The Outlandish Companion: In Which Much Is Revealed Regarding Claire and Jamie Fraser, Their Lives and Times, Antecedents, Adventures, Companions, and Progeny, with Learned Commentary (and Many Footnotes) by their Humble Creator

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captured the hearts of millions with her critically acclaimed novels, Outlander. Dragonfly In Amber, Voyager, and Drums Of Autumn. From the moment Claire Randall accidentally steps through a magical stone that transports her back in time more than 200 years to 1743, and into the arms of Scottish soldier Jamie Fraser, readers have been enthralled with this epic saga of time travel, adventure, and love everlasting.

Now Diana ...

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The Outlandish Companion: In Which Much Is Revealed Regarding Claire and Jamie Fraser, Their Lives and Times, Antecedents, Adventures, Companions, and Progeny, with Learned Commentary (and Many Footnotes) by their Humble Creator

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captured the hearts of millions with her critically acclaimed novels, Outlander. Dragonfly In Amber, Voyager, and Drums Of Autumn. From the moment Claire Randall accidentally steps through a magical stone that transports her back in time more than 200 years to 1743, and into the arms of Scottish soldier Jamie Fraser, readers have been enthralled with this epic saga of time travel, adventure, and love everlasting.

Now Diana Gabaldon has written the ultimate companion guide to her bestselling series, the book only she could write - a beautifully illustrated compendium of all things Outlandish. As a special bonus for those who are eagerly awaiting the next appearance of Jamie and Claire, she includes never - before - published excerpts from upcoming works in the series. And there's lots more in this lavish keepsake volume for the many devoted fans who yearn to learn the stories behind the stories:

• Full synopses of Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn
• A complete listing of the characters in all four novels, including extensively researched family trees and genealogical notes
• Professionally cast horoscopes for Jamie and Claire
• A comprehensive glossary and pronunciation guide to Gaelic terms and usage
• The fully explicated Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel
• Frequently asked questions to the author and her (sometimes surprising) answers
• An annotated bibliography
• Tips, personal stories - even a recipe or two
• Essays about medicine and magic in the eighteenth century, researching historical fiction, and more

With the insight, humor, and eye for detail that has made her novels such an outstanding success story. Diana Gabaldon here gives her readers the best gift of all—The Outlandish Companion.

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Editorial Reviews

Daily News (Los Angeles)
Gabaldon is a born storyteller.
Library Journal
Not an outlandish idea: the novelist herself offers a guide to her celebrated "Outlander" series.
Daily News (Los Angeles)
Gabaldon is a born storyteller.
Kirkus Reviews
As with the guides to the Hobbit tetralogy and the fiction of Stephen King, Gabaldon offers a companion volume to her Outlander Series•s four time-travel historical romances, Drums of Autumn (1997), etc., in which she tells us •much is revealed regarding Claire and Jamie Fraser, their lives and times, antecedents, adventures, companions and progeny, with learned commentary (and many footnotes) by their humble creator.• She also provides full synopses of the four novels and includes excerpts of forthcoming books in the Claire and Jamie Fraser series. Listed, too, are all the novels• characters, their origins and family trees, horoscopes, and sketches of clan badges and shields, along with genealogical notes. For non-Gaelic readers, Gabaldon assembles a glossary and pronunciation primer. Additionally, she supplies details on her research, E-mail excerpts, notes on herbal medicine, illustrations, and recipes, plus a huge bibliography. Gabaldon fans who have followed the story of British Red Cross nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall will welcome this act of buoyant hubris by a vividly entertaining author whose later installments have turned into baggy-pants behemoths of 900 pages. (Literary Guild featured alternate selection)
From the Publisher
With the insight, humor, and eye for detail that has made her novels such an outstanding success story, Diana Gabaldon here gives her readers the best gift of all — The Outlandish Companion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385324137
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/30/1999
  • Series: Outlander Series
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 849
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Diana  Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon is the New York Times bestselling author of Lord John and the Private Matter and the wildly popular Outlander novels. She won a 2006 Quill Award for her most recent Outlander novel, A Breath of Snow and Ashes.

Biography

To millions of fans, Diana Gabaldon is the creator of a complex, original, and utterly compelling amalgam of 18th-century romantic adventure and 20th-century science fiction. To the publishing industry, she's a grassroots-marketing phenomenon. And to would-be writers everywhere who worry that they don't have the time or expertise to do what they love, Gabaldon is nothing short of an inspiration.

Gabaldon wrote her first novel while juggling the demands of motherhood and career: in between her job as an ecology professor, she also had a part-time gig writing freelance software reviews. Gabaldon had never written fiction before, and didn't intend to publish this first novel, which she decided to call Outlander. This, she decided, would be her "practice novel". Worried that she might not be able to pull a plot and characters out of thin air, she settled on a historical novel because "it's easier to look things up than to make them up entirely."

The impulse to set her novel in 18th-century Scotland didn't stem -- as some fans have assumed—from a desire to explore her own familial roots (in fact, Gabaldon isn't even Scottish). Rather, it came from watching an episode of the British sci-fi series Dr. Who and becoming smitten with a handsome time traveler in a kilt. A time-travel element crept into Gabaldon's own book only after she realized her wisecracking female lead couldn't have come from anywhere but the 20th century. The resulting love affair between an intelligent, mature, sexually experienced woman and a charismatic, brave, virginal young man turned the conventions of historical romance upside-down.

Gabaldon has said her books were hard to market at first because they were impossible to categorize neatly. Were they historical romances? Sci-fi adventure stories? Literary fiction? Whatever their genre (Gabaldon eventually proffered the term "historical fantasias"), they eventually found their audience, and it turned out to be a staggeringly huge one.

Even before the publication of Outlander, Gabaldon had an online community of friends who'd read excerpts and were waiting eagerly for more. (In fact, her cohorts at the CompuServe Literary Forum helped hook her up with an agent.) Once the book was released, word kept spreading, both on the Internet and off, and Gabaldon kept writing sequels. (When her fourth book, "Drums of Autumn," was released, it debuted at No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, and her publisher, Delacorte, raced to add more copies to their initial print run of 155,000.)

With her books consistently topping the bestseller lists, it's apparent that Gabaldon's appeal lies partly in her ability to bulldoze the formulaic conventions of popular fiction. Salon writer Gavin McNett noted approvingly, "She simply doesn't pay attention to genre or precedent, and doesn't seem to care that identifying with Claire puts women in the role of the mysterious stranger, with Jamie -- no wimp in any regard -- as the romantic 'heroine."'

In between Outlander novels, Gabaldon also writes historical mysteries featuring Lord John Grey, a popular, if minor, character from the series, and is working on a contemporary mystery series. Meanwhile, the author's formidable fan base keeps growing, as evidenced by the expanding list of Gabaldon chat rooms, mailing lists, fan clubs and web sites -- some of them complete with fetching photos of red-haired lads in kilts.

Good To Know

Outlander may have been Gabaldon's first novel, but she was already a published writer. Her credits included scholarly articles, political speeches, radio ads, computer manuals and Walt Disney comic books.

Gabaldon gets 30 to 40 e-mails a day from her fans, who often meet online to discuss her work. "I got one letter from a woman who had been studying my book jacket photos (with a magnifying glass, evidently), who demanded to know why there was a hole in my pants," wrote Gabaldon on her web site. "This strikes me as a highly metaphysical question, which I am not equipped to answer, but which will doubtless entertain some chat-groups for quite a long time."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Diana Jean Gabaldon (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Flagstaff, Arizona
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 11, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Flagstaff, Arizona
    1. Education:
      B.S., Northern Arizona University, 1973; M.S., Scripps Oceanographic Institute; Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 1979
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Well, it was all an accident, is what it was. I wasn't trying to be published; I wasn't even going to show it to anyone. I just wanted to write a book--any kind of book.

