Last Christmas I did this book tour and asked the author this year if I could do the book tour again with an interview and giveaway and she readily accepted the offer. I'm so excited. This is a very good children's book on the true message of Christmas. You may view my review of the book here. And now for the interview. Please welcome author Cheryl Malandrinos.
Cheryl I'm so glad to have you visit my blog and spotlight you as an author promoting your book Little Shepherd. I have never met you in person, but through email; however, I feel as though we have met.Could you tell my readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a wife and stay-at-home mom with two young girls at home and a son who is married. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t pursue it seriously until I left Corporate America in 2004. Our family lives in the town where my husband grew up, and I’ve never lived outside of Western Massachusetts. I love the four seasons we have here.
Are you a full-time author? SAHM, have any other jobs in or out of the house?
In addition to my writing, I promote books for other authors by coordinating virtual book tours.
I have gotten to know you through Pump up your Book tours.
Yes, I feel as though we've known each other for a long time as you are the first coordinator I reviewed for through Pump up your Book tours and I've been doing reviews with them since Aug. of 2008. I think my first with you was with author Kathi Macias book, which has brought me to be a big fan of Kathi's. Could you tell us a little bit about this company and what they do and your role as a tour coordinator?
Pump Up Your Book! was started by Dorothy Thompson in early 2007. I came into the picture around September of that year and I’ve been working with them ever since. We now have five tour coordinators and we average around 40 authors on tour a month.
In my role as tour coordinator, I work as the liaison between the bloggers who act as hosts, and the authors who wish to have their books promoted throughout the blogosphere. I spend the majority of my day performing Internet research and communicating via email.
You and Dorothy are the best. I've never met either of you, but feel as though I have. You both are easy to get responses from and quick to answer. I've worked with many coordinators there at Pump up your Books and speak from experience. How many books do you have published?
Little Shepherd is my first book, but I have several others written.
Do you write just children’s books? Or do you have other genre that you’ve written?
I’ve primarily focused on the children’s market, though I had originally intended to write women’s fiction. The first novel I completed was women’s fiction, but the co-author and I stalled on the edits. Even Little Shepherd was originally meant for an older audience when it was first conceived. It wasn’t until I spoke to my pastor and he asked if the book was for children, that I began considering writing for this market.
Tell us a little bit about this featured book Little Shepherd.
Little Shepherd is a re-telling of the Christmas story through the eyes of a five-year-old shepherd. Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem tending his first flock when the angel arrives to announce the Savior’s birth. He is hesitant to follow the others, afraid the hungry wolves might harm his sheep while they are away. A few wise words from his father give Obed the push he needs to step out in faith and visit the Holy Family. As a result, he witnesses the miracles of that first Christmas.
How did you come up with this book idea?
When my oldest daughter was a toddler, I sat in her room at night and sang Christmas carols. Many make great lullabies. Each time I sang The Little Drummer Boy, I would get the idea to write a story of a little shepherd boy who visited the newborn King. While the final story is different than what I first imagined, I still believe it captures the idea God planted on my heart.
Is it hard to get into the children’s book market?
It takes time and you have to be willing to perform research to make sure your pitch reaches the right house. I decided to pursue a writing career in 2004, but my first book didn’t come out until 2010. Part of that is because I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to focus, but once I knew I would write for children, I took two years getting to know Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP), its authors, and its book lines. I wrote Little Shepherd in such a way that I felt it would be a good fit for GAP. It was accepted after an additional round of edits.
Do you have any plans for any more books (children’s or other genre)?
My second book, A Christmas Kindness, is under contract with 4RV Publishing. I admire the work they do at 4RV, and I’m thrilled they accepted it. This book will be released next fall under the pen name C.C. Gevry. I am trying to keep my secular projects separate from my faith-based journeys for kids brand, which is why I am using a pen name.
Oh, and I'm looking forward to hosting this book. I know you have already mentioned it to me in emails so pencil 4 the LOVE of BOOKS on your schedule. I know we'll be in contact between now and then. What would you say is your biggest struggle as an author?
Making time to write. Because I have family and work commitments, in addition to the time I spend volunteering, there are always too few hours in the day. If I get to work on one of my projects a couple of times a week, I feel it’s been a productive writing week.
What is the greatest joy as an author?
Knowing that my kids are proud of what I do. They are truly the inspiration for everything I write—even the oldest, who is 24.
Five things you’d like readers to know about you? (fun or serious)
1) I have a list of fears a mile long. I’m afraid of water, bridges, flying, tunnels, and heights to name a few. There are days I wonder how I walk out the door. :-)
2) I had hoped to meet Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan.
3) In second grade, I was the Poppy Queen. The red poppy has been the official memorial flower to represent United States veterans since 1922. Artificial red poppies are sold to assist veterans returning from war and to aid their families. As Poppy Queen, I went to City Hall and sold poppies that year. I still buy them every year. My father is a former Marine. My brother is an Army Reservist and returned from Iraq this summer. They all deserve our support.
4) My first pet was a mini-dachshund named Fritz.
5) I love politics and once ran for a public office in town.
What would you like to leave with the readers either book related or otherwise?/Closing remarks?
It’s important to encourage a love of reading and writing in young people. I hope with Little Shepherd I am able to give children a way to connect to the Christmas story that is more personal to them.
Thanks Cheryl for taking the time to visit with us and I'm truly sorry I'm late at getting this posted. Many things on both your end and mine have happened to try to hinder this post, but we have overcome. I look forward to your next book next fall.
Now for the giveaway. Since I'm having computer issues and won't be able to check for post comments I'm using rafflecopter. It is going to be an easy enter. If you wish to leave your favorite Christmas book in a comment we'd love to hear what it is and I'll get them posted when I can, but just make sure you leave a way of contact. I'll have this giveaway up until after Thanksgiving.
OK this is not the way this is suppose to be happening. I'm so confused. I'm not real computer savvy, but I know that things are not cooperating with me technology wise. ARGH. my rafflecopter is acting up. My computer at home is acting up and I can only use the library computer for 1 hour per day. So I'm running out of time to get this posted. Every time I put the code for the rafflecopter in it uses the one for Deer Promise and I can't figure it out because when I preview it it shows up as this one but when I post it live Deer Promise takes over. ARGH and leaves the Deer Promise post. Don't ask me why............SO just post a blog comment and I'll get the comments posted whenever I can get into my computer. I can't believe this is happening. I'm on limited computer time. This too shall pass, but it may be a few days before I get my computer back. UGH! Leave a comment with your email and I'll enter you. Leave a name of favorite Christmas book and you get two entries. Happy day to all and I don't have a calendar available so I can't give the exact day this drawing will be. I'll draw on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
A copy of this book was provided for this review by Pump up your Book tours
"Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become." -C.S. Lewis