Fangirl Fridays – Diana Gabaldon



It’s time for Fangirl Fridays again, and I can’t think of anyone I’ve more wanted to sing the praises of over the last year than Diana Gabaldon. Given that she has completely taken over my literary life.

Diana Gabaldon at the Grand Canyon.**
Until last spring, I’d never heard of this woman, deferentially referred to as Herself by legions of fans who eagerly await the next books in her phenomenally popular Outlander and Lord John Grey series. I was about 20 years late to the Outlander party, but my belated enthrallment is deep and shows no sign of abating in the next few decades.

How could she have inspired such enthusiastic devotion from me in such a short time? Because her stories have engaged me more passionately than the many others which came before. Her characters have rooted themselves in my heart more deeply. And her books satisfy every single desire I have as a reader: to be transported to new worlds; to be completely absorbed by the skillful weaving of events, characters, settings, and ideas; and to enlarge my understanding of life, the universe, and everything.*

But what’s behind the books? If you’ve wondered what special kind of sadist artist concocts the diabolical potion of angst and jubilation that I find so addictive, it all springs from the mind of an amazing woman who is every bit as fascinating as her characters.

Click through for some effusive gushing about the author of my very favorite series! And I promise not to spoil anything about the Outlander books along the way.



Why do I love Diana Gabaldon?

First of all, she is a master story teller. Period. And I shamelessly admire finely tuned prose. 

I love her writing, her ability to craft stories of unsurpassed breadth, scope, and soulfulness. For me, her tales are all encompassing and all consuming.

Herself in the walled garden of Culloden House,
where the Ladies of Lallybroch erected a bench
with a plaque bearing her name as the
author of the Outlander series. 
But enough about her books. Lots of people love her books. I love the clever mind and vivacious personality that crafted those books. I am fascinated by the creative process that magically occurs somewhere along the authoring continuum between “research and assemble lengthy laundry list of facts” and “create sweeping lifelong saga of romance and adventure,” the visionary who transforms the laundry list into the fictional loves of my life.

The perpetually frustrated household organizer in me admires Gabaldon’s sharp intellect, her ability to track down, retain, and find just the right (artful, clever, or surprising) use for an immeasurably large horde of facts. She has a mind like a sponge with a steel trap around it. She doesn’t even write things down until she’s ready to let go of them—they all stay right there at her synaptic fingertips, so to speak, until she finds and writes the perfect scene for them. I can’t even imagine that kind of mental acuity, sobs the harried multitasker in me who is forever misplacing her lists of vitally important obligations she mustn’t forget.

The instructional design geek in me loves Gabaldon’s boundless enthusiasm for researching and sharing the endlessly fascinating world around her. She makes learning fun! I don’t even realize how thoroughly I absorb the sights, sounds, and textures of the worlds in which her characters live until I begin interjecting historical trivia into everyday conversations or comparing my domestic chores (quite favorably!) to those at Fraser’s Ridge or Lallybroch. 

The avid reader in me, whose literary heart has been broken a few times over the years, loves Gabaldon’s artistic dedication to her craft, her stories, and her characters. She is unwavering in her attention to accurate detail in all aspects of her stories, and she never skimps over the parts that are hard to write. Oh no. She NEVER hurries through the difficulties on page. The challenges. The agonizing decisions, the periods of self-doubt and prolonged despair, or any of the painful milestones of personal growth. The readers suffer right along with the characters, just as they also celebrate the many triumphs. Because the characters are completely real. We understand them better perhaps than we know ourselves, whether we like their decisions or not, and we can trust this author 100%, to deliver carefully crafted and totally authentic experiences borne by characters who are unfailingly true to themselves.

But let’s see where all this began. Were there early indications that grand epics and paragons of human perfection such as Jamie and Claire Fraser were lurking about behind Gabaldon’s mischievous, twinkling eyes all these years? Or to use one of her analogies, tumbling around in the rock polisher, buffing themselves into the brilliant gems that emerged?

A Bit of Beauty, Brains, and Bravery


We’ve done some gushing about Diana Gabaldon around here in the past. Wench Merit touched on her early career path and the events that led her to write Outlander in An Unexpected Voyage, and I wrote a little about her inspirations here, plus we’ve described how deeply Outlander has affected us here and here. So I’ll not repeat all that. Okay, maybe just a teensy bit of it. Because I still cannot help but marvel at how such a modest, seemingly random inspiration could have resulted in so many pages of riveting drama!! What kind of mind could forge that broad connection? In what fantasy worlds was she nurtured to make possible such vivid flights of fancy?