Not actually any kind of book. Fiction. See, I'm a storyteller. I can't take any particular credit for this--I was born that way. When my sister and I were very young and shared a bedroom, we stayed up far into the night, nearly every night, telling enormous, convoluted, continuing stories, with casts of thousands (like I said, I was born with this).

Still, even though I knew I was a storyteller from an early age, I didn't know quite what to do about it. Writing fiction is not a clearly marked career path, after all. It's not like law, where you do go to school for X years, pass an exam, and bing! you can charge people two hundred dollars an hour to listen to your expert opinions (my sister's a lawyer). Writers mostly make it up as they go along, and there is no guarantee that if you do certain things, you will get published. Still less is there any guarantee that you'll make a living at it.

Now, I come from a very conservative background (morally and financially, not politically). My parents would take my sister and me out for dinner now and then, and while waiting for the food to be served, would point out the oldest, most harried looking waitress in the place, saying sternly, "Be sure you get a good education, so you don't have to do that when you're fifty!"

With this sort of nudging going on at home, it's no wonder that I didn't announce that I was moving to London to become a novelist right after high school. Instead, I got a B.S. in zoology, an M.S. in marine biology, a Ph.D. in ecology, and a nice job as a research professor at a large university, complete with fringe benefits, pension plans, etc. The only trouble was that I still wanted to write novels.

Now, I have had rather a varied scientific career, featuring such highlights as the postdoctoral appointment where I was paid to butcher seabirds (I can reduce a full-grown gannet to its component parts in only three hours. Oddly enough, I have yet to find another job requiring this skill), or the job where I tortured boxfish and got interrogated by the FBI (they didn't care about the civil rights of the boxfish; it was the Russian exchange scientist grinding up clams in my laboratory they were after). At the time when my desire to write novels resurfaced, though, I was working at Arizona State University, writing Fortran programs to analyze the contents of bird gizzards.

This was really an accident; I was supposed to be developing a research program dealing with nesting behavior in colonially breeding birds. However, I was the only person in my research center who had (and I quote the director) "a background in computers." At the time, said "background" amounted to one Fortran class, which I had taken in the College of Business in order to keep my husband company. However, as the director logically pointed out, this was 100 percent more computer knowledge than anyone else in the place had. I was therefore drafted to help with the analysis of ten years' worth of avian dietary data, using punch cards, coding sheets, and the university's mainframe computer. (In other words, this was long before the term "Internet" became a household word.)

At the conclusion of eighteen months of labor--which resulted in a gigantic eight-hundred-page coauthored monograph on the dietary habits of the birds of the Colorado River Valley--I said to myself, You know, there are probably only five other people in the entire world who care about bird gizzards. Still, if they knew about these programs I've written, it would save each one of those five people eighteen months of effort. That's about seven and a half years of wasted work. Why is there no way for me to find those five people and share these programs with them?

The net result of this rhetorical question was a scholarly journal called Science Software, which I founded, edited, and wrote most of for several years.1 A secondary result was that when my husband quit his job to start his own business and we needed more money, I was in a position to seek freelance writing work with the computer press.

I sent a query letter to the editors of Byte, InfoWorld, PC, and several other large computer magazines, enclosing both a recent copy of Science Software and a copy of a Walt Disney comic book I had written.2 The query said roughly, "As you can see from the enclosed, you'll never find anyone better qualified to review scientific and technical software--and at the same time, capable of appealing to a wide popular audience."

By good fortune, the microcomputer revolution had just bloomed, to the point where there actually was a fair amount of scientific and technical software on the market. And as one of perhaps a dozen "experts" in the newly invented field of scientific computation (it's really pretty easy to be an expert, when there are only twelve people in the world who do what you do), I got immediate assignments. It was in the course of one of these that a software vendor sent me a trial membership to CompuServe, for the purpose of mentioning a support forum the vendor maintained for the software I was reviewing.

I spent half an hour checking out the software support forum, and then--finding myself with several hours of free connect time in hand--set out to see what else might be available in this fascinating new online world. This being the mid-1980s, there was not nearly so much online as there is today (there was no World Wide Web; only the subscription services, such as CompuServe, Genie, and Prodigy. America Online didn't even exist yet). Still, among the resources available then (on CompuServe) was a group called the Literary Forum.

This was a fascinating group of individuals who all liked books. That was the only common denominator; the group included people of every conceivable background and profession--among them, a few published writers, a good many aspiring writers, and a great many nonwriters who simply liked to discuss books and writing. Finding this congenial gathering to be the ideal social life for a busy person with small children--something like a twenty-four-hour electronic cocktail party--I promptly signed up with CompuServe, and began logging on to the Literary Forum several times a day, to read and exchange posted messages with the kindred spirits there.

At this point in my life, I had a full-time job with the university, I was writing part-time for the computer press, and I had three children, ages six, four, and two. I'm not sure quite why I thought this was the ideal time to begin writing my long-intended novel--mania induced by sleep deprivation, perhaps--but I did.

I didn't intend to show this putative novel to anyone. It wasn't for publication; it was for practice. I had come to the conclusion--based on experience--that the only real way of learning to write a novel was probably to write a novel. That's how I learned to write scientific articles, comic books, and softvare reviews, after all. Why should a novel be different?

If I didn't mean to show it to anyone, it wouldn't matter whether what I wrote was bad or not, so I needn't feel self-conscious in the process of writing it; I could just concentrate on the writing. And, if it was just for practice, I needn't worry too much about what kind of novel it was. I made only two rules for myself: One, I would not give up, no matter how bad I thought it was, until I had finished the complete book, and two, I would do my level best in the writing, at all times.

So . . . what kind of novel should this be? Well, I read everything, and lots of it, but perhaps more mysteries than anything else. Fine, I thought, I'd write a mystery.

But then I began to think. Mysteries have plots. I wasn't sure I knew how to do plots. Perhaps I should try something easier for my practice book, then write a mystery when I felt ready for a real book.

Fine. What was the easiest possible kind of book for me to write, for practice? (I didn't see any point in making things difficult for myself.)

After considerable thought, it seemed to me that perhaps a historical novel would be the easiest thing to try. I was a research professor, after all; I had a huge university library available, and I knew how to use it. I thought it seemed a little easier to look things up than to make them up--and if I turned out to have no imagination, I could steal things from the historical record.3

Okay. Fine. Where to set this historical novel? I have no formal background in history; one time or place would do as well as another.

Enter another accident. I rarely watch TV, but at the time I was in the habit of viewing weekly PBS reruns of Doctor Who (a British science-fiction serial), because it gave me just enough time to do my nails. 4 So, while pondering the setting for my hypothetical historical novel, I happened to see one very old episode of Doctor Who featuring a "companion" of the Doctor's--a young Scottish lad named Jamie MacCrimmon, whom the Doctor had picked up in 1745. This character wore a kilt, which I thought rather fetching, and demonstrated--in this particular episode5--a form of pigheaded male gallantry that I've always found endearing: the strong urge on the part of a man to protect a woman, even though he may realize that she's plainly capable of looking after herself.

I was sitting in church the next day, thinking idly about this particular show (no, oddly enough, I don't remember what the sermon was about that day), when I said suddenly to myself, Well, heck. You want to write a book, you need a historical period, and it doesn't matter where or when. The important thing is just to start, somewhere. Okay. Fine. Scotland, eighteenth century.

So I went out to my car after Mass, dug a scrap of paper out from under the front seat, and that's where I began to write Outlander; no outline, no plot, no characters--just a time and a place.

The next stop was plainly the Arizona State University library, where I went the next day. I began my research by typing SCOTLAND HIGHLANDS EIGHTEENTH CENTURY into the card catalog--and one thing led to another.6

I had not the slightest intention of telling my online acquaintances in the Literary Forum what I was up to. I didn't want even the best-intentioned of advice; I wanted simply to figure out how to write a novel, and was convinced that I must do this on my own--I'd never asked anyone how to write a software review or a comic book script, after all, and I didn't want anyone telling me things before I'd worked out for myself what I was doing.

