Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Author Journeys: Diana Gabaldon
I first got introduced to author Diana Gabaldon when I was going on a trip to Italy and made a book recommendation request on Facebook with the following criteria: looking for a longish page-turner that will keep me entertained on a variety of flights, ferries, etc.
A very well-read friend came through for me by recommending Gabaldon's Outlander series. One ten-day trip later, I was hooked.
Outlander is a unique blend of romance, historical fiction, and time travel. It starts in the 1940s and centers around a British nurse named Claire who gets sucked through some mysterious standing stones (think Stonehenge) and ends up going back to late 1700s Scotland where she meets some tough (and, yes, hunky) Highlanders.
There are currently seven books in the series with plans for more. And they are LONG. The series stands at a whopping 6600 pages so far. The books are immersive and intense and wholly wonderful for being so. I'm currently on book five.
Here are some fun facts about the frighteningly prolific Diana Gabaldon:
- I feel like she can be described as one of the first author adopters of digital media. She shared some of her first Outlander novel and met her agent through a Compuserv writing community back in 1988! She thanks this community in the acknowledgments of every single one of her books.
- Her novels are incredibly well-researched, ranging on a variety of topics from Scottish history, to Caribbean pirates, to the American Revolutionary War (Claire is very well-traveled). It takes Gabaldon 2-3 years to write each one. Gabaldon has a PhD in quantitative behavioral ecology (nope, I have no idea what that means but it sounds smart) so perhaps that's why research comes so easily to her.
- Gabaldon is American, but her main character, Claire, is British and her leading man, Jamie Fraser, is a Scotsman. She does a remarkable job in writing in these voices, most especially the way she writes the lilting Scottish accents. (Though I confess, it took me three-quarters of the way through book one to realize that "ken" means "know.")
Diana Gabaldon has hinted that the eighth Outlander book might be out sometime in 2012. In the meantime, the series has already been adapted into a graphic novel and a musical.