Gabaldon visits the Clark Dome, built by her
great-grandfather, near Flagstaff, Arizona.
Gabaldon is a lifelong Arizonan, and as luck would have it, I once lived there and moved away right about the time she would have been finishing Outlander and setting out on book signing tours where I would have discovered her. So I completely missed out then and have had a lot of catching up to do. But on her Facebook page, she posts photos and entertaining tidbits about local sites she visits. Unbeknownst to her, she’s my living, breathing window into a landscape I once roamed, who continues to heighten my appreciation for the places I was drawn to when I lived there. 

Her family’s lengthy tenure in the state informs some posts about obscure or less popular places that I particularly enjoy catching up on. Her great-grandfather Stanley Sykes built some of the domes where telescopes are housed at the Lowell Observatory that I used to visit outside Flagstaff, including the oldest, Clark Dome, 117 years ago. And she still maintains an old family home in one of my favorite spots, which is uncommonly rich in visually, historically, and scientifically appealing sites―it’s gorgeous and endlessly fascinating. She periodically retreats there to enjoy uninterrupted writing time and take more beautiful photos for me to enjoy. Which I really appreciate, because I used to absolutely love camping and hiking around that area and never have the opportunity to get back there.

Besides inspiring her love of keeping me up to date on Arizona’s natural wonders nowadays, a childhood surrounded by accomplished folks of varied interests probably fostered her ravenous appetite for absorbing details about every conceivable aspect of countless subjects. And though she knew she was a natural-born story teller early on, she became a scientist because she was practical about earning a living. Her natural abilities at tracking facts and figures led her into research, and she became a self-taught expert in the field of scientific computation, locating, organizing, and analyzing data from all over the world.

Which might have led to some transformative discovery of irreplaceable value to civilization as we know it, had she remained on that course. But sadly, my path would then never have intersected with hers amidst the book aisles, and I wouldn’t be here today telling you how much I love her! So I’ve made my peace with the sacrifice required by the scientific community for me to get my Claire and Jamie fix, and try not to lose much sleep over it.... :-)

Source


What could have possibly lured her away from all that scintillating data she had to keep Herself busy? I like to think her literary Muse got bored with the number crunching and demanded a piece of the action. So the perennially industrious Gabaldon decided to write a “practice” book. In addition to working, and also raising children, and generally caring for her family. (Did I mention yet how I much I envy her high-octane metabolism?!? Because it usually exhausts me just thinking about what she must get done in a day!!)

I can’t imagine finding “spare” time to perform the mountains of research required to create Outlander from the ground floor up, so to speak, much less WRITE it!! But she never seems to do anything partway—she always seems to give it her all! Her “practice” got published and became an international best seller (now published in 34 countries and 31 languages), so she courageously set free her Muse to tell stories full time. With full access to her toolbox of sharply honed scientific skills that I think are invaluable to her creative process: careful observation, attention to detail, and recognition of an essential interconnectivity that binds all molecules within the vast web of life. To spin via prose a tale of tumultuous times and lives richly lived and loved. To which I and millions of other readers are completely addicted. In case I didn’t mention that yet.

A Touch of Magic


I suppose many people know how to research and retain details. As she said in a recent interview, “you shouldn’t write what you don’t know—but you can find out anything you need to know.” But I research and document details every day for my job, and believe me, there’s a potent alchemy that occurs during Gabaldon’s writing process that transforms it into art. Years of working as a field ecologist taught her to observe the details around her and notice how they fit together. But simply replicating the world she sees around her in text form would not be particularly moving, and I certainly would not be gushing about it. Gabaldon’s fabulous mind possesses the one thing no one else has: the unique layers of imagination through which these details percolated in order to be distilled and reformed into Outlander

Source
She has the ability to create meticulously detailed worlds that move us deeply, down to the individual verbal brushstrokes, practically from scratch, based entirely on extensive, exhaustive research, her powers of observation, and her understanding of human nature. She assembles the many disparate facts she has accumulated in reassuringly familiar yet often surprising ways. Just like she did with scientific data in her academic job. She combines scientific and artistic integrity to render her world and her characters as realistically as possible. As she explained in the same interview, “I do write honest books, so far as it lies in my power to do so. People recognize reality (in terms of character and situation and emotion) when they see it, and it’s natural for them to empathize with people they see as real... I don’t plot a story and insert characters; the story exists because these particular people have needs and desires and motivations, and finding themselves in a particular situation, act upon them.”