So I didn't say anything. To anybody. I just wrote, a bit every day, in between the other things I was doing, like changing diapers and writing grant proposals.

Some eight months along in this process I found myself one night having an argument with a gentleman in the Literary Forum, about what it felt like to be pregnant.7 He asserted that he knew what this was like; his wife had had three children.

I laughed (electronically) and replied, "Yeah, buster. I've had three children!"

To which his reply was, "So tell me what you think it's like."

Now, among the fragments of the story that I had so far was one short piece in which a woman (Jenny Murray) tells her curious brother (Jamie Fraser) what it feels like to be pregnant. Since this piece seemed to sum up the experience with more eloquence than I could manage in a brief posted message, I told my correspondent that I had a "piece" explaining the phenomenon, and that I'd put it in the Literary Forum Library.8

Most conversations on CompuServe forums are public; that is, posted messages are visible to everyone, unless they've been marked as private (in which case, they're visible only to the participants). Anyone may enter a "thread" (a series of bulletin-board-like messages and replies on a given topic) as they like.9 A number of people had been following the pregnancy argument, and so when I posted my "piece" in the library, they went and read it.

Several of them came back and left messages to me, saying (in effect), "This is great! What is it?"

To which I cleverly replied, "I don't know."

"Well, where's the beginning?" they asked.

"I haven't written that yet," I answered.

"Well . . . put up more of it!" they said.

So I did. Let me explain that I not only don't write with an outline, I don't write in a straight line. I write in bits and pieces, and glue them together, like a jigsaw puzzle. So whenever I had a "piece" that seemed to stand on its own, without too much explanation, I'd post it in the library. And gradually, people began to talk about my pieces, and to ask me about the book that was taking shape. Eventually, they said to me, "You know, this stuff is good, you should try to publish it."

"Yeah, right," I said. "It's just for practice, and I don't even know what kind of book it is." (What with the time travel and the Loch Ness Monster and a few other things, I sort of didn't think it was a historical novel anymore, but I had no idea what it might be instead.) "On the other hand . . . if I wanted to publish it, what should I do?"

"Get an agent" was the prompt response from several published authors with whom I had become friendly. "An agent can get you read much faster than if you submit the manuscript yourself, and if it does sell, an agent can negotiate a much better contract than you can."

"Fine," I said. "How do I find an agent?"

"Well . . ." they said, "you're nowhere near finished with the book, you say, so you have plenty of time. Why don't you just ask around? Find out which agents handle what, who has a good name in the industry, who you should keep away from, and so on."

So I did. I listened to the stories of published authors, I asked questions, and after several months of such casual research, I thought I had found an agent who was a good prospect. His name was Perry Knowlton, and he appeared to be both reputable and well-known in publishing. Still better, he appeared to have no objection either to unorthodox books or to very long books--both of which, it dawned on me, I had.

However, I had no idea how to approach this man. I had heard that he didn't accept unsolicited queries, and he wasn't available online. Still, I was a long way from finished with the book, so I kept asking questions.

I was conversing one day (via posted messages) with an author I knew casually, named John Stith, who writes scientific fiction/mysteries, and asked him if he could tell me about his agent, if he had one.

John replied that he did have representation--Perry Knowlton. "Would you like me to introduce you to him?" John asked. I know you're nearly ready to look for an agent."

Presented with this gracious offer, I swallowed hard, and said weakly, "Er . . . that'd be nice, John. Thanks!"

John then sent a note to Perry, essentially saying that I might be worth looking at. I followed this with my own query, explaining that I had been selling nonfiction (and comic books) for some years, but that now I was writing fiction and I understood that I really needed a good agent. He had been recommended to me by several writers whose opinions I respected; would he be interested in reading excerpts of this rather long novel I had? (I didn't tell him I wasn't finished writing the thing yet; "excerpts" were all I had.)

Perry kindly called and said yes, he'd read my excerpts. I sent him the miscellaneous chunks I had, with a rough synopsis to bind them together10--and he took me on, on the basis of an unfinished first novel.11

At any rate, I went on writing, and six months later finally finished the book. I sent Perry the manuscript, and also mentioned that I would be in New York the next week, for a scientific conference--perhaps I could come by and meet him face-to-face? When I went up to Perry's office, I was rather apprehensive, since I knew that he had by this time read the manuscript--but I didn't know what he thought about it. Perry himself turned out to be a charming gentleman who did his best to put me at my ease, taking me back to his office and chatting about various of his other clients. It was at this point that I discovered that--in addition to those electronic acquaintances from whom I'd learned of him--Perry also represented such eminent writers as Brian Moore, Ayn Rand (granted, she was dead, but still . . . ), Tony Hillerman, Frederick Forsyth, and Robertson Davies.

If these revelations were not enough to unnerve me, he had my manuscript sitting on his desk, in the enormous orange boxes in which I'd mailed it. I was positive that at some point in the conversation he was going to cough apologetically and tell me that having now seen the whole thing, he was afraid that he really didn't think it was salable, and give it back to me.

However, as I was sitting there listening to him (meanwhile thinking, If you have the nerve to call Robertson Davies "Robbie," you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din), he said instead, "You know, the thing about Freddy Forsyth and Robbie Davies is that both those guys are great storytellers." Then he laid a hand on my manuscript, smiled at me, and said, "And you're another one."

At this point, I really didn't care whether we sold the book or not. I felt as though I'd been beatified. As it was, though, I gathered sufficient presence of mind to ask what he planned to do with the book.

"Oh," he said casually, "I'm sending it to five editors today," and proceeded to tell me about the editor who he thought was the best prospect.12

"Really," I said, swallowing. "And . . . er . . . how long do you think it might take to hear back?" I had, like most aspiring writers, read all the publishing information in Writer's Market, and knew it often took six, nine, even twelve months to hear from an editor.

"Oh," Perry said, even more casually, "I've told them I want an answer in thirty days." At this point, I decided that I had probably picked the right agent.

So I went home to wait--as patiently as possible--for thirty days. Four days later, though, I came home to find a message waiting on my answering machine. "This is Perry," said a calm voice. "I've just called to update you on your manuscript."

Uh-oh, I said to myself. One of the five took one look at the box and said, "I'm not reading a ten-pound manuscript, take it back." So I called Perry, expecting to hear this.

Instead, he said, "Well, of the five I sent it to, so far three of them have called back with offers."

"Oh," I said, and paused, feeling as though I'd been hit on the head with a blunt instrument. "Ah. That's . . . uh . . . good. Isn't it?"

Perry assured me that it was. He then negotiated among the various editors for two weeks, emerging at that point with comparable offers from two publishers. Everything else being equal, he said, it came down to a choice of editor--and he recommended that we go with Jackie Cantor, at Delacorte Press. Knowing absolutely nothing about editors, I said, "Okay, fine." Which turned out to be the best choice I ever made--other than choosing my husband and my agent.

I had told Perry when I gave him the book that there seemed to be more to this story, but I thought that perhaps I should stop while I could still lift the manuscript. Being a good agent, Perry emerged with a three-book contract. After that . . . well, after that, things got out of hand, and here we are, eight years later.

So where are we, exactly? As I said above, I don't write with an outline--if I knew what was going to happen, it wouldn't be any fun to write the book, now, would it? However, as I go along, merrily gluing pieces together, I do sometimes get a vague idea as to some events that may take place in the story. So, as I finished Cross Stitch (my working title for what later became Outlander),13 I could see that there was more to the story.

With a three-book contract in hand, I started in on the second book, Dragonfly in Amber. A little over halfway through, though, I began to get this uneasy feeling that perhaps I wouldn't be able to cram the entire American Revolution into one more book, and there would have to be four volumes. I confided this fear to Perry, who said, "Don't tell them that. Not until the first one is on the shelves, anyway."

