Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Camy Tang and Sushi...


I am so glad to have Camy Tang back with us today to talk about her new release
"Only Uni". It is the follow-up to her first book "Sushi For One" which I enjoyed
so much I put it on my Top 7 Most Entertaining Books of 2007 list. In "Sushi"
we met Lex and her crazy, kooky, fun and loving (in their own way) large family.
Only Uni follows up with the same family from the perspective of Lex's cousin
Trish. The irony here is that in "Sushi" I started out liking Trish
but by the end of the book I really perceived her as selfish and
shallow and didn't like her much at all. Consequently, I wasn't sure
that I would like "Only Uni" because it was going to revolve around
selfish Trish. Enter the moment that I received Only Uni and started
reading it... a few hours later I declared (out loud to no one), "I do
believe I like "Only Uni" even better than "Sushi For One"!" Now onto
finding out more about this book from Camy herself...

1. Camy, when you wrote "Sushi For One" did you start out intending to
write a series of 3 books about the cousins or did it develop into that?
Does it change the way you write a book if you are writing a
single book or a series?
I originally wrote Trish's story first, in a (very, very bad)
manuscript titled THE CORINTHIAN RULES. At that time, I wasn't
thinking about writing a series. But after I started working with my
first agent, I talked with Marilynn Griffith, and got the idea about
making the story into a series. I wrote the series proposal. The
Zondervan publishing committee didn't like THE CORINTHIAN RULES and
wanted another story in the series first, so I wrote Lex's story,

It doesn't really make much difference in how I write the book if I'm
writing a series or a single title. I still do the same in-depth
characterization even if it's only for the one book. But I do have to
admit it's a lot less work if I do the in-depth characterization and
have 3 books out of it!

2. One of the things I really liked about "Only Uni" is that Trish is a
flawed character from the beginning. And anyone who reads "Sushi"
this when they start reading. Because I knew she was flawed
right away
I watched her journey through the book a little
differently... as I realized
she was trying to change and find her way
again I got in her corner and really
started rooting for her. Was it
fun to write about a character that is less
than perfect, and are any
of her flaws taken from personal experience or is Trish

Trish is actually a lot like me. I struggled with my singleness in the
same way Trish does, which was another reason I had written her story
first in THE CORINTHIAN RULES. Her story changed quite a bit from THE
CORINTHIAN RULES to ONLY UNI, but her flaws are still the same--her
struggles with her self-image, her desires, her determination to

3. Trish goes through a search during this book, she's searching for the right
church, the right relationship with God, and finding her
friendships and trust
with her cousins again. I loved this part of
the story as I think most of us
have gone through something similar in
our lives at some point or another.
How do you strike that balance at
church with being involved and a servant without
getting taken
advantage of - I've heard that 20% of the people at church do 80% of
the work and I've certainly seen that to be true for the most part...

Oh, tell me about it! I see it in my own church.

It's funny you mention this, because we discussed this issue at our
youth group meeting a few weeks ago. While God does desire us to serve
at our church, I don't think He likes it when we overcommit ourselves
and neglect other things that are more important.

Because I see so many people in my church family being taken advantage
of, I enter into ministry with a lot of prayer. I don't agree to do
something unless I've prayed hard about it, and I try to never commit
when I'm first asked--I always tell them I need time to pray about it.
That way, I can ask God what He wants me to do, and I can look
realistically at my time and resources. I have to really make an
effort to keep my priorities straight and not become overcommitted.

4. Trish is similar to the prodigal son in this book, she messes up and comes back -
but she still has to suffer the consequences of her
misguided actions. I have
children and while I know they will make
mistakes and have consequences, as a mother
I hate to see them
hurting. How would you explain this concept to people in a way
can be easily understood?

You touch on a topic that I feel very strongly about. Our current
American culture likes to allow people off the hook and never pay the
consequences of their own actions and decisions. While God forgives us
for our sins, often we still have to pay the consequences.

I tell my youth group kids this all the time--you have to learn to be
accountable for your actions. Sometimes God lets us off the hook, but
sometimes He doesn't. If we are held accountable, we can always trust
He'll be there for us, and that everything eventually works out for
our good, but it's still required for us to stand up under the
consequences of things we've done.

5. One of the fun parts (and common threads of these books) is Grandma Sakai.
She is the ultimate matriarch who wants to be firmly in
control of the lives of
those she loves. I think that's what keeps me
from hating her - I do believe that
she really loves her family (the
granddaughters included). I have to ask... do you
have a Grandma
Sakai in your life?

Absolutely not, thank goodness! Grandma Sakai is based off of the
grandmas, aunties, and mothers of friends of mine (both Asian and
non-Asian) who constantly nag and scheme to get the single family
members married off. So while she's fictional, she's also based on

While I do understand that those meddling family members really do
care, I personally come from a family where we respect each other's
personal lives. My family doesn't nag at all, and I'm very glad for
that. I put enough pressure on MYSELF, so why would I want pressure on
me from outside sources?

6. Now this question is purely for my information - we have a Japanese restaurant
not far from us that my husband and I just love (my
favorites are Ika Fry and
Edamame), but I am not a huge expert on
sushi itself - so share some of your
favorites with me so I know what
to try next time I'm there...