One aspect of her genius that adds a richness of authenticity and color to the worlds she creates—the ability to ask the right questions, to ferret out the juicy tidbits and deduce improbable patterns in how seemingly dissimilar properties might work together. And she asks those questions every chance she gets. While visiting Fort Ticonderoga, she took full advantage of the guides dressed in period attire to slake her curiosity. Were those homespun wool pants as scratchy and uncomfortable as they looked? Why, yes they were. Did our ancestors wear bloomers underneath them? Well, no they didn’t. Then however did they protect their tender bottoms from irritation? Very long, cotton shirttails. See what I mean about asking the questions that others might not think of? But what historical novel worth its salt would skimp on the very details that are so much a part of daily routine we rarely stop to think about them?

Plus a Big Heart and a Friendly Smile


Gabaldon is such a funny, down-to-earth, and charming person, it’s easy to forget she’s brilliant. There’s no artifice, just her, and her unrelenting energy and enthusiasm, and her very high standards for literary quality. She seems to have been that way all her life. She reminisced (in the same interview, which is chock full of goodies) about the frustrations of being a discriminating young reader: “I do remember turning up on the first day of kindergarten, flipping critically through DICK AND JANE and dropping it, remarking, ‘That’s a stupid book. Is there anything else to read?’” I love a smart woman who speaks her mind! Reminds me a lot of Claire Fraser!!

When Gabaldon attended a tree-planting event at Castle Leod,
Strathpeffer, Scotland, she found this tree planted by
Mary of Guise, Mary Queen of Scots’ mother.
 
Despite having what seem like a million irons in the fire, Gabaldon attends a fair number of writing workshops, professional conferences, and book signings each year. She donates her time and talents to numerous worthy causes and people in need. She helps fellow writers, both aspiring and accomplished. She has grown over the years to love Scotland as she has researched her books, and maintains close ties with fan and community groups there, in support of causes for protecting the heritage and natural beauty of the areas we’ve all fallen in love with in her books.

She is very active with fans online. In addition to her own blogsite, Gabaldon has communicated through the same CompuServe forum for years. She often responds to comments from fans and answers their questions. I was speechless the first time I saw her show up in a thread about a new short story that had just been published, to explain some of the details. And I see her popping up in all sorts of other places, too.

She often posts daily via Facebook and Twitter (Writer_DG) accounts, and she schedules a few speaking engagements and book signings all along. She might not have a lot of time for face-to-face fan events while she’s writing, but whenever she appears, her audience gets her undivided attention. She never gives anything less than 100% of her effort! She recently spoke at Northern Virginia Community College in Fairfax, Virginia, where fans lined up for hours with books for her to sign. (And remember, these were fans who have been waiting like four years for the next Outlander book, so they had to be a little conflicted about her sitting around gabbing with the public while there’s a book to write!!) She stayed into the wee hours of the morning, according to the Fairfax County Public Library, “until every last fan left happy.” And if the photos posted on Facebook are any indication, she smiled the entire time!

So many successful authors seem to lose interest in their characters and their readers, or find a way to mass produce books with a cookie-cutter formula on an assembly line. But Gabaldon never seems to lose sight of her deep investment in her stories, or the investment her faithful readers have made, or their unflagging patience in waiting the long years between books.

Book 8 has a cover!!
And fans learn what an
octothorpe is.
Yet while we wait, she never stops entertaining or educating us. She shares her newest discoveries, snippets from future stories, and news from her worldwide fan community. She reveals previously obscured nooks and crannies of the Outlander world with new short stories that introduce intriguing twists for her characters. She even promises to expand her witty essay on writing good sex scenes. As we wonder what life has in store next for Jamie and Claire, she inspires us by sharing her own full life, with joy and flair.

I love Diana Gabaldon because she’s exactly the kind of writer I wish I could be, if I didn’t hate math (which nixed a detour into scientific interests) and my mind didn’t leak details like a sieve. She uses her singular blend of scientific observation and artistic wizardry to create the stories I have always wanted to read. She broadens my horizons with her personal observations on the myriad wonders of life. And she gives me a long-term goal, to which I can rededicate myself every morning as I greet the new dawn: living long enough to read the end of the incomparable Outlander series!! 