Fortunately, by the time we decided to reveal the Awful Truth, the first books had come out and sold decency, and the publisher was happy to make us an offer for the fourth (and presumably final) book in the series. Feeling that this was perhaps the only chance I might get to induce someone to pay me to write a mystery, I got bold and said they could have the fourth book if they'd also give me a contract to write a contemporary mystery. Rather to my surprise, they gave me a contract for two mysteries--and the fourth of the Outlander books.

So I set in to write. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote, and after a year and a half of this, I said, I've got a quarter-million words here; why the heck am I not nearly done with this? A little thought revealed the answer; I had (once again) too much story to fit into one book.

Attending a writers' conference at which my editor was also present, I leaned over during the awards banquet and hissed in her ear, "Guess what? There are five of them." To which Jackie, a woman of great presence and equanimity, replied, "Why am I not surprised to hear this?"

Actually, it was worse than I thought. When I removed all the pieces that belonged in the fifth book, I finally realized that what I was looking at was a double trilogy--six books in all. The first three books--Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager--are centered around the Jacobite Rising of 1745. The second three books are centered in a similar way around the American Revolution, which was, in a way, a greatly magnified echo of the earlier conflict that ended at Culloden.

And that leads us in turn to a consideration of just what's going on in these books. Once I realized that I really was a writer, and that I had not one, but a series of books, I had two main intentions.

One was a desire to follow the great social changes of the eighteenth century. This was a time of huge political and social upheaval that saw the transition of the Western world from the last remnants of feudalism into the modern age, in terms of everything from politics and science to art and social custom. The tide of history was changing, flowing from the Old World to the New, borne on the waves of war, and what better way to look at this than through the eyes of a time-traveler?

Now, this is great stuff for the background of a novel, to be sure, but the fact is that good novels are about people. A book that doesn't have an absorbing personal story in the foreground may be good history, or have good ideas--but it won't be good fiction. So what about the personal angle of this story?

The first book was originally marketed as a historical romance because, although the book didn't fit neatly into any genre (and at the same time was certainly not "literary fiction"), of all the markets that it might conceivably appeal to, romance was by far the biggest. However . . .

Other considerations aside, romance novels are courtship stories. They deal with the forming of a bond between a couple, and once that bond is formed, by marriage and sexual congress (in that order, we hope)--well, the story's over. That was never what I had in mind.

I didn't want to tell the story of what makes two people come together, although that's a theme of great power and universality. I wanted to find out what it takes for two people to stay together for fifty years--or more. I wanted to tell not the story of a courtship, but the story of a marriage.

Now, to handle adequately themes like the Age of Enlightenment, the fall of monarchy, and the nature of love and marriage, one requires a certain amount of room. One also requires rather a complex story. People now and then say to me, "But aren't you getting tired of writing about the same old characters?" I certainly would be, if these were the same old characters--but they're not. They grow, and they change. They get older, and their lives become more complex. They develop new depths and facets. While they do--I hope--remain true to their basic personalities, I have to rediscover them with each new book.

And that leads to another question I'm often asked: What is it that people find interesting about the books? For a long time, I replied (honestly), "Beats me," but after years of getting letters and E-mail, I now have some idea of the things readers say they like.

Many of them enjoy the sense of "being there"; the vicarious experience of another place and time. Many like the historical aspects of the books; they enjoy (they say) "learning something" while being entertained. Many like the sense of connection, of rediscovering their own heritage. A good many enjoy the curious details: the botanical medicine, the medical procedures, the how and why of daily life in another time. But by far the most common element that people enjoy in the books is simply the characters--readers care for these people, are interested in them, and want to know more about them.

So, this companion is intended for the readers: a quick reference for those who don't necessarily want to reread a million and a half words in order to refresh their memories as to Who or What; a source of information and (maybe) insight on the characters, a companion for those with an interest in backgrounds and trivia; an auxiliary guide for those with an interest in the eighteenth century and Things Scottish, and finally--a brief glimpse into the working methods of a warped mind.

"True. I have heard the point made, though, that the novelist's skill lies in the artful selection of detail. Do you not suppose that a volume of such length may indicate a lack of discipline in such selection, and hence a lack of skill?"

Fraser considered, sipping the ruby liquid slowly.

"I have seen books where that is the case, to be sure," he said. "An author seeks by sheer inundation of detail to overwhelm the reader into belief. In this case, however, I think it isna so. Each character is most carefully considered, and all the incidents chosen seem necessary to the story. No, I think it is true that some stories simply require a greater space in which to be told."

--Voyager, chapter 11: "The Torremolinos Gambit"

1. The university and I later sold this pub1ication to John Wiley & Sons, Inc., though I continued to serve as editor. It eventually was sold again, to a small British pub1isher, who merged it with an existing publication called Laboratory Microcomputer. Last time I looked, I was still listed as a contributing editor, but that was some time ago.

2. Oh, the comic books. Well, my mother taught me to read at an early age, in part by reading me Walt Disney comics. What with one thing and another, I never stopped. At the age of twenty-eight or so, I was reading one of these, and said to myself, You know, this story is pretty bad. I bet I could do better myself.

I found out the name and address of the editor in charge, and sent him a medium-rude letter, saying in essence, "I've been reading your comic books for twenty-five years, and they're getting worse and worse. I don't know that I could do better myself, but I'd like to try. "

Fortunately the editor--Del Connell--was a gentleman with a sense of humor. He wrote back and said, "Okay. Try. "He didn't buy my first attempt, but did something much more valuab1e; he told me what was wrong with it. He bought my second story--one of the Great Thrills of my life--and I wrote for him and for another Disney editor, Tom Golberg, for some three years, until their backlog ob1iged them to stop purchasing freelance scripts.

Between them, Del and Tom taught me most of what I know about story structure. I acknowledge the debt with great gratitude.

3. This is a really sound technique, by the way.

4. Doctor Who is unfortunately no longer on our local PBS channel, but luckily I can still do my nails on Saturday nights, while watching Mystery Science Theater 3000--which is, in fact, the only TV I do watch on a regular basis. No doubt this explains something, but I couldn't tell you what.

5. It was "War Games, "for those interested in trivia.

6. See "Research".

7. Via posted messages, left bulletin-board style; I've never been in a "chat room" in my life, save as an invited guest for a mass pub1ic interview.

8 "Libraries "are electronic spaces set aside within CompuServe forums for members to post--semipermanently--things they'd like to share: stories, poems, essays, articles, shareware files, etc.

9. Chat rooms and live-time interactions did not exist at the time. CompuServe messages, unlike those of AOL, exist only temporarily, with new messages essentially "pushing" old ones off into the ether.

10. A slightly altered version of this synopsis appears in Part Two.

11. Ignorant as I was at the time, I hadn't realized that agent (and editors) normally want to see a complete manuscript before making a judgment on it--just to be sure that the writer can actually finish the book. Perry, fortunately, was willing to gamb1e that I could.

12. Who, interestingly enough, rejected the manuscript. "It's a great story, "she said, "but it's not really a standard romance novel, and that's what we publish."

13. See "Where Titles Come From (and Other Matters of General Interest)". I just love footnotes, don't you?

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue
Pt. 1 Synopses 1
Pt. 2 Characters 127
Pt. 3 Family Trees 203
Pt. 4 Comprehensive Glossary and Pronunciation Guide 233
Pt. 5 Outlandish Web Sites and Online Venues 255
Pt. 6 Research 267
Pt. 7 Where Titles Come From (and Other Matters of General Interest) 321
Pt. 8 The View from Lallybroch: Objects of Vertue, Objects of Use 339
Pt. 9 Frequently Asked Questions 359
Pt. 10 Controversy 387
Pt. 11 Work in Progress: Excerpts of Future Books 409
Annotated Bibliography 459
App. I: Errata 499
App. II Gaelic (Gaidhlig) Resources 511
App. III Poems and Quotations 521
App. IV Roots: A Brief Primer on Genealogical Research 537
App. V A Brief Discography of Celtic Music 549
App. VI Foreign Editions, Audiotapes, and Strange, Strange Covers 557
App. VII The Methadone List 569
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First Chapter

I had told Perry when I gave him the book that there seemed to be more to this story, but I thought that perhaps I should stop while I could still lift the manuscript. Being a good agent, Perry emerged with a three-book contract. After that . . . well, after that, things got out of hand, and here we are, eight years later.

