Camy Tang on Writing, Independent Publishing and Knitting

Posted by on July 17, 2014

camywebcopyIt’s always so wonderful to have an author back on IC for a second visit. Mostly because it means I haven’t offended her yet ;o). Which is why I am excited to have Camy Tang here today to add some insight to the worlds of writing, independent publishing and, yes, knitting.

Camy, thank you for joining us.

You’ve written Women’s Fiction/Romance, Romantic Suspense and I’ve heard through the grapevine you have written a Regency novel. Which genre do you enjoy writing the most, and why?

I love them all!!!!! I know that sounds completely schizophrenic. I love writing romance, period, and all those genres have romance in them.

Oh, I so get that!

I like the excitement of my Romantic Suspense series (because who doesn’t love a story with Asian hit men with guns?! ;) and all the dangerous situations I can put my characters through, just because I’m mean that way. :)

P-shaw, you just like to write mean.

I also love Contemporary Romance because of the thrill and fulfillment of falling in love, and it also enables me to let loose some of my humor. PreludeForALord lowres

I loved writing Prelude for a Lord, my first Regency romance, because I’ve loved Regencies since I was 14 years old and have read literally hundreds of them over the years, as well as gathering Regency research books to read just for fun. I only wrote my first one this past year because my editor dared me to, since we both love Regencies, and it was wonderful to finally be able to write in a genre that I love so much.

I can’t wait to read it.

Which genre do you enjoy reading the most, and why?

Regency is my favorite genre to read, but I have to also admit that I read very widely. The only genre I don’t read much of is women’s fiction, because sometimes I find that the hard emotional issues hit me personally a little too hard, and it hurts my creativity if I’m crying for 3 days over a book I just finished. One of my favorites that I’ve started reading is Dystopian novels. I love them!

I see you’ve ventured into the realm of independent publishing. What made you take the plunge?

Lacy Williams offered me an opportunity to join with other Love Inspired authors in a collection of novellas, and I jumped at the chance because I know and love each of these ladies even before working with them on this collection. I’ve been fans of their work for many years, including Lacy, who debuted with Love Inspired only a couple years after I did. It was really fun writing our stories and deciding on covers and back cover blurbs, and it’s been great to brainstorm marketing ideas and pool our collective fan bases. It also made me realize how easy self-publishing really is, and also to appreciate some of the things that traditional publishers do that I couldn’t on my own (without a great deal of hassle). It’s made me excited to continue to self-publish and also to continue with my traditional publishers, both for different reasons.

What is your favorite part of being an independently published author?

I really enjoy the freedom of being able to write what I want without publisher constraints. Because publishers market to a specific reader demographic, they often have in-house style guides for authors to adhere to so that the reader demographic isn’t surprised or offended by something in the books they print. I completely understand this, but at the same time there are some things I’d like to write about which I can’t with some of my publishers.

So true!

Also, with independent publishing, I’m not constrained by word count guidelines and can write as short or as long as I like. For the next Inspy Kisses collection, Sealed with a Kiss, I started out writing a novella but it ended up being a bit longer than a novella, but shorter than a typical Love Inspired novel (my story, Unshakeable Pursuit, is about 50,000 words). It was great to be able to let the story go where I wanted it to go without worrying about making my word count.

What is your least favorite part of being an independently published author?

I have been very fortunate to work with some of the best editors in the business through my publishing houses, and one aspect of independent publishing is that I now have to pay for my own editor. I’m used to high standards, and so then editors I choose to work with don’t come cheap. One of the best macro/developmental editors I’ve ever worked with is Meredith Efken, at the Fiction Fix It Shop (http://www.fictionfixitshop.com/) and she’s on par with many of the editors I worked with in my publishing houses. She’s not super cheap—she charges by the hour, typically—but she’s definitely worth the money. She has an incredible eye to see structure and character arc problems and point them out, and even better, she gives great suggestions for how to fix them.

I hear ya.

Do you have any advice for those considering independent publishing?

1. Get a good editor. I’ve read many independently published books (I’m a total ebook junkie, I will not deny it) and some of them were disappointing in that they needed a good macro editor to point out flaws in the story structure or characters. I’m not talking about grammar, typos, and line editing. A good macro/developmental editor will help you fix large-scale problems. It’s those large-scale problems that make readers dissatisfied with the character or the story pacing or with the ending, even though most readers can’t quite verbalize what exactly bothered them. A good macro editor will be able to see that and verbalize and help you to fix it. And trust me, even experienced writers need a good editor.

