I was once a lawyer and a business consultant, until the monsters under my bed insisted my lifetime habit of writing horror stories should be a fulltime one. I thought it best not to argue with those teeth.
Since then, I have published several psychological paranormal horror novels, with more on the way. I live in the Netherlands with my family. Contary to most writers I have no pets, but my son does very convincing impressions of puppies, kittens, and the occasional pterodactyl.
Blog: Click here for Chris’s Blog
Hi Chris!! Thanks for taking the time to speak to me today.
My pleasure! 😊
LOHF: The Kalbrandt series is a fascinating concept where did the inspiration come from for the series?
Like most writers, I always have too many story ideas. So many possible subjects, characters and settings! Usually I have no problem choosing one thing over others…unless I see a way to have my cake and eat it.
The Kalbrandt Institute is the resulting ‘umbrella universe’ I created to contain diverse stand-alone stories within a single, overarching continuity. With my love for mythology, psychology and history, that universe naturally gravitated to what one of my readers described as a crossover between Indiana Jones, Warehouse 13, and Dracula.
LOHF: Book 2 sounds like it is expanding on the world that was created in Kalbrandt 1 is this going to be a series or a trilogy?
Something in between: a tetralogy. Those four books tell Eva’s story and her discoveries concerning the Institute and her boss. Further books in that universe will quite literally be another story. The Institute’s archives are immense, and each file – and each agent – has their own tale to tell.
LOHF: I find the fact that you give away your ebooks for free fascinating. When you started publishing was that in your plan or did it just work out that way?
Marketing is part of being author, but most of the techniques taught today come down purposefully triggering peoples’ fears to urge them into buying something. At first I did give those methods a shot, since that was apparently ‘how it’s done’. However, it felt contrary to my own principles and therefore the wrong premise for sharing my books with readers.
I believe in paying it forward, so that is what I do with my books. My ebooks are free for readers can try out my work without having to invest upfront. All I ask is to please leave a review or make a small donation when they feel I’ve delivered what I promised. Not everyone does, but those who do tend to be generous and eager for more: my reader tribe! 😊
LOHF: Was it a conscious decision to keep your first Kalbrandt novel ‘clean’? Meaning it lacked in the drugs, sex, etc, that one normally finds in this type of work? Can readers expect all your books to be this way?
To be honest, I didn’t realize this until reviewers pointed it out, and it should not be taken as a benchmark for my writing in general. If such elements make a contribution to the story, I will include them. For instance, my novel The Devourer contains a rape scene because it serves a key purpose in character and plot development. But it is no more detailed than absolutely necessary. I can be explicit, but never gratuitously so.
In the Kalbrandt series, adding explicit profanity, sex and the like simply didn’t contribute to the story or the characters. This doesn’t mean nobody swears or everyone abstains! I just try to be more creative about showing the characters’ base perversions instead of throwing them in the reader’s face.
LOHF: Have you always been a horror fan? If not, what is the first book or movie that hooked you?
The hack ‘n slash variety of horror never appealed to me – still doesn’t – but I may have been born a fan of gothic horror. Best I can recall I was six years old when I read my two favourite childhood stories. One was Hans Christian Andersen’s version of The Little Mermaid, and the other was Tetfol, a graphic novel about a werewolf. After that, all the standard kiddie tales bored me to tears.
LOHF: When people who know you as a lawyer find out you’re also a writer what is their reaction to that? Are they shocked?
I have always made a point of keeping those worlds separate. Only when a client or colleague commented on how I would write reports or nasty letters in record time, I would answer that writing is my profession. True enough for a lawyer, so none was the wiser – or interested. And any time I did allude to writing fiction as well, the topic of conversation would change at once. So, I learned to keep that part to myself in those circles.
LOHF: Are you still practicing law or are you writing all the time now?
Earlier this year, I gave up my business consultancy practice in favour of writing fulltime, but my corporate background still serves me well. Because I self-publish I’m officially a small publishing enterprise, and my experience does help dealing with the financial and legal aspects of running a company.
LOHF: The Ladies of Horror Fiction is made up of book reviewers, we are always interested in what people have in their TBRS. What is in your tbr?
I read in sprees, finishing two or three books in quick succession, then taking a break while I write my own (I can’t read and write at the same time, for some reason). The upcoming reading spree will include Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, and after that Peter Ackroyd’s The Limehouse Golem and Corinne Duyvis’ Otherbound.
LOHF: What are your top five favorite horror writers?
That varies, since individual books by one author don’t necessarily mean I like everything else they wrote, but based on the last books I read I’d say: Laura Purcell, R.H. Hale, Neil Gaiman, M.N. Seeley and Jonathan Stroud. Not all strictly horror authors, but I cannot help but love genre cocktails!
LOHF: Are there any up and coming woman authors that we need to be on the lookout for?
R.H. Hale! Vampires never interested me at all, but in Church Mouse, about a young woman who becomes the servant to three vampires, Hale focuses on the gritty psychological aspects of that situation. She definitely deserves the praise her book receives.
The Kalbrandt Institute Archives Book 1 Hauntings
Ancient books, rare artefacts, reports of paranormal phenomenon: the Kalbrandt Institute archives surpass Eva’s wildest imagination. Here, her ability to ‘read’ objects on touch isn’t considered weird – it is why they hired her.
But examining the reports of her predecessors, she finds their memories speak louder than words on paper. The Institute harbours secrets, dark secrets that will cost Eva her life. And now her boss knows what she found out…
Eva’s discovery explores five unique and inventive ghost stories. A wonderfully written work that will hook you immediately!
The Kalbrandt Institute Archives Book 2 Monsters
While digging for memories hidden in fossilised bones and ancient documents, she discovers the true purpose of her job, and any hope she had of leaving is dashed. With the help of a new ally, Eva exposes disturbing facts about their boss. Unable to escape his grasp, they will have to find another way to fight back.
Because there can be no doubt that they work for a monster…
Mercedes Fabron, pragmatic wife and childless mother, has her hands full running her husband’s fashion shop and navigating social etiquette. All of which would be considerably easier without uninvited ghosts haunting her night and day.
Out in the streets, people are dying of an undetermined cause. The newspapers speak of an unknown disease, the police speak of accidents. But when a dead man is found in her stairwell, Mercedes has every reason to suspect something much more sinister.
Only the ghosts know the truth, but they are too afraid to tell.
In fact, they are scared to death…
Chris is also the author of a fantasy If you would like a full listing of her bibliography head on over to her blog by clicking the link in her bio. If you would like to purchase the books listed above click on the photos to be taken to Chris’s Amazon page.