Interview with Children’s Book Author Cheryl Malandrinos: ‘Writing for children is no different than writing for adults’

Cheryl MalandrinosCheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young 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/.

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Little Shepherd 2Q: Thank you for this interview, Cheryl. Can you tell us what your latest book, Little Shepherd, is all about?

Cheryl: Little Shepherd is a retelling of the Christmas story as seen through the eyes of a young shepherd. Obed is in the fields outside Bethlehem when the angels appear. He wants to visit the newborn King, but is afraid to leave his flock unattended. His father convinces him to go and Obed soon discovers what a night of miracles it is.

Q:  Everyone loves Christmas stories!  Why did you decide to write this particular story?

Cheryl: Well, the funny thing is, Little Shepherd was not originally a children’s book. When God first planted the idea in my heart, it was the story of an adult Obed, who leaves home to find the apostles who are in hiding after the Resurrection of Jesus. He wants to know if this Jesus is the Savior he met when he was just a boy.

When I was talking to my pastor about the book, he asked if it was a children’s story. That’s when the gears in my brain really started moving. Why not tell the beginning of Obed’s story for a younger audience?

Q: Is Christmas your favorite holiday?

Cheryl: I have a feeling you already know the answer to this question, but yes, it is. Halloween is a close second. Both holidays offer a creative person a chance to decorate in a fun way.

Q:  A little birdie told me you have quite a few Christmas trees in your house during the holidays.  How many do you have and would you like to share a picture with us?

Cheryl:  Just a few, lol. Let’s see, last year we had 5 small trees outside and 7 trees of various sizes indoors. We also have 2 fiber optic trees and a ceramic one. You can see a video I put together for some of my friends who ask about our trees by going to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZu70ouJnn0 Not all of them are in the video, but you’ll get the gist of it.

You’ll have to pardon the extra mess around the house. This was after Christmas and I hadn’t picked up from the chaos yet. Christmas dinner is at our place every year.

Q:  Are you a member of any children’s writing groups or organizations?

Cheryl: I am a founding member of Musing Our Children, a group dedicated to encouraging a love of reading and writing in young people. We visit schools and offer writing workshops to students of all ages. We have a quarterly newsletter titled, Pages & Pens that is a free download from our website.

Q: In your opinion, what is the key ingredient for writing children’s books?

Cheryl: I don’t think writing for children is very different than writing for adults. You still have to create a good story with a solid plot and characters that readers want to spend time getting to know. You have to create characters that young readers will relate to and put them in situations readers will understand, and you have to be careful to never talk down to your readers.

Q: Finally, I like to ask authors this question.  What is your passion?  What is it that you’re more passionate about than anything else?

Cheryl: I’m passionate about sharing the Good News with others, but especially children. In this crazy world when things can go so wrong, it’s comforting to know that Jesus loves us; that He came into this world so long ago and gave up His life and rose again so that one day we may enter heaven. Everyone needs to hear this message, but especially kids. If children can learn to depend upon God for their needs; know they are never alone; know that God is there to guide their steps; and that He loves them no matter what they do, imagine how much more intimate their spiritual journey will be as they reach adulthood. While I knew of Christ, I can’t say I really knew Christ until after I was an adult. I wish I had invited Him into my life sooner.

Q: Thanks for the interview, Cheryl.  Do you have any final words?

Cheryl: Thanks for hosting me today. I enjoyed answering these questions. I hope your readers will consider purchasing Little Shepherd for their children. They can follow my tour during the months of October, November, and December by visiting www.pumpupyourbook.com I’ll also be blogging during my tour at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/ I hope everyone has a blessed Christmas.

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