Cheryl C. Malandrinos interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Jan 5, 2017 1:15:24 AM

Cheryl C. Malandrinos interview with David Alan Binder

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


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Twitter Address: @ccmalandrinos

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1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?

My last name is pronounced: Mal-an-dree-nos.

2. Where are you currently?

We live in Western Mass. I’ve always lived here, and our home is located in a town about 20 minutes from where I grew up.

3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Patience is a necessary ingredient. Nothing moves quickly in publishing. You submit and then you wait. You sign a contract and then you wait. You are notified of a release date and then you wait. Control what you can—how often you write, the quality of your writing, how often you submit—but learn to accept that there will be periods where it feels like nothing is happening.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I perform edits in three rounds: first I pick up typographical and grammar errors and inconsistencies; then I go through all the punctuation; finally, I read the whole manuscript again to find anything I might have missed. This process is used for my own work and when I edit for others.

5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

I’m not opposed to self-publishing, but I didn’t know enough the first time around to even consider it. I’ve been reading more about self-publishing the last couple of years and think it’s in my future for projects for older children and adults. My picture books are something I will most likely always use a publisher for because I don’t illustrate and I don’t want to deal with trying to format them.

a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

I have two. Guardian Angel Publishing out of St. Louis, Minnesota released Little Shepherd (2010) and Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving (2016) and 4RV Publishing out of Edmond, Oklahoma released A Christmas Kindness in print (2012) and digital in (2014).

6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

Just like digital formats changed the music industry, digital books changed publishing. As a reader, I love that I can fit a whole bunch of books on some device I can pack into my purse or overnight bag. Digital publishing has also made it easier for writers to get a book into the hands of readers. The two things I fear are how much free and bargain e-books have cheapened what we do in the eyes of readers and if haste to publish has lessened readers’ expectations of quality.

7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

Do your research. Years before I pitched Little Shepherd to Guardian Angel Publishing I read and reviewed many of their books. This allowed me to get to know what they published so that when I submitted my work to them it got accepted. While there are no guarantees, you’ll be in a much better position than submitting blind and crossing your fingers.

8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?

Any tips for new writers on getting one? I don’t have an agent, but I would like one. I make a point to attend conferences annually and take advantage of pitching to them. The good thing is that the more you do it, the less nerve-racking it is.

9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Know your characters. Know why they do what they do and why they say what they say. Some of the best classes I’ve taken are about understanding what makes people tick and how they view the world. Look at it this way: if you don’t know why your characters are doing what they are doing, how could someone reading your book ever hope to understand them or root for them?

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned about your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

Editing is more enjoyable than the actual writing. I find getting the words down on paper tough because I write slowly and easily get distracted by research. Once I am done, however, I love trimming, polishing, and eliminating errors. After stepping away for a least a week from a finished project, my fresh eyes lead to greater creativity and better syntax.

11. How many books have you written?

To date I have co-written one full-length novel for women and written nine picture books and one early reader. Little Shepherd and Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving are picture books and A Christmas Kindness is my early reader. I’m about halfway done with a middle grade historical novel.

12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

Read, especially in your genre. Stephen King said it best, “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” I firmly believe that reading makes us stronger writers and gives us a better handle on what’s popular in the market.

13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

I watch a lot of cozy mystery movies and cozies are one of my favorite genres to read. The reason they are great for writers is because this genre truly shows how even the tiniest details—like a feather—are important. A small detail like that can provide a great twist for a story.

14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

Right now, all my books are set on holidays. That won’t be true once the next one comes out, but all my books still contain some take away—a lesson to be learned—hidden inside a nice story.

15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?

Since I used to coordinate virtual book tours, I’m a huge proponent of online book promotion. I have promoted—and continue to promote—all my books via social media. There are video trailers for my books on YouTube. I like to guest blog at least once a quarter. I send out press releases to our local papers and attend local fairs that might give me a chance to sell books. One of the best ways I’ve promoted my books is by volunteering in schools. I’ve held free writing workshops for grades 3 through 6. Though I didn’t talk about my work at all, the teachers and students knew I was an author. Oftentimes, the parents would reach out to me later interested in knowing more about me and my work.

16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I would have started much earlier. Though life has never been simple, I have a lot of commitments that pull me away from writing. Now that I also work outside the home in a very demanding industry, it’s even more of a challenge creating the time to write. I also had to turn down a large editing project last year for a regular client because I knew I couldn’t finish prior to it going to press.

17. What saying or mantra do you live by?

You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it.

18. Anything else you would like to say?

Thanks for the interview. I greatly appreciate the chance to spend time with your readers.