Friday, February 8, 2013
Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning Outlander novels ranked No. 1 in the NYT.
The adventure began in 1991 with the classic The Thistle and the Tartan.
Gabaldon (pronounced 'GAA-bull-dohn' - rhymes with 'stone') has also written several books in a sub-series featuring Lord John Gray (a major character in the main series) ... She also returns to her cartoon roots a graphic novel entitled THE EXILE (located in the OUTLANDER universe and featuring the main characters of OUTLANDER), but narrated from the point of view of Jamie Fraser and his godfather, Murtagh.
Gabaldon is currently working on the third novel of Lord John (The Scottish Prisoner) and on the eighth book of the series (in ink of my heart). In addition, she is working on a series of contemporary mysteries, in Phoenix, and has written Highly Scholarly Introductions (with many footnotes) in recent editions of Sir Walter Scott's Modern Library of IVANHOE and Thomas Paine's COMMON SENSE .
Dr. Gabaldon holds three degrees in Science: Zoology, Marine Biology and Quantitative Behavioral Ecology (plus an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, which gives her the title of 'Diana Gabaldon, Ph.D., DHL') and spent a dozen years as a university professor with expertise in scientific computing before starting to write fiction.
She and her husband, Douglas Watkins, have three grown children and live primarily in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- You come from a scientific background. Did it lead you to write fiction?
- Oh no. Things in life are not always in direct connection, you know. Often, we just stop doing one thing and doing something else. In my case, I knew from the age of eight that I was supposed to be a novelist. I did not know how. When I was thirty-five, I thought, 'You know, Mozart died at thirty-six, maybe you'd better move.' So I decided to write a novel for practice, to learn how to do it. It was OUTLANDER, so of course I guess I was a novelist!
- How do you juggle with several writing projects?
- Uh ... I work on one thing until it sticks (usually 2/3 of the page) and then I work on something else until it sticks. Or I have a sudden revelation when I was working on something - but the revelation has nothing to do with what I'm working on - then I switch to a new document and write the revelation, then I run it or I return to the original project, according to. If two projects are blocked, I go to a third - or I go to email and answer the interview questions for a while.
If you are talking about logistics, however ... Each project has its own directory (or folder, as they say now). In this folder, each file has a codeword that refers to the book, new, whatever, followed by a symbol indicating the year and an extension indicating the date on which I started writing it. So, if I had, for example, to start a new scene today for Outlander's eighth major novel (which I'll do, because I finished a scene last night), the file would be called JAMIE8% .127. '%' Is the symbol of 2013, 'JAMIE8' is the code of 'in ink of my heart' and today is the 27th of January.
Each project folder also includes a file called 'MFILE'. This is the master file. It's just a list of file names, with a few keywords next to the title. I update it about once a week. That's how I find specific files when I need them.
- Scotland is a beautiful place. What did you like as a writer?
- Men in kilts.
(It's Allan Scott Douglas and he played Jamie in Outlander Musical)
- When you sit down to write, what is your process - do you sit down in total silence, rock your music, do you drink coffee, etc.?
- I never listen to music! what a horrible idea. From time to time, I have music while writing, but most of the time no. Complete silence is not likely, since I work at home and other people whose dogs are present at home. I usually drink Coca Light at work.
Basically, I'm just sitting down, going through social media and answering a few questions to make the flow of words easier, and then I'm working. I can work just about anywhere, under any conditions because while I'm working, I'm not really there. I am in the book.
- Was Outlander always going to be a show, or is it something you started later?
- I never presented anything to anyone unless I counted a letter of request addressed to my first agent. (All I said in this one was: 'I have this very long historical novel, I do not want to waste your time, but would you be willing to read some excerpts?' (I did not tell him that I was not a writer writing the book, excerpts were all that I had.) But yes and no, that means that when I started Outlander, it was just for practice I did not want to show it to anyone, let alone try to publish it In the present state of affairs, I had an agent before I finished writing it.
When I finally finished writing it, I sent it to my agent and told him, 'I realize that this story is not just about anything else, but I thought I should stop give me time to lift it, but if it interests someone, you can tell them there is more. '
So, they were interested, they read it, and they gave me a three-pound contract. And now we're in the middle of the eighth book (plus the new derivatives) ...
- How was it when you released Outlander for the first time? How do you feel now when you write book eight?
- And of course, the standard question: Do you have any advice to give to unpublished or even newly published authors? Do you have a tip that is a MUST for any writer?
- Certainly !
3. Do not stop !!!