Monday, December 5, 2016

Interview with Children's Book Author Cheryl Malandrinos

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.


About the Book:

Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 16
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Ten-year-old Macy is waiting for her grandparents to arrive on Thanksgiving. When the front door swings open, Grandma and Grandpa are covered with hugs and kisses. Crash! Everyone rushes in to find the dog gnawing a meaty turkey leg. Can Macy’s quick thinking save dinner?

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Thanks for this interview, Cheryl.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

After my first children’s book was published. LOL!

I never intended to write for children. The first manuscript I completed was women’s fiction, and I had always planned to write for an adult audience. Then NaNoWriMo happened. The story I was writing wouldn’t come together. Since it was Christian fiction, I ran the idea by my pastor. “Is this a children’s book?” he asked. That’s when the gears in my mind started turning. I took the first part of that story and turned it into a children’s picture book, Little Shepherd.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving?

In 2010, I participated in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) for the first time. The challenge: come up with 30 picture book concepts in 30 days. Not as easy as it sounds. Many of my ideas revolved around holidays: Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter…

It was the day before Thanksgiving, so we were in the home stretch (only six more days to go). I didn’t want the same old story with a message of being thankful. That’s when possible holiday disasters entered my head; like the first time I cooked a turkey and nearly left the plastic bag filled with giblets inside. But it needed to be something kids would find funny. That’s when the “what ifs” started flying and my mind settled on: What if right before dinner the dog grabbed the turkey off the table?

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

A bit of both. When I started my writing career, I had two young girls at home. Their antics provided lots of inspiration. Now they are teenagers, so I draw upon the fact that I am a big kid at heart. It’s possible I will never grow up.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I’ve been around a long time. Must I pick just one?

It would have to be The Pony Engine by Mary C. Jacobs; though many people know the story as The Little Engine That Could. I’m not one to give up easily. Makes me wonder if that perseverance comes partially from reading The Pony Engine over and again in my room all those years growing up.

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

Never give up! Believe in yourself. Learn your market. Don’t be afraid to take chances every once one in a while.

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I’ve been working on a middle grade novel for what seems like forever. I would like to wrap that up in 2017 and polish it up for submission. Returning to outside work two years ago has made it tough to accomplish my writing goals, but I keep plugging along. Our local library has a writing group that meets once a month, so I attend as often as I can. I also help plan an annual writers conference in the area to stay connected.

As for more children’s books, you better believe it. My publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing, has my next book under contract, Amos Faces His Bully. Like my first book, Little Shepherd, it drops fictional characters into a Biblical setting. In this case, the actions of David when he faces Goliath empowers young Amos to face his own bully. Amos Faces His Bully was also inspired by my participation in PiBoIdMo.