|Craig Sodaro is one of Eldridge Publishing's most popular and prolific playwrights with over 60 titles currently in print. Most of his work is ideal for children's theatre and school performances, and several plays have been turned into musicals. His audience participation plays are extremely well received. For community theatre plays he writes under the pen name of Sam Craig. Mr. Sodaro taught for 33 years in public schools, but now writes full time. He and his wife Sue have four grown daughters. Here he speaks in his own words about his love of writing.|
"I always wanted to write. From the first time I read my first full-fledged book - a long-forgotten mystery - I wanted to be an author. I've always had an imagination that runs overtime. My mind has always been more interested in the possibilities of what if two times two equaled five rather than four.
"I grew up in Chicago, but I don't think the Midwest has had a great deal of influence on my writing. I was fortunate enough to travel as a youngster, and the places we visited - the West, East, and South, all seemed steeped in atmosphere and dramatic possibilities. Eventually, I traveled to Alaska, Europe, and Africa, and each experience planted seeds for future stories.
"I wrote my first play in high school - an anti-administration absurdist comedy performed in my last period art class. Our teacher turned a deaf ear to the proceedings, but we all caught her laughing. I liked this idea of audience response, and during college, I entered a playwriting contest. I won the fifty dollar prize and saw my characters come to life under the blue, red, and amber stage lights. I knew that this was the direction my writing obsession would have to take.
"Success on stage would have to wait for a number of years, however, since I married, began teaching, and had four children and received many, many rejections slips. Eventually I found a formula that worked: large cast mystery with mainly female parts, one setting, and a lot of one-liners. Since then, I've written a hundred and thirty plays, many of which have been published and/or produced. I've had the thrill of walking down 54th Street in New York to a flag-adorned theater where one of my plays premiered. I've received terrific letters from kids who have had parts in the plays I've written, and I've found myself in Amazon.com.
"Once in a while people ask me how I write so fast. I guess it’s that I have a lot of stories to tell. And idea will grab me, and then for quite some time—even while working on another script—I’ll keep thinking about the characters and develop the major plot points in my imagination. Once I sit down to the computer to write, the characters really tell the story almost too quickly for me to write down what they’re saying. And that's what I think playwriting is all about. It's telling a story in the simplest but most dramatic way possible. There's a ninety minute or so limit on reaching the climax, and for literature that's quick. I write fast simply so I can find out what's going to happen at the end, just like anybody who watches the play."