So where are we, exactly? As I said above, I don't write with an outline--if I knew what was going to happen, it wouldn't be any fun to write the book, now, would it? However, as I go along, merrily gluing pieces together, I do sometimes get a vague idea as to some events that may take place in the story. So, as I finished Cross Stitch (my working title for what later became Outlander),13 I could see that there was more to the story.

With a three-book contract in hand, I started in on the second book, Dragonfly in Amber. A little over halfway through, though, I began to get this uneasy feeling that perhaps I wouldn't be able to cram the entire American Revolution into one more book, and there would have to be four volumes. I confided this fear to Perry, who said, "Don't tell them that. Not until the first one is on the shelves, anyway."

Fortunately, by the time we decided to reveal the Awful Truth, the first books had come out and sold decency, and the publisher was happy to make us an offer for the fourth (and presumably final) book in the series. Feeling that this was perhaps the only chance I might get to induce someone to pay me to write a mystery, I got bold and said they could have the fourth book if they'd also give me a contract to write a contemporary mystery. Rather to my surprise, they gave me acontract for two mysteries--and the fourth of the Outlander books.

So I set in to write. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote, and after a year and a half of this, I said, I've got a quarter-million words here; why the heck am I not nearly done with this? A little thought revealed the answer; I had (once again) too much story to fit into one book.

Attending a writers' conference at which my editor was also present, I leaned over during the awards banquet and hissed in her ear, "Guess what? There are five of them." To which Jackie, a woman of great presence and equanimity, replied, "Why am I not surprised to hear this?"

Actually, it was worse than I thought. When I removed all the pieces that belonged in the fifth book, I finally realized that what I was looking at was a double trilogy--six books in all. The first three books--Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager--are centered around the Jacobite Rising of 1745. The second three books are centered in a similar way around the American Revolution, which was, in a way, a greatly magnified echo of the earlier conflict that ended at Culloden.

And that leads us in turn to a consideration of just what's going on in these books. Once I realized that I really was a writer, and that I had not one, but a series of books, I had two main intentions.

One was a desire to follow the great social changes of the eighteenth century. This was a time of huge political and social upheaval that saw the transition of the Western world from the last remnants of feudalism into the modern age, in terms of everything from politics and science to art and social custom. The tide of history was changing, flowing from the Old World to the New, borne on the waves of war, and what better way to look at this than through the eyes of a time-traveler?

Now, this is great stuff for the background of a novel, to be sure, but the fact is that good novels are about people. A book that doesn't have an absorbing personal story in the foreground may be good history, or have good ideas--but it won't be good fiction. So what about the personal angle of this story?

The first book was originally marketed as a historical romance because, although the book didn't fit neatly into any genre (and at the same time was certainly not "literary fiction"), of all the markets that it might conceivably appeal to, romance was by far the biggest. However . . .

Other considerations aside, romance novels are courtship stories. They deal with the forming of a bond between a couple, and once that bond is formed, by marriage and sexual congress (in that order, we hope)--well, the story's over. That was never what I had in mind.

I didn't want to tell the story of what makes two people come together, although that's a theme of great power and universality. I wanted to find out what it takes for two people to stay together for fifty years--or more. I wanted to tell not the story of a courtship, but the story of a marriage.

Now, to handle adequately themes like the Age of Enlightenment, the fall of monarchy, and the nature of love and marriage, one requires a certain amount of room. One also requires rather a complex story. People now and then say to me, "But aren't you getting tired of writing about the same old characters?" I certainly would be, if these were the same old characters--but they're not. They grow, and they change. They get older, and their lives become more complex. They develop new depths and facets. While they do--I hope--remain true to their basic personalities, I have to rediscover them with each new book.

And that leads to another question I'm often asked: What is it that people find interesting about the books? For a long time, I replied (honestly), "Beats me," but after years of getting letters and E-mail, I now have some idea of the things readers say they like.

Many of them enjoy the sense of "being there"; the vicarious experience of another place and time. Many like the historical aspects of the books; they enjoy (they say) "learning something" while being entertained. Many like the sense of connection, of rediscovering their own heritage. A good many enjoy the curious details: the botanical medicine, the medical procedures, the how and why of daily life in another time. But by far the most common element that people enjoy in the books is simply the characters--readers care for these people, are interested in them, and want to know more about them.

So, this companion is intended for the readers: a quick reference for those who don't necessarily want to reread a million and a half words in order to refresh their memories as to Who or What; a source of information and (maybe) insight on the characters, a companion for those with an interest in backgrounds and trivia; an auxiliary guide for those with an interest in the eighteenth century and Things Scottish, and finally--a brief glimpse into the working methods of a warped mind.

"True. I have heard the point made, though, that the novelist's skill lies in the artful selection of detail. Do you not suppose that a volume of such length may indicate a lack of discipline in such selection, and hence a lack of skill?"

Fraser considered, sipping the ruby liquid slowly.

"I have seen books where that is the case, to be sure," he said. "An author seeks by sheer inundation of detail to overwhelm the reader into belief. In this case, however, I think it isna so. Each character is most carefully considered, and all the incidents chosen seem necessary to the story. No, I think it is true that some stories simply require a greater space in which to be told."

--Voyager, chapter 11: "The Torremolinos Gambit"


1. The university and I later sold this pub1ication to John Wiley & Sons, Inc., though I continued to serve as editor. It eventually was sold again, to a small British pub1isher, who merged it with an existing publication called Laboratory Microcomputer. Last time I looked, I was still listed as a contributing editor, but that was some time ago.

2. Oh, the comic books. Well, my mother taught me to read at an early age, in part by reading me Walt Disney comics. What with one thing and another, I never stopped. At the age of twenty-eight or so, I was reading one of these, and said to myself, You know, this story is pretty bad. I bet I could do better myself.

I found out the name and address of the editor in charge, and sent him a medium-rude letter, saying in essence, "I've been reading your comic books for twenty-five years, and they're getting worse and worse. I don't know that I could do better myself, but I'd like to try. "

Fortunately the editor--Del Connell--was a gentleman with a sense of humor. He wrote back and said, "Okay. Try. "He didn't buy my first attempt, but did something much more valuab1e; he told me what was wrong with it. He bought my second story--one of the Great Thrills of my life--and I wrote for him and for another Disney editor, Tom Golberg, for some three years, until their backlog ob1iged them to stop purchasing freelance scripts.

Between them, Del and Tom taught me most of what I know about story structure. I acknowledge the debt with great gratitude.

3. This is a really sound technique, by the way.

4. Doctor Who is unfortunately no longer on our local PBS channel, but luckily I can still do my nails on Saturday nights, while watching Mystery Science Theater 3000--which is, in fact, the only TV I do watch on a regular basis. No doubt this explains something, but I couldn't tell you what.

5. It was "War Games, "for those interested in trivia.

6. See "Research".

7. Via posted messages, left bulletin-board style; I've never been in a "chat room" in my life, save as an invited guest for a mass pub1ic interview.

8 "Libraries "are electronic spaces set aside within CompuServe forums for members to post--semipermanently--things they'd like to share: stories, poems, essays, articles, shareware files, etc.

9. Chat rooms and live-time interactions did not exist at the time. CompuServe messages, unlike those of AOL, exist only temporarily, with new messages essentially "pushing" old ones off into the ether.

