Cheryl C. Malandrinos has been a writer since the age of fourteen. She just didn’t do anything about it until after all of her kids were born. She is the author of the Christmas picture books Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. She is also an editor, ghostwriter, blogger, and book reviewer. Cheryl lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters, and three rescue cats. She also has a son who is married. She’s here today to chat about Little Shepherd, right on time for the holiday season. Let’s give her a warm welcome!
Welcome to Blogcritics, Cheryl! Tell us about Little Shepherd.
Little Shepherd is the story of a young shepherd boy in the hills outside of Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. After the angels appear, Obed must decide if he will leave his flock to visit the newborn King.
What was your inspiration for it?
When our oldest daughter was still in a crib, I would sing “The Little Drummer Boy” to her as a lullaby. The vision of a young shepherd would come to me very time I sang it, so I decided to put pen to paper and see what came of it. Originally, the story had a very different form and was for an entirely different audience. It wasn’t until I spoke our pastor about the story that the idea was turned into a children’s book.
Most of my struggles surround the lack of support from my spouse. I am proud of my work, but he sees it more like a hobby—something I can do when all the important stuff is done. He actually compares writing to figure skating, saying there are a lot of good figure skaters out there, but only a few get medals. My odds of being published by a big name or securing an agent aren’t very good in his eyes.
Do you plot in advance or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I like flying by the seat of my pants. It’s strange since I am so Type-A about everything else. I actually loved outlining in school. I usually sit down to write a story with some basic idea of the beginning and the end, but the final draft is often vastly different than expected.
What was your publishing process like? Did you go the traditional way or did you self-publish? Are you happy with your decision?
I opted for a small independent publisher both times. There’s a bit more control over things that way. Self-publishing is something I know a bit about, but not enough to make it viable for me yet. I would also rather try it out on a book that doesn’t have too many illustrations first to see how it goes.
How do you define success?
If I am happy with my writing, I call that success. I don’t need to be Jane Yolen, Shel Silverstein, or Dr. Seuss. I just enjoy creating the stories that come to my mind and seeing where they lead. If I make some money along the way, good for me.
What do you love most about being a children’s author?
How wide eyed kids are when they learn I write children’s books. They think I live a glamorous life. They might be sadly disappointed to realize how ordinary my life truly is. At one open house, a classmate of my youngest daughter was walking down the hallway with his mother when we passed them. He pointed at me and said, “That’s Sarah’s mom. She writes children’s books!” I felt very special.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
My website is http://ccmalandrinos.com/ While I own many blogs, the main ones are http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ and https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/ I also contribute to the Christian Children’s Authors blog twice a month at http://christianchildrensauthors.com/
Where is your book available?
Guardian Angel Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound.org.
Photo and cover art provided by author Cheryl C. Malandrinos for the purpose of this interview.
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