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Inside the Author’s Cranium: Craig Lew

It is my pleasure to introduce Craig Lew to you all. Craig’s list of achievements is so long and diverse that I’ve included the entire thing below the interview. He’s a unique individual with a crackerjack sense of humor whom I am pleased to call a friend. Craig’s debut YA novel “Breath to Breath” written in verse is published by Little Pickle Press/Relish Media, edited by Emma Dryden and releases November 2015. If you stop by HERE and leave Craig a comment, your name will be put in the hat to win a copy of “Breath to Breath”; how cool is that? Wicked cool. The winner will be announced in early November. And now here is Craig in his own words:

1. What’s your favorite word? YES!

2. What’s your least favorite word? CAN’T.

3. Describe your style of writing: I suppose I have two styles. With my free verse, I write using a short metre, similar to classic Chinese poetry. I focus on metaphor rather than ornate or flowery word choices. I’m more prose-like and tight, akin to a screenplay. With prose, my style is short, tight and with a lot of voice. I like characters that speak with flavor and recurring phrases.

4. Describe your work ethic: I meditate on story all the time, in line at the market, driving to a meeting, riding my bicycle. I often start very early in the morning and meditate on the story for an hour or more before I get out of bed. Once I’m up, my day starts with cuddling Smittens, the kitten with the marshmallow mittens, then the breakfast dance with Zeekie the corgi and Moogie the Boston Terrier. I make an awesome double espresso before I sit at the computer…and six more by lunch time. I write at least 10 pages a day but when I’m really in the middle of a story I can write up to 75 pages in a single sitting.

5. What is your main writing fault/flaw? I can’t speall…spall…um, spell.

6. Any tips on how to flesh out a character? Characters should have 7 Dwarves of Separation. What I mean is that each character should be recognizable and different from each other on the page. Even if you took away their names, they would be recognizable from their voice, personality, quirks and motivations. Each character should have different objectives, philosophies, and different methods for achieving their goals. The hero is best defined when faced with characters that either oppose the hero’s progress or overly encourages them. The hero’s choices to join, refuse, trust or save other characters give the hero 3 dimensions.

7. Any tips on developing plot? Start with concept, a great premise, a big idea. A story with a great concept, even when poorly written, can be salvaged by strong editing. Open by posing a deep question to your reader. Lay out your chapters and scenes in a three-act structure. Plant subtle set-ups and don’t telegraph the payoffs. Make sure the stakes are high, that the hero will lose their most precious desire if they fail…then make sure they fail until the very last moment. Allow your readers to learn along with your hero.

8. Who are your favorite prose authors? J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J. K. Rowling.

9. Who are your favorite poets? Ellen Hopkins, Maya Angelou, William Shakespeare, Dr. Seuss.

10. Who are your favorite heroes/heroines in fiction? The Pale Green Pants, Bilbo, Winnie the Pooh, Scout Finch, Clarice Starling, Sherlock Holmes, and Alice.

11. Who are your favorite painters and composers? Salvador Dali, MC Escher, Rene Magritte, Frank Frazetta,Thomas Newman, Danny Elfman, Vince Guaraldi.

12. Who are your real life heroes? My father, Allison Lew (yup, that was his name and he was a tough guy because of it). He taught me building respect takes years of working WITH others but can be lost in less than 3 seconds. He also taught me to find something beautiful every day.

Steven Spielberg for showing me how non-conformity, breaking and entering, and surrounding oneself with NICE people can lead to greater success than coloring inside the lines and only working with popular people.

13. What intrigues you? Bumps in the night, UFOs, the huge undiscovered dark things deep below in the ocean…and a person’s eyes.

14. What annoys you? Hammers on nails, nails on blackboards, and PESSIMISTS.

15. What profession other than writing would you like to learn? Is the Dalai Lama a profession?

16. What profession could you never handle? The veterinary nurse that pulls the lever on the creatures sentenced to be euthanized.

17. What natural talents have you been gifted with? I am fast on a bicycle. I can talk to animals, although they often don’t listen. I have a good memory for images but not for the time of day or tasks that require writing a check.

