Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Tricia Stewart Shiu, an amazing writer who has won many awards for her books. Her newest book, Please Hold, is on sale now. Read the interview below to see a glimpse of Tricia’s life.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old. I was in middle school and read James Joyce’s “Portrait of an Artist” for the first time. About an hour later, I was overcome by an urge to write, and indulged the impulse. Time stood still, I have no idea what happened. All I remember is coming to, with pages upon pages filled with words in front of me. It felt incredible to express myself so freely and I never looked back.
Q: Do you have a muse? What inspires your writing?
A: Just about every experience I have (emotionally, spiritually, energetically) inspires me in some way. No matter what the genre, I draw from my human experience on that particular level. So, in the MOA Series, I write about my metaphysical experiences and spiritual awakening after a personal encounter I had with a Hawaiian spirit called, Moa.
Q: You have won an impressive 25 awards for your writing. Can you tell me a little bit about them? Which are you most proud of?
A: The Moa Books—MOA, STATUE OF KU and IRON SHINTO—have earned numerous awards and honors at several national and international book festivals. Here are a few: IRON SHINTO won Best YA Novel at the DIY Book Festival, an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the London and New York Book Festivals in the Young Adult category and ‘Runner Up’ at the renowned Beach Book Festival. The book was also ‘Runner Up’ at The Great Southeast Book Festival, ‘Honorable Mention’ in the San Francisco, Southern California and Los Angeles Book Festivals in the Young Adult category and in Portland Oregon’s Great Northwest Book Festival. MOA received a ‘Runner Up’ and STATUE OF KU ‘Honorable Mention’ in the Spiritual category at the Pacific Rim Book Festival. PLEASE HOLD won Best Unpublished Manuscript at the Southern California Festival and Best First Chapter at the Novel Festival. I can’t pick one specific award or book of which I’m most proud. So happy to write and share and love it all!
Q: Tell me about the MOA series. What was the initial idea behind them?
A: When I was five, I was visited by a vision. I’ll never forget it, I was running down the stairs and the entity, a girl with dark hair, stopped me in my tracks. The spirit said that I would go through a deeply challenging time in my life, but would resurface, later in life, with unimaginable joy and fulfillment. That vision stayed with me. In middle school, I would sit quietly at my desk adding up the years to figure out exactly when my life would turn around.
And then I forgot. I moved to Los Angeles after college, somehow that kimono made it into the mass of clothing I put in the back of my red Toyota hatchback. I got busy, my work and then, many, many years and moves around the city later, the stress of family life took over and I was completely overwhelmed and in desperate need of a vacation. My husband, daughter and I decided to go to Hawaii.
When the plane landed in Honolulu, I remember feeling the difference in the atmosphere as I disembarked. The air made me somehow, remember that there was a part of me that knew…something…what was it?
Never mind, I was in Hawaii it was time to see the sights! So, I sped off to see Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and then headed home for an afternoon nap before an evening luau. As I drifted toward sleep, I heard my name being called. In my mind’s eye, I saw a beautiful young woman with dark hair, who said her name was Moaahuulikkiaaakea’o Haanaapeekuluueehuehakipuunahe’e—Moa for short.
And then I remembered.
Boy, did I remember. That final experience sparked a spiritual journey that continues to this day. In fact, the event and subsequent interactions with Moa (oh yes, they continued) opened the door to my writing the entire Moa Series (MOA, STATUE OF KU and IRON SHINTO).
My biggest lesson throughout the years of metaphysical studies has been that we all possess these gifts, and much more, to some degree, and I have dedicated the rest of my existence to spreading that message. As frustrating as it is to hear, we all have the answers to those burning questions, deep within us and if we find them, we find our truest form of self-expression.
Q: Tell me about the other books you have written. Which was the most fun to write? Which was the most challenging?
A: The time between stories is the most challenging for me. When I am inside a story and writing I am at my most peaceful and joyful. Not only do I mourn the end of a story when I write, I also do it when I read a great book. Nevertheless, I believe that this sadness brings with it, a great opportunity and depth of creativity and I wouldn’t change a thing about the process. My latest book, PLEASE HOLD, is a New Adult Romance and a departure from the YA, SciFi genre. In it, I write about the world of high-level executive assistant’s world in which I worked for many years.
Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into each book? Is there a lot of research involved?
A: Quite a bit of research goes into my writing, but, because it is organically driven, it doesn’t feel like work.
Q: If you were transported into the life of one of your characters, who would you want it to be and why?
A: I am fascinated by the lives of the spirits who narrate each of the MOA books and find that when I write from each omniscient perspective, I am transported. It would be fascinating to spend time as Moa, the Hawaiian spirit. I love how she is able to articulate the human experience from a different plane. How fun it would be to effortlessly move between the worlds!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world in any era, when would it be and why?
A: I would love to travel to the exact time frame when Stonehenge was created. It would be glorious to know why and how it was created.
Q: What advice do you wish you had received when you began writing?
A: There is nothing I would change about my journey with writing, as I believe I am who I am, as a writer, because of that experience. One thing I can pass along, in a word is: tenacity. Everyone has her own journey in writing and nothing should get in the way (whether positive or negative) of the every moving, consistently changing story flowing through us. Keep going through the rough times, the good times, the light and the dark. In the end, all of it will make for a good story.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: Each of us has at least one divine gift to remember. The moment we wake up and retrieve the memory of who we are and what we are here—on earth—to do, the adventure begins. Be kind to yourself and to others.
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