10. A slightly altered version of this synopsis appears in Part Two.

11. Ignorant as I was at the time, I hadn't realized that agent (and editors) normally want to see a complete manuscript before making a judgment on it--just to be sure that the writer can actually finish the book. Perry, fortunately, was willing to gamb1e that I could.

12. Who, interestingly enough, rejected the manuscript. "It's a great story, "she said, "but it's not really a standard romance novel, and that's what we publish."

13. See "Where Titles Come From (and Other Matters of General Interest)". I just love footnotes, don't you?
Read More Show Less

Introduction

New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captured the hearts of millions with her critically acclaimed novels Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn. From the moment Claire Randall accidentally stepped through a magical stone that transported her back in time more than 200 years to 1743, and into the arms of Scottish soldier Jamie Frasier, readers have been enthralled with this epic saga of time travel, adventure, and love everlasting. Now Gabaldon has written the ultimate companion guide to her bestselling series, the book only she could write.
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Interviews & Essays

On Monday, July 19th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Diana Gabaldon to discuss THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION.

Moderator: Good evening, Diana Gabaldon, and welcome to the barnesandnoble.com live Auditorium! We're thrilled you could join us this evening to chat about THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION. How are you this evening?

Diana Gabaldon: Hi! I'm fine -- glad to be here!


Christine from Easton, MA: Are your contemporary mysteries written in the first person, and do all your characters speak to you like Claire and Mother Hildegarde, specifically, characters in stories other than the Outlander series? In addition, is the excerpt you read Friday evening in Worcester available online? Thank you!

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Christine -- Yes, the main narrator of the contemporary mystery (he's a man!) does talk to me, and since it's his voice I hear strongly, the book is in the first person. No, the excerpt from Worcester is a partial one; it's not available online, because the whole piece is too long and might give away too much.


Pat from Washington State: I have read all of your books, and just bought the companion book. When will you release another book? Hopefully, soon!

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Pat -- I hope to finish the first mystery early next year, and hope to finish THE FIERY CROSS (fifth Jamie and Claire novel) late next year -- after that, it's up to the publisher.


Katelyn from Upstate New York: Do you have (is there) the actual "prayer" that Jamie says when he has to kill an animal larger than a hare? I thought it might be in THE COMPANION, but I didn't see it. Just curious... :-)

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Katelyn -- I'm sure Jamie has one, but since he doesn't speak it explicitly in any of the published books, I didn't include it in the "Poems and Quotes" appendix for THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION. THE COMPANION refers only to material from the already published books, not future ones. If he does use lines from the prayer in the next two books (and he may), then we'll print the whole text in the COMPANION, PART II.


Brett from Los Angeles: Is the series in development for a movie or miniseries at the moment?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Brett -- We haven't got that far. We have two (very respectable) production companies interested in doing two-to-three-night miniseries, and I said I'd talk to them. I've just (yesterday) come back from a book tour, so haven't yet talked.


Bob Giampietro from Minneapolis, MN: Sort of a strange question: I was very interested in your books -- all of them. What percentage of your readers are male? It's the faction that I enjoyed the most. Sort of like Jack Finney's model. Thank you!

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Bob -- Thank you! [smile] As to percent male readers -- depends where you are. In Canada, it's about 50/50. In the U.S., it's more like 75 percent female to 25 percent male, because of the way the books were originally marketed. That seems to be shifting, though; on the tour I've just finished, I got many more people coming up to say that their fathers, brothers, or husbands had recommended the books to them, rather than vice versa.


Jack Terryah from jackeffie@yahoo.com: How did you get published....what were your difficulties....pointers would help....how long did it take you for the initial book....how many rewrites....how many cups of coffee...[chuckle] did you use an agent..or...?...did your story line develop as you wrote or did you know where you were going...thanks.

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Jack -- Longish story, but I'll boil it down. I had an agent long before I finished the book -- had done research on agents among published authors I knew online (Compuserve's Literary and Writers Forums), and was eventually introduced to one of the agents I had my eye on, by an online acquaintance who was a client of his. When I finished the novel, the agent sent it immediately to five editors he thought were good prospects; within four days, three of them had called back with offers. [shrug] He negotiated among these, emerged with two offers for three-book contracts, and bing! I was an author; id est, I worked hard and got lucky. Both important, believe me!


Mary Gorman from Amherst, MA: When Claire is trying to persuade Jamie not to kill Jack Randall in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, she asks him to spare him so that Frank, her future husband and Jack's assumed descendant can be born, and she tries to tell him that he owes her a life for her saving his own. Why doesn't she point out the obvious? If there's no Frank, then she won't be in Scotland on a second honeymoon in 1946, and therefore she won't get to go through the stones to meet Jamie in the first place?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Mary -- Well, she's rather upset at the time, and may not be marshaling every logical prospect. Besides, there's nothing to say that she might not have been in Scotland for some other reason -- while there is reason (i.e., Jamie's sense of honor) to base an appeal on a life-for-a-life.


Les from South Africa: If you ever have time to read for pleasure, do you read science fiction? And if you do, who are your favorite sci-fi writers?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Les -- Sure, I read for pleasure all the time! I read everything, including sf/f. Let's see...love Connie Willis, Vonda McIntyre, Laurell Hamilton (she's more horror, but definitely a fantasy twist). Enjoy Mike Stackpole, Owl Goingback...gone blank on names, but there are lots.


Allison the Bold from Canton, NY: I just finished rereading OUTLANDER. Is Murtagh an onion, a mushroom, or a hard nut, and what is the family connection? Jenny and Jamie seem vague about it.

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Allison the Bold -- Murtagh was definitely a mushroom. He's (I think) Brian Fraser's second cousin. I had the relationship figured out and written down while I was doing the COMPANION, but hadn't had occasion to use it, since the family trees didn't go that far. I'll be telling his story (how he fell in love with Ellen and became Jamie's godfather) in the prequel book, though, so we'll elucidate the relationship there, I'm sure.


Sofía Márquez from Spain: Where are men like Jamie Fraser?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Sofía -- Everywhere, I reckon. [smile] You just need to look carefully!


Marilyn from North Carolina: Why did you think a companion to the novels was necessary, and if other novels are going to be upcoming in this series, will a supplement to THE COMPANION be written?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Marilyn -- As I said in the Prologue, everything in THE COMPANION is there because somebody wrote to me and asked for it. After eight years of telling people things over and over and over, I decided maybe the readers as a whole really did want to know these things, so I should go ahead and write them down. There will be two more novels in Jamie and Claire's story, plus a prequel volume (three linked novellas) dealing with Jamie's parents and the 1715 Rising, so I figure that we probably will need a COMPANION, PART II -- I can put the comprehensive index that some readers have asked for in that one!


Mary Gorman from Amherst, MA: In the newspaper clipping that causes Roger and Brianna to go back through the standing stones, it says that Claire and Jamie die in a fire and leave no children. Is this a hint that something is going to happen to Brianna?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Mary -- Well, it might be. Then again, it might not. I can't really tell you things that might or might not happen in future books, because the books aren't written yet -- I don't plan them out ahead of time, so even I don't necessarily know what will happen!


Allison the Bold from Canton, NY: In THE COMPANION, you list Judith Merkle Riley's books on the Methadone list. Have you read them (they are wonderful) or are they ones recommended by others? (I thought perhaps you were one and the same. You both write historical epics, with a wonderful sense of humor and great characters!)

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Allison -- Yes, I've read just about everything on the Methadone List (those books that I haven't read personally are noted) -- I love JMR, too! (And thanks for the compliment!)


Rita from LOL: Hi, Diana. We've debated this in the Reading Group at LOL, and I was wondering if Jamie took an active part in the killing of Murchison at Ardsmuir, and if so, if it was self-defense or some kind of "prisoners justice." Or will this be dealt with in the next books? Thank you!

