• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

26 Years Ago Today…

Outlander blue cover

I get the occasional question as to how I came to write OUTLANDER, and given that today is the 26th anniversary of my doing so, thought I’d maybe post this explanatory message—which I wrote a few years ago in thanks to the Compuserve folk who Witnessed the Creation , now updated.

Dear All–

On March 6, 1988, I started writing a novel. I wasn’t going to tell anyone what I was doing, let alone ever try to publish it. I just wanted to learn how to write a novel, and had concluded—having written All Kinds of nonfiction at that point—that the only way to do that was actually to write one. (I was not, btw, wrong in this assumption.)

Now, as a (rather convoluted) side-effect of my day-job, I’d become an “expert” in scientific computation (really easy to be an expert, if there are only six people in the world who do what you do, and that was my position, back in the early ’80′s), and as an even weirder side-effect of that, I became a member of the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (then called the Literary Forum), somewhere in late 1986.

Well, when I decided to learn to write a novel by writing one, I also decided a few other things:

1) I wouldn’t tell anyone what I was doing. Aside from the feeling of sheer effrontery involved in doing so, I didn’t want a lot of people telling me their opinions of what I should be doing, before I’d had a chance to figure things out for myself (as I said, I’d written a lot of non-fiction to this point, and nobody told me how). Also didn’t want a lot of busybodies (in my personal life) putting in their two cents, asking when I’d be done, and when it would be published, etc.—since I had no idea whether I could even finish a book.

2) I would finish the book. No matter how bad I thought it was, I wouldn’t just stop and abandon the effort. I needed to know what it took, in terms of daily discipline, mental commitment, etc. to write something like a novel. (I had written long things before—a 400-page doctoral dissertation entitled “Nest Site Selection in the Pinyon Jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus,” (or, as my husband says, “Why birds build nests where they do, and who cares anyway?”), an 800-page monograph on “The Dietary Habits of the Birds of the Colorado River Valley,” etc.—but I’d never written fiction, other than lame short stories for English classes.) And

3) I’d do the absolute best that I could with the writing, every day. Even though this was a practice book that I’d never show anybody, it didn’t matter. If I wasn’t trying my best, how would I ever know if I was any good, and more importantly, how would I get better?

(In this regard, I had some evidence to go on. I’ve read all my life—hugely—and noticed that in most cases, while I’d enjoy all of an author’s books, including the first one, the books got noticeably better as the writer kept on writing. So, I concluded, with perfect logic, writing was like ballet dancing or piano-playing; if you practiced, you got better at it. I was not wrong in this conclusion, either.)

So, anyway, the book I wrote for practice was OUTLANDER, and here we are, 26 years and (almost) 14 books later. I just wanted to acknowledge the role of the Forum and my friends there, in that process.

How did that work, since I’d decided not to tell anybody what I was doing? Well, I stuck to that decision (I didn’t even tell my husband), but about six months into the writing, I was logging on intermittently late at night, picking up messages and posting replies—and found that I was having a argument with a gentleman (named Bill Garland, RIP) about what it feels like to be pregnant.

“Oh, I know what that feels like,” Bill assured me. “My wife’s had three children!” [pause here to allow the ladies to roll on the floor for a moment]

“Yeah, right,” I said. “_I’ve_ had three children, buster.”

So he asked me to describe what that was like.

Rather than try to cram such a description into a thirty-line message slot (all we had back in the old 300-baud dial-up days), I said, “Tell you what—I have this…piece…in which a young woman tells her brother what it’s like to be pregnant. I’ll put it in the data library for you.”

So—with trembling hands and pounding heart—I posted a small chunk (three or four pages, as I recall) of the book I was calling CROSS STITCH. And people liked it. They commented on it. They wanted to see more!

Aside from a few private moments associated with my husband and the birth of my children, this was the most ecstatic experience I’d ever had. And so, still trembling every time I posted something, I—very slowly—began to put up more.

Now, I don’t write with an outline, and I don’t write in a straight line, so my chunks weren’t chapters, weren’t contiguous, and generally weren’t connected to anything else. But they did have the same characters –and people liked those characters.

