Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Cheryl Malandrinos, author, editor, and ghostwriter. 

You can also find her blogging at the following sites:  

Welcome, Cheryl!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Cheryl and girls modified


Cheryl and her girls

Thanks for having me here today, Nutschell. I’m a children’s author, editor, and ghostwriter who also makes a living as an online book publicist. I’m a Downton Abbey addict. I also enjoy cross-stitching—when I have time—and gardening. My girls and I plant a garden each spring. We’re hoping to expand it this year to include more fruits and vegetables. No hidden talents, but I would love to try making wine one day.


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

Most of my writing is done in my home office. My desk faces the windows, so I have a clear view of the woods behind our house and all the birds and squirrels I feed each day. My cats love me for the free entertainment.

desk modified

Cheryl’s desk

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My desk came from Staples, as did the matching filing cabinet. I wanted something with a feminine flair, but still useful.

When I first set up shop, our girls were toddling around, so I had to make space in a corner of the family room. Once our son moved out and got married, I took over the nursery and moved our oldest daughter into his room. I don’t believe in a lot of clutter, so my desktop is fairly clean, though books litter almost every other surface.

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I must have my coaster with the kitten hanging from a tree. It’s a good spot for my tea cup and it reminds me to keep holding on in this crazy world of publishing. I also have a cat shaped pen holder. Other than that, it’s just my speakers, a clock, a calendar, a lamp, and my Inbox.

kitty coaster modified

Cheryl’s kitty coaster

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

The natural scenery is definitely the best part of my workspace, but on the wall, I have a beautiful watercolor painted by one of my clients. We visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina each year. He painted a scene of sand dunes along the water that reminds me of the area when I can’t be there. There are other nautical accents in the office, too.

 painting modified

A watercolor painting by one of Cheryl’s clients

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

If it’s not a cup of tea, then it’s Pepsi—not Coke (yuck). I try to drink water a couple times a day, but two cans of Pepsi and four cups of decaffeinated tea are my regulars.

 cats modified

Cheryl’s kitties 

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Lucy Maud Montgomery are my favorites. Their feisty, impulsive main characters remind me of myself. Both women have a keen eye for detail, which brings their settings to life.

I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. I was the crazy kid who enjoyed writing book reports. My classmates hated me. From very young I knew I wanted to be one of two things: a teacher or a writer. As a mom I’ll always be a teacher. Writing came later. Though I began writing as a teenager, it wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom in 2004 that I pursued it as a career path.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I don’t have typical days. Part of that is lack of discipline, but with a family and work, I don’t have a set schedule. Right now, I am writing one picture book a month. I’m also trying to finish edits to a middle grade historical I would love to pitch to an agent this year.

Most days, I get up with the girls and sit down to check email once both leave for school. I work on virtual book tours in the morning, have lunch, and then spend a couple of hours writing—if possible—until I pick up our oldest daughter. Once the kids are home, I don’t work again until after they are in bed. I have multiple blogs, so nighttime work is blogging.


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

 I write something every day, but that something might be a blog post or a book review. The Internet and email are my worst distractions; the Internet probably more than the other. Working from home, while wonderful in many ways, is very lonely. I crave social interaction from writing groups and forums to which I belong

4. Why do you write?

I write because I have to. It’s kind of like breathing—if I don’t do it, I’ll die.

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I tend not to offer tips or techniques. What works for one writer won’t always work for another. For me, I find writing out a first draft and editing once I’m done is more efficient. Others must edit as they go. The only thing I am sure of is that nothing gets written if you don’t sit in the chair and write.

Here’s a quote that motivates me when I’m struggling: “You can’t cross a sea by merely staring into the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore  




Thanks Cheryl, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.



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38 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Cheryl Malandrinos”

  1. Thanks for hosting me today. Sorry it took me so long to get out here. I’ve been sick all week and the girls are home from school today with the same thing.

    Luckily that scene outside my window is now snow free. I’m hoping it stays that way, as I’m dying to get out into my garden.

  2. What a lovely interview. I felt I got to know you better, Cheryl! Thanks for sharing your life with us…

  3. That is a very inspiring view Cheryl and you write for a lot of blogs!

  4. Six blogs? I’m impressed.
    Great view – I could write at your desk.
    And I’m going to go out on a limb here – you must like cats.
    Nice to meet you, Cheryl!

  5. What a wonderful interview, Cheryl! I love your window view, your coaster, and the cats! :-)

  6. Thanks for stopping by, everyone.

    Nancy, it’s always great to see how much you support your fellow authors.

    Maurice, I do have a lot of blogs, but I love them, so that makes it easier to manage.

    Alex, we are definitely cat lovers here. We had five at one time. One wandered away and we lost another to cancer last year. She was our oldest cat, so it was tough, but we are blessed with the three furry companions we have now.

  7. Thanks Mayra. The cats keep me busy. The big one tries to sit in my lap while I’m typing.

  8. Nas says:

    Thanks for sharing your workspace and lovely photos! I loved reading about your writing processes!