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Rita -- Well, as Harry Quarry told Lord John (you've been reading HELLFIRE, I gather?), "A man isn't helpless, just because he's in chains." As to what happened, exactly...stay tuned! (Id est, yes, we'll deal with this a bit more in FIERY CROSS.)


Rita from LOL: Hi, Diana. Why is Black Jack buried at St. Kilda and not in Sussex? Or will we find out about it later? Thank you.

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Lady Rita -- You'll find out about it later.


Tara from Bakersfield, CA: Jamie and Claire both have a wonderful sense of humor; which do you think is closer to your own sense of humor?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Tara -- I don't know; they're both me, you know.


Leslie Harris from Johannesburg, South Africa: Hi Ms. Gabaldon, and thanks so much for all the fun reading! If time travel were a real possibility, would you prefer to travel to the future or to the past?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Leslie -- Thank you! I think I'd rather go to the past. More fun to get a "real" perspective on stuff I knew something about, I think. Besides, I sort of feel you need to "earn" the future, by living your way there.


Lisa from Red Springs, NC: Diana, I just found your books about a year ago and have read and loved all of them. I was amazed and thrilled when I read that there are still two more to come. My friend and I are simply stupefied by the amount of information in these books -- how much of information in them did you have at your fingertips through your own knowledge (for instance the medicinal herbs etc.) and how much was out of the research books?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Lisa -- Hard to say; a writer uses stuff from everywhere. For whatever it's worth, I knew absolutely nothing about either Scotland or the 18th century when I began writing OUTLANDER. And as you can see from the bibliography in the COMPANION, I did use an enormous amount of research material.


Jay from Bowling Green, KY: Ms. Gabaldon: When Stephen King was trying to get THE STAND published, his editor insisted that he whittle it down to a manageable size. King subsequently published a second edition with all the original material added back in. Is it possible that you have little snips and bits of Jamie and Claire's story that you haven't published? I'd gladly read all four books again! I've already read and reread them several times waiting on the next installment.

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Jay -- I do have a few snips and bits of leftover text (I call them "orts"), but not really much in the way of big chunks or scenes -- and nothing that I feel should be "put back," as King felt with THE STAND. One of the final things I do to a manuscript is what I call "slash-and-burn," where I go through and remove everything that I think is not indispensable to the book. Fortunately, my editor tends to agree with me, as to what's necessary.


Bob from Minnesota: Diana, Have you ever encountered anyone who has told you they have, in fact, gone backward (or forward) in time? Did you believe them?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Bob -- No, I never have met anyone who's said that to me. I have met a number of people who are convinced they've lived before, but that's something different. Some such people are very convincing, others less so. I tend not to believe the ones who think they were Cleopatra or Queen Elizabeth I.


Lisa from North Carolina: I am curious as to what your connection to Scotland is. Your bio states that you live in Arizona, and I'm just wondering what drew you to write so in depth about this particular area.

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Lisa -- Plain accident. I was looking for a historical period in which to set a practice novel, and chose 18th-century Scotland on a whim (gotta start somewhere, I thought), after seeing a "Dr. Who" rerun on PBS that had a minor Scottish character. The whole story -- with details -- is provided in THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION's Prologue, but is too long to tell here.


Linda from Saratoga Springs, NY: The Saratoga battlefield, located ten miles from my home, has a monument to a revolutionary war hero with last name Fraser. Did you incorporate this fact into any of your upcoming novels where you talk about the Battle of Saratoga?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Linda -- If you mean Simon Fraser, yes. I've walked the Saratoga battlefield two or three times.


Dian from Toronto, ON: Further to Mary's question about the clipping about the fire, do you purposely write things into the novels that will be a challenge to you later to try to write your way out of?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Dian -- Oh, yeah; all the time.


Tina from Texas: In the COMPANION, you mention how a name comes to you and how later on you actually find that name somewhere else. How do you feel about seeing names of your character's sort of coming into real life?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Tina -- Well, it tends to make me feel that I must be on the right track.


Kristy from the Pacific Northwest: I loved all of the parts in VOYAGER with "Jamie's pet Chinaman." Will we see more of him?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Kristy -- I think we might, but I haven't written any such parts as yet. Oh -- one small note -- while "Chinaman" was the customary usage in the 18th century (and therefore we do use that in the books), it's considered highly offensive today.


Nita from Kentucky: If your books were ever developed into a movie or miniseries, who would you like to see play the main characters?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Nita -- [shrug] I don't know. I've never seen any actors who resemble them strongly -- but I don't watch a lot of TV or movies, anyway. It hardly matters; I wouldn't have anything in particular to say regarding casting, if a film version were made.


JoAnne from Augusta, GA: While I realize you don't have to believe in something to write about it, i.e., time travel, do you believe in ghosts?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear JoAnne -- Oh, yes.


Autumn from Dayton, OH: Considering that there is no DNA testing in the 1700s...will we ever know the real identity of Jeremiah's father (Roger or Bonnet)?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Autumn -- Oh, there are other ways than DNA, I assure you. Meaning yes, you'll find out. Eventually.


Linda the Lame from Saratoga Springs, NY: Will you ever write a story about Claire's parents?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Linda -- I haven't any intention of writing about them at the moment; they sort of don't "talk" to me. You never know what might happen in the future, though, so I wouldn't totally rule it out; I just don't think so.


Marilyn from North Carolina: Any thoughts on why your series is so tremendously popular -- besides the obvious fact that they are great reads?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Marilyn -- Well...one reader said she liked them because "your characters are all mentally healthy -- not dysfunctional wimps!" Really, people seem to like all kinds of things about the books, but the principal thing is just that they feel they "know" these characters; they care about them and want to find out how their lives are going on. Beyond that -- some people like the adventure, or the vivid writing that makes them feel part of the setting and story, or the idea that they are "learning something" while being entertained (because of the rich details and factual historical background). Other people like the sex. [cough]


Elise from barnesandnoble.com: What is the worst job you ever had, and why was it so bad?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Elise -- That would probably be the postdoctoral appointment where I butchered seabirds for a living, dried the body tissues, extracted the fats, then incinerated the remains in a 600-degree muffle-furnace. As to why...gannets (the main type of bird I dealt with) eat squid, and have heads like concrete (I used to have to open the skulls with a hammer and chisel to get the brains out). Have you ever smelled the guts of something that eats squid?!?!


Laura from Royal Oak, MI: In DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, "Black Jack" Randall obviously thinks that Jamie was dead. Why? What did he think happened to Jamie when the herd of cows came in?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Laura -- Well, he had been torturing Jamie rather extensively. [cough] I suppose he figured Jamie had died of his injuries -- which, in fact, he nearly did -- since he hadn't heard further word of him.


Kate from Dalton, GA: Will we find out about the meaning of the ghost outside Claire's window (Jamie) before she goes back for the first time?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Kate -- Yes. Last thing in the last book.


Laura from Royal Oak, MI: Jamie smiling in his sleep was such a key part of THE OUTLANDER. Now that trait seems to not be mentioned. Was it destroyed at Culloden or might he be able to do it again now that he is reunited with Claire? Thanks!

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Laura -- Oddly enough, he did that just last month, while sleeping (in a cave full of goats) with his head in Claire's lap. As his sister says, he does it when he's happy.


Joan from Oakland, CA: The silkie's treasure in VOYAGER seemed to include ancient coins from the Duke of Sandringham's collection. To whom did the silkie's treasure belong, Geillis Duncan or the Duke? What was the relationship between Geillis and the Duke?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Joan -- Well, we'll probably find out in detail later -- possibly much later -- but for whatever it's worth now, bear in mind that Dougal did get Geilie away to France, and Dougal was a Jacobite, and Dougal himself was in Paris (in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER) and would have had plenty of opportunity to meet secretly with Sandringham. Now, whether he did or not...I don't know, but we'll likely find out.


