Let’s Talk with Karla Brandenburg

Turning Points and Aha Moments
By Karla Brandenburg

Aha MomentThere were a series of insurance company commercials not long ago with people talking about their Aha moments, the turning points in their lives that changed the way they do or see things.

For me, I’ve been writing stories all my life, from the time I was first able to write. One of my earliest memories was of writing a story about cats and kittens and sending it to Random House when I couldn’t have been more than six or seven years old. The story obviously didn’t get published, but my path was clearly established, even at that early age.

While I continued to write stories—it was programmed into my DNA after all—I didn’t really apply myself until I reached a turning point in my life. For all the imagination I transcribed to paper, I didn’t take the time to structure it or carry it through to the next step, until that Aha moment.

I’d had a wisdom tooth pulled. Curled up into a comfy chair nursing my wounds, I turned on the television and watched Indiana Jones, and when that ended, I switched over to PBS, which was showing a special on Mt. Vesuvius and the burial of Pompeii, a subject which has always fascinated me. Something clicked inside my brain. What if the Holy Grail was buried beneath all the lava and ash? What if St. Paul carried it with him when he went to Malta and left it for safekeeping in the southern port cities of Italy? The timing worked. In that moment, I determined to make a conscious decision to write a focused novel. Who knew having a wisdom tooth pulled would be a turning point? I’ve written nine novels since that fateful day!

Has that ever happened to you? One moment in your life where everything clicked? Fell into place?