Today, I interview our own Stiletto Gang-sister, Kathryn Lane, award-winning author of the Nikki Garcia Mysteries. Missing in Miami, her fourth book in the series, has just been released.
Kathryn is a woman of many parts: artist, writer, and former international corporate executive, all of which provides rich background for her stories. What is it like to be a world traveler who solves crimes? Read on…
Gay: Kathryn, when your series begins, Nikki Garcia is a crackerjack forensic accountant, a rather nontraditional kind of sleuth. And yet, you managed to turn the investigation into a riveting read. As the series progresses, Nikki picks up other skills, and by the time we get to the new book, which takes place in Cuba as well as Florida—she’s almost a full-blown spy. Did you plan this character progression from the start?
Kathryn: I’d love to answer with a resounding, “Yes, of course I planned it that way!” But when I wrote the first book, I did not know I’d be writing a series until my publisher insisted I create other books with Nikki as protagonist. Being a pantser (a writer who doesn’t pre-outline) I developed her into a sleuth, thinking it would otherwise get boring if she was always investigating corporate fraud around the world.
Gay: I see similarities between you and Nikki: a love for travel and good food, and a background in corporate finance. How is she different from you?
Kathryn: I’m not nearly as brave as Nikki!
Gay: The character of Eduardo, a Colombian physician, is a dreamboat: romantic, wealthy, and kind. Did you pattern him after a real person, or is he simply a dream?
Kathryn: I was single when I wrote the first book, so maybe Eduardo represents my dream man. He is purely fictional, as are all my characters, except for some mentions of real or historical persons. After completing the first book, I met Bob, who is now my husband and who shares three of Eduardo’s characteristics: he is immensely supportive of my work, he’s kind, and he has a romantic streak—he lights a candle for our dinner every night we eat at home. The one trait he’s missing is that he’s not wealthy, doggone it!
Gay: In the new book, you mention a novel I happen to be reading right now: Klara and the Sun, by Kazuro Ishiguro. What was behind that choice?
Kathryn: In every mystery I’ve written, I’ve mentioned another author or visual artist whose work I admire. As I was writing Missing in Miami, I read Klara. In that story, a girl named Josie suffers from an illness that is never fully defined. I mentioned the book because Andrea, the missing girl in my novel, also has an illness. I don’t expect many readers to catch the comparison, but the connection sparks my own creative juices.
Gay: I’m fascinated by your world travels to… is it over ninety countries? Each of your books is set in a different location, and they each seem to offer a bit of a traveler’s guide for the area. Having been to so many places, how do you decide where Nikki Garcia will go next?
Wow, the places Kathryn has traveled! What about you, readers? What foreign lands have you visited?
GAY YELLEN writes the award-winning Samantha Newman Mysteries, including The Body Business, The Body Next Door, and the soon to be released Body in the News. Gay would love to hear from you in the comments below, on Facebook, or BookBub, or via her website.