Interview with Marian Scadden

What is your writing process?
If I'm writing a script, I usually figure out most of the characters and the setting first. If the script is based on a story, I re-read the story. Then I outline. Most stories take place over several days, months or years but if I'm adapting it for the stage then I don't want my play to be that stretched out.
If I'm writing a novel during November's National Novel Writing Month, I type as fast and as furiously as possible. I don't have an outline, or characters in my head, except for maybe my first character. Then I make it up as I go along. It's been such a freeing process to create characters at the moment I need them or plot twists or even the surroundings. Granted, there's a lot of editing that has to be done afterwards, but I have to do that anyway.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I've been read to and reading since I was so young that there's no way I remember the first story. But I do remember lots of trips to the library - both school libraries and public libraries. I saw my kindergarten teacher when I was in my early 20's and she told me that when she would announce reading time, I would get a book and pour over it. I remember that my third grade teacher always read chapter books to the class after lunch. I remember loving Where the Wild Things Are, but I'm not sure if that's when I was a young child or when I was a little older reading it to my baby brother. I absolutely loved - and still do - fairy tales, fables, myths, folktales, and tall tales.
How do you approach cover design?
Ack! With great trepidation. I do have an illustrator friend who has made a cover for me. I've used iStock photos and changed them up a bit...or not changed them much because I get intimidated. There's also a covers service that I found on Facebook - I watch the covers they have coming through, ready to pounce on anything I think would work for upcoming books or novels I'll be publishing.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster - I love the puns and wisdom and words. Great story!
2. The Chronicles of Prydain - Great fantasy books of a young boy who learns about people and honor and self as he grows up an assistant pig keeper but wanting to be a hero. Lloyd Alexander won a Newbery Award for the last book in the series - The High King.
3. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis - Poignant fantasy. It's quite the allegorical adventure. "Further up and further in!"
4. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien. Love them! There is no why; I just do.

And that's all I can name because there's just too many! But those four I named have had to be replaced over the years because I read them over and over. The books finally wear out and fall apart, even with the fix-it tape on them. Primarily, I love fantasy - Artemis Fowl, Searching for Dragons, Dragon's Milk, Bartimaeous Trilogy, Ranger's Apprentice Series, Harry Potter. I've also read the Hiding Place, and James Herriot's books multiple times. I better stop now or I'll have to list everything on my bookshelves and all the ebooks I have too.
What do you read for pleasure?
Primarily, Young Adult fantasy.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle, because Amazon has so many free classics.
Describe your desk
The dining table - white and round. The shape is good for playing board games. (just a side note)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Austin Texas, and I find myself writing plays with characters who speak in southern accents and I've also written a few Texas fables that include roadrunner cousins and slow armadillos.
When did you first start writing?
Other than the occasional assignment in school and college, for the most part I started writing plays in 1993, picture books came along shortly after that and I finally wrote a novel in 2009. That novel and subsequent novels are still being edited. Of course, there was the time I wrote a Choose Your Own Adventure type book for my husband as a Christmas gift; that was in 1990. Alrighty then, I started in 1990. Unless I remember some other book or story I wrote prior to that.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I attended many writer conferences and after hearing so many conflicting views from editors and publishers about what makes a good story, query letter, or submission, I decided I might as well do it myself. I read up on it; I watched a member in my writer's critique group go indie; and I attended workshops on the subject. All in all, it just made sense, especially now with ebooks being popular and there's no cash out for an author. I had also already been renting my scripts through my theater company, so I knew it could be done.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
After looking at several ebook publishers, I decided that Smashwords was the place for my scripts and theater books because of the different formats customers could download. If someone prefers printing out my book and putting it into a binder, great. If they just want the book on their e-reader, that works, too.
Smashwords made it easy for me to make the decision and go for it. They even have a style guide and a marketing book that helps me along the way.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love theater and I love making a difference in a child's life. I've seen it over and over again through all the decades I've been involved in theater. Yet knowing that sometimes those theater classes, camps, workshops can get expensive, I figured there would be those DIYers who would love to get their hands on books that allow them to teach the children in their lives, whether it's theater skills or just having something available for their child who loves to perform.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on two how-to theater books - one is the home edition and one is the school edition; I've got numerous scripts to format and upload to Smashwords; I've got one Young Adult fantasy - White Fire - that I'm almost done editing; I have three children's scripts to complete before summer 2014; an Young Adult contemporary that is almost finished in its rough draft; and three YA fantasy that need first edits. And every November, I participate in National Novel Writing Month and write a novel - so that'll be rough draft and edits follow. Do I have enough time for this? No, but I'll make the time!
