My Christian novel and my Buddhist family
Now, don’t get me wrong, my entire family is over the moon that my books are on the Barnes and Noble bookshelves. It’s more exciting than anything I could have achieved in my previous job as a biologist. Think about it:
“My niece is a published author!” sounds much better than, “My niece tests compounds on cancer cells to develop drugs for a pharmaceutical company.”
But I’m the only Christian in my entire Japanese American family. They don’t mind, certainly, but they also don’t really understand what I believe or why I believe it.
Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, but when my novel—my very Christian novel—came out, I was a little apprehensive. Would they be offended at the Christian references? More importantly, would they be offended at the references to the heroines being Christian in a non-Christian family?
My mom was hard to gauge. She was very proud of me and would probably like anything I wrote, even if it was erotica.
I wasn’t sure if my aunties would actually read my book, since only one of them (that I knew of) read novels.
Grandma ... I really doubted she’d actually read my book, no matter how proud of me she is. I’ve never even seen her read a novel, unless the books in Japanese that I sometimes saw her read were fiction.
But they all surprised me. Well, mostly.
Mom read it and liked it. Not a big surprise, but I did give a sigh of relief that she didn’t hate it or anything.
Some of my aunties read it and liked it. Of course, this news came from Mom, so she could have been trying to soften their possible retches of distaste.
But the biggest surprise was Grandma—she actually picked it up and started reading it! She is only reading in small sections, a little each day, but that’s better than nothing. And it’s more than I expected of her.
I guess Grandma’s love for me far outweighs the chore of reading a novel, especially when she doesn’t like novels. I am profoundly touched.
Did I hear any religious backlash? Nope. Maybe because we’re Japanese American, and we (my family, anyway) tend to avoid unpleasantness. No politics, no religion discussions. Nothing that might cause discord.
I have friends whose families have loud arguments with each other, but my family is not like that. Do I mind? Nope. In cases like these, I’d rather not address an issue. But I do hope that my family understands my beliefs a bit better now.
Camy Tang is the loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick lit. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away five boxes of books and 25 copies of her latest release, ONLY UNI.