Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.
You can visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com or the Little Shepherd blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/. You can also find her at:
In the hills outside Bethlehem, Obed guards his first flock of sheep. When the angel appears to tell of the Savior’s birth, he is hesitant to follow the others to see the new King. Can he trust the miracle of Christmas will keep his flock safe?
Thank you for sharing. Where can readers find your book online?
Barnes and Noble
Guardian Angel Publishing
Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
When I was a child, I knew I wanted to be one of two things: a teacher or a writer. As a mother, I’ll always be a teacher. Writing came later.
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
Would you believe a Christmas carol? When my daughter (now 9) was a toddler, I would sing The Little Drummer Boy to her as a lullaby. I kept getting this vision of a young shepherd in the fields outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. The idea wouldn’t go away. After my second daughter was born, I left Corporate America to be a stay-at-home mom, which allowed me to pursue a writing career. Little Shepherd was the second project I tackled. It was published by Guardian Angel Publishing in August 2010.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
So far all my characters are made up. I tend to let things stew for quite a while before I write. I interview my characters, find out what makes them tick, and then create a story around them.
Love that you "interview your characters." If an author doesn't know his or her own characters, how will the reader ever get to know them.
What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
I’m working on a middle grade novel right now. My main character is attending Wheaton College in Norton, MA, which was called Wheaton Female Seminary back in her day. In order to make it realistic, I’ve been researching what a typical day would be like for Amelia at Wheaton.
Where do you go to do your research?
I start with Internet research. In the case of Wheaton, I contacted them directly and told them what I was working on. One of their staff members has been answering my questions. I’m hoping I get a chance to drive out there soon to take some pictures and walk the campus.
That's great. Research is so important to creating a solid story.
Who is your favorite contemporary author? Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?
By far my favorite is Kathi Macias. She has written a contemporary international thriller series that her publisher calls “fiction with a mission.” Each book features a story based on the true lives of believers around the world who have suffered for their faith. They are some of the most powerful stories I’ve ever read. I’m scheduled to review the last book in her Extreme Devotion series, People of the Book, this month.
Sounds like a great book series. I'll have to check it out.
How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
My story to publication is one that shows market research can pay off. An author from Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP) asked me to review her children’s book. I loved it so much I began seeking out other GAP titles. I never found a bad apple in the bunch. I knew I wanted them to bring Little Shepherd to life. Publisher Lynda Burch attends the Muse Online Writers Conference each year. I made a point to take her workshop two years in a row. I wanted to get to know more about GAP and see what she was looking for in children’s books. I also spoke to a few of their authors to see what they liked about working with GAP.
When I wrote Little Shepherd, I molded it in such a way that it would fit in with one of Guardian Angel Publishing’s lines. I submitted it to Lynda in December 2008. She accepted it the following spring after a few additional revisions.
Very true. It's so important to submit your manuscripts to the right publisher. Many authors have their manuscripts rejected because they aren't doing the right research to find the niche their manuscript fits into.
What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?
I’ve always struggled with showing instead of telling. I began writing non-fiction, so telling was natural. Writing fiction requires you to paint a picture for the reader. You can only do that by showing. While I feel I have greatly improved, I still have a ways to go.
That's something I struggled with, too. The reader wants to be swept into the story and see through the eyes of your characters. I feel I also have a long way to go. I always want to improve in my writing every day.
Cheryl, thank you so much for stopping by.
Hope everyone can stay and visit with us.