Who are your favorite authors?
Andre Norton, C.S Lewis, Tolkien, Haddix, Patricia Wrede and many, many more!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The day itself and the opportunities that are in it. I always have projects going on, whether they're reading books, writing something, cross stitching a design, or cooking up a storm!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Board games, movies, performing, teaching theater, reading, cross stitching, sewing, know, life stuff.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Facebook, Pixel of Ink, Book Bub, Meandering through Smashwords.
Did you want to be a writer when you were young?
No! I know there are writers who have been writing stories since they were three, more or less. I was too busy playing outside to think of becoming a writer. It never really crossed my mind. Even when I got into high school and college, I wasn't necessarily interested. I wasn't not interested but it wasn't something I was thinking about. Heck, I wasn't even going to major in theater because there was "no money in it" until I overheard someone say "children's theater" and I knew that was for me. Practicality be darned. Then I started writing my own scripts, then picture books, then novels and even non-fiction. So now I'm a writer.
Do you only write fiction for children or young people?
Hm. I guess so. So far anyway. Maybe next year for National Novel Writing Month, I'll try a fiction novel for grown-up types, maybe. (There are a lot of words in those big people books; I'd have to really think...or lay it on thick :) )
What do your fans mean to you?
Can I make a difference? That's what I want to be able to do for my fans. How can I help them? Did I word something in my theater books or scripts that they just don't understand? I would love to help them. Are they wondering about putting on a play with 8-year-olds? I would love to help them. Did I misspell something in my novel? I better know that, too!
Published 2013-10-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

72 Silly & Short Monos* for Kids (Or Whoever)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,390. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2017. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Performing Arts / Theater
*"monos" is short for "monologues." These 72 monologues have 100-200 words, perfect for short performance pieces in class, in a talent show, or in the living room. There's a variety of genres ranging from contemporary to sci-fi to fantasy. The topics are an eclectic assortment, appealing to many interests. Some of the titles are: Blood; A Bug; Carnival; The Secret Frog; Where's the Remote; Zoo.
Short Scripts for 4-6 Kids
Price: $3.97 USD. Words: 13,190. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2015. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Performing Arts / Theater
Here are 15 scripts for small groups of children to perform and enjoy. Each script runs approximately 2-8 minutes. Some of the plays are adapted from well-known stories and some are originals. Basic stage terms and notes are included.
White Fire
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,570. Language: English. Published: September 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
(5.00 from 1 review)
Delsina returns with water to her home and mentions a stranger was asking about them. Her peaceful family reaches for their weapons as her oldest brother, Talem, picks her up and runs. She watches as the stranger who carries fire in his hands burns her home and family. As they make their journey away from Sethrum, Man of Fire, Talem reveals to Delsina who she really is.
Treasure Island, A Stage Play for Children
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 7,600. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates
This play for children to perform is humorously based on the book by Robert Louis Stevenson. As Poly-Narrator says, “This here presentation of Treasure Island is based on the book by Robert Louis Stevenson. Do you know what it means when a performance is said to be based on the book? Not much, that’s what.” Well-known characters are still part of the play: Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver, & pirates!
Ruby Lou and the White Gold Saloon
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 7,120. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Performing Arts / Theater
Ruby Lou and the rest of the town only drink White Gold (except for three people who drink Black Gold without a straw); it’s the best thing west (and east, some say) of the Mississippi. A stranger comes to town with Purple Nugget for everyone to try and he won’t take “no” for an answer, even if it means forcing the town to change.
It Could'a Been
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 5,650. Language: English. Published: April 25, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations
A children’s play with music highlighting three tall tales: Johnny Appleseed, Sal Fink and Febold Feboldson. Johnny loves more than anything to give apple seedlings to passing pioneers. Sal Fink is the daughter of keelboatmen Mike Fink and just as tough and extremely big-hearted. Febold Feboldson is by himself on the great plains of Nebraska and wants neighbors.
