When I turned my writing hobby into my profession, I faced a precarious situation for a writer. Because from thereon out, I needed to create projects I would want to stick with until the bitter end.
A prickly problem indeed. Over the decades, I have always had too many story ideas. Furious scribbling to keep up with the plot bunny farm spewing subjects, themes, characters and settings earned me a hard drive full of unfinished stories, but little else. Deciding to write for publication didn’t change that.
I’m also terrible at choosing one thing when I see a way to have my cake and eat it… Cue maniacal laughter!
The solution to my cake story problem was to create a universe that could encompass everything I might ever want to write, regardless of subject or setting. A framework where stand-alone stories can link into a single, overarching continuity – a bit like Pixar’s movies.
Given my penchant for mythology, psychology and history, it went without saying that these elements would form the basis of that universe. The trimming came from my love for libraries, paranormal phenomena and curiosity cabinets, with a bit of Indiana Jones as a cherry on top.
Thus the magical realism of the Kalbrandt Institute was born, together with its enigmatic founder, Cael. The perfect umbrella universe to cross time and space at will.
The Kalbrandt Institute Archives series is essentially an introduction into this world. Together with Eva, who is also a newbie, the reader explores the Institute. Bit by bit she gets to know its activities, the massive castle and the agents who work there throughout the centuries. Her story lays the foundations for the universe’s premise, and who knows what will come after?
Freedom Within A Framework
Having a single continuity does mean that every story has to fit in. That limits my options, but those limitations push my creativity as a storyteller. I love a challenge, and this is one I have set myself.
At the same time, the Institute is a breeding ground for diversity. The organisation recruits agents from all over the world, selecting solely on the usefulness of their knowledge and skills. Cael couldn’t care less about race, religion or any of the other peculiarities of a person that gets society’s knickers in a twist.
That gives me tremendous freedom in one area: the cast of each story is by default a mixed bunch. Even if a plot doesn’t revolve around the peculiarities of its cast, I will try to touch on them within the story’s context.
To me, the Kalbrandt Institute is a sandbox full of storytelling potential, and I love playing with all that.
If you like my stories and want to help me write more, please take a moment to go here to see what difference a cup of coffee can make. 😊