Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Riches & Rags by Camille Nagasaki (Author Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Riches & Rags by author Camille Nagasaki!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Camille!

Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself. 

Sure, I am a Canadian author/actress/entrepreneur and a stay-at-home mama of two kids ages 4 and 7. I fit my writing into the evenings when my children are sleeping. Riches & Rags is my debut novel and I’m just thrilled to finally be at this stage of the publishing process.

How long have you been a writer? 

I’ve always had a tremendous fascination with the written word. I became an avid reader at a young age and I’ve written creatively and for business for many years. I wrote three children’s stories that I have yet to publish. I’ve been working on Riches & Rags for about three years.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career? 

I left the corporate world when I went on maternity leave 8 years ago, and thanks to my husband, I’ve been able to pursue my passions. My days just zip by with my kids and fitting work in when I can.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer. 

Since becoming a mom, reading to and storytelling with my children rekindled my love of books. After writing those few children’s stories, I was inspired to try my hand at writing adult fiction—though the idea was daunting. When the premise for Riches & Rags came to me, it was too intriguing to pass up. I began studying everything I could on writing for a whole year and diligently took notes. I read everything from forming plots to character development to grammar and composition. Though I took post-secondary English, I didn’t want to make any rookie mistakes. After reading all these books, it was super difficult to actually start the writing process. That initial step was the hardest but I hammered out the first three chapters in one sitting and never looked back.

Please give a brief description/storyline about Riches & Rags.

Lane Carson lives a seemingly perfect life. She has round the clock nannies for her children and every luxury a girl could want. And yet she feels neglected by her workaholic husband and she’s become somewhat jaded, spoiled and emotionally detached. Her husband one day confesses that he has lost the family fortune. Lane believes her life is essentially over because of the loss of money and she finds herself catapulted into a lifestyle she never wanted—and growing in ways she could never have imagined.

What was the inspiration for this story? 

The premise was: What would happen if a somewhat naïve trophy-wife received the devastating news that her husband has lost the family fortune. If he was managing all the day-to-day finances how would she even know if he was telling the truth—or not.

How did it feel to have your first book published? 

It’s exhilarating and nerve-wracking at the same time. Creativity is subjective and that’s always difficult because you can’t appeal to everybody.

Do you write books for a specific genre? 

Riches & Rags is a comedic drama that would definitely fall under the contemporary women’s fiction/ chick-lit genre. I plan on writing non-fiction books too but my fiction books will most-likely fall into the chick lit category.

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why? 

I like chick lit because of the humor and for the entertainment value, but that being said, I enjoy depth to a story, not just fluff. I love family sagas like The Thorn Birds, works by Rosamunde Pilcher and Lucy Maud Montgomery. My favorite chick lit has been the first three books of the Shopaholic series, because, well, I couldn’t stop laughing. I also think that, though books are compartmentalized into genres, every good story has a bit of everything—humor, romance, mystery, tragedy etc.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing? 

The first 2/3 of my book was typed up on my desktop, which was fine, but towards the end, I began writing in bed on my little laptop notebook. I was worried writing in bed would just make me sleepy but I found I was able to become better immersed into the story because I wasn’t having to consciously sit upright and type. This worked well, too, because I wrote at night. It might have been a different thing altogether if I insisted on staying in bed all day…then again, that doesn’t sound so bad.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books? 

The premise came to my while I was just letting my mind wander. Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m doing something routine and letting my mind drift. To be creatively inspired, it’s crucial to disconnect from our devices to daydream. There was a study about how today’s teens don’t daydream anymore. I find that really sad.

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

I need to be pretty diligent about getting on my computer, as I only work about 20 hours a week, so I have to make every minute count. I wrote just about every day for 7 months for the first draft (800-word daily minimum). The scenes would play out in my mind during the day so when I finally sat down to write, I couldn’t type fast enough.

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most? 

I love dialogue and when a scene moves seamlessly from beginning to end. Some of the logistics are trying; having to explain what the person is doing, where they turn to or walk to—all of that filler I would happily do away with.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing? 

Hanging with my family. We have a new puppy—a Pomeranian, so we all love playing with him. 14) What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received? My late mama encouraged me to write every day.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer? 

When readers tell me how they loved the book, how they couldn’t put it down, and most importantly how much it made them laugh. I just want to make people laugh!

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

Email and social media.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination? 

