Interview with Craig Pugh

Nothing about your background suggests you would write marijuana stories.
You're right. I grew up a military brat. My father served 30 years in the Air Force and I served 12, so you might think I'd write military aviation stories, which I did -- for 12 years as an Air Force journalist. Then I got out of the Air Force and into graduate school and remembered that I used to be a dope-smoking hippie (protesting the Vietnam War my father was fighting in). This all happened before I joined the Air Force, of course. So yes -- I'm a walking contradiction. Aren't most people?
How did you find the material for these stories?
My children were in high school in Omaha in the '90s and marijuana was everywhere. I just paid attention to my kids and their friends. Frequently I would smoke with some of the kids and regale them with stories about how it was back in The Day before kind buds existed. Since my degrees are in English I took a look at the market for marijuana stories and realized that there wasn't one. It simply didn't exist. That's why I wrote "Ganja Tales." Marijuana smokers deserve good stories, too!
What about the stoner stereotype? Do you think the market was vacant because of the overall notion that people who smoke marijuana don't read or write?
Yes, I think that's exactly it. However, I reject that premise! You might as well try to tell me that only drunks drink alcohol. We all know that's not true. Plenty of highly intelligent people smoke marijuana for all kinds of reasons. I refuse to label them as stoners.
What are we looking for in these stories?
A story well-told! The target audience is the 17 to 27 year old demographic. These people are not college graduates, scientists or brain surgeons -- they're just people; the kid who checks you out at the grocery store; the server who hands you your latte or sets your dinner plate in front of you at a restaurant, and - good love 'em - they have as much dignity and courage as anyone else in life. These are my people. I love them and I write about them. They deserve literature as much as any other group of people on the planet.
So in the stories I wrote, we're looking for colorful tales with characters in conflict meeting a surprise at the end of the story, an "aha" moment, a revelation.
Why you? What credibility do you bring to the circle of marijuana smokers?
I first smoked in 1970. And, while it's true I hardly smoked at all for the 12 years I was in the military, I resumed smoking casually again when I separated. So, I've been smoking off and on for 45 years. I also grew marijuana for 15 years, until someone ratted me out with an anonymous phone call and the entire Omaha police department smashed my door down and almost executed me with 15 Glocks to my head on my living room floor. I had four plants under one light that I was growing solely to alleviate my depression since, like millions of others, I regard marijuana as medicine, not a drug. And no, this story isn't in the book. It's yet to be written. That all happened after the book was published.
What else have you written?
Thanks for asking that question. I have other short stories I'll be publishing now that I have discovered the Smashwords playground. I've also spent the last two years pulling three stories out of Ganja Tales and weaving them into the larger narrative of a Ganja Tales screenplay, wherein: "After graduating from drug court, an Iraq War veteran on the verge of illegally growing marijuana again, sets out for the West Coast with his sister to cultivate a medicinal strain for her epilepsy and his PTSD; but when his sister is kidnapped he learns that his capacity for violence can’t save her as a traveling companion with a spiritual arc helps him defeat the kidnappers." With any luck, we'll all be able to watch the movie next year. All of that being said, I am not a marijuana writer. I'm a writer. Therefore, all of this year I’ve been working on and am halfway through a screenplay on a certain native American Indian. And after that, I have an aviation screenplay simmering deep down inside me.
Published 2015-08-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ganja Tales
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 38,160. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Ganja Tales comprises nine short stories, each one looking at a different aspect of the marijuana culture from growing it, to smoking it, to nearly getting busted with it. These literary short stories feature protagonists in situations that everyone can relate to.