There were (and are) a lot of very kind and encouraging people who inhabited the Forum—some of them still there: Alex, Janet, Margaret, Marte… and many who aren’t, like Karen Pershing and John Kruszka (RIP), Mac Beckett, Michael Lee West–and Jerry O’Neill, whom I count as my First Fan and head cheerleader; always there to read what I posted and say the most wonderful things about it, one of the kindest people I’ve ever known.

So, over the course of the next year or so, these people kept egging me on. Asking questions, making comments*, urging me—eventually—to try to publish This Thing (it started out as a perfectly straight-forward historical novel, but then Things Happened, and what with the time-travel and the Loch Ness monster and all, I had no idea what it was).

*(Just to clarify—these were not critiques, just interested comments. I’ve never had a critique group nor ever would; nothing against them at all—I just don’t work that way. But regardless, I’d never put up _anything_ for public viewing that I didn’t think was completely ready for human consumption.)

Some of these people were published authors themselves and very kindly shared their own stories, and advice regarding literary agents and the publishing process (thank you, Mike Resnick, and Judy McNaught!), and in the fullness of time, John Stith very kindly introduced me to his own agent—who took me on, on the basis of an unfinished first novel. And…I finished it, to the supportive cheers of the Forum. A couple of weeks later, my agent sold it, as part of a three-book contract, to Delacorte, and bing!—I was a novelist.

Not saying I’d never have written a book without y’all—but man, you guys _helped_. Thank you!


124 Responses »

  1. Even though I”ve joined the crowd of “not there any more” (but I’m still alive!) I appreciate this very much, Diana. :)

    • Marte,

      My goodness, there you are. Glad to hear you’re still with us. :) Haven’t seen you on the Forum in a long time. Hope everything is OK.

    • Where to start? Loved to hang out in book stores and found this one 25 years ago. Diana will never meet me,never know how this book entertained me,as I waited year after year for the new one to come out. How many times I read all of them! I think I am again going to read the first one again. For me it’s all about the history, and the pure commitment between the Frazier family. Also just finished the last book. I watched the wedding scene today and cried! It was not about sex! It was about LOVE and commitment. Over the years I have thought about the “movie” Thie is way better than expected. Going to pull out all the books again to read again.

      • Thank you, Gail!

        I’m really glad you’ve been enjoying the books for so long–and especially pleased that you think the new TV series is a worthy complement to them. I think the actors, crew, writers and producers have done a fabulous job; couldn’t be more pleased myself.

        Best wishes,


    • we saw 3 episodes of the tv show,went to the bookstore and bought all of the series,the scottish prisoner,and the companin. ive ordered the exile,and have read all the books.i cannot think of a higher compliment to a wonderful and funny writer(sorry but we had never heard of you until the tv series but,we have heard of you now!}i so hope you will write another book,atleast for william and jamie.later i will send for your autograph. btw im a gazillian year old retired nurse,and loved every word in your books. i think the actors are perfect,would you have chosen them?

    • Where have I been. I read Cross-stitch years ago and loved it. I recently came across the series Outlander, which is superb! To then, further, discover the series of the books. Ecstatic!

  2. Im so thankful you decided to try a novel becase you are an amazing writer! Your novels are now associated with memories in my life as Ive been a fan for over 10 years. Thank you for sharing your talent.

  3. Ms. Diana–I so enjoy reading what writers write about writing, and especially you, for you are so open and willing to share your experience. I admit that I harbor secret ambitions to write (probably) historical fiction: I’ve written scholarly and expository things all my life, as you did (art history and fund raising things, mostly), but never fiction…I am so curious: did the characters of Claire and Jamie come to you full-blown, or did you get to know them over time? From all I’ve recollect about your writing, and most delightfully in your letter to Alex reprinted in The Outlandish Companion (delighted to learn you plan a Vol. II!), scenes come to you and you watch them play out, then write them. Yes? And then these come together in a novel.
    I very much appreciate, too, your delightful literary conceit of Helping Us Understand What Really Matters: I –love– the uppercase use! And the very droll self-awareness of some characters, especially Claire, as in ” I gave him a medium-intensity glare, suitable for the intimidation of petty bureaucrats and low-level Army officials.” LOL!
    Anyway, other than this being a fan letter to one of my very favorite authors, I do have two simple questions: 1) as a historian, I am crazy for dates/timelines. Started one myself for the Big Books, then saw that one had been created years ago by Sassenak@aol.com. It doesn’t seem to be there anymore; has it a site elsewhere? and 2) I don’t have a story: hard if you want to write. Any suggestions for for finding the germ of one? I envision Renaissance/Baroque Italy….maybe already done do death…
    With great appreciation,
    Lori Mellon
    p.s. thank you, thank you, thank you for the daily lines! :-)

