Behind the Scenes with Karla Brandenburg

Travel as inspiration

Castle home

Urquhart Castle – Inverness, Scotland (Nessie Hunting)

For years, the only travel I did was to neighboring Wisconsin, or Iowa, or places within driving distance of my home. I had one trip to Mexico when I was in high school, but that was the furthest I’d gone, and yet the wanderlust was never far away. During a moment of personal crisis, I decided to exercise that wanderlust (which might be classified as running away from home) after reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I went to Scotland all by myself! The vivid scenery was every bit as entrancing as I’d envisioned, and it sparked more trips to new and distant lands … like Colorado.

I’ve broadened my horizons considerably in the last fifteen years, and those places have crept into my stories where I’ve shared some of the things that sparked my imagination or impressed me in some way, shape or form.


The Rocky Mountains

HOlding up the Tower

Holding up the Tower of Pisa

Where do writing ideas come from?

My first book was inspired by Pompeii – Mount Vesuvius and Bible stories I’d learned growing up. I was recovering from oral surgery and watching a PBS documentary, right after having watched Indiana Jones, and the ideas came together. After all the years that I’d been playing around with writing, I decided it was time to get serious and focus, especially when I had (what I thought was) such a cool idea! It wasn’t so far out there to consider that St. Paul might have visited Southern Italy near the time that Pompeii was buried under the volcano, so it wasn’t such a stretch to put the Holy Grail (for my purposes, the chalice used at the Last Supper) into his hands to be buried under all that lava. I did a ton of research, learned Italian, and hunkered down to write my own grail quest.

Where I live

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and continue to live in the same general area. As much as I love to travel, I always love to come home. The change of seasons, the Big City. I wouldn’t swear this will be the last place I live, but I’m content to stay here. For now.

My work habits

Like many authors, I have a day job which sometimes interferes with my writing schedule. With that being said, I do my best to write a little every day, regardless of what else is going on. When I have the free time available, I can write thousands of words in a day, getting carried away with my characters and their situations. During busy times at the day job, it might only be a hundred or so words, or editing something I’ve already written, or working with my critique group to keep sharp. Failing all else, I read a book, which inspires me to write just like my favorite authors, or which highlights mistakes to avoid when I read books I haven’t liked as well.

What I’m working on now

I’m currently working on my Epitaph series – two families, nine siblings. They’re all related, but each books stands alone.

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