Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First Book Stories: Little Shepherd by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

I had a few authors scheduled for First Book Stories this week, but they have fallen through, so I figured I would share my story of Little Shepherd. I hope you don't mind.

When my daughter, who I usually refer to in the online world as the Lil' Diva, was just a toddler, I would sit in the rocking chair at night and sing her to sleep (I still do).  I often use Christmas carols because I love Christmas and so many of the hymns are soothing. Each time I would sing The Little Drummer Boy, I would get a vision of a young shepherd in the hills outside of Bethlehem on the night of Christ's birth. The vision wouldn't go away.

I began forming the idea for A Shepherd's Journey (which I still might work on some day). This story was geared toward an adult audience, and it told the story of Obed, who saw the Christ Child on the night of his birth, and who as a man, went out in search of the apostles after the Resurrection to find out if this Jesus was the Savior he met that night. This was my NaNoWriMo for the year. I knew I needed to perform some additional research, but I decided to give it a try.

The story just wouldn't come. Even my husband, who rarely comments on my writing, said it was lame. I abandoned the story after struggling through seven chapters, but the idea wouldn't go away. I ended up talking to my pastor about the book and he asked me if it was a children's story. I told him no, but then I got to thinking, why couldn't it be about the night Obed met Jesus. The story flowed much easier once I decided to make it about that night. My one problem: what was Obed's conflict?  What would propel the story forward for my character?

I tossed around some ideas with another children's author and finally came up with Obed being put in charge of his first flock and afraid to leave them to go and see the newborn King the angels told the shepherd about.

When I wrote Little Shepherd, I only had one publisher in mind--Guardian Angel Publishing. I had reviewed several of their titles, so I wrote  my book in such a way that I felt it would meet their requirements. Little Shepherd was accepted after an additional round of edits. Eugene Ruble, the illustrator, did a stupendous job of bringing Obed's story to life visually. I couldn't be more pleased.

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. She is also a member of SCBWI. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.

You can visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com or the Little Shepherd blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a sweet, beautiful story. I hope Obed was able to make the journey!

Cheryl said...

Thanks Dianne. I appreciate you stopping by.

Pat McDermott said...

Every time I go into a bookstore and scan the wealth of books there, I can't help thinking of the labor that went into the production of each and every one of them. Writers must be either extremely dedicated or a little astray in the head. Probably a little of both :-) Congrats on sticking with your story and seeing it come to life, Cheryl. Great to see you very own path to publication here!