    • Dear Lori–

      A story is simple: it’s a Character, in a Situation of Conflict. Your Character wants something. What that something is, depends on who the character is and what his/her situation is. The story is what he or she will do in pursuit of what he/she wants. Now, the character may or may not _get_ what they want–maybe what they want changes, or maybe they change and no longer want that, but want something else. But the story is about the Character–not the time and place; that’s just the setting, window-dressing.

      Best of luck!


  4. Thank goodness it all happened! I read Outlander when first published and have been loving your work ever since. I can always go back and re read, the books are so rich, and at the same time I look forward to the next installment regardless if it is the series or a horizontal story. Thank you for doing what you do so dang well. I have used your stories as my escape route through many difficult times and that is a such a gift. Add your willingness to share your process and, just, wow.

  5. Sou muito fã do seu trabalho e apaixonada pela série Outlander. Já li duas vezes “A Viajante do Tempo ” e ” A Libélula no Ambar” . Vou começar agora o terceiro livro da série. Quero ler todos. Disparado é o melhor romance que já li. Parabéns!!
    Luciana Lana – Cidade: Governador Valadares – Minas Gerais (BRASIL)

  6. You have stated that you sometimes write friends into your books as characters, but rarely kill them off. You have also stated that you met with George RR Martin once a month for breakfast and that you like him and his writing. If you ever write him into one of your books as a character, you have my permission to kill the bastard as he has killed many favorite characters in his books.
    I love your books, especially that smart-mouthed, modern woman, Claire, that you tried so hard to work into a malleable. 18th century lady. She is the woman that we all long to be but must often suppress.

  7. How absolutely thrilled I am that you bought this wonderful creation into being. Cross stitch and all your subsequent books have become dear to my heart. I am lucky enough to have both my daughter and 81 year old mother who are huge fans too. So there is lots of discussions and excitement surrounding your books. We are hanging out desperately for your new book. Many thanks xx

  8. I read Voyager first because it was passed on to me by my sister=in-law. I was so sad when I finished because I LOVED the characters and story so much. When I found out it was part of a series I was ecstatic and immediately went to the library and got Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber. I have been I love with Jamie ever since and have all of your books. Every time a new book is coming out I start at the beginning and re-read them all. I always find something new in them. The novellas keep me entertained between times also.
    I am a nurse and work in the OB department. Several of the nurses I work with are also fans but none of them have read the series as frequently as I have. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

    I remain, waiting with bated breath……………

  9. Diana,
    You’ve heard of picky eaters? Well, I’m a picky reader.I’ve gotten to a point in my life where, if a book isn’t well written,I won’t bother to finish it. Life is too short to waste on poorly written books. I’ve always loved to read from the time I first learned.When I was young,my mom didn’t like it that I spent all my time indoors reading. She used to tell me to go outside and play, so I would go outside and take my book with me!
    I still remember the first time I read Outlander.I actually slowed down my reading speed so that I could savor it and make it last longer.I love the richness of detail in your writing.Your characters are so well developed, and so very human.And as a nurse, I really appreciate the research you did to make Clare an authentic healer in both the past and present.I re-read the entire series every few years. I tend to buy most of my books from Goodwill because I always find interesting reads there, but you are one of the few writers whose books I will buy first-hand on the day that they’re released. I’m glad you have the integrity to delay your book until it’s the way you want it.We deserve that, and you are worth the wait.

    Oh, and by the way,when I see copies of your books at Goodwill, I always buy them to have extra books on hand for giving away. I usually always have at least 4 or 5 copies of Outlander. It’s always fun to find someone who has never read your books and give them the first one. They always come back begging for more.

