Monday, June 22, 2009

Cheryl Malandrinos Interview


I have the pleasure of interviewing Cheryl Malandrinos, a lady with many talents. Cheryl is a staff member for Writer2Writer and writes articles on time management and organization for writers, as well as on many other subjects. She is a member of Musing Our Children and is also a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion. Recently, she received some very good news, but I’ll let her tell you about that. Thank you, Cheryl, for taking time out of your busy life to visit with us today.
When did you discover you wanted to be a writer?

Growing up I knew I wanted to be one of two things: a teacher or a writer. I’ve always been an avid reader and English was a strong subject for me in school, so I enjoyed writing book reports, poetry, and my own stories. I have a manila folder tucked away in my hope chest of stories I wrote as a teenager.

Writing also helped me deal with the loss of my mother when I was fourteen. She had cancer for two years before she passed away. My writings during those times, as expected, dealt with death and loss. I usually write about much happier topics these days, but I know letting my feelings flow onto paper allowed me to move forward after my mother’s death.

You recently signed a contract for your first book. Tell us about your journey to this exciting moment.

Yes, God has been good to me. I had written off and on since my teenage years, but life got in the way. When I became a stay-at-home mom five years ago, I decided to follow my dreams of becoming a writer.

I entered into Long Ridge Writing Group’s Breaking into Print program and learned a great deal about writing articles. At the time I was reading non-fiction books exclusively and knew this was my strong point.

While I was attending the first Muse Online Writers Conference in 2006, the conversation shifted to whether or not writers should work pro-bono to secure clips. I believe in doing this at the beginning, and I mentioned how I wrote several time management articles for a now defunct eZine. Cheryl Wright from Writer2Writer contacted me and asked to see them and I soon began working for her on a regular basis.

I had written some fiction pieces, but showing instead of telling has never been my strong suit, so I continued to attend the Muse conferences, kept writing fiction, and took advantage of all the critiques I could get. The hard work paid off. Lynda Burch from Guardian Angel Publishing presented at the 2008 Muse Online Writers Conference and offered the attendees of her weekly forum a chance to submit their manuscript. After some additional revisions, Lynda offered me my first book contract. The Little Shepherd Boy should be out sometime in the fall of next year.


What are you working on now?

Honestly, most of my work revolves around promoting other writers; but that’s okay. I’ve meet many talented writers and made several wonderful friends.

When I’m not working on virtual book tours or creating video trailers for authors, I maintain three blogs, and continue to work on a variety of articles and manuscripts. I hope to get My Visit with Santa ready to submit to a publisher soon. I also recently took over the role of editor for Musing Our Children’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.

How do you balance your writing life with your family life?

You mean I’m supposed to balance my writing life and my family life? Someone should have said something earlier. LOL!

We have a full grown son who is on his own (though they never really stop needing their parents) and two young girls. I work when the girls are in school or after they go to bed. I try to limit the time I spend on the computer when the girls are home, but it’s not always possible. Thankfully, my in-laws come over three times a week to entertain the girls and that allows me to work without feeling guilty.

For the most part I keep up on housework by cleaning a little every day and picking up the main living areas at bedtime. Since I’m the only one who can cook, I have staple meals that I count on to make suppertime easier and I use the grill often in the summertime. Different marinades are a great way to change your menu up without a lot of effort.

How did you get interested in the Little House on the Prairie books and show?

I was a fan of the show long before I was a fan of the books. I grew up watching Michael Landon in Bonanza and then on Little House on the Prairie. I always imagined I was one of the Ingalls girls.

In Fifth Grade I had to read a book and write a report on it. This was the first time that we were allowed to select our own reading material, and since I enjoyed Little House on the Prairie on television, I figured I would love Little House on the Prairie, the book. I couldn’t get into it at all. I wrote my book report based upon what was going on in Season 5 of the show and I’m still surprised the teacher didn’t give me a big fat zero.

I rediscovered the books in my early twenties and was able to appreciate them for the classic pieces of children’s literature they are. Since then I’ve researched some of the real life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, her husband Almanzo and their daughter Rose Wilder Lane. The largest collection in my home library is my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection, which contains multiple titles by Laura Ingalls Wilder, biographies of her life, and books (fiction and non-fiction) about her family.

For fun: If you could live in any time period, when would you choose and why?

While I enjoy reading about and studying Colonial America, the Civil War era, and life in the 1800’s, I’m most happy living in the here and now. I appreciate and admire everything these people did to mold America into the wonderful place it is today, but I am too pampered to even consider using an outhouse, growing most of my food, or sleeping on a straw mattress.

While it breaks my heart to read of historical sites that are neglected or sold in the name of progress, I still believe that a healthy balance can be struck between preservation and progress.

Who/what is your favorite author, movie star, book, movie, song?

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Lucy Maud Montgomery have always been huge favorites of mine. I take a beating for it every once in a while, but I am who I am. I also enjoy the work of Stephen King, Jerry Jenkins, and Karen White. King wrote my favorite book, The Stand.

I don’t often watch television or go to movies, but Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks and Johnny Deep are talented and always involved in interesting projects. The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List top my favorite movies list. Learning from history is very important, even if we learn about it through entertainment.

Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art are two of my favorite hymns. They remind us of God’s power, mercy, and infinite love.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it! Don’t be your biggest obstacle. Fear of failure, self-doubt, even fear of success can cripple a writer. There are many motivational quotes out there, put perhaps Elbert Hubbard said it best, “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one."

How can your fans learn more about you? Web sites? Blogs?

My current website can be found at http://ccmalandrinos.tripod.com/ My goal is to have a new website with my own domain before the end of the year. Readers can also check out my blogs:

The Book Connection - http://www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ - where I blog nearly every day has author interviews, book reviews, and guest bloggers, plus some special features.