*   Nod to Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
** Photos from Diana Gabaldon’s Facebook page unless otherwise noted.


Comments

  1. What a wonderful post Kathi! Diana Gabaldon is an amazing woman and a brilliant writer, I love her! And I just love how she really cares about her characters.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Beta. I'm glad you've fallen in love with her books as much as I have. I'll always treasure my memories of those angst-ridden weeks when you were reading the first three books. (It'll be alright. I promise. Just keep reading....) I am glad I got to share those with you and I look forward to sharing the rest of Claire and Jamie's adventures together...and anything and everything Diana Gabaldon writes!

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  2. Awesome post for an awesome woman and writer! I love your post Kathi, which is probably no surprise... DG cares about her characters, she also cares about her fans. When I finished Outlander, I couldn't help myself and wrote an email to Ms Gabaldon, conveying my feelings about the book. I received a very lovely reply in a very short time. Yes I am a devoted fan.

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    1. Aww, it never occurred to me to write her! I guess I wrote this instead of a letter... I'm not surprised she replied, because she is charming and gracious, but I don't know how she finds the time to interact personally with so many fans. Just one more thing I admire about her! I will always thank you for gushing over these books so much that I had to check them out and discover her!!

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  3. Kathi, what a brilliant post! You said everything so much more elequently that I could have, although I'm just as big a fan, lady! LOL

    I was just reading something she said a few years ago that I'd like to share:

    "She talked about a tea she attended where the ladies were discussing how evil Jack Randall was, and Diana grinned at us, her current crowd of apt listeners. She took on a delightful grin and said she enjoyed the conversation, but was surprised at one thing. Didn’t the ladies know that she was Jack Randall? He had come from inside her?"

    Is there any wonder why we love her so much?

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    1. Of course, Donna, you are at least as big a fan!! And a more attentive one, who discovered her before her books had been out for 20 years already! You might have been the first Wench to become a fan, but you kind of kept her to yourself for a while, or maybe it was Jamie you were keeping to yourself, naughty Wench! You were much classier and more dignified in your admiration of Diana Gabaldon, at least by the time I got around to finding the books and raving about them nonstop. I look forward very much to reading that post you're planning to write!

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  4. I can feel your awe for Diana in this post, Kathi, and it makes me feel amazed by her too...and I haven't even read her books yet! How many books total will there be in the Outlander series? It's amazing how long the series has been out, and it still has such a huge following after all this time!

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    1. I can't believe I got through an entire post without mentioning that there are 7 books so far. Book 8 is due out at the end of the year (fingers crossed), and she has said there will be one more book after that. As for a huge following...once you start, you're hooked. And since the story isn't over yet, and new people keep discovering the books, there are getting to be quite a few of us (im)patiently awaiting that next book. I remember one of the other Wenches once saying that she couldn't imagine how there would be enough story to fill up so many books, but there's all that and more! She's a terrific author, and I hope you get some time to check out the books one of these days.

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  5. Excellent post! I enjoyed it very much. DIana is really an amazing woman in so many ways.

    Check out my blog, Outlandish Observations, for the latest news and information about Diana Gabaldon's books.

    Karen

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    1. Oh Dear Karen, Kathi and me are following your wonderful blog for quite some time, your blog is amazing and beautiful. Thank you.

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    2. I absolutely love your blog, Karen, and follow it daily!

      I am deeply honored that you enjoyed and reposted our tribute to Diana. I have learned much about her from your site and am grateful for all you do to connect her with her fans!! Thank you!!

      And I love your Friday Fun Facts posts!

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  6. I was about 15 years late into the series. Thanks for saying what I was I was thinking. I found Outlander at the library. In a reading rut I was perusing the paperbacks when it practically jumped off the shelf at me.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed my ramblings! It's really hard for me to be silent about Diana and her books...but you seem to understand that!

      I wish her book had called me from across the aisles. I kept getting sidetracked by books on dealing with potty training and disgruntled teens and everything in between… I honestly have no idea how I missed Outlander for so long, except that I took a very long break from reading fiction. And the wonderful thing is that her books give me the best of both worlds; they teach so much “real life” even though they are fiction.

