In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it “a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries].” Now the story continues in...
In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it “a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries].” Now the story continues in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.
1778: France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington’s troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit. At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married his wife, his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is, and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker. Meanwhile, Jamie’s wife, Claire, and his sister, Jenny, are busy picking up the pieces.
The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-century Scotland. Or not. In fact, Brianna is searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family’s secrets. Her husband, Roger, has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy . . . never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present. Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target: Brianna herself.
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the brilliant next chapter in a masterpiece of the imagination unlike any other.
Diana Gabaldon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels—Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize), An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood—as well as the related Lord John Grey books Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner; one work of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion; and the Outlander graphic novel The Exile. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband.
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."