1. We'd love for you to start the conversation by telling us who "are" and what drives your passion to write?
2. You have a very interesting story to why and how you became an author, do you mind sharing that story with our readers?
I’m fifth-generation Chinese-American. I write science fiction and fantasy books with Asian characters and/or Asian settings. I grew up reading speculative fiction stories largely devoid of Asian characters and culture. This, coupled with a passion for my heritage, is the reason I strives to bring some aspect of Eastern myth, legend, culture, and ethnicity to all of her writings.
3. You have soooo many published works out, tell us more about your books and what why you choose to explore a lot of Chinese themes?
As an Asian-American, I have noticed a distinct Western slant to most of the books I read. I wanted to bring in Asian culture, myth, and legend to share with American readers. I think readers are genuinely interested in other cultures, and I’m thrilled to be able to share that.
4. Since you seem to incorporate a great deal of Chinese lore, myths and legends in your writing. Do you have a favorite Chinese mythical creature?
The quilin is my absolute favorite! It’s the Asian equivalent to a European unicorn. I actually incorporated one into The Warrior & The Flower, although I opted for a more Western spelling: kylin.
5. As far as your desire to include more Asian-centric themes in your novels, do you plan exploring some other Asian cultures(Korean, Japanese, Indian) in your future WIP's?
For now, my plan is to stick with Chinese culture. I like sharing my Chinese culture with readers.
6. Out of your many published projects, is there one you're really fond of and why?(if not give a synopsis on your top 3)
This is a tough one. My stories are like my children. They all have a special place in my heart. Here are the descriptions of my two bestsellers:
Beyond the security of Sulan’s high-tech world, the Anti-American League wages a guerrilla war against the United States. Their leader, Imugi, is dedicated to undermining the nation’s reconstruction attempts. He attacks anything considered a national resource, including corporations, food storage facilities -- and schools. When Sulan witnesses the public execution of a teenage student and the bombing of a college dorm, she panics.
Her mother, a retired mercenary, refuses to teach her how to defend herself. Sulan takes matters into her own hands. With the help of her hacker best friend, Hank, Sulan acquires Touch -- an illegal Vex technology that allows her to share the physical experience of her avatar. With Touch, Sulan defies her mother and trains herself to fight.
When Imugi unleashes a new attack on the United States, Sulan finds herself caught in his net. Will her Vex training be enough to help her survive and escape?
7. Are there any characters you've created that you've related the most to and why?
The character I relate most to is Yi in The Warrior & The Flower. At his core, Yi is a family man – a spouse and a parent. Much of his character comes from my own about being a spouse and a parent. Much of who I am and how I view the world revolves around being a wife and a mother.
8. Over here at Twinja Book Reviews, we talk A LOT about diversity in books!Are there any books you're currently reading or have read in the past that you'd highly recommend to our readers?
Yes! Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein is an amazing Asian-inspired fantasy novel. Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn is another fantastic Asian-inspired novel. Both of these books draw on Japanese culture. Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brenna is a YA vampire book starring a Chinese American. It was a so wonderful to find a mainstream book with an ethnic character I identified with! Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon is another YA fantasy. It’s set in a world that draws on Chinese myth and culture.
9. What do you see lined up for you in the future, Camille?
I’m working on several projects at once. This month I am launching a series of articles called Writer’s Toolbox. They are articles written specifically for science fiction and fantasy writers. The first two articles are: World Integration: How to Weave Worldbuilding into Your Speculative Fiction Novel, and Indie Publishing Essentials: 9 Tools for Indie Author Success. I’m also working on the second Sulan novel, which I hope to release sometime next year.
10. Where can anyone interested in your books and opinions go to find you?
My website is www.camillepicott.com. I am very active on Facebook and encourage people to send me a friend request. I love meeting new people and chatting! Find me at https://www.facebook.com/camille.picott.
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