learning how to open up to them again and learn to understand them.
OA: I work in a library and I’ve noticed that when male readers hear the label “romantic suspense” they tend to shy away from those books. What would you say to recommend your books to guy readers?
CT: I wrote this book mostly for women readers, but I did utilize my husband’s love of mixed martial arts in creating Tessa’s character. Guys will probably like the fight scenes.🙂 They will also like the yakuza background of the heroine, since mafia-type stories–like the TV series The Sopranos–seem to appeal to men.
OA: You’ve written several shorter novels for Love Inspired as well as longer ones such as your Sushi series. Do you find it more challenging to write shorter or longer novels?
CT: I like writing both. Writing shorter is definitely difficult because each word has to count and I want the story to be rich with good pacing. Writing longer is hard because I have more subplots to keep track of. I think that whatever I happen to be writing at the time seems the most challenging to me.
OA: Who are some of the authors who’ve inspired you?
CT: Definitely Jane Austen. Her wit and the way she used words continues to inspire me.
OA: What is your favorite and least favorite parts of writing a novel?
CT: My favorite part is plotting. My least favorite is editing.
OA: Do you have advice for writers aspiring to be published?
CT: My first piece of advice is to just write. Lots of people want to finish a book, but very few people actually write “The End.” Just write and don’t think about how good/bad the writing is, just get it down. You can edit it later.
My second piece of advice is to make sure you read a lot. A New York Times bestselling author once said that if you write one word, read two. Meaning read more than you write. You can’t know if your story is unique and fits the marketplace if you don’t ever read books in your genre or from the publisher you’re targeting.
OA: Do you have any special traditions that you and your family do each year at Christmas?
CT: We always open one present on Christmas Eve. I think my parents started doing it to keep my brother and me from being antsy, but we still do it now.
OA: What do you have in the works for 2012?
CT: In January I’ll have a Love Inspired Suspense novel, “Stalker in the Shadows,” which is the 3rd book in my Sonoma series, although readers don’t have to read the other books before reading this one. I’ll be releasing book 2 in the Protection for Hire series, titled A Dangerous Stage. And I’ll release 3 books in the Guideposts’ direct mailing book club (which, unfortunately, aren’t for sale online yet).
Thanks for the interview!
Look for Camy’s new Love Inspired release “Stalker in the Shadows” in stores soon. I’m hoping Santa will leave a copy in my stocking!
Now for the contest. But First the Rules. Please read over them, they’ll likely answer any questions you have about the giveaway-if not, ask away.
This giveaway is open to EVERYONE-US and International residents, with the book mailed to the winner by the author.
Here’s how you can enter to win a free copy of “Protection For Hire.”
- Simply leave a comment under this post your name and email address.
- Tell us about a hobby you enjoy.
BONUS ENTRIES (Leave a Separate Comment for each action you complete stating what you did along with your name and email.)
The giveaway closes on Friday, Dec. 23 at 11:59pm. Winners will be announced on Saturday, Dec. 24 at 2p.m.
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