Tell us a bit about your latest book 'LITTLE SHEPHERD'.
Thanks for having me here today, Jo. I’m very honored. Little Shepherd is the story of Obed, a young shepherd in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. After the angels appear, he is hesitant to leave his flock unattended. He decides to visit the newborn King, but is anxious to return to his sheep. A visit with the Holy Family and what he sees once he returns to the field convinces Obed that it is a night of miracles.
Available on Amazon here Little Shepherd
Artist Eugene Ruble illustrated the book. How did you work together to get it right?
I was familiar with Eugene’s work from other Guardian Angel books he had illustrated. I knew he would do a lovely job on Little Shepherd. I’ve actually never met or spoken to him. He’s not online and he’s in St. Louis while I’m in Western Massachusetts. Lynda Burch, owner of Guardian Angel Publishing, asked me to mail Eugene some cover and interior illustration ideas when I mailed him a copy of the signed contract. That’s all he needed to bring Obed’s story to life. I believe he did a wonderful job of combining those ideas with his ideas and talent.
Your book is published by Guardian Angel Publishing. What made you pick them and are you happy with what they offer you as an author?
Selecting the publisher was easy. I only had Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP) in mind when I wrote Little Shepherd. I became familiar with them when one of their authors asked me to review her book. I loved it and began searching out more GAP books to review. I also spoke with some of their authors to see how they liked working with them. I received very positive feedback. So, once Obed’s story was polished, I pitched it to Lynda. She requested I make a few changes and resubmit it. She accepted the revised manuscript.
Working with everyone at GAP has been a fabulous experience. My fellow authors are very supportive and Lynda is a wealth of information. GAP books are available as eBooks, CD eBooks, and in print. They are available at Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, indiebound.org, and other online retailers. There is an annual gathering of GAP authors in St. Louis each September. I feel very blessed to be part of the GAP family.
A member of Musing Our Children, you are also the Editor in Chief of the group's quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens. Tell us a bit about the project and how people can get involved.
Musing Our Children is the brainstorm of the talented and amazing, Lea Schizas. We are a group of authors, illustrators, publishers, and storytellers who wish to encourage a love of reading and writing in young people. We hold workshops at schools and libraries. We also encourage children to read books and send us their reviews. Our quarterly newsletter is available as a free download from our website.
We’re always looking for new members and contributors to Pages & Pens. You can register for membership at our Yahoo Group.
You run several blogs and have recently launched a new one The Children's and Teens' Book Connection, write reviews, articles and more. How do you find the time to work on so many different projects?
It’s definitely a challenge, especially now that Little Shepherd is out and I am working on promoting it. I write out a weekly to-do list, which I use to keep me focused. My girls are now in school, so I have 7 hours each weekday to concentrate on my fulltime job as a virtual book tour coordinator forPump Up Your Book and my writing. I schedule times to check emails and only answer the phone if it’s the girls’ schools. I have reined in the time I spend browsing the Internet. I focus on the girls once they come home and then work for a while once they are asleep.
Loving what I do certainly makes it much easier.
What advice do you have for other writers wanting to enter the children’s market?
Writers work in a very competitive world. You need to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Join a critique group so you can receive regular feedback on your writing. This will also motivate you to create the time to write. Don’t be afraid to invest in classes that will help you improve the weaker areas of your writing.
Read books in the market you are interested in breaking into. Make sure your manuscript is polished before submitting it to a publisher or an agent. Investing in a professional editor to help you shape your manuscript before you start mailing out queries is a smart idea.
Most of all, have faith in yourself and be determined to persevere. You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Readers can find me online at http://ccmalandrinos.com or at my blogs:
Anything else you'd like to add?
I would like to thank you again for hosting me today. It is through the great support of my many online friends that the word of Little Shepherd is being spread across the Net. I created a video trailer for the book, which can be viewed on YouTube.
While it took a few years for me to make the transition from aspiring author to published author, I feel blessed every day by the tremendous amount of support from family and friends, and for God planting the idea of Obed’s story in my heart years ago.