Much is taken from my own experiences including all the acting scenes. Ridiculous things are always happening to me. I don’t know if everyone feels this way or if I just have a knack for finding the absurd. Later I laugh at these outlandish experiences and now I’m sharing them in my novel. Also, if I tried to write about parenting without ever having experienced it firsthand, it would have seemed flat and wouldn’t have had the sweetness and the dynamic Lane has with her kids. I also wouldn’t have been able to draw from the surprising, infuriating and heartwarming moments I experience as a parent. A lot of humor in the book comes from Lane’s reaction to her kids.

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?

I would say, Sophie Kinsella. Until I read Shopaholic Ties the Knot, I had never read anything that funny, ever. I lost it laughing and I thought, “this is entertainment.” If I’m going to sit down to read a book, I want to be entertained. I don’t want to read anything mundane with too much description, backstory or explanation. I want the action and dialogue, very much like a screenplay.

What is your definition of success as a writer? 

Making the reader laugh and feel. Everything else is just numbers.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

Not just yet, I’m promoting Riches & Rags for now. Next, I will record the audio book for Riches & Rags, write a non-fiction book for teens and a sequel to Riches & Rags.

Thank you Camille for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and sharing with us a bit about yourself and your writing career. 

About The Author

Camille Nagasaki
is a Toronto-born Canadian author, film/TV actress, and entrepreneur.

Having always had a tremendous fascination with the written word, Camille became an avid reader at a young age and has written creatively and for business for many years.

After leaving the corporate world to be home with her kids, Camille earned a professional designation in her field, launched a new business, and began a three-year labor of love writing Riches & Rags.

Camille lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children. Riches & Rags is her first novel.​

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Book Review

Riches & Rags by Camille Nagasaki
Publisher: Camelot Books
Publication Date: Paperback - September 30, 2016 / eBook - October 10, 2016
Format: Paperback - 354 pages
               Kindle - 1390 KB
ISBN: 978-0995008007
Genre: Chick Lit / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Lane Carson is used to getting her own way—apart from throwing hissy fits and pulling outrageous stunts to attract her workaholic husband’s attention, Lane lives a seemingly perfect life. But things are seldom as they seem…

Lane is blindsided and her charmed and pampered existence uprooted, when her shattered husband, Micky Capello, breaks the devastating news: he’s lost the family fortune and is leaving on a quest to “find himself.” The most daunting part is they’re losing the nannies—and the children Lane barely knows will live with her.

Without the leisure to wallow in misery and self-pity, Lane is catapulted into an adventure of a lifetime that’s filled with outlandish and often emotionally charged escapades of trial and error, all with her über supportive—albeit dysfunctional—family in tow.

This comedic drama is bursting with outlandish hilarity and warmth, and is sure to keep you roaring with laughter, while tugging at your heart with its endearing, candid reflection. A must read!

Book Excerpt:

Excerpt from Chapter 8

We drop off the groceries and survive the chaos of packing for the beach, then make our way down to Kits Pool—the longest saltwater pool on the continent, boasting extraordinarily beautiful views of English Bay. I’m not certain, but I think I can actually pinpoint our very house across the channel in West Van, which leaves me feeling melancholy and agitated, until I hear Billy’s sing-song voice calling me. I turn around with a grin as Billy strides over, wearing aviators and a Gucci swimsuit. I notice a couple of brown paper bags poking out of his beach tote, which can only mean one thing—pastries! Margo is a few feet away splashing around in the pool. I lower Rory’s feet into the glistening water. She starts kicking wildly, mesmerized by the sensation and the splashing.

“Here, pass me the baba so you can take a little dip,” Billy says.

I hand over Rory and plunge under the cool water, opening my eyes to the exquisite turquoise underworld. Peace. I feel a lightness I haven’t felt since the East Wing. And the silence is incredibly precious. Underwater, I feel at home—safe, hopeful, and serene. I come up for a big gulp of sea air and plunge back under. I flip onto my back, still submerged a couple of feet, and watch the water ripple above me. This is one of my favorite things to do underwater. I smile at the thought of knowing I live less than a block away from this pool now and can experience this whenever desired. If I find a babysitter first that is. Speaking of which, time to find Billy.

Billy is lounging on a towel with the girls, and he and Margo are filling their faces with croissants. Margo hops up as I approach, flashes me a huge grin, and splashes back into the shallow water to play. I flop down onto the towel beside Rory.

