Tag Archive for: #Beachreads

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

A Fun Interview with Bethany Maines

Interview by Kathryn Lane

Maines is such a dynamic interviewee that I’ve kept the interview pretty much
as it happened. To edit would lose the spontaneity of her responses.)

Bethany, I’m amazed by your dexterity as
an author. You write in various genres, from crime fiction to
mystery, to action adventure
sci-fi. Do you move from one to the other to keep your stories flowing?

Growing up I
read mostly sci-fi/fantasy and mystery. I always assumed that if I wrote it
would be sci-fi/fantasy based, but as with most half-baked childhood notions, it
hasn’t turned out that way. Mystery/Adventure/Romance seems to be where I sit
most easily, and my occasional visits into sci-fi are usually with co-writers.

By the
time this interview is published on November 2, you will have launched your
mystery, Hardest Hit, the third book from your Deveraux Legacy series. Congratulations!

with us what worked for the launch and what you’d do differently next time.

I can tell
you what doesn’t work. Accidentally scheduling the launch for nearly the same
time as a work conference is… not the best thing I’ve done lately. I work with
a marketing company; they give me lots of support, and I don’t think I could do
it another way considering my scheduling conflict. But other than that, my
number one tip, is plan ahead.

Moving to
your mystery/action adventure books, you have taken an innovative approach to
undercover work. Your protagonist, Nikki Lanier in the Carrie Mae series, is a
no-nonsense investigator who takes on drug smugglers and arms dealers.

How did
you get the idea for the Carrie Mae series?  

OK, true
story, I once received a cease-and-desist letter from Mary Kay corporate to not
mention Carrie Mae in the same breath as Mary Kay. Meanwhile, Mary Kay Ladies
love every book in that series. And they should because they gave me the idea. I
once had to pick up lipstick from my MK lady. She was at a meeting and invited
me to stop by. When I stepped into the Red Lion Inn… it was a packed ballroom!  They were recruiting new Mary Kay Ladies. On
stage, an imposing woman was laying down the MK rules like she was Patton in
pumps. And I thought… these ladies could take over the world and they’re
kind of scary. It’s probably a good thing there isn’t a militant wing of Mary
. (Lightbulb!) Later I went out for drinks and told my girlfriends I had
a great idea for a book. They laughed, saying they loved the idea of Nikki and
her team.

Nikki and
her team set out to save the world from gangs, smugglers, and arms dealers, all
the while looking fabulous. You do mention, though, they try to remember clean
underwear! Is humor in your genes or do you work at it?

Surprise! It’s
nature AND nurture. My Dad is an excellent and humorous storyteller. In
childhood I watched him hone a story from one telling to the next. That method
of refining the funny until it’s the funniest is something that takes years to
perfect, but I feel that I got a leg up through proper parenting.

You write
several novels and novellas every year. Do you program your writing for the year
ahead and decide which series will get the bulk of your time? Or are you a
complete pantser that gets up in the morning and decides what you’ll work on
that day?

I used to
pants it. I loved the discovery and joy of finding out what happened. But
sadly, I don’t have the time anymore. Pantsing is joyful but inefficient, and
if I want to tell ALL THE STORIES… well, I need to plot. However, I do employ a
strategy of “cheat stories”. If one isn’t cooperating I go cheat on it with a
different story. That will teach it! 

intrigued by your sci-fi novellas, The Beast of Arsu being the latest. For the Galactic Dreams series, you write with two
other authors, Karen Harris Tully and J.M. Phillippe. Do the three of you get
together to discuss and plan the next collection of Galactic Dreams? 

Karen and
J.M. and I came up with a simple proposition (such innocent, foolish, past
selves): we would create a shared universe and spread the hard parts of world-building
around. Then we would each write stories within that universe. And, just to keep
it interesting, we would base our stories on fairy tales. Clearly none of us
had read fairy tales recently – they’re insane. None of us counted on the fact
that each of us would want to break the rules of the universe at some point, or
that we would have to keep track of all the weird words and technology we
invented. At this point, we have a massive spreadsheet and a five-page single-space
word doc on our universe. Fortunately, our friendship has survived the great
battle over whether or not to include the word OK in space. Surprisingly,
we were all 100% fine with bringing in Octopus aliens. We touch base multiple
times while writing our individual stories and use each other for research, as
sounding boards, and as spare memories. Then, at the end, we all read
everything for universe cohesion.

Bethany, let me tell you, I’d
be lost in space if I could not use the word OK. One last question. If
you were not writing, what would you be doing?

I actually love
my day job of graphic design. If I weren’t writing I’d be getting to all of the
art projects that are languishing in my office that I swear I’m TOTALLY getting
to. Stop judging my art supply purchases!!

That was a fantastic interview, Bethany. Thank you!


Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of
mystery, crime and romantic suspense novels, as well as many short stories.
When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her
black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the
computer working on her next novel. bethanymaines.com

Researching in Miami

 By Kathryn Lane

I place my novels in countries where I traveled during my corporate job. Miami is a city where I attended many
regional conferences. I also passed through the international airport innumerable
times coming from or going to Latin America and the Caribbean. Yet I only saw the city from airline windows as we approached the airport, through taxi windows as we drove to hotel conferences, or from hotel rooms for the couple of days I would attend meetings.  

Now I’m setting a novel in Miami. It’s
the perfect excuse to do on-site research and get to know the city. I’d planned this trip last year and then
Covid hit, so I put my novel on hold. Now I’m here in a wonderfully hospitable city. I love that Spanish is spoken everywhere. A diverse city, Miami is a melting pot of people from Latin
America and the Caribbean. And yet
there are immigrants representing every
country in the world. Tourists from around the globe flock here, too.

My novel starts in Miami and takes my
protagonist, Nikki Garcia, to Cuba. Of course, I do online research before I
travel. Online experiences do not provide the “feel” of a place, the culture,
the food, or the special little bits of information I like to add to my novels.

My husband is a wonderful travel
companion on research trips. He’s a great sport when I ask him to
explore areas he might not be interested in seeing. Over the time I’ve been an
author, we’ve encountered surprises, whether it’s walking the old neighborhoods
of Barcelona to locate a mosque as in a previous trip, or to explore a section of
the Everglades, like on this trip. Or finding a Cuban restaurant in Little
Havana in Miami, walking in, and discovering it served Spanish food, not Cuban.
What the heck, we were there so we ate seafood paella.

When I’m performing on-site research, I
like to put myself into Nikki’s shoes. How would she react to living in a condo
in Miami Beach? Eating at Little Havana? Interviewing security guards in Doral?
Would she shop for fresh lychee fruit and orchids in the Redlands agricultural
area on the west side of the city? Should she discover a corpse in the Everglades
or in a canal on Cutler Bay? Would she visit the Deering Estate and Key

Bob and I follow the outline of the places I
want to investigate. Doing this work makes me feel like a location scout for a
big production company. Of course, this is only one part of my research. And
it’s definitely the most fun!

After indulging in food, music, and
culture, then reality sets in and I have to actually write the story!


What kind of research do you do? Do
you enjoy researching various topics for your novels? Ever done on-site research?

Visit me at https://www.Kathryn-Lane.com I love
hearing from readers. Ask a question, suggest an idea, or comment about the blog.

Kathryn Lane started
out as 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 countries.



Nikki Garcia Mystery Series: eBook Trilogy https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GZNF17G


All photographs are used in an editorial or educational manner.

The Grounds at Deering Estate, Lily Pads in the Everglades, and Server Showing Paella are photos by Kathryn Lane