A Nod to Writers and Artists

By Kathryn Lane

In every novel of my Nikki Garcia mystery series, I’ve
mentioned a writer or a visual artist whose work I admire. Since my mysteries
are set in foreign countries, this detail adds a touch of that country’s culture.

Waking Up in Medellin takes place in Colombia and I
wove in the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Laurette in Literature for One
Hundred Years of Solitude
and the sculptures of Fernando Botero into the

Research on Fernando Botero’s sculpture

Danger in the Coyote Zone takes place in Mexico and I
mentioned Leonora Carrington, a British woman who lived and worked among the
surrealists in Paris and moved to Mexico to escape the ravishes of World War
II. She remained in Mexico, married the
Hungarian-born photographer Emerico Weisz
, and lived in Mexico City for
the rest of her life. Leonora infused her surrealist paintings and sculptures
with a feminine perspective, and she played an important role in the women’s
rights movement in Mexico. In my novel, I only mention that Nikki notices one
of her surreal sculptures on a street in San Miguel de Allende. To my amazement,
I received an email from Wendy Weisz, Leonora’s daughter-in-law. Wendy had read
my first novel in the series and had purchased the second one too. She was
pleasantly surprised to find the mention of her late mother-in-law’s sculpture.
Hearing from her was thrilling to me, especially since I’ve never met anyone in
the Weisz family though I’ve always admired Leonora’s art and sculpture.

Leonora Carrington’s Self-Portrait in New York’s Metropolitan Museum

Revenge in Barcelona includes action scenes that
occur at Gaudi’s architectural sites, such as the world famous Sagrada Familia
Basilica. Not only did I research Gaudi’s work, but also I made two trips to
Barcelona to make certain I had the facts right. (That Barcelona is my favorite
city in the world did not influence my decision to travel there to fact check!)

Author and her husband. She was researching Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. 

While writing Missing in Miami, I took a slightly
different approach. I’d read Klara and the Sun by Ishiguro. Josie,
Ishiguro’s character, suffers from an illness that is never fully defined. My
character Andrea, the missing girl in my novel, also has an illness. I mentioned
Ishiguro’s novel despite his lack of ties to Cuba to subliminally correlate his
Josie to my Andrea. I never mention Ishiguro’s character or her illness so I
don’t expect many readers to catch the comparison unless they’ve read both

The author loves Ishiguro’s novels!
I’m currently writing a novel about a math prodigy. In it I’ve
mentioned Miguel de Cervantes and his picaresque novel,
Don Quixote de la
. It’s prompted me to reread the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho
Panza, a novel I love despite the fact it was written in the early 1700s.

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza on their steeds.


Do you incorporate allusions, a nod, or direct references in
your novels to either writers or their work?


Kathryn’s Nikki Garcia Thriller Series – on Amazon

About Kathryn

Kathryn Lane started out painting in oils and quickly became a
starving artist. To earn a living, she became a certified public accountant and
embarked on a career in international finance with a major multinational
corporation. After two decades, she left the corporate world to plunge into
writing mystery and suspense thrillers. In her stories, Kathryn draws deeply
from her Mexican background as well as her travels in over ninety

Visit my website

Photo credits:

All photographs are used
in an editorial and/or educational manner

Botero Sculpture – by Kathryn Lane

Leonora Carrington’s Self-Portrait – Pinterest

Sagrada Familia – by Kathryn Lane

Klara and the Sun – Amazon

Don Quijote de la Mancha – Amazon

10 replies
  1. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    I can't wait to read the new one, Kathryn. I have a fondness for Don Quixote dating back to my college years. I wish I could read it in Spanish, but I recently found a marvelous translation by Edith Grossman that is terrifically entertaining, even laugh-out-loud at times.

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      Gay, so often I forget to hit the "reply" button, but the comment "Don Q. is really fascinating – I'm so glad to hear you say how entertaining it is! It's one of the things I love about that book. I'll keep the Edith Grossman reference since I've never read it in English – though I'll probably wait until next year before I read Don Q. again." was meant in response to your post of earlier today.

  2. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    Don Q. is really fascinating – I'm so glad to hear you say how entertaining it is! One of the things I love about that book. I'll keep the Edith Grossman reference since I've never read it in English – though I'll probably wait until next year before I read Don Q. again.

  3. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    I enjoy how you incorporate artists and writers into your books. In a way, the references become a game to catch them (as well as if Nikki reacts or simply observes). Although I haven't done this in my novels, I have in some of my short stories…. which has occasionally let me know who has read them :).

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      It's fun to do this and I agree that some readers will mention the reference and it's an "aha" moment – they did read the story!

  4. Barb Eikmeier
    Barb Eikmeier says:

    I really enjoyed your post especially your excuse of research to visit your favorite city in the world!! In my ‘work in progress novel’ I’ve used quilt history references but not quite as cleverly as you have done.

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      Barb, thank you. Let me know when your 'Work in Process' novel is published – I want to read it. I've always been fascinated by quilting and yet I've never done it. I've gone to the Quilting Conference in Houston and uh and ah over the gorgeous works. And I cherish a couple my grandmother made.

  5. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    You must've been floating to receive a letter from Lenora Carrington's daughter-in-law. I have used places but not actual people. Wonderful post, Kathryn!

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      Thanks, Donnell. Yes, the letter from Wendy Weisz is special. And the coincidence is amazing that she would find my novels!

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      Donnell, It's also one of those fabulous connections that happens through writing!

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