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Interview with Trista Shaye: The Holiday Visitor

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

When did you start writing in general, and what made you first want to be a writer?

I started really writing when I was 11 or 12. Prior to that, I dabbled in it but never completed much of anything. I read a ton growing up, and those books made me want to write my own. For as long as I can remember, being a published author has been on my bucket list.

What inspired your plot for The Holiday Visitor? I have a list of memories from my childhood of growing up on the farm - day-to-day things, random occurrences, and people and animals - I try to choose 2 or more things from this list for every Big book and use them to inspire the plot.

Are there any authors in particular that you get writing inspiration from? When I was younger, I was very inspired by Wayne Thomas Batson and his books. Currently, I don't have anyone in particular that inspires my writing per say, but the tone of the Big series was definitely inspired by the Hank the Cowdog books.

How long did it take you to work on The Holiday Visitor, from start to publication day? From start to publication, it probably took me about 4 and a half months. I wrote the story in July, sent it off the editor, and then worked for several months on the interior illustrations - it was my first time doing them! The book was published in early December of last year.

Who is your cover designer? For the Big series, I go through a group called Miblart. They have illustrators in house who specifically do their illustrated covers.

Without giving spoilers, what was the hardest scene for you to write in The Holiday Visitor, and why?

When I got to the third chapter in The Holiday Visitor, I had to take a break and sleep on the plot. I had bits and pieces of the story, but I didn't know exactly what I wanted to have happen and where it was heading seemed too similar to the plot of book 1. I felt a bit stuck. But when I woke up the next morning, I knew exactly what I could do to make it unique.

Tell us a bit about the backstory to Big the Barn Cat series.

This series is based on my family's farm and the cats and critters we had growing up. Pieces and bits of the plot from every book are also inspired by real-life events that took place. I wanted to try and capture some of my memories from that time in my life, and the books are especially written for my family and me - to remember those times. I love that other people also enjoy them.

Who illustrates your Big books?

The first book, The Backward Kitty, was illustrated by my cousin, and the rest are illustrated by me, Trista.

Are you working on any new books at the moment?

I am. I currently started working on an MG book that my second cousins requested I write for them. It's called Super Pinecones, and yes, it's about superhero pine cones. I also have several fairytale retellings that I want to start working on soon.

Where can people find you, your writing, and your book?

I can be found on Facebook and Instagram - those are the two best places to follow my writing and see updates, as well as be bombarded with numerous kitty photos. My books can be found on Amazon, and the hardbacks are also available at Barnes and Noble dot com.

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