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  7. What a lovely tribute! Every time I read a new book - or reread the books - I love falling in love with the characters all over again :-)

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    1. Thank you, Deniz! I am so glad that you enjoyed it. She’s kind of perfect and awe inspiring, and a bit intimidating to try to write a proper tribute for!! I think you know what I mean, as you seem to love her books as much as I do. Her characters are like family to me, and I miss them greatly when I’m away very long. Enjoy your rereads!!

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  8. Kathi, what a fantastic post. I could tell from your words how much you have loved this series and the work of Diana Gabaldon.

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    1. Thanks, Ange! This is "my GoT", I guess, from your perspective. (Though those books are fabulous too.) We can compare Jamie/Jaime notes all along, as I read more GoT and you read more Outlander! :-)

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  9. What amazes me (as a writer) is her ability to write out of order...scenes here and there. Because there is such a unique thread from book to book and character to character. Old story lines and characters pop up as though she'd planned far ahead, and she says she doesn't. I believe she has a uniquely wired brain. Also, as a writer, it would be dangerous to compare my writing to hers. The rest of us just muddle on --for me plotting ahead and writing down every detail I can't recall otherwise. She is a fascinating person, for sure.

    I almost envy someone who will read Outlander this year for the first time!
    great post. Thanks!

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    1. Oh, I totally agree, Debra! I was amazed at that when I first read about her writing method. I was watching a video she posted yesterday about her writing method, and I find it absolutely fascinating. I’m in complete awe of her brain wiring!! I envy that she has a scientific mind and yet also the mind of a poet, who can craft such deeply emotional books and characters. That seems to me to be a rare blend of talents. Yep, many of us writers just muddle along!! (I don’t write books, in part because I am too lazy, and in part because I am intimidated by the thought of trying to keep all the characters and plot lines straight.) And I completely agree about envying people who are reading it for the first time! I almost wish I could wipe my brain and start over…but I don’t know if I’d survive the rollercoaster ride of those first books again!!

      I am so glad you enjoyed this post! Thank you so much.

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  10. Wonderful tribute to Diana Gabaldon and her literary works. I got lucky and found Outlander early on and have been swept up in the Jamie/Claire tidal wave with you. Willingly and happily I should add and patiently waiting for #8 and the STARZ series in 2014. Linda L in Tennessee

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    1. Hi, Linda! Thank you! In a way, I wish I had found Outlander earlier, but in another way I’m glad there were already 7 books out. Just waiting for book 8 has been painful enough for me. I have sort of a love/hate relationship with her daily lines teasers—I don’t want to spoil much, but I need my fix! I had tried not to be excited about the TV series, because of course no mere mortal man could be Jamie Fraser to me. And then I watched Sam Heughan’s showreel and fell in love, at precisely 1:51 when a battered, chiseled pilot’s face suddenly had major JAMMF potential!!! CAN. NOT. WAIT!!! Anxiously awaiting further casting news (like Claire...AACK!!), but so far they seem to be doing a fabulous job with it!!

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  11. This is the BEST write up on my favorite author (Diana Gabaldon) I have EVER read!!! I'm not very good at putting my thoughts to words.. but this say's it ALL!!!!
    Wonderful job! Can I print this??? Love it!!

    Thank you!!
    A die hard FAN of Diana Gabaldon! (if she wrote a note on toilet paper.. I would read it) hehe

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    1. What a marvelous compliment, as I know Herself has inspired many great posts from many fans! It took me a long time to write, because I am so completely awed by her and had a hard time corralling my disorganized sqeeeeeeeee thoughts into something comprehensible. ;-) Thank you very much. I love to hear from other fans who are as enamored of her as I am! I have never actually tried to print a blog post before, but as long as the SWBC gets credit, I certainly don’t mind. In fact, I’m honored.

      Ha ha, and I totally agree, I’d read absolutely anything she writes! Even on toilet paper!

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  12. What a fantastic post! I was a part of a group of people that were at the Fairfax signing until the end. We were the very last people through the line at about 2 AM I think. It was a LONG day. But she was still signing and taking pictures until everyone got through the line.

