Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Rewards of Writing

by Kathryn Lane

As authors, we often say we write for the love of writing, not for the pursuit of money.
Did I say money?

Most authors have day jobs to earn a living. A few lucky ones do make enough to devote themselves full time to storytelling.

For me, more than remuneration, the reward I cherish most is knowing my writing resonates with readers. Soul compensation, I call it. Those emails from fans telling me how a character, a setting, or a plot point impacted them.

Since I pen international mystery thrillers, I hear from readers in various countries. My latest novel, Revenge in Barcelona, has brought more comments than any other book. Fans send photos of their vacations in Barcelona and tell me how the unfolding of suspense in locations they’ve visited brings back wonderful memories for them. Others tell me they’ve never been there and now, after finishing my novel, they “must see” Barcelona.

Fans have also sent newspaper clippings describing the late Antoni Gaudí’s buildings. Or recipes for a seafood casserole with Romesco sauceall mentioned in my novel.  

Visiting Barcelona is about architecture. Especially Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia and other landmarks, like Parc Güell. Gaudi’s masterpieces have kept me returning almost yearly since I first traveled there thirty years ago. Upon leaving my corporate finance job to write fiction, I knew Barcelona would make an ideal setting for a mystery. Needless to say, my novel stages action around Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, a church I’ve seen transformed from the original four towers, ignored by the world, to the twelve towers visited by 4.5 million tourists annually. Upon completion of the colossal central towers, Gaudí’s vision of eighteen towers will come to fruition.

A reader of Coyote Zone, my mystery set in Mexico, sent an email recounting her delight upon finding a mention in the story of the late Leonora Carrington—her mother-in-law. During my corporate years in Mexico City, I discovered Carrington’s artwork. When this prolific British-born artist, who lived in Mexico, passed away in 2011, the British news called her one of the last of the world’s Surrealist artists with links to André Breton, Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Joan Miró. My love of Carrington’s art is the reason I included a mention of her.

The fact that I never met Leonora, nor her daughter-in-law, makes her daughter-in-law’s comment more delicious to savor.

My first novel, Waking Up in Medellin, brought an email from an Argentine enthusiast on the sport of fencing. He was thrilled to see I’d woven the sport into the story.

Contemplating my rewards for creating fiction is fun. But reality sets in. For most authors, the art of storytelling is a deeply entrenched passion. The secret is in figuring out how to make it pay the bills.

Contact Data

Biographical Data

Kathryn Lane is delighted to be part of The Stiletto Gang. Originally from Mexico, she was an artist in her early years. To earn a living, she became a certified public accountant and embarked on a career in international finance with a major multinational corporation. 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.

Photo of Sagrada Familia Basilica is of a painting by Mary L. Soeldner


  1. Replies
    1. I agree, Debra! For those of us who write, words convey so much more than a picture of a thousand words (I paraphrase what you stated in a separate blog recently).

  2. Glad to get to know more about you and your books, Kathryn.

    1. Thank you, Saralyn. I'm also enjoying learning so much more about everyone in the "Gang"!