Guest Blogger: Kathryn Lane – It All Starts With the Subconscious

It All Starts with the Subconscious by Kathryn Lane

A recurring question I’m asked when I speak at book clubs is whether I plot the entire novel before I start writing. I usually respond by defining the two basic types of writers – detailed plotters or fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantstypes. Once I’ve decided to begin a new book and have established the type of novel, such as a suspense thriller, I definitely fall into the seat-of-your-pants-type. I let the characters talk to me and take me along for the adventure. A few steps do happen, though, before the characters scoop me away!

At this point, it all starts with allowing subconscious thoughts to bubble up to my conscious mind. After I allow my brain a rest from a full day of activity, I lie in bed, and on lucky evenings, ideas go off like firecrackers in my conscious mind. From these mental pyrotechnics, I gather concepts and insights my busy day brain cannot possibly bring to light. I keep a notepad on my nightstand to record important concepts.

My next step consists of multi-layered research with copious notetaking. This step goes from on-line investigation and reading a selection of books on related topics to traveling to specific locations I’ve selected for the novel and speaking with people who may be experts on a topic included in the book. Traveling is by far the most fun and at times the most difficult part of the research. It is fun since I choose locations my husband and I want to visit, like northern Spain and southern France, and it is difficult as I usually fall in love with some spot or another making it nearly impossible to leave. Why not rent a cottage and remain there to write the novel? Oh, impossible for various reasons, yet an enticing idea for the future!

There’s another reason my travel research is important – it’s a globalized world. If I place a novel in Barcelona, Spain, the reader must breathe the air, feel the atmosphere, see the sights, and watch the action as if present alongside the protagonist. Too many people have traveled to Barcelona for me to let my descriptions of streets, monuments, neighborhoods, or other details be wrong.

In addition to traveling for research purposes, another reason to travel pops into my mind from an article I read recently – people who engage in activities they love, live longer. Nothing particularly new about that thought, but it came with a twist from a 104-year-old doctor in Tokyo, Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara*” who stated: “Energy comes from feeling good, not from eating well or sleeping a lot.” His twist is instead of feeling good to be happy, turn it around: “Be happy and you will feel good.” Travel does precisely that for me – it makes me happy. Travel and writing – that combination makes me even happier!

Getting back to my writing style, by the time I have completed initial travel, performed research, kept copious notes, written descriptions of my main characters, and taken photos of specific spots to be mentioned in the book, I don’t feel the need to plot out the novel – I can see the “big picture” in my mind and I write the story, allowing my characters to lead the way.

*Dr. Hinohara passed away in July 2017 at the age of 105.

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Originally from Mexico, Kathryn Lane was a painter in oils but changed to accounting and international finance after she discovered the artistic path led her to a starving artist existence. To cement her ability to earn a living, she became a CPA and a CMA, and worked for a multinational corporation where she traveled extensively for two decades. After jetting to over 90 countries, her travels gave her the opportunity to fulfill another passion – to write fiction.

Kathryn is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. She has been honored with a Montie Award for the Pursuit of Excellence by The Greater Conroe Arts Alliance and two Paul Harris awards from The Rotary Club of The Woodlands for her service to the community. She also serves on the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council and resides in Texas, with her husband, Bob Hurt.

Kathryn Lane is the award-winning author of the Nikki Garcia Thriller Series. Her debut novel, Waking Up in Medellin, has been named:

 Best Fiction Book of the Year 2017 by Killer Nashville
 Best Fiction Adult Suspense 2017 by Killer Nashville
 Silver Medal in Fiction/Thriller – Readers Favorite Book Awards 2017
 RONE Award Finalist 2017 by InD’Tale Magazine

Coyote Zone (October 2017) is the second novel in the Nikki Garcia Thriller Series. A mystery of high stakes danger in a kidnapping and human trafficking story with subplots, such as romance, woven into the story.

Kathryn’s collection of short stories, Backyard Volcano and Other Mysteries of the Heart (April 2017) gives you the fusion between fantasy and reality, punctuated by hints of surrealism, and symbolism with unusual twists and turns – in other words, everyday occurrences in Latin cultures.

Points of Sale

Waking Up in Medellin
o Amazon –
o Barnes and Noble –
o Pen-L Publishing –
o iBooks –
o Smashwords –
Coyote Zone
o Amazon –
o Pen-L Publishing –
Backyard Volcano
o Amazon –

3 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Kathryn Lane – It All Starts With the Subconscious”

  1. Kathryn,
    I enjoyed reading your post. My unconscious plays a large part when I’m plotting a novel. In my case, I have to give it some time to let the ideas and connections
    develop. I love traveling and have discovered that places I’ve visited sometimes become a setting for a novel.

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