18. Assuming there will be an afterlife, who would you like to meet and why? My parents, to see if they think I turned out ok. My dogs, especially Penny and Geraldine, so we could all play again. Kublai Khan, to see if we look alike. I would love a cocktail party with Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart and Grace Kelly…Alfred and James to talk about film, Grace Kelly because she’s Grace Kelly.

19. What is your favorite writing motto/mantra? Write till blue smoke rises from your keyboard and blood seeps from your eyes.

20. What motivates you? Spreading good karma, love and compassion. Achieving something that justifies celebrating with the purchase of hand tooled cowboy boots.

To learn more about Craig visit http://www.craiglew.com

 

About Craig:

Craig’s storytelling career began even before he had learned to write. As a child, he would steal his father’s tape recorder and make different voices for each character recording tales about strange planets or scary creatures. His favorite story openings at that time were, “Once upon a junk yard heap…” or “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Craig still favors a Hitchcockian thriller over a broad teen comedy, but believes that in any story the best hero is the one that either seeks love or gives love. At heart he’s a big, mushy romantic.

Before jumping one hundred percent into the entertainment industry, Craig was the president of a successful consulting firm. His clients ranged from the Los Angeles PBS station KCET, DELUXE LABS, Nortel Networks, Infonet, and ITC.

Craig was the consulting CIO of the New Getty Center responsible for a $13 Million Dollar annual budget overseeing construction, technology and human resources. However, it was the emerging studio DREAMWORKS SKG that changed Craig’s direction.

Craig wrote, animated, directed and produced THE FISH the computer animated 35mm film screened at the Dreamworks Employee Film Festival 1996 and SlamDunk Film Festival 2000.

Craig wrote, directed and produced LITTLE INDISCRETIONS which stars Diane Farr (Numb3rs) and David Fabrizio (Superman Returns). This dark comedy was an official selection to the IFP’s New York Film Market and Cinequest before going into worldwide distribution.

ROCK JOCKS a feature film that Craig Lew Produced, opened in theaters nationwide, July 2013. The offbeat Sci-Fi Comedy stars Felicia Day, Justin Chon, Jason Mewes, Andrew Bowen, James Dumont, Kevin Wu, and Robert Picardo.

Craig produced and directed, A HITCH AT THE FAIRMONT the double Rockie award winning book trailer for Jim Averbeck’s Middle Grade novel of the same name screened at the San Diego International Children’s Film Festival at Comic Con, and the New Media Film Festival.

CRANK: Flirting with the Monster is a feature film based on the New York Times Bestselling novel by Ellen Hopkins. This production that Craig produced and directed is a fund raising vehicle for Ventana Sierra a non profit that houses kids at risk.

The founder of Bright Penny Zapp LLC, a trans-media and book publishing company, Craig wrote and illustrated the National Indie Excellence Book Awards finalist “The Goths: The Huntress” one of the first graphic novels enhanced with Augmented Reality.

Craig Lew and Tina Barnett formed Creatures of Light to help raise awareness and funds for non profits by engaging audiences through triumphant, heroic stories delivered via Rich content including Film, Blogs, Gifs, Memes, books and apps.

Craig lives in Boise, Idaho with his Fiancé in a modern house on a hill. His constant companions are Zeekie, the land seal sized Pembroke Welsh corgi; Moogie, the 3 footed Boston Terrier; Smittens, the kitten with the marshmallow mittens, and Omar, the Blue Crowntail Beta Fish.

 

 

About Linda Boyden

Teacher. Author. Artist. Storyteller. Poet. I write a poem a day. A picture book each month. I write novels for kids. I color in and out of the lines. I help young children love words and stories. I believe laughter comes straight from the Creator who put us on this fine Earth so we can help one another do our best.


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6 responses to “Inside the Author’s Cranium: Craig Lew”

  1. Always interesting to read about Craig Lew’s journey.

  2. Great interview. I loved the line about his talent for talking to animals–or maybe AT animals?!

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