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    1. Oh, that looked like such a fun event. I was reading about it that same evening, seeing status updates and photos on Facebook, and I’m glad you were able to attend. I hope I can meet her one day, too. And I would probably stand at the end of the line hoping to chat with her a little, but that strategy might not work at 2 AM. :-) Actually, one of her daughters lives relatively close to me. I ran some errands one day last fall and came home to find photos of her posted on FB from the exact same area I had just been. I about passed out from shock—we were so close, how did I not detect her unique energy in the air?! She was posting photos again recently, when she was in town for her daughter’s wedding, but alas, I was away on vacation and could not go lurking around hoping for a sighting... Thank you, and I'm glad you enjoyed the booksigning and this post!

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  13. Truly spectacular post about a truly spectacular woman/author/person. I read the first three books in 1994 after a patron at the library at which I work said, "if you like science fiction, you should read Outlander. It's sort of science fiction/time travel...." I checked it out, read several pages, let it languish a bit, almost returned it unread, then read several pages more a couple of weeks later. I forget what exactly hooked me, but once hooked, that was it. I couldn't read the next two quickly enough. Then I waited....for Drums. I have endured the agonizing waits between books ever since. Oddly, I only just two months ago decided to read them again as I wait for MOBY and the TV series. I can't believe how much I've forgotten! It's like a virgin read, really, and I'm LOVING it! I'm halfway through Drums right now. The last two books are, of course, fresher in my mind, so things will become more familiar as I progress, but these first four are so stunningly good! I just got my cousin in Italy to buy the Italian Kindle version. She has a broken leg and is laid up for the next 45 days with LOTS of time to read. What better to read than "La Straniera" (The Stranger - the Italian title for Outlander)? I can't wait to hear what she thinks in a couple of days. As for Diana as a person - she IS amazing! I first communicated with her back in the good old Compuserve days. She was a sysop (moderator) of the Literary Forum. I was a sysop for the Health & Fitness forum. I saw a reference in one of her books to the fact that she was on Compuserve, so sought her out. I was pleasantly surprised (more like shocked) when she actually responded to my queries about how she came up with the idea for the book, her writing process, etc. This was all before the Companion, so it was new info to me. I couldn't believe a celebrated author was actually talking to ME! In the ensuing years, I have had the distinct pleasure of communicating with her on Twitter and FB. Her accessibility is astonishingly refreshing and delightful. She is so willing to give advice to aspiring authors that it endears her to her fans even more. Like you, I WISH I could write like her! I am a detail nut, and a math nerd, so I share some of her traits. It "should" be easier for me, right? But it's so not... I want more than anything to write a book with characters as compelling as hers, with a world as real as the one she has created. I am so tired of the formulaic writings of wildly popular authors. While I enjoyed their the first two or three books, maybe even six or seven, by the notorious nineteenth, I was bored out of my skull. But not Diana's books... each book adds a new dimension to the lives of the characters and I can't wait to see where the next installment takes them, and us! She is one-in-a-million!

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    1. Sorry it took me so long to respond, Gina. I think I passed out from the sheer joy of such a long comment from someone who obviously loves to gush about Diana Gabaldon as much as I do!! Thank you, thank you!!! I envy your long association with her—that is your reward for suffering the long wait between each book! I haven't worked up my courage enough to get past the lurker stage on most of the social media accounts she frequents. (I ALMOST tweeted my second tweet ever when Sam Heughan got cast for the TV show. Her conversations with him are so much fun. I'm sure I'll get sucked in soon, and there goes another big chunk of my free time.) I just watched a youtube interview where she describes her writing method (it's a couple of years old, so you've probably already seen it), and she gave the best description of actually writing a story I've ever heard. She actually SEES what she's writing. Sometimes bit by bit, she doesn't even know who the characters are and where the scene is set yet until she realizes what little props and visual clues she is seeing. Amazing. I am even more in awe of her if that is possible!! And as for other authors, I have discovered in these few years since I met the Wenches that it's the interconnections and complexly woven storylines and details and emotions and characters that really resonate with me. Diana Gabaldon is the best author I've read in that regard, but I admire a few others who are very good at telling stories with sufficient complexity and emotional depth for me. I absolutely hate most of—there are exceptions—the formulaic books, many of the ones where they bond instantly at first sight, and always the ones where they get together on the very last page. I want a real relationship. I want to see them BE together. I've read no other author who can render in words a lifetime of committed love and adventure shared the way Gabaldon has! And I'm still riveted, this many thousands of pages into the story. And to find out she's such an extraordinary person as well as author, really, I'm just in awe!!

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