Yes, it was almost 20 years ago. I was struggling with how to deal with family members and close friends suffering from drug addiction. It seemed as though my prayers for them were going unanswered. And then it happened. I was living in San Antonio Texas and one day I sat down and began to type. I had no idea where the words were coming from but they just flowed. Hours later, I got up from the desk and much to my surprise I had a complete story. Through my writing I was able to purge, if you will, my thoughts. The Color of Sin is what I eventually titled it. Stay tuned, you may just see it on Smashwords:)
What is your writing process?
I really don't have a process per say. There are times in my life that I have absolutely nothing to say and then there are times that I am overflowing with words and if I don't get them down on paper I feel like I will burst. During those times I just sit and I type. The words flow and I simply type out my thoughts.
0. Food, shelter, water, oxygen – let’s get those out of the way straight up, but they can be number zero. I’m not wasting one of my ten on them. 1. My husband, five children and a very small group of ‘best’ friends who keep me constantly entertained and glad to be alive. 2. Yummy food – particularly cake of any sort. 3. My Breville automatic tea maker. Stops me eating cake all day. 4. My writing studio that my husband and his mate transformed from an old garden shed especially for me. It has a desk nestled into a huge bay window looking out over bushland filled with kangaroos, horses, kookaburras, cockatoos, rosellas, possums and the occasional echidna. Oh, and snakes …I suppose the kookaburras have to eat something. 5. Tablet and smartphone, mostly for keeping in touch with friends and the wider world. I love the slow, often hilarious text conversations with friends that can stretch over days. I also rely very heavily on the “just give me the info and leave me alone” sort of texts, particularly with my kids who have recently taken to sending me web links for birthday and Christmas present wish lists. I also love to read eBooks on my tablet or phone, particularly the phone – always there, unobtrusive and a great way of getting through boring concerts, presentations and such. (It’s only rude if someone catches you at it.) 6. Touchscreen laptop. Maybe should have been higher up in the list, since I couldn’t write without it. I also occasionally revert to my previous line of work as a computer programmer. I am that ludicrous woman at the swimming pool with a laptop perched on her knee during children’s swimming lessons. I’ll combine my tablet and laptop when the technology improves. 7. Bed. I love my bed: the sink down and die of bliss, king sized variety. This is my second favourite place in the world after my writing studio. 8. Videos. I love to watch videos in bed. I freely admit to a particular fondness for chick-flicks, and don’t even come near me with unhappy endings. I lost sleep for months after Tess of the D’Urbervilles. I have also been known to watch entire television series in a single sitting, often in pyjamas (with persons who will remain nameless for their own protection). 9. Travel. That’s a lie, but I wish it wasn’t. I don’t get to do much of it, so clearly I can live without it. I have to admit to not being a very intrepid traveller: airports scare me (the security, not the terrorism – I live in constant fear of being arrested (or shot) for doing something wrong that I didn’t even realise I wasn’t supposed to do), but I love being ‘somewhere else’ and feeling myself becoming wiser and more broad-minded. I don’t like crowds and queues but I love bright lights and big cities – figure that out for me if you can. I end up visiting major cities under snow. 10. Did I mention my husband and children? Yes? Well, everything begins and ends there.
The ability to play God in a world that unfolds inside the mind. When developing characters, I only offer them raw basic elements and then throw them into various situations and enjoy watching them seemingly take on a life of their own as they grow to overcome obstacles, relish in their triumphs and then feel for them in sadness.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love reading, eating sushi and being pampered at a spa.
What do you read for pleasure?
I absolutely love murder mysteries and thrillers, especially those written by James Patterson. Recently, I've started reading Christian romance books. In addition, leadership and self-help books are what I reach for first.
Jane Austen is my hero. I have Persuasion on audiobook, and I listen to that every few months. I also listen to Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice at least once a year.
The woman had an astounding gift with words and wit. Her dry humor and the artistry of her sentences continue to amaze me almost two centuries after she wrote them.
I also love Mary Ann Gibbs and Norma Lee Clark, both Regency and historical romance writers who are no longer in print. I have yet to figure out how they can write characters I absolutely love and craft an engaging, enthralling story I can’t put down.
As I child, I adored Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey. I loved how Menolly could overcome so many difficulties and yet stay true to who she was.
If you had to pick only one Scripture verse for you, Camy Tang, as a personal theme, what would it be and why?
I have a personal Scripture verse, John 12:32: (Jesus speaking) “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” It reminds me to lift up Christ in my writing, and He’ll be the one to draw people to deeper relationships with Him through my stories. It’s by His power alone that I write and that He accomplishes His purpose through me.
Ironically, in order for me to focus, there has to be semi-chaos going on around me. I have the TV on, the iPod on, I'm staring out the window at my neighborhood, I'm constantly checking my social media sites on my phone and texting…but in between all that, I'm writing. Life gives me ideas and themes and I use it to influence my work. Sometimes I get ideas that have nothing to do with what's going on in the world around me, but I know the atmosphere helped it along somehow.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't remember the first one I ever read, but there is a story that sticks out to me. It was book about a parade, and I was the main character. My aunt Shirley had a book made for my birthday when I was four years old. It was all about me, my brother and my cousins and a big parade that was coming to town. I had to get to the parade in order to lead it, because it was my birthday. I arrived just in time in a helicopter. It was really cool. I remember reading our names in the book and wondering how that was possible. I think it was at that moment, that I realized people wrote books and made up stories. And anyone could do it. That was the moment I became even more intrigued by books.