Friday, April 5, 2013

Cheryl Malandrinos, author of Little Shepherd

Author Bio:
Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.

Title: Little Shepherd
Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
ISBN: 978-1616330859
Page count: 16
Genre: children’s picture book
Price: $9.95

Tell us about your book:
Little Shepherd is the story of Obed, who is in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. After the angels appear to the shepherds, Obed must decide if he has the faith to believe God will protect his flock while he is away visiting the newborn King.

How long did it take to write the book?
It took about two years before I was ready to submit it to a publisher. Originally, I planned this story to be about an adult Obed who seeks out the apostles after the Resurrection to learn if Jesus was the Messiah he met while a boy tending his father’s sheep. This was supposed to be a National Novel Writing Month project in 2006. The story wouldn’t come and I struggled with it through six chapters before pushing it aside.

When I talked to my pastor about the project, he asked if it was a children’s book, which sparked the idea to create a story about young Obed meeting the newborn King.

What inspired you to write the book?
When our oldest daughter was just a toddler, I would sing her to sleep at night. We love Christmas carols, and many of them make great lullabies. Each time I would sing The Little Drummer Boy, I would get a vision of a young shepherd out in the fields that night. It wouldn’t go away, so I knew I had to write the shepherd boy’s story. Though the idea planted on my heart was originally very different than what Little Shepherd became, I feel I have been true to that vision.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I’m not a person who does a lot of plotting. An idea stews for a while—in this case for three or four years—and when I have it ready in my head, I sit down to write it out. In this instance, I started out with a very different idea, but once it evolved into the story of a young Obed meeting the Christ child on the night of His birth, I wrote it in a couple of days. Then I left it alone for a few weeks. I like to come back to a project with fresh eyes.

When I came back to the manuscript, I felt something wasn’t quite right. I sent it along to a writing friend for feedback. The problem, she felt, was that it was a simple retelling of the Christmas story, but had no conflict for the main character, Obed. She was right. How could I make this historical experience personal for Obed? That’s where the idea for Obed to be afraid to leave his sheep came from. A shepherd’s sheep are his livelihood. The family depends upon them for food and clothing. Their safety is of the utmost importance. Since, Obed had just been gifted a portion of his father’s flock to watch after his most recent birthday, he felt a large responsibility to make sure nothing happened to the sheep.

As far as research goes, I didn’t do a great deal. I’m familiar with the historical aspects of the story from the Bible.  When I originally planned to write this as a story for adults, I had purchased a few books about life during that time period. I referred to them a bit as I worked, but a tremendous amount of research wasn’t necessary.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
One of the nicest compliments I’ve received about the book is that Obed’s journey made the Christmas story relatable to children. The essence of the story is faith winning out over fear.  So many times in our lives we are placed in situations where we must decide if we will let fear consume us or put our faith in God to bring us through whatever we are facing. Children aren’t immune to that. Little Shepherd shows them that there is someone bigger than their fears that they can depend on.

Excerpt from book:
“Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us,” Father said to the men.
“What about the sheep?” Obed’s brow furrowed.
Father’s smile drew deep lines into a face well worn by many days in the sun. He set his gaze on the sky, then down into Obed’s curious, brown eyes. “Somehow, I think they will be safe.”
Obed’s eyes widened in amazement. “Father, surely we mustn’t leave them alone.”
“The angels must want us to see this Savior. Come now, let us not waste any more time,” his father said.

Where can we go to buy your book?
The book is available at the following places:

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
You can find me online at or at any of my blogs:

1 comment:

  1. I just stumbled upon this tonight. Sometimes my life is so crazy. Thanks for featuring my book, Virginia.