Though some of her stories take place in other cities and states, Trigiani said she always finds a way to incorporate parts of her Southwest Virginia home into everything she writes.
“People say to me all the time, ‘How does Appalachia play into this one?’ ” Trigiani said. “It always does play into my works, because it’s always part of my imagination and subconscious.”
Trigiani, who was born and raised in Big Stone Gap, said her passion for writing came from reading frequently as a child. One series in particular, “Young American Patriots,” was especially influential.
“You could read them in the library, and they were really fun,” Trigiani said. “So I started out with those, and that got me very interested in biography and life stories, which is what I think novels actually are.”
Since then, Trigiani has authored 17 works. She has visited Kingsport many times for book events and has developed a close relationship with Glen Moody, owner of I Love Books Bookstore in the Fort Henry Mall.
“We have got to support our local small businesses,” Trigiani said. “I’ve toured 32 cities, and the lion’s share of stores that I have done have been independent bookstores. That is by design.”
Trigiani, who is well-known for writing and directing the romantic comedy “Big Stone Gap,” will return to Kingsport Thursday for a “book talk” about her latest work, “Kiss Carlo.”
The novel, which was released on June 20, follows an Italian-American family on the brink of change. It has held a spot on the New York Times bestseller list for four weeks.
Though the novel is set in Philadelphia, Trigiani said much of it was derived from her first theatre-watching experiences as a child at Barter Theatre and Clinch Valley College, which is now the University of Virginia at Wise.
The new novel also includes a character that is based on a woman Trigiani knew from her hometown church: Hortense Mooney.
“She passed away when I began to write this book,” Trigiani said. “When I write books, one of the ways that I remember people that I love or don’t want to forget is I create a character around them. So I created Hortense in honor of Hortense Mooney from Norton, Virginia.”
The book talk will be held at I Love Books on Thursday from 5-8 p.m. A meet-and-greet with the author will follow.
Trigiani said she is looking forward to returning to Kingsport and sharing more about her novel with readers.
“Kingsport, for me as a kid, was my city metropolis; that’s where we went to do things,” Trigiani said. “It’s where you went to have a taste of something bigger. So it’s a very, very special place to me.”