2. Make sure you have time to learn how to do it, but know that it gets easier after the first book. Learning how to self-publish was a learning curve, but once I did it, I realized how easy it really is. Don’t get overwhelmed—simply start a Word .doc listing all the things you have to do, and group things together that you can do at the same time. It’ll make it much easier to do things the next time, and it’ll help you visualize what needs to be done without being overwhelmed.

Great advice!

I understand you’re a knitting enthusiast (to the point of spinning your own yarn). What types of things do you like to knit?

I love lace knitting, and I’m rather fanatic about Victorian shawls. I’ve knit more of them than I can remember, and that’s partly because I knit several to give away for silent auctions. Right now I’m working on several to give away on my blog (http://blog.camytang.com/) in September to celebrate the release of my first Regency romance, Prelude for a Lord. I figured, lace shawls knit with patterns from the early 1800s would totally fit a Regency gift basket, right? :)

What a great idea!

Any advice for other knitters out there?

I love Ravelry! I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s great to search for new patterns, or to scan for other knitters’ advice on a pattern I’m using, or to search for yarn information. My favorite yarn shop is Knitpicks.com, where I buy my knitting needles (they’re very reasonably priced) as well as really great yarn at good prices.

Tell us about your newest release.

This month, the second Inspy Kisses collection, Sealed with a Kiss, releases on ebook! It’s priced at 99 cents for a limited time, and you can find the buy links here: http://camytang.com/books/inspy_kisses/2_sealed_with_a_kiss

My contribution to Seswak_webaled with a Kiss is my short romantic suspense novel, Unshakeable Pursuit.

A mysterious young woman warns Dr. Geoffrey Whelan and nurse Maylin Kinley that they are in mortal danger, and then two Asian hit men attack them at the children’s clinic where they work. Geoffrey and Maylin run for their lives, determined to figure out who is after them and why. When they discover the threat is connected to a young teenager whose life they saved, they must race to stop the person who wants them dead—before everyone they care about are caught in the crossfire.

Oooooo!

** In Unshakeable Pursuit, those of you who have read Stalker in the Shadows will find out what happened to Monica and her Free Children’s Clinic, and Liam, whom readers met in Narrow Escape, also makes an appearance. Look for Liam’s story in Treacherous Intent, coming in December!

I’ll be there.

What are you working on now?

I have another Love Inspired Suspense releasing next year, and I’m working on that. The working title is Fighting Chance, and while I don’t have a back cover blurb yet, here’s the two-sentence blurb:

When skip-tracer Joslyn and ex-mob strong-arm Clay both receive vague pleas for help from Clay’s sister and Joslyn’s old schoolmate, Fiona, they determine to find her and help her, only to discover that a family enemy is after Fiona for information about illegal money laundering. But can they save Fiona when a second mysterious enemy is willing to kill them in order to stop them?

Wow! It’s so exciting to see so many great stories coming down the pike. Thank you so much for stopping by today, Camy.

Thanks for the interview, Connie!

*********

Camy writes Christian romantic suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance under her pen name, Camille Elliot. She grew up in Hawaii but now lives in northern California with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She graduated from Stanford University in psychology with a focus on biology, and for nine years she worked as a biologist researcher. Then God guided her path in a completely different direction and now she’s writing full time, using her original psychology degree as she creates the characters in her novels. In her free time, she’s a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of her church’s Sunday worship teams. She also loves to knit, spin wool into yarn, and is training to (very slowly) run a marathon. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ to read free short stories and subscribe to her quarterly newsletter.

Other posts you might like:

Camy Tang on the IC Hotseat

Camy Tang’s “A Dangersous Stage” and Why Great Characters are a Must—A Sort-of Review

My Prayer Shawl Ministry

4 Responses to Camy Tang on Writing, Independent Publishing and Knitting

  1. Dawn M. Turner

    Great to see info from a hybrid author. I’m an indie myself, so I know the freedom you speak of, but I also know folks who are traditionally published or seeking that and fully support them in that endeavor. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

    It’s really cool that you’re a spinner! Me, too! I love working with wool and alpaca, pure not blended. The chair I use for my spinning broke though, so I haven’t done it since then. :( What kind of fibers do you like to work with, Camy? Oh, and I’m a crochet-nut. *G*

    • Camy Tang

      Dawn how awesome that you spin, too! So far I have spun with wool, alpaca,wool/silk blend, and yak (didn’t like the yak very much). I spin mostly wool because I really like the hand-dyed wool color ways I’ve found. I’ve also got a bunch of dyed mohair locks that I haven’t tried yet.

  2. Connie Almony

    Always great to have you, Camy!

  3. Camy Tang

    Thanks SO much for the interview, Connie! It’s always fun to stop by here on your blog!