“Fear not, dear cousin, there’s some for you too,” Billy says, handing me a bag.

“Perfect, thanks,” I say, pulling a chocolate croissant from the bag and biting into the buttery flakes.

“So, tell me. How was your first night at Casa George?”

Ha! Wait till he hears.

“Well, interesting you should ask. Turns out we had a house fire, and yours truly, along with your beloved nieces, were lucky to have escaped alive!”

Billy’s eyes widen and he sucks in his breath. I fill him in on all the details, ending with George’s ten-thousand-dollar fine.

“TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?!” Billy has stopped mid chew and is gaping at me with those enormous, green eyes.

“That’s right!” I confirm, lounging back on my towel and taking another bite of my heavenly chocolate croissant. I glance over at Margo to see her playing with two little boys and their water toys. Rory has fallen asleep. I reach out to touch her delicate, golden tresses. My lips curl into a slow smile as I think about George’s reaction to the fine.

“I can’t believe this. I can’t believe you! You’re a downright, first-class bitch, Lane.” Billy shakes his head, smiling.

“The fireman was astounded at George’s lack of responsibility to have such a decrepit fire escape for a wo­man and her two young children. It was a major offense according to the city,” I say, eyes large for maximum drama. “The City of Vancouver Standards of Maintenance bylaw constitutes a maximum fine of ten thousand dollars for an unsafe fire escape. And George was struck with the maximum.” I pause for effect. “And,” I continue, “serves him right for calling me a pyromaniac—I mean, please.” I throw my head back and laugh just thinking of George’s angry, red face and crotchety yelling in protest to the fine.

“Oh! So that’s why you did that; to get back at him for calling you a pyro?” Billy raises an eyebrow.

“No. I wouldn’t risk taking my kids out on that deathtrap fire escape for anything. So he has to pay a little fine and have it fixed. Well, it should have been fixed a long time ago, and THAT is not my fault.” I shrug my shoulder and take another greedy bite. Yum!

“Unbelievable.” Billy is still shaking his head. “Since when have you gone all Mother Hen on me?”

“I haven’t gone all ‘Mother Hen’; I just don’t want to endanger my kids. Do you realize I could sue him? I mean, we almost died!”

“Lane, you’re wild. You’re the one who begged him to live there; he never asked you to. And you started the fire!”

I raise my hand in protest and wag my finger back and forth. “It was a broken-down fireplace. I could sue for that too!”

Billy rolls his eyes and crumples his paper bag from his croissant and chucks it at me. We both dissolve into peals of giggles when it misses me by about three feet and hits a nearby sunbather on the bum. Billy always was hopeless at sports.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Riches & Rags,  author Camille Nagasaki weaves an entertaining tale that follows Lane Carson's personal journey of self-discovery, when she is blindsided and suddenly finds her privileged life turned upside down after her workaholic husband Micky Capello has lost their family fortune, and is leaving them on a quest to "find himself."

Set in Vancouver and told in the first person narrative, Riches & Rags is an entertaining tale that easily draws the reader into Lane's life, and the challenges that she is suddenly faced with while picking up the pieces of her family's life.

Riches & Rags is a wonderful story that had a great mixture of humor and drama that will easily keep you engaged and turning the pages. You can't help but feel for Lane as she learns how to embrace and overcome the hilarious challenges, trials and tribulations of starting over, while also discovering that she is a strong and independent woman, no matter what type of lifestyle she may lead.

I really enjoyed following Lane on her journey, she is so witty and her antics were so frigging hilarious that I caught myself snickering as she found herself caught up in some pretty crazy trials and tribulations that she and her family had to overcome. This story is so much fun that it will leave you wanting more. I look forward to reading the sequel!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed the richly vivid description of Vancouver. The author easily transports the reader to this picturesque city that it made me wish that I could take a trip there.

Riches & Rags is a captivating story about life, choices, decisions, regrets, happiness, family, love, and discovering what the really important things are in life.


Contest Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

October 17 – Up Close & Literal – Review
October 18 – Books Dreams Life – Review & Excerpt
October 19 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
October 19 – Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Excerpt
October 19 – Spunky N Sassy – Excerpt
October 20- Chick Lit Goddess – Review & Q&A
October 20 – Novel Escapes – Q&A
October 20 – Turning Another Page – Review
October 21 – Book Lover in Florida – Review & Excerpt

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