Monday, August 5, 2013

C. C. Gevry (Cheryl Malandrinos), A Christmas Kindness, plus #giveaway

AUTHOR: C.C. Gevry (Cheryl Malandrinos)
BOOK TITLE: A Christmas Kindness
PUBLISHER: 4RV Publishing
WHAT IS IT? 1 printed copy of A Christmas Kindness

Tell me a little about your book.
A Christmas Kindness is about Robert, who is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. He meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, and Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I was looking for a subtle way to encourage my girls to think of others, especially during the Christmas season. In A Christmas Kindness, Robert is faced with a difficult choice. He has one chance to talk to Santa. Does he ask for things from his wish list or does he ask Santa to bring his new friend the one thing he wants most of all?

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
While the book isn’t based on a real event, the book’s message is very real. Some kids have so much “stuff” these days. Ads on television, in magazines, and on the radio are always saying you need more “stuff.” Do my kids need another doll? Do they need a cell phone? Society says yes. Some kids are feeling the pressure of trying to keep up with their friends, and parents are struggling to teach their children to count their blessings instead of desiring to own every latest gadget or gizmo.

Here is a book that encourages kids to donate their old and unused toys and refurbish items to make them useful again. At the same time, it shows Robert focusing on someone other than himself. He just met Glenn, but Robert feels this is his chance to make a difference.

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme?
The message of thinking of others works well during a season where pressure from retailers is at an all time high. I don’t even like to turn my television on after Halloween. Ads are all talking about the perfect gift. Though Robert’s choice involves a gift, it’s not the latest toy or even a piece of clothes. It’s a special gift that holds true meaning to Glenn and his family. In addition, I love Christmas and find it a fun setting for stories.

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they?
It’s definitely harder to market a seasonal book, because people are more apt to buy a book set around Christmas during the holiday season. The important thing is to stay active online throughout the year and talk about your book where appropriate. I visit my daughters’ schools frequently to work with the students. They often ask questions about my writing. My local community has been very supportive.

How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher?
I pitched the project to Vivian from 4RV Publishing at The Muse Online Writers Conference in October 2011.  She liked the book’s message and was also looking to expand their first chapter reader offerings. It was published in December 2012.

How and why did you choose this publisher?
I was familiar with 4RV, having reviewed some of their books. Knowing the high-quality products they produced, I was eager to be part of the 4RV family. My original plan was for it to be a picture book, but the word count was a bit high. Vivian suggested it would make a great first chapter reader and asked me to submit the project, which was accepted within a few months of my query.

What about your book makes it special?
The artwork is beautiful. Though Caroline Mabey and I have only exchanged a handful of emails, she was able to perfectly capture the essence of the story with her illustrations. It was such a blessing that she was chosen to illustrate A Christmas Kindness. While many books have lovely artwork, I don’t think this book would be the same without her touch.

What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas is the birth of our Savior. While decorating is fun and gift giving a joy, the fulfillment of God’s promise in the birth of Jesus Christ is what matters most.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?
 The last Christmas all my kids lived at home was special. Our son is married now, so we don’t see him as often as we would like. Having all my kids home that last Christmas Eve, followed by dinner with the family the next day was a treat.

What was your favorite stocking stuffer?
 The handmade gifts are the best. Christmas cards folded and tucked inside my stocking. Pictures that the kids draw.  One year, my son made a small felt banner that hangs on a dowel. The painted picture is of a candle. I still hang it ever year. The stockings are almost as special as the gifts. Some of them I’ve had most of my life.

What was your favorite Christmas present?
 When my girls were still little, my husband took all our kids to get a group photo taken. My son was probably around 18 and the girls 4 and 2, but they all kept the secret. Not sure how the hubby managed that one. I have their framed pictures proudly displayed in our family room. It’s a gift I’ll always cherish.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

My website is


  1. Awesome premise, Cheryl, good luck with your book - teaching the gift of giving so important, and I know the kids will love it

  2. Thanks Yolanda. I'm glad you like it. Sorry it took me until today to get out here, Penny. Long story, but I'm here now and off to promote it.

  3. What a wonderful story. Kindness is a gift that people never forget.

  4. Great story idea, Cheryl! More children should learn that the real gift is in the giving. I'd love to enter your giveaway. Contact me at sasha1119 AT yahoo DOT com for my mailing information.

  5. Dear Penny,
    Thanks for having Cheryl on your blog.

    Dear Cheryl,
    Thanks for writing a book that reminds all of us, not just children, to think of others. I hope your sales soar.

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  6. Love the idea of this story. :-) We all, not just kids, need to be reminded of just how much we already have!

    God bless,

  7. Thank you for all your kind words and support everyone. They mean so much to me. I'm glad you like the idea behind the story. It took me a while to get it right, but I am thrilled with the results--especially Caroline's lovely artwork.

    Good luck to all who enter the giveaway.

  8. There's something magical about Christmas stories :)


  9. I agree, Priscilla. I think I'm the biggest kid in the house at Christmas, so I enjoy writing about it.

  10. Cheryl, this seems to me to be a book that all children should read! It has an important message and lesson for children who are always wanting more stuff for themselves. Christmas, with the greatest gift ever when God sent His own Son to us, is a perfect time for sharing about helping others.

    Penny, thank you for sharing the lovely interview!

  11. Thanks Connie. I appreciate your kind words. I'm fairly certain this is something you saw in our critique group. If it weren't for friends like you, this story wouldn't be what it is.