Author Guest Post With Camille Picott

Camille Picott has kindly agreed to guest post about her inspiration for becoming a writer in honor of her newest release, Sulan, Episode One: The League.

 About The Author:

I’ve always felt that minority characters are under-represented in the genre of speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy). I have noticed a growing awareness of this among the hard-core fan base, but change is slow. As a person of mixed race (half Chinese, half Caucasian), some part of me has always struggled to find characters I could identify with racially.

Every book I voluntarily selected as a child was speculative fiction. The closest I ever came to finding a character with whom I could racially relate to was in the form of a half elven, half human warrior. He straddled two cultures and two worlds, never really fitting into either. This character so reflected what I had experienced that I felt an instant connection with him. He was called “half-breed” by some of the other characters. I was thrilled with the term. In my mind, this described me perfectly–I was half-and-half, just like this character. I remember the day I proudly walked into the kitchen and told my mother I was a half-breed. I thought I had discovered something insightful about myself, a label that made sense. My horrified mother had to sit down and explain to me that half-breed was a derogatory term, not something I should use when talking about myself.

The sad part is that in all the thousands of pages I devoured as a young reader, there were no characters like me. I never encountered an Asian or part-Asian character. Likewise, the settings and magical creatures I encountered were always based on Western history and Western mythology.

In 2008, I decided to do what I could to change the racial and cultural landscape of science fiction and fantasy. I founded Pixiu Press and began to publish my works, all of which star characters of Asian descent and/or mixed race. Asian myth and/or legends, as well as Asian-themed settings, are also often incorporated. I strive to publish books with characters and settings that I was never able to find as a young reader.

Find Camille Picott on the Web:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 Guest Post:
  My Inspiration for Becoming a Writer
By Camille Picott
My Asian heritage, family history, and love for Chinese mythology all inspire me to write. My writing has become a place where I can explore these topics, which are very personal and close to my heart.
Raggedy Chanis a middle grade novel about a Chinese princess who travels to America to rescue her dragon. On the surface, it’s a fantasy adventure. On a deeper level, it’s about the immigrant experience. As a child, I always heard stories from my grandparents about their not-so-easy lives as Chinese Americans. In Raggedy Chan, I meld their experiences with Chinese myth to express and explore a very universal experience—all the while allowing the reader to enjoy a quest filled with Chinese dragons and a brave princess.
Nine-Tail Foxis the sequel to Raggedy Chan. This is also a story that functions on two levels. On the surface, it’s the story about a young Nine-Tail Fox who immigrates to America to fulfill her family legacy by protecting the residents of Chinatown from an ancient evil. (The Nine-Tail Fox is not just a character from Naruto. It’s also a creature from ancient Chinese mythology considered to be an omen of good luck.) Underneath the fantasy story are tidbits of the harsh reality faced by Chinese immigrants on Angel Island. My own grandfather came through Angel Island with his son and wife from China. My grandfather had American citizenship, but the Asian Exclusion Act did not allow that citizenship to extend to his wife. His wife was expelled from Angel Island sent back to China. My grandfather tried unsuccessfully for many years to get citizenship for her. He never saw his wife again. Many years later, he married my grandmother.
I had a very personal motive behind my YA novel, Sulan, Episode 1: The League. I wanted to create a story that starred a young, female Asian hero. As a child, I had no books in my library starring Asian main characters. With Sulan, I wrote the story I never had as a child.
My forthcoming book, due out late in 2012, is entitled The Warrior and The Flower. It’s an adult fantasy adventure about a retired warrior who ventures into a brothel and adopts a child who resembles his murdered daughter. This story has a very interesting root in my family history. My great grandmother was kidnapped from her family in China and sold to a brothel. Rather than forcing her into prostitution, the woman who bought her instructed her in the art of fashion. My great grandmother was in charge of fixing the hair and inspecting the clothing of the prostitutes in the brothel. (My mother tells stories about my great-grandmother dressing her up and making her pose!) I felt compelled to write a story the captured the central elements of my great-grandmother’s history.
Thanks so much to Lucy for allowing me to share a little about my books, my family history, and my inspiration for writing!
  Sulan, Episode One: The League:

Title: Sulan, Episode One: The League

Author: Camille Picott
Release Date: June, 2012

Sixteen-year-old Sulan Hom can’t remember life before the Default—the day the United States government declared bankruptcy. As a math prodigy, she leads a protected life, kept safe from the hunger and crime plaguing the streets of America. She attends the corporate-sponsored Virtual High School, an academy in Vex (Virtual Experience) for gifted children.

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?

Find Sulan, Episode One: The Legue Online

  GIVEAWAY(CLOSED – Winner Julie):

Thanks to Camille Picott, one lucky commenter will win a 
an ebook copy of the novel

Giveaway policies:
·         To Enter: Please leave a comment thanking the author and leave your e-mail.
·         This giveaway ends on September 15th, 2012
·         This giveaway is open to those 18 years of age or older. 
·         All giveaway winners will be announced on the blog.
·         I can disqualify any entry as I see fit. 
·         I will use to select the winners.
·         Once the winners have been notified, they will have 24 hours to confirm their interest otherwise new winners will be selected.

Happy reading until next time!