Written by Joanie Chevalier
Research by Chris DiRusso

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Fans of the Outlander Series are anxiously awaiting Book Nine. And for good reason. It’s an incredible series. The Outlander book series has sold over 25 million copies, and the TV series on STARZ is now in its fifth season.

For those who haven’t heard about the Outlander Series, here’s the scoop: A 20th-century nurse, Claire Randall, time travels to 18th-century Scotland finding adventure, danger, passion, and romance with a dashing Highland warrior, Jamie Fraser.

Here’s the blurb for the first book, Outlander, published in 1991 (with over twenty-three thousand reviews):

Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.

Being such a hit with fans around the world, the popularity of the Outlander series has benefited not only Diana, but tourism in Scotland too. The Film and Creative Industries Manager for Visit Scotland, Jenni Steele says: “People come every week to see the locations that have been featured onscreen and because of the costumes, the history, the locations – they’re so vibrant in the series.”  https://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/1184699/Outlander-season-5-Starz-series-Scotland-locations-tourism.

Diana has a page on her website devoted to Outlander-Based Tours of Scotland, a trip of a lifetime for fans: http://www.dianagabaldon.com/resources/outlander-based-tours-of-scotland/

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Diana’s website is full of information about the Outlander’s books and TV series, her other publications, about herself and her writing habits, and more.

I have a B.S. in Zoology from Northern Arizona University, a M.S. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a Ph.D. in quantitative behavioral ecology (animal behavior with statistics, don’t worry about it).
From <http://www.dianagabaldon.com/resources/faq/faq-about-diana/>

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A fascinating tidbit: Diana owns approximately 1,500 books for reference:  

I buy books like salted peanuts, and by this time, I have a pretty substantial collection.  The core reference collection is about 1500 volumes, and includes things like…{going to shelf to count}…109 books on herbs and folk-medicine (ranging from Nicholas Culpeper’s Herbal, published in 1647, to MEDICINAL PLANTS OF EUROPE AND BRITAIN, to INDIAN HERBOLOGY, to NEW AGE HERBS), forty or fifty on Scottish culture in general and Highland culture in particular (customs, geography, language, costume, history, etc.), sixty or so assorted dictionaries (running from my enormous Webster-Merriam Third International Unabridged, my all-time favorite, to several specialized dictionaries of slang, including Eric Partridge’s huge DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH, Samuel Johnson’s 1757 DICTIONARY (to answer another Frequently-Asked Question, this is how you find words like “stultiloquy” or “fop-doodle”), and Captain Francis Grose’s A DICTIONARY OF THE VULGAR TONGUE (originally published in 1807, and very vulgar some of the Captain’s selections are, too: e.g., “admiral of the narrow seas – one who, from drunkenness, vomits into the lap of his dinner companion,” while “Scotch Greys” (a famous Scottish regiment) is a euphemism for lice), the OPUS MALEDICTORUM: A Book of Bad Words, A DICTIONARY OF MONSTERS, the Collins DICTIONARY OF TROUT FLIES, and general-purpose dictionaries in languages from Maori and Navajo (though I can’t say I’ve ever had to use either of those in a novel, at least not yet) to French, German, Spanish, etc.  (I do have three Gaelic/English dictionaries, but I really rely on the kind help of Cathy-Ann MacPhee (noted Gaelic singer and representative of the Gaelic Mafia) for translation.)

Then there are the medical books, ranging from the 1969 edition of the Merck Manual that defines the limits of Claire’s medical knowledge to memoirs by surgeons and monstrous coffee-table books on the (illustrated) History of Medicine.  And the shelf of books on weapons, artillery, knives, guns, battles, and warfare.   And the books on antique methods of wood-working, house-building, cookery, sewing, etc.  And…well, let’s just say that I tend to organize the books by shelf and bookcase (i.e., the history of North Carolina is the bottom three shelves of the bookcase whose top four shelves contain specific histories of the American Revolution—not biographies; those are in the secondary collection out in the back bedrooms (my husband won’t let me keep bookshelves in the main part of the house, he wanting to keep the walls visible so we can hang art on them)—accounts and maps of particular battles, General von Steuben’s drilling instructions, Advice to the Officers of His Majesty’s Army, and that kind of stuff.  Oh, and the bottom shelf of that case is the books on slavery.

I carry a research book around when I go outside with the dogs, I leave one in the bathroom, and I read research stuff while I ride my exercise bike. Sometimes I do have something specific to look up–like how to extract a tooth, or how many slaves were on the average sugar plantation in North Carolina in 1767, or how much a black bear weighs, but it really doesn’t take much time to discover a discrete fact–it’s the browsing and finding fascinating items like hanged-men’s grease (that’s historically true, by the way–it was one of the perks of an 18th century hangman) that takes time. Fortunately, it’s also fun.

Some interesting questions she has answered about her writing:

You’ve said before that your writing style is to write all the scenes and then piece them together in order when you’ve gotten them all done. Do you only do this for novels or does it apply to your short stories and novellas as well? Why is this method so effective for you and do you ever try writing in a straight line just for the fun of it?

What fun would that be? <puzzled look> It would take forever to do it that way, since I couldn’t start writing until I’d figured out the entire story, and if I’d done that, it wouldn’t be fun at all to write it.

How do you approach the crafting of your characters and manage to get them to a point where they seem like real people? Is there one of your characters that you consider your favorite and why?

What a very peculiar notion of writing—though I do realize it’s a common one. Possibly some people really do that, but I can’t imagine how.

Look. It’s not like Legos. You (well, I) don’t start with a crude outline of a character and then start putting little blocks—alcoholic mother, abused as child, has sister he doesn’t get along with, INTJ personality type (whatever that may mean; I do know writers who use psychological personality tests on their characters, which seems truly bizarre—but probably no stranger than the way anybody else does it; whatever works, I mean…)— together according to this plan, to make a three-dimensional golem which you then zap with electricity.

For me, characters are onions, mushrooms, or Hard Nuts:

    • An onion is a person whose essence I apprehend immediately, but the more I work with him or her (by “work with,” I mean, “write stuff involving them”), the more layers they develop, and the more rounded and pungent they become.
    • Mushrooms are the characters who simply pop up out of nowhere and walk off with any scene they’re in.
    • And Hard Nuts tend to be the people I’m stuck with—rather than the ones who just show up in my head—either for plot reasons (I had a woman pregnant at the end of one book, so when I rejoined her twenty years later, obviously I had a young adult in addition to deal with), or because they were real historical people who were present during an event or period. Them I just hammer on until they break open and reveal something of their inner selves to me.

From <http://www.dianagabaldon.com/resources/what-i-do/my-writing-process/>

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This is the QUESTION fans are asking: When will Book 9 be out?

Check out Diana’s answer and read excerpts from Book Nine: Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone: http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/book-nine-outlander-series/

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Want to converse and share your love of everything Outlander with other fans? Join a FB Fan Group, or like a Page:

Outlander Series Books & TV: 146K Members: https://www.facebook.com/groups/473400262697246/

Outlander Fans: 158K members: https://www.facebook.com/OutlanderFans/

Outlander Universe: 86K Members: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OutlanderUniverse/

 

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Follow Diana Online: Facebook / Twitter

 

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One thought on “Diana Gabaldon and The Outlander Series

  1. Wow. Diana Gabaldon has done a lot of research. It’s impressive. I’m going to share this with my family in Wisconsin. They love Outlander, the series. My husband and I are watching it too.

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