I also maintain The Aspiring Author at http://theaspiringauthorccm.blogspot.com/ that provides aspiring authors with motivational quotes, writing resources, and the occasional guest blogger.

My blog dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder, her books and the shows based upon them can be found at http://lauralittlehouseontheprairie.blogspot.com/

I’ve enjoyed learning more about you, Cheryl. Congratulations on your book. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Thank you Bev, for allowing me the chance to be the interviewee instead of the interviewer for a change. I truly appreciate this opportunity. I hope your readers will stop by and visit my website and blogs. I’m sure we’ll be hooking up online again soon so that we can talk about your new releases. Wishing you all the best!

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for letting me spend some time with you and your readers today Bev.

    It's strange to be the one answering the questions instead of asking them, but I truly enjoyed it.

    Best of luck in all you do. I can't wait to hear more about your upcoming releases.

    Cheryl

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  2. I think it's about time you told your story, Cheryl. You do so much for other writers, now it's your turn. Your answers are great, and I enjoyed learning about the Cheryl that we seldom see.

    I'm looking forward to reading your book when it comes out.

    Bev

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  3. What a wonderful interview. Congratulations on your first book being published. It is a great accomplishment and one well deserved. I wish you lots of success with it. I do agree with Beverly that you definetly do a lot for other authors. We all appreciate you so much.

    Renee Hand
    The Crypto-Capers Series
    www.reneeahand.com
    http://thecryptocapersseries.blogspot.com

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  4. Hi Bev:

    Great Q&A with Cheryl. I've known Cheryl professionally for quite some time now and it was a pleasure learning more about her personally.

    Hi Cheryl:

    Congratulations on your book deal. AWESOME!

    Warmly,
    Donna
    Children’s Author
    Write What Inspires You Blog
    Donna M. McDine’s Website

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  5. Thanks ladies. Beverly and Renee, it all comes back to you--what you do for others lifts you up--so I am happy to promote fellow writers. I can honestly say that I love my job.

    Thanks for the congrats, Donna. We certainly travel in a lot of the same circles. Writing makes you realize what a small world it is.

    Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the support.

    Cheryl

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  6. Wonderful inteview girl...I am so proud I can say I knew you when. Much love and many blessings!
    Gwanny

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  7. Wonderful interview, Cheryl! It's nice to see you sitting on the hot seat for a change. :-)

    I'm sorry about what happened to your mother. That must have been devastating at your age.

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  8. Aw, Gwanny, you're such a sweetheart. I'm glad we keep bumping into one another online lately. And one day, the Outer Banks better watch out because we'll make plans to meet there over the summer.

    Thanks Mayra. It was pretty tough, but what doesn't kill us tends to make us stronger and losing my mother definitely did that.

    Oh, and don't worry, I'm sure I'll have another chance to put you back on the hot seat soon. :)

    Cheryl

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  9. Great interview! I enjoyed reading it.

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  10. It's great to learn so much more about Cheryl and her writing.

    Interesting read.

    * Critiques - Writing Help - my Books: http://www.margotfinke.com
    * Hook Kids on Reading - http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/
    * MY Books for Kids + Writing News - http://margotfinke.blogspot.com/

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  11. Cheryl,
    Enjoyed knowing about you. Nice article
    Kit

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  12. Thanks for your comments, everyone. We'll be hearing more from Cheryl, I'm sure. She's on her way.

    Bev

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  13. Hi Cheryl,

    It was nice to put a face to your name from the MUSE boards. Enjoyed reading your interview.

    Congratulations on The Little Shepherd Boy. If you need a host for a blog tour when it comes out next year, feel free to contact me.

    Beth <><

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  14. Jan, Margot and Kit, thanks so much for stopping by today. This is one of the wonderful things about blogs--you get a chance to meet people you might never have stumbled upon before.

    Bev, from your mouth to God's ears. Sometimes it feels like forever since I began on this journey, but then I think of how quickly time can pass and it really isn't that long at all.

    Thanks again for the chance to be here today.

    Fondly,

    Cheryl

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  15. Wonderful. I love your answer to the balance question. This is the first time I've seen someone answer it without the natural assumption that they have everything balanced out.

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  16. Thanks Bev for interviewing Cheryl. It's great to get to know our cyber friends better. Cheryl, I knew you were a busy lady, but I had no idea just how busy you are. Great to get to know you better.

    Joy Delgado
    Illustrator and publisher of bilingual children’s books
    http://goingbeyondreading.blogspot.com/
    Sign up for Zebee’s Summer Zoo Camp
    http://tinyurl.com/zoocamp

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  17. Wow! What nice comments.

    Cheryl, you have great friends.

    We'll be talking to you again.

    Bev

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  18. Thanks for your kind words JM and Joy. I appreciate you stopping by.

    JM, I honestly don't know how some people do it all. There are people out there who make me look like a slacker and yet they seem to have it all together. I try to use the advice I give others in my time management articles, but nobody's world is perfect. There's always going to be a time when you don't have it together...even if it's only a few seconds.

    Thankfully I am very organized--as you are--and that cuts back on wasted time.

    Cheryl

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  19. Sorry I missed you the other day Beth. Thanks for the congrats on the book. I'll definitely be looking for you when it comes out.

    All my best,

    Cheryl

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  20. What a great interview! I have really enjoyed learning about Cheryl and wish her tremendous success with her new book. I'll be looking forward to hearing more about the new book and watching for it's release!

    Nancy, from Ask the Cybrarian Book Reviews

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  21. Thanks for stopping by Nancy. I'm glad you enjoyed learning a bit more about me and my upcoming book. It is an exciting time.

    I just popped in at your blog. I read SLOB too. What a great book!

    I'm sure we'll be running into each other around the blogosphere.

    All my best,

    Cheryl

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