I’m so excited to kick off our Chapter Book Spotlight series with a dear Collar Cases friend: Trista Shaye! If you’ve been around for any length of time, you probably know that Trista is the voice of the Collar Cases universe via our fully-voiced audiobooks.

But her portfolio goes far beyond just audiobook narration. She’s also the author of Big the Barn Cat, her own animal-based chapter book series!

(Please note: All product links below are affiliate links.)

Tell us about yourself!

Hello! I’m Trista Shaye, a writer, voice actress, audiobook narrator, illustrator, and dreamer.
I enjoy the outdoors, hanging out with my kitty and husband, and working on all the creative ideas I have. I’ve been all over the world and can’t encourage people to travel enough – but if you can’t travel physically, a good book is the next best thing to help you travel somewhere without going anywhere!

My favorite genres to write and read are fantasy and adventure.

Tell us about your chapter books.

My current chapter book series is called Big the Barn Cat. The reading level is 8+ but the story can be enjoyed by all ages.
This series is about the kitties I had growing up on my family’s farm and all the adventures they got into. If you enjoy cats, farm life, and random adventures, this series is for you!

Each book is a stand-alone and can be read separately. However, I encourage readers to start with The Backward Kitty to get a good introduction to the characters.

What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?

  • Boys & girls
  • Animal lovers
  • Homeschoolers
  • Farm kids, city kids, or kids who have just moved to a new place

I’m looking to encourage kids who may feel lonely or left out. I also hope to encourage a new love of reading or sustain an exisiting one.

Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.

Big the cat is the main character. The books are written from his point of view. He has a big heart and wants to take care of the other animals.
He also has quite the curiosity streak! He can’t help but looking into things that are out of the ordinary.

What inspired you to write this series?

As I mentioned, this series is based off my kitties I had growing up on my family’s farm.

I first started writing The Backward Kitty when I was in high school. I only finished a page or two! I found that page again in 2020 and decided it was high time for Big and the gang’s story to be told.

How did you know you wanted to be an author?

I read a lot growing up. I always wanted to inspire people the way my favorite authors inspired me. I had tons of story titles and ideas written down on note cards (none of which ever saw the light of day). Interestingly, most of them were animal-based stories!

When I was young, I made a mental bucket list of my life goals. Being a published author was one of them.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Go for it! Dream big and don’t be afraid to try things.

I published my first two books when I was sixteen and seventeen. I didn’t do everything right. But I learned a lot more from the things I did wrong then I ever would have if I just waited for everything to be “right.”

Every book you publish will be a learning experience. So experiment, ask questions, try things! And don’t let anyone discourage you into giving up.

What formats are your books available in?

  • Paperback
  • Hardback
  • Ebook
  • Audiobook

Find them all here.

Do you have a schedule of when new books come out?

Not really. The best way to hear news about upcoming releases is to follow me on Facebook or Instagram as @tristashaye.

At the time of this interview [1/17/2022], what is your most recent release?

How can parents find you?

I’m on Facebook and Instagram as well as on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Audible.

Liked that?

Try these!

If you’re in the market for chapter books, I’d love to share my series with you!

Collar Cases is a Christian mystery series for readers 7-12.

Join investigative reporters Mittens Meow and Alex Digger as they solve mysteries in their small town and learn lessons about character.