Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger. Cheryl also writes under the name of C. C. Gevry. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.
Welcome back to my blog, Cheryl. Please tell us about Little Shepherd.
Thanks for having me back, Linda. It’s always great to be here. Little Shepherd is the story of eight-year-old, Obed, who is afraid to leave his sheep in the field while he visits the newborn King. He must learn, like we all do, that putting His trust in the Lord comes with great rewards.
What a great message! Where did you get your inspiration for this picture book?
When our oldest daughter was still in her crib, I would sing to her at night. I’ve always loved Christmas carols and sing them all year long. Each time I sang “The Little Drummer Boy,” I would get this vision of a shepherd in the hills of Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. Obed begged me to tell his story and simply wouldn’t go away until I did.
What age group would enjoy this book?
It’s targeted for children ages 4 to 8. These are the children who will get the most out of the book; though I think slightly younger and older children would enjoy it, too.
You love to write children’s books. What intrigues you most about writing children’s stories?
I never imagined writing for children. I always thought I would be writing women’s fiction or historical fiction aimed at adults. But God works in mysterious ways and he guided me in this direction where I’ve had the most success.
What is intriguing—and sometimes frustrating—about writing for children is needing to keep up with what they enjoy despite the fact you’re much older than those you’re writing for. Both my daughters have very different tastes in books than I did at that age or even what I am drawn to read that is aimed at young or middle grade readers. I’m a lover of history, but my oldest daughter likes dystopian fiction and books where ghosts or magic are part of the plot. My youngest is a fan of humor. Dork Diaries, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Henry Winkler’s Hank Zipzer books are often on her bookshelf.
Luckily, I spend a lot of time around kids and I read a fair amount of what is available for children in this age group. I also make a point to visit our local schools, offering writing workshops so I can see what is of interest to these kids. Some of them are already amazing writers at young ages, and I can only imagine what they will be writing ten years from now.
Thanks, Cheryl, for this wonderful interview. I hope all my followers will take advantage of this book and get it before the Christmas season.