Most Japanese food comes in two categories: raw and cooked.

If you're willing to eat raw food, my suggestion is to try tuna (ahi,
maguro) sushi. If the restaurant is good, the tuna will be soft in
texture, fresh-tasting and not fishy smelling at all. The fish will be
pleasantly dry and not slimy. My favorite sushi is hamachi
(yellowtail) which has a slightly stronger taste than tuna, but very

For cooked Japanese food, one of my favorites is eel (unagi). You can
usually order unagi donburi or unagi over steamed rice. The unagi is
broiled in a flavorful sweet-salty sauce that lends itself well to the
rice. Eel is slightly slimy in texture, depending on how good quality
it is, so don't expect anything dry like normal cooked fish.

My husband and I have gotten unagi before and it wasn't bad at all, I guess I'm
a little too tame though - I like the avocado and cucumber
sushi (with nothing raw :-)

7. I liked "Only Uni" so much that I am really excited about "Single Sashimi"
that is coming out next, can you tell us a little about that
book and when its
coming out?

Single Sashimi comes out August 2008. Here's the back cover 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

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 …

8. I've heard your books referred to as Asian Chick Lit or Romance with a
Kick of Wasabi. I really like that second description, the
first one is
probably appropriate as well, but besides your books
I've not found myself
to be a huge fan of chick lit. I just think
your books are much meatier than
merely chick lit - how would you
describe your style to someone that has never
read any of your books

My books are essentially humorous women's fiction with romance, or
just romantic comedy.

Most chick lit is written in first person point of view, so the reader
never gets into other characters' heads very much. I don't think
that's as conducive to romance novels, so I wrote mine in third person
so that I could get into the head of the heroes as well as the
heroines. Knowing what the hero is thinking helps the reader fall in
love with him more, I think.

I'm a huge romance fan, and I don't think I could write any book
without at least some romance in it. While the Sushi series books are
each about a woman's funny spiritual journey and not only about her
love life, there's always the hero for her to fall in love with.

Camy has agreed to giveaway a copy of "Only Uni" to one lucky reader, so leave
a comment with contact information and I'll draw for a
winner. And be sure to
check out the previous post where you can read the first chapter of "Only Uni"
and Camy's author bio.

Thank you so much for stopping by today and good luck with "Only Uni"!

Thanks for having me here, Janna!


Donna Moore said...

This was an interesting interview. I am going to buy her first book in the series. Please enter me in the drawing.

runninmama at scbglobal dot net

Anonymous said...

Hello! Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks! God Bless!
smile_y9 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Carolynn W. said...

Thanks for the fun interview! Your discussion on sushi 'almost' makes me want to try it..LOL:)
Thanks for the chance to win the book!

Kathy at Sumballo said...

Great interview and I especially appreciated the ordering tips. I enjoyed Sushi for One and am looking forward to reading this one. sumballo [at] gmail [dot] com

Patty said...

This was a great interview. It was pretty detailed and I also enjoyed hearing about what to order. I would love to read Only Uni. It sounds just as wonderful as the first book.

pleblanc_1 at charter dot net

Camy Tang said...

Thanks for the interview, Janna! It was fun!

Hope Chastain said...

I'm not sure what kind of sushi I had at a friend's wake, but everything I tried was wonderful.
Please enter me! Thanks!

hope_chastain [at] yahoo [dot] com

Megan said...

Thanks for such a great interview. I only fell in love with sushi about a year ago but there is only one place that I will eat it and it is kind of far away. All this talk is making me hungry though. Please enter me for the drawing.

Grateful Gramma said...

The book sounds like a lot of fun. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!


Pamela J said...

Though I haven't read the first one, please enter me for this next one and I can get the first one somewhere. Thanks.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

stampedwithgrace said...

I heard so many great things about this book, please enter me, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I would love to be entered in the drawing.


TK said...

Great interview, I look forward to reading this book. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks TK. vcw1476{at}gmail{dot}com

Lora Lease said...

Sounds like a great book... please enter me in the drawing!

Stacey said...

"Sushi For One" was great! Please include me in the drawing for "Only Uni". Thanks.


diane said...

Thanks for this wonderful interview. I enjoy sushi and have for a good while. Thanks for the giveaway.

becca.dowling said...

Sushi for One was a great story. I'm looking forward to Trish's story. Please enter me in the drawing.

BTW I LOVE sushi, especially the Rainbow roll...gimme variety. Some wasabi for kick and ginger for refreshment...I may start drooling soon. LOL

becca[dot]dowling [at] yahoo[dot]come

flchen1 said...

Hi, Janna and Camy--thanks for the fun interview today! Camy, I think we have similar tastes in Japanese food--mmm... I'll have to ask you for your restaurant recs!

Please don't enter me, but hooray for your lucky winner!

Stacey said...

I loved "Sushi"! Please enter me in the drawing for "Uni". Thanks.


hippmom said...

Please enter my name!

anne said...

Lovely interview and this book fascinates me greatly. Thanks for the giveaway.

Carla said...

I enjoyed Sushi, I would love to read this second book. Please enter my name. :o)
~Carla (pioneerheart from PBS)

Carole said...

I would love a chance to win this book. Thank you!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net