The Annual Conference of the Genii in Regards to the Peculiar World of Humans
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 6,680. Language: English. Published: April 23, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Performing Arts / Theater, Plays » American / African American
This play for children, based on the Arabian Tales, is about a group of genii who get together each year to discuss and laugh about the behavior of humans. Ali Baba and Sinbad come up in conversation as well as Baba Abdalla, and the Fisherman.
Digging for Leprechaun Gold
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 8,790. Language: English. Published: February 11, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations
(For 2 adults to perform for children, with audience participation.) The lazy human, Fergal, doesn't want to work and she won't have to if she can catch a leprechaun and get his gold. Fergal has to use a lot of brain power to catch Ba, a tricky Leprechaun. Will Fergal get Ba? And if she does, will Ba escape? This interactive show is based on the Irish tale The Field of Boliauns. Aye, 'tis.
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 5,030. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Performing Arts / Theater
Three fables from around the world are retold in this play. In the Grasshopper and the Ants, the grasshopper only wants to play all summer but the busy ants know they have to gather food. In Armadillos in the Road, the armadillo teacher and her young students are on a field trip, moseying along. A lion is terrorizing everyone in The Foolish Lion and the Clever Rabbit, a tale from India.
Just So, It Happened
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 5,190. Language: English. Published: January 10, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Performing Arts / Theater
Based on Rudyard Kipling's “How the Elephant Got His Trunk” and “How the Camel Got His Hump”, this play has a delightful cast of animals. The curious young elephants are disturbing everyone in the forest with their non-stop questions. The camel is being lazy and all the other animals must work harder because of it.
Everybody Knows That
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 5,880. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Performing Arts / Theater
Princess Ada realizes that everyone knows things that she just doesn't know. So she strikes out to learn for herself. Meanwhile Alexandria Dragon is having the same problem in her town.
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 6,490. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Performing Arts / Theater
In these tales of three, the three pigs must outsmart three wolves; the three billy goats Gruff have three trolls to deal with (and one of the goats is female so she’s Betty Goat Gruff); and the three bears face Goldilocks and her sisters Curlilocks and Purplelocks.
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 3,880. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Performing Arts / Theater
The parents are at it again and they've kicked their kids out of the house to go play. Several groups of children are trying to think of something to do when they come across some boxes on the ground. Then the imagination takes over.
The Tremendous Traveling Melodrama and Vaudeville Show
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 5,010. Language: English. Published: January 2, 2014. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Performing Arts / Theater
A traveling performing troupe has come to town. The owners get everyone organized; the actors make some changes; the stagehands go spread the word through town; and the townspeople arrive. What a show as the villains take on the heroes and the vaudevillians perform in between acts.
Four Fables of Aesop: The North Wind and the Sun, The Tortoise and the Hare, Belling the Cat, The Ants and the Grasshopper
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 7,430. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2014. Categories: Plays » Ancient & Classical, Fiction » Children’s books » Performing Arts / Theater
This play starts with Anthula, a young Greek girl, who has just returned from the marketplace where she listened to a man named Aesop tell some interesting stories, mainly about animals. She’s not sure she understands the morals, so she tells the stories to the audience who sees them unfold before them. Characters are clothed in ancient Greek costume but have modern attitudes.
The Other Art: Theater Skills to Help Every Child (School Edition)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 16,740. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Performing arts, Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Teaching
In this easy DIY manual, teachers with little to no theater experience can teach theater skills to their students that boost esteem, confidence, and creativity. This step-by-step school edition was designed with teachers in mind. Each lesson has two short activities, an enrichment game and a true story of children in theater. Just open the book and begin!
The Other Art: Theater Skills to Help Every Child (Home Edition)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 15,760. Language: English. Published: October 14, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Performing Arts / Theater, Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Performing arts
In this easy DIY theater manual, parents, grandparents & others can enrich a child's life with theater skills that boost esteem, confidence, and creativity. This step-by-step home edition was designed for an adult and child - or a few children - to enjoy together. Each lesson has two short activities, an enrichment game and a true story of children in theater. Just open the book and begin!
Short Scripts for 2-3 Kids
Price: $3.97 USD. Words: 12,070. Language: English. Published: February 7, 2013. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Performing Arts / Theater
Young actors can have fun performing 15 short (2-5 min.) plays with a sibling, cousin or friend, in the living room, backyard, or wherever the opportunity exists. Many of the scripts in the collection are humorously based on well-known tales with twists so they can be performed by a cast of 2 or 3. Four of the plays can be performed by more. Basic stage terms & notes are included.