More About the Author
Lewis Brech is the writing team of Laura D Lewis and Michael Brech
LAURA D LEWIS
Writer, artist, photographer, journalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist
Born in Rochester, New York, Laura D Lewis is the eldest of two and grew up on the West Coast of the United States. She attended high school in Oregon and Brazil before graduating from Central Washington University with a BS in Marketing. The first years of her career included modeling, working in a paint store, fast food and retail in high school and a variety of restaurant positions.
In 1989 she began working for the Washington Post's Herald in Everett, Washington, first in circulation and later in advertising where she discovered her talents in art, photography and writing before leaving in 1995.
After spending a year in radio at KZOK in Seattle, in 1996 she moved to Los Angeles and began working for the Los Angeles Business Journal in advertising. Concurrently she began reporting as a freelance writer on issues dealing with the emerging technology of the Internet for other publications, while working on her first two short story collections.
Leaving the business journal in 1999, Laura founded Couples Company, Inc based upon the Eight Stages of Intimacy she identified after realizing that the majority of relationships break up due to a lack of attention in the areas of spiritual, emotional and intellectual intimacy. Covering the expected, advice on love, romance, dating and marriage, she discovered she enjoyed tackling the controversial subjects of faith, politics and finance. It was during this time she completed her first non-fiction book: Laid Off, Now What?!?: Surviving Unemployment.
By 2003 she found herself increasingly covering political and faith-based issues with an emphasis on the Middle East. In late 2004 she started working with Mohammed Omer on covering Gaza Strip for a number of international publications and The Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs. Over the past six years they've won a number of journalism awards under his name.
Her focus on interfaith issues, history and the realities on the ground were noted and in 2008 she received an invitation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to assist on the research for an upcoming book on oil, politics and the history of the Middle East. Upon her return, she skipped over the pond to England and joined forces with Michael Brech to pursue an idea she'd been thinking about since 2002. This idea is the Storybook Advent Calendar and Carols Collection. Concurrently she began rewriting her successful book Laid Off Now What, dividing it into four books covering the psychological, financial and job seeking strategies with an emphasis on the changes in tactics and tools for the Great Recession. Laid Off NowWhat?!? Thriving Financially through Unemployment was released in paperback in May of 2010.
Baptized and confirmed Lutheran, the majority of her spare time is devoted to working with various non-profits and faith-based groups seeking to end apartheid and bridge understanding between the three faiths of The Book. Laura currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her cat, Sinatra.
Musician, composer, lyricist, playwright, performer, poet and author
Born in Rochford, Essex, England Michael (Oliver) Brech began piano lessons at the age of 6 and by 9 years old was already composing. At the age of 13, took jazz lessons and began writing songs. When 16, without being asked, instigated composing the music for the school play - The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht - writing two thirds of it and which he alone performed at every performance. At 17, he was taken on by various managers and at 18 joined The Diamond Jack Band, a hard working group gigging their own songs, half of which were written by Michael, at least three times a week around Essex and London for about 3 years, with Michael using up to 3 keyboards on stage and singing. Though there was a lot of publishing and recording interest, there came a split and Michael started his own name band, The Michael Oliver Band, which performed in the same area for about a year till he found a new direction for writing.
Teaming up with lyricist Angie Gadd, they wrote a musical together called Sequester, which was performed at the Focus theatre in Southend, meriting a 3 week exhibition. In demand for his skill, Michael played keyboards with a few bands and then a period of playing quieter places, solo on piano, followed while he got his home studio together. At about this time, he also self-published, with co-writer Glen Sweeney, a book of poetry called Silent Voices, fully illustrated by two local artists, that merited a three week exhibition in Southend. Then there was a long period of learning the studio, getting into using computers for composing and this led to composing for films.
Michael teamed up with Terry Mendoza to write music for very successful amateur films such as The Shoot, a silent film, which won awards worldwide. Another film, Side By Side, the story of Christian and Muslim Arabs and Israeli Jews living together, is shown throughout churches and synagogues in the UK.
-In the meantime, Michael linked up with lyricist Jeremy Allard and a new tour-de-force of writing began. It was here that he changed his name to Brech because another writer with Jeremy was also an Oliver, and he chose the name as a nod to the playwright he had composed music to many years earlier.
Moving to Devon and with much work under his belt, Michael has had singers come to work with him from Europe and America. In 2004, Michael was invited by artist and sculptor Ben Shards to help put together Intericon, an exhibition of Light and Glass at Exeter Cathedral Chapter House. For this he composed about 110 minutes of electronica and, apart from the public buying the CDs, was rewarded with a visitor's note in the guest book describing his music as 'balm to the soul'.
Meeting up with Laura Lewis, she presented her idea for stories for Advent and, when he saw that she had listed carols in her idea, Michael suggested that he record them to go with the book, thus the whole circle of Storybook Advent came about.
Recently, he was called out of the blue by Chris Stuckey to join a band and he is currently playing keyboards with the Chris Stuckey Band, covering original material, and also with Shinkicker - a tribute band to Rory Gallagher. Although he hasn't been with the band very long, they have played many gigs - more gigs than rehearsals! - and there is a small tour arranged for North England at the end of August and, at the beginning of October, a 2-3 week tour of Holland. When playing, people see his energetic performance and ask what he is on. "High on life, man," is the reply, "high on life!"
Attending choral concerts at about this time inspired Michael to compose some adventurous pieces for choir based on Biblical verse as well as an evocative setting of the classic Parce Mihi, Domine for solo countertenor and choir, combining both Latin and English texts.
Raised in the Anglican Church, Michael currently resides in the Devon countryside of Southern England.