Tuesday, June 7, 2022

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 story.

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 novels.

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 Mancha. 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 countries.

Visit my website at https://www.Kathryn-Lane.com

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


  1. 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.

    1. 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. 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. 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 :).

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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. 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!

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

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


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