Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.
About the Book:
Ten-year-old Macy is waiting for her grandparents to arrive on
What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?
Writing has always been a part of my life. It’s as natural to me as breathing. Now I just do it with the goal of publication.
If I had to think of anyone one in particular, it would be my middle sister, Terry. She began writing when we were kids and had a poem published in the local newspaper. I’ve always been impressed by her ability to get her work out there so early in life.
At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?
My plan growing up was to be a teacher or a writer. As a mom, I’ll always be a teacher. With three books to my credit and a fourth under contract, contributions to numerous blogs, and the writing I do for business, I’ll lay claim to being a writer too.
Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?
Only if I’m reading nonfiction. I’m a character-driven reader, so I totally lose myself in the characters’ lives and in figuring out why they act the way they do. The psychology of characters is fascinating—especially villains. Plot heavy stories are tough for me to read.
Since I’m a visual learner, movies are an excellent way for me to see how characters react. That helps when I have to show not tell in my work.
Do you have a day job? What do you do?
I’m a real estate agent licensed in Massachusetts. It’s a wonderful career and I love what I do. My specialties are first-time home buyers and military relocation. My father, one of my brothers, and my father-in-law served our country. Helping active and retired military personnel find what they are looking for brings me great pleasure and is something I am passionate about. They deserve the best this country has to offer.
Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?
1. Learn deep point of view. One of the best workshops I ever took was on how to write deep point of view. I’m definitely no expert on it, but it can transform writing and I am conscious of it when I write.
2. Find a good writing time and place. If I tried to write when I get up in the morning it would be a disaster. My most creative time is after 9 pm. While sometimes you must take whatever time you can grab, learning when you are most creative and adjusting your schedule is more ideal. The same thing with where you write. I’ve trained myself to write just about anywhere, but the best spot is at the desk in my office where I can look out over the backyard into the woods and feel calm and enjoy the inspiration nature provides. Find that special place that works best for you.
3. Attend at least one conference or workshop a year. No one except another writer understands what it’s like. You need to meet others who can appreciate your struggles, share in your triumphs, and inspire you to move forward. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.
Are you an avid reader?
Always. Even when life gets overwhelming, I carve out time to read. Though I’ve always read for pleasure, now I also read to learn the market. Doing this helped me to land my first book contract without a single rejection.
What are you reading now?
The Ghostwriters by Mickey J. Corrigan. It’s about a writer who is asked by a famous author’s ghost to write a sequel to his classic novel. I’ve ghostwritten before and this one sounded like a blast. It’s been great so far. Complex characters intrigue me.
What are you currently working on?
A middle grade novel that has taken me way too long to finish. I’m a slow writer. Historical fiction also requires research. This story is set in Reconstruction Era New England. I’ve had to look up fashion, learn more about female seminaries, and create a little town of my own for this story. For someone who flies by the seat of their pants, that’s tough. With everything else in life I am so organized. Writing is the one area my brain prefers to have less structure.