  9. Great interview Cheryl. I love your writing view.

  10. I really enjoyed this post. Can’t wait to visit your sites, Cheryl.

    Kathy M.

  11. Nice to meet you, Cheryl! Totally relate your favorite quote.

  12. Shelly says:

    Her kitties are great!

    Hugs and chocolate,

  13. Julie Luek says:

    Great view out your window. My desk faces a window too and my view is the mountains. Love it. Sounds like you’ve created a nice area for writing.

  14. Wow! How nice of all of you to stop by. I appreciate your comments. I have to admit I feel a bit spoiled by the view. Recently we’ve had a family of six deer stopping by late in the day. By that time, I’m working in the kitchen, but that’s right below my office, so I get to check them out. It’s not unusual to find a flock of wild turkeys wandering around either. The only scary critter we’ve ever had was a coyote. It only happened once, but I stopped feeding the animals for a bit after that. Nothing like walking out the door to find a coyote in your yard to wake you up.

    Thanks again for the comments, everyone. I’m glad you dropped in.

  15. Margo Dill says:

    I love the view from your window! OH MY–how inspiring (except for the coyotes.) :)

  16. Totally jealous of that view. My office window currently looks into my hubby’s messy storage room (he closed in the back porch). One of my honey-do’s this year is for him to move it to another wall so I’ll have a view of the mountains.

    Great choice of books. I read Laura Ingalls Wilder as a girl but I didn’t discover Lucy Maud until my kids introduced her to me.

  17. What a lovely view! I’m jealous :) Great to meet you.

    Hi, Nutschell!

  18. What a wonderful meme! I loved learning more about where the magic happens for Cheryl. Her kitties are adorbs.

  19. Cherie Reich says:

    Great interview! The kitties are so cute! And that kitty coaster is precious!

  20. What a beautiful view from the window. If I looked out on that I would get no writing done whatsoever!

  21. Pat Hatt says:

    Great interview indeed at your feed, nice kitty coaster too

  22. Meradeth says:

    What an awesome view–would make for such inspiring and relaxing writing time :) Also, yay for Pepsi & not coke!

  23. Lexa Cain says:

    I’m so pleased to read about Cheryl and her delightful family including cats, both real and artworks. I also get distracted by the net, always reading interesting stories or exchanging emails with friends. Wishing Cheryl all the best! :-)

  24. Nicki Elson says:

    These where you write features are so fun. What a gorgeous view.

  25. That is a gorgeous view! Beautiful cats and daughters too. Thanks for letting us get a peek into your world. :)

  26. Jo Wake says:

    Particularly love the view from your window. How lovely to look out on water and trees.

    Thanks for dropping by Nutschell


  27. Great interview, ladies!

    Boy, what a nice view out that window. Inspirational, even. But I if something like that were outside my window, I’m afraid I’d be hard-pressed to get any work done. The way my desk is positioned, I can’t see out any windows. (Gotta keep myself in check!)

    Love the kitties. They’re the perfect writing companions, ya know. (If you don’t mind all the “help” they give you.)

  28. PK Hrezo says:

    HUGE Laura Ingalss WIlder fan right here too!! Always and forever.

    And I love Cheryl’s view from her desk. So pretty!

  29. Jemi Fraser says:

    I adore Lucy MM – read all of her books several times as a kid!! Love the view too – very nice :)

  30. DG Hudson says:

    I like that view, too. Looking out a window seems to stir the imagination. Nice to meet you, Cheryl!

  31. What a fun post! I love the view! I wish I could move my desk so that I could see out a window- but in the room the desk is in, it is not possible. I have always been a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. Happy writing!

  32. I’m totally envious of the forest view. I miss living in a state that really has trees.

  33. What a lovely view of the forest! I bet it’s gorgeous in spring.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  34. Friends–old and new–thanks so much for your wonderful comments. Let me tell you one not so nice thing about the view so you don’t feel too jealous. In 2011, our area was hit by a tornado, a microburst (tornado like conditions w/ no funnel touchdown), and a pre-Halloween major snow storm–all within five months of each other. Thanks to our lovely trees, we lost power all three times. In October, we were without power for eight days. I had to chop away trees with a hand saw to get out of our driveway. I wasn’t admiring trees after that for a while. You take the good with the bad. Thankfully, we’ve been much more blessed by good.

    Again, I want to say thanks for the outpouring of support from everyone. It’s very moving.

  35. Love the view outside Chery’s window. I guess it can be a source of both inspiration and distraction.

  36. It’s so nice to meet Cheryl, I just love this workspace series!

    Love the kitty coaster and the kitties! <3 And I'm always looking for new quotes and I just love this one you ended with, I'd never heard that one before. Awesome!

  37. Thanks for stopping by everyone. Glad you like my view. My kitties are precious, too. Wishing you all the best.

  38. rebecca says:

    Nice interview Cheryl. I love the view out your desk window. I look out at a brick wall. Such is the view living in a city, we look at the neighbors wall.

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