Little Shepherd Virtual Blog Tour Contest
November 8 - December 17: International
Cheryl Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married. Little Shepherd is Cheryl’s first children’s book. She is a freelance writer, a founding member of Musing Our Children, Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. That’s quite a list!
"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison
You are one busy woman, Cheryl. Please tell us about your new children’s book, Little Shepherd.
I love the idea that you’re teaching children about the birth of Christ. What inspired you to write about a shepherd boy?
It’s an unusual story really. I sing Christmas songs all year round, using many of them as lullabies for my children. One of my favorites is “The Little Drummer Boy”. I would often sing that song and end up thinking about a story of a young shepherd who visits the child on the night of Christ’s birth.
When God first planted that idea in my heart, however, I didn’t think this would be a children’s story. I felt drawn to write about an adult Obed who is searching for the apostles after the Resurrection of Jesus. Obed wishes to find them to ask if Jesus was the Messiah he once met as a boy.
As I was sharing this idea with my pastor one Sunday, he asked me if it was a children’s story. That got the gears in my brain moving. Why shouldn’t I tell Obed’s story from the very beginning and help young readers understand the miracles of Christmas at the same time? I moved forward and Little Shepherd was born.
Wow! I love the idea of an adult Obed who is trying to find the apostles years later. You just might have to have a sequel to this story. How did you go about the process of finding an illustrator?
My publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP), works with several artists. After I had signed my contract, I was asked to select three potential illustrators from those listed on their website. Having reviewed several titles from GAP, I was familiar with the work of many of their artists. It was a tough choice, as they all do lovely work.
When Eugene Ruble accepted the contract to illustrate Little Shepherd, I was thrilled. I sent him some suggestions for potential cover art and interior illustrations and then I stayed out of his way and let him do what he does best. He did a superb job of bringing Obed’s story to life through his artwork.
What a wonderful publisher! I found out that many authors don’t get a choice. They have to take what is given them. You were very lucky…no, that’s not the word. You were very blessed to be allowed to choose your own book covers. I, too, was able to have a choice and tell them what I wanted. To me, that’s very important. What does your family think about your writing?
All three of my kids are very supportive. My nine-year-old and I would like to work on a book together that I write and she illustrates. Our youngest has been interested in books since she was old enough to hold them. They’ve turned me into the latest local celebrity at their schools. Our son is married, and he’s always been very supportive of my dreams, reading many of my works in progress.
My husband is supportive in his own way. I’ve been spending money on marketing since the book was released in August and he keeps paying the bills without commenting too much. He takes the girls to the park or the movies when I’m on a tight deadline. While he doesn’t understand why I would want to work in an industry where my performance, no matter how good it is, may not turn a profit, he’s very proud of my accomplishments.
Your husband sounds like a very special person. You are blessed to have that kind of support. Okay, now for the last question. You notice, Cheryl, that I ask this question to all my authors. I love it because I get to know an author’s innermost feelings. So please tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
I haven’t always been happy with the person I am. I lost my mother to cancer when I was only 14. That paved the way for me to make several bad choices growing up. I had to give up on college when I became pregnant at the age of 18. I was a single parent for 11 years and there were days when I wished I could crawl in a hole and never come out again.
Meeting my husband changed my life. Returning to church also changed my life. I don’t recognize that angry, frustrated young woman I used to be. I feel so blessed by my family and friends—in person and online. God has a way of working in our lives behind the scenes and it can be months or years before we realize the good work He’s done in us. I think I’m finally getting to the point where my heart, mind, and soul are more in tune with His gifts and guidance. In telling Obed’s story, I hope that kids remember God always keeps His promises.
Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing a part of your life with us. This shows how important it is to have a loving Heavenly Father in our lives. It changes us for the better and we tend to be happier. Thanks for being my guest this week.
To participate in Cheryl's virutal book tour, follow the directions below:
GIVEAWAY #1 (for people who comment on this blog or Cheryl’s blog. Don't forget to leave your email in case you win.)
An autographed copy of Little Shepherd
Angel figurine printed with the Serenity Prayer
A Little Shepherd sticky note pad
Little Drummer Boy 2010 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament
Gift of Peace 2003 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament
GIVEAWAY #2 (for those who purchase a copy of Little Shepherd between August 21 and December 17. Proof of purchase must be submitted to Cheryl via email, mail, or fax at email@example.com.)
A ”Sparkling Angel” scented jar candle from Yankee Candle
An angel gold and silver lid topper for the candle
An angel tea light holder from Yankee Candle
A Little Shepherd sticky note pad
A Jim Shore Nativity Star hanging ornament
A Jim Shore Holy Family hanging ornament
A $25 Amazon.com gift card
Little Shepherd is available at the Guardian Angel Publishing website, Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, and at indiebound.org. Good luck to all who enter!