Judie R. from Vancouver -- LOL Headquarters: Hi Diana. Nice to see you again. :-) Nice chat venue, too. Anyway, the question: Will Brianna and Willie ever meet, and if so, does Brianna find out that Willie is her half brother?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Lady Judie -- Nice to see you, too! As to your questions, I think so. As to what happens then, though...


Justin from Encino, CA: Did you ever watch a show called "Time Tunnel," and was it any sort of inspiration for you. If not, what inspired to use time travel as a key element for your stories?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Justin -- No, never heard of it. As to what inspired the time travel, it was the personality of the main narrator, Claire Randall. She wouldn't shut up and talk like an 18th-century woman, so I said, "Fine, go ahead and be modern -- I'll figure out how you got there later!"


Hope (known as Lady Solace of LOL) from Montana: I know that Jamie, Claire, "Black Jack" Randall, and many of the others are all a part of you. I was wondering, though, if it came right down to it, do you have a favorite? I love the way all of your characters are written -- they jump right off of the page. Most of LOL of course agrees on Jamie, and it may be near to heresy for me to say that Claire is my favorite by a very narrow margin.

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Hope -- No, I wouldn't say I have a favorite; whoever is "talking" is the voice in my head at the moment, and they're all real to me. You can't write a convincing character if you don't love them, I don't think.


Helen from Fort Myers, FL: OUTLANDER was recommended to me while I was traveling through Scotland. I've read all your books so far and look forward to your next ones. Have you traveled through Scotland while doing your research? You made everything seem so real.

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Helen -- I'd never been to Scotland when I wrote OUTLANDER (since I was writing it for practice!) -- I did that from library research. Since the publisher did give me a three-book contract, though, I told my husband I thought I really must go see the place. I've been there four times, now -- will be there again next month, when I do an "event" for the Edinburgh International Book Festival.


Marisa from Massachusetts: I am in the middle of your fourth book in the series of Jamie and Claire....I just bought THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION...should I wait till I finish DRUMS OF AUTUMN before I read THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, or will it be better to read at the same time? I just love your writing....can't wait for your next book! Thank you for making my summer reading so enjoyable!

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Marisa -- I'd wait 'til you finish DRUMS, myself; there are synopses of all the books in the COMPANION (you could skip the DRUMS one, of course), but also an annotated cast of characters and various references in the different essays and articles that might give away plot points and the like.


Kristy from Oregon: The biggest compliment I can give you is that we all feel like we know Jamie and Claire. Have you been overwhelmed by people contacting you now that COMPANION is out? Before, people had to follow you through the web. Now you've given them a whole book with lots of insights into your personal life, as well as into the creation of our two favorite people.

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Kristy -- Thank you! [smile] As for overwhelming, that's been happening since I published DRUMS with my email addresses in it! (If I'd know the book was going to be that successful, I might have thought twice about doing that.) I get an average of 50 emails a day -- more like 90 to 100 a day when there's a new book out. We try to answer them all, but it does take time.


Marcia Whetsel from Morristown, TN: Diana, Thank you so much for writing and publishing the COMPANION! I'm almost finished reading all of it and it is such a beautiful work of love that you have given to your readers! I am constantly amazed at your writing process! Thank you again for sharing it with us! I believe you said that the sixth book will end the Outlander series around 1800. Will you elaborate? Will it end in Scotland or in the new U.S.?

Diana Gabaldon: Dear Marcia -- Thank you! I'm glad you like the COMPANION. [smile] I really enjoyed doing it and am very pleased that most readers seem to be enjoying it a lot, too (always discounting a few cranky souls who are mad that I didn't publish the next novel right this minute!). The sixth book ends in Scotland.


Moderator: Thank you so much for joining us, tonight. You've been a great guest, and we hope you will join us again with your next book. We wish you the best of luck.

Diana Gabaldon: Thank you. Goodnight.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(6)

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Recommended above recommended. A must for the serious reader

    The many lives and adventures of Claire, the time traveler, and Jamie the last chivalrous man of his day, is so captivating that the reader can find him/herself on each page as a participant in this mighty adventure. I am near finished with Book #4 Drums of Autumn. As a mature 52 yr old man, I dont fashion myself oft sentimental. Yet, when Brianna and Jamie meet for the first time, I found myself with glassy eyes and tears running down my cheeks. I was actually there witnessing a most loving and touching reunion of 2 worlds colliding, yet bareing all the tender qualites of human emotion as all humanity has shown since our meagre beginning. I have never cried at any book. But, the author's ability to unite the reader to the written is captivating and magnificent. I want to live this book, enter it, and become a part of its living human saga. Diana Gabaldon is by far one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th and 21st Century. A gifted writer who understands the human heart and is able to bridge reality and fantasy into one world. If I could but find the secret to Stonehenge, I would hope to find Jamie, Claire and all the adventures of their lives and live out my life in their presence. FABULOUS!!!!!

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic writing.

    While I agree that this book may come as a disappointment for those looking for a "Jamie and Claire" story, it is a priceless addition to the shelves of an aspiring writer. It is nearly impossible to find another resource out there that yields such a matter-of-fact look at writing in general. All information, of course, is seasoned with Diana's unique and unmistakable sense of humor. I am a detail oriented person, and as such, loved the depth to which she knows her characters. Consequently, I loved the depth to which this book goes in explaining the "who, what, when, where, and how." Others, who have no deep-seeded urges to pronounce "mo cridh" correctly, may find that their money is better spent on her other books.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good for Reference

    I bought this book to accompany the Outlander series. It is very useful for going back and reviewing characters whom you've forgotten.

    Enjoyable add-on to the series.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2002

    A fine story!

    I have read the Companion and found it to be very interesting and comprehensive. Ms. Gabaldon has captured characters, places and times as if she actually lived them! In the Oulandish Companion, she lets the light shine into the creation of her great literary characters (namely Claire and Jamie). This is a must have for those who love the Outlander series! If you have any questions or curiosities, this book will help you understand the complexities of Diana Gabaldon's writing. There are detailed synopsis, cast of characters, family trees (you must admit, you too get confuse about who is who's descendent!), a pronunciation guide, and, perhaps most importantly, is the excerpts of future books.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    A MUST HAVE

    THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION is a must have for all OUTLANDER fans. If you don't have time to re read all the wonderful books in the series, this will refresh your memory on lots of details. I will read this book many times, just because I miss Jamie and Claire so much after months without them. Thanks for another wonderful book Diana Gabaldon.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2006

    Waste of money/time.

    The entire book was such a waste! I do like her Outlander series, it is too bad that she keeps getting sidetracked with other projects (Lord John Grey book for example-awful!). She quotes her husband in the book 'Yes, but when are you going to finish the next REAL book?' I agree.

    4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2005

    A must read!

    Recap of the series along with historical backup on research with regard to the times. I had enjoyed reading her novels and even enjoyed reading this 'refresher' and the author's personal notes. Can't wait for her next one in this series! Impatiently wating!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Must have addition for the Outlander series

    I bought this book as a reference to the Outlander series, and it has proved its worth, as the series has so many characters and much detail. Excellent addition to the series.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Ugh! So disapointed!

    I had read the saga, I did not need a comentary on what I just read! It was my own falt as I just down loaded it from my Nook and did not get on line to preview it first. And the way the saga ended ... a clifhanger really! So disapointed!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Great short synopsis and quick look at points within each of the books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Fun tidbits

    Great to refresh while waiting for the next book and reminding you of the details that fit several of the books together.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    Fantastic

    I loved this compendium of her first 4 in the outlander series. You will not be sorry if you buy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    O.

    P

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

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    Posted February 1, 2009

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    Posted January 16, 2011

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    Posted November 1, 2009

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    Posted January 28, 2009

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    Posted December 14, 2008

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    Posted September 11, 2010

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