By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN When Allison Schaust told her mom, “I’m going to write a book,” she wasn’t kidding.
“My imagination has always been very big, and if I don’t get it out there, I feel like my head’s going to explode,” said Allison, the daughter of Brian and Tammy Schaust of Delano.
Allison’s first book, “The Star’s Legend,” was released Nov. 21, and can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
The book will also be available during Allison’s book-signing event at Three Crows Café and Coffeehouse in Delano Saturday, Jan. 7 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Although “The Star’s Legend” is designed for ages 9 to 11, it appeals to adults, as well.
“When I was proofreading, I never got tired of it,” Tammy said. “I just wanted to keep turning the page.”
The story centers on three cubs named Majestic, Melody, and Comet who must arise to save the savannahs.
“What if you were told that you could twist time to save the present and the future?” the book’s back cover beckons readers.
Compelled to tell
Allison came up with the idea for “The Star’s Legend” while lying awake in bed one night.
“My mind was working so hard,” she said. “I started thinking of all these ideas, so I wrote them on sticky notes and put them on my wall, so I wouldn’t forget them in the morning.”
Allison perfected the story for over a year.
“At times, I’d work on it every spare minute,” she said. “Sometimes I’d stay up until 11, trying to get a little in. I never lost interest.”
In sixth grade, Allison began looking at publishing companies.
“With most of them, you can’t publish until you’re 18, and I didn’t want to wait that long,” she said.
Fortunately, she discovered Trafford Publishing, a self-publishing company that has no age requirement.
“They treated me very well,” Allison said.
Trafford created the book’s cover design, which features a shadowy tree and intense star, based on a written description Allison submitted.
“I almost cried when I saw it,” Allison said. “I think it’s perfect; it’s more than I could have imagined.”
Inspiring young writers
Several people have purchased Allison’s book as an inspirational gift for children who also enjoy writing.
“That feels good,” Allison said. “I remember being a little kid and looking up to people.”
Allison’s fourth-grade sister, Grace, is “already becoming a little writer,” according to Allison.
“My older sister is my inspiration for just about everything,” Grace said.
Both girls are self-described “drama geeks” who love to read.
“I’m the opposite,” said their sixth-grade brother, Trevor, who generally tries to stay away from reading whenever possible.
However, even he enjoys reading Allison’s book.
Allison said her siblings have been incredibly supportive throughout her writing/publishing process.
“They add humor if I’m feeling discouraged,” she said.
A flood of ideas
Although writing a book isn’t easy, Allison said ideas are everywhere.
“It’s not like I have to dig to find them they’re there,” she said.
“She told me one day, ‘I can’t shut it off,’” Tammy added.
Before it was published, Tammy remembers proofing “The Star’s Legend” manuscript, and seeing a chapter that could use an added scene.
She suggested that Allison go to her room to brainstorm.
“She came down 15 minutes later and said, ‘Mom, I have it,’” Tammy said. “It amazes me how she can just do this.”
Allison is already working on several more books, including a sequel to “The Star’s Legend.”
“It’s a series,” Allison said.
When asked how many books she plans to include, she responded, “however long it takes to get the whole story.”
For Allison, the characters have taken on a life of their own.
“It feels like I know them,” she said.
Using cubs in her story was a natural choice for Allison.
“I’ve always been fascinated with wild animals, and I like cats,” she said, adding that her own cat’s name is Rosie.
Allison also has two horses, Misty and Annabelle, at her grandparents’ place.
“Horses are my life, aside from writing,” she said.
Allison dreams of someday becoming a veterinarian, and raising horses in Kentucky.
“I would still write books, and the horses would give me more to write about,” she said.
To see how to purchase “The Star’s Legend,” click here.