    • Maria and Dianna:
      I could have written Maria’s letter because I do the same thing. If I find a book that is particularly bad I put it in the recycle bin! I don’t even donate it. I have read your books several times because they are well written. Most of my friends are now as hooked as I am- OK maybe not quite as much. I named my beloved Doberman “Jamie Scott.” I just can’t wait to see what Janet thinks of America, Fraisers Ridge and Brianna. Thank you for making such great female roles. Not to say that a fair amount of time has been spent pondering Ian II and Jamie! I look forward to this summer and the feast of Outlander. I may even subscribe to Starz just to watch it. I can t believe it took this long for someone to recognize its potential. Way to go Starz! I hope every one is talking about it!

  10. Congratulations Diana, on 26 years of successful writing. I’m so glad you decided to try your hand at writing a novel, and thrilled that it has turned into 14 books and counting. Thank you for being willing to share that practice novel with us and I wish you many more years of successful writing. I’m thrilled for you, as well, that Outlander is being made into a t.v. series and happy to see that Ron D. Moore is involved and keeping to the story so much as you wrote it. Happy Writing Anniversary!!

  11. Wow, time sure does fly doesn’t it? I remember the day my Mom said to me, Sandy, you have to read this book, I know you will love it! And of course the rest is history! Over the years I have shared your books with many of my friends and they have become fans too; even a friend of mine in Scotland! It always make me laugh when I see these friends and the conversation always comes around to your books and when the next one is coming out. I always refer them to your blog. A good friend of mine, who lost her Dad about six months after I lost my Dad, said to me as we were sitting talking at her Dad’s wake, so, when is Diana coming out with the next book? I think I just laughed! Diana, I’ve even got my husband reading the books and he doesn’t read anything! And I think he was just as excited to meet you as my Mom and I were many years ago at a bookstore here in the Chicago area. Unfortunately my Mom had a very bad stroke 3 weeks after my Dad passed away in September, 2011. Happily she just turned 84 on March 2nd and is still going strong even though she is in a wheelchair and does not have the use of her left arm and leg. I haven’t told her about the series yet, she doesn’t have Starz! I’m sure we’ll work something out for her! After all, she is the first one to read the book and got me and my friends into one of the best series of books ever written! : )

  12. Congrats! You beat your fears! Keep on writing as long as you live! You are famous now…

  13. I am deeply indebted to you for the many hours of sheer pleasure I’ve spent in the company of your characters. I’ve had to exercise great discipline in not rereading the series for the 5th time. My shrink admits to 3. If literature is escapism, which those who don’t know how to travel & explore propound, then, well, I guess I’m an escape artist. And am in very good company. There is one passage I take exception to, for purely personal reasons – when Clair marvels over how, involuntarily, waves of heat overwhelm her. Having truly suffered for 9 years from extreme hot flashes, exacerbated by cancer meds, I cannot buy into this. But that’s just me & putting a positive spin on it may appeal to others. Picky I know but I had to get it out!

    Thank you isn’t enough. When I find the quintessential wording for my gratitude I’ll let you know.

  14. “Outlander” will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s been so important in my life. My mom gave it to me to read in 1994 when I was 13 because I loved historical fiction. I couldn’t put it down, and read it in 2 days. There was an FAQ sheet my aunt had gotten, and that absolutely captivated me, getting that glimpse behind the scenes and feeling like I had gotten a secret peek into the mind of an author. My first oral book report in Honors English was on “Outlander”, and I made a makeshift kilt and delivered it in a Scottish accent so bad it still makes my skin crawl. When the “Outlandish Companion” was published, Diana came to our local bookshop and signed my book, and I was so giddy with excitement I nearly fainted at the signing table.
    Then I fell off my parents’ roof, and spent years not knowing if I’d walk again. Reading and escaping to that other world kept me sane through those years, but I dreamed of seeing Inverness and Culloden with my own eyes. A few years ago, I made it out of the wheelchair and backpacked from London to Orkney with a week in Inverness. It took some asking the locals, but found out there actually were some stones walking distance from the Culloden battlefield, and got some rough directions. It was the best part of the whole trip, exploring those farm roads, passing the long-haired ginger cows and picking wild blackberries from the side of the road, and then coming across the Clava Cairns in the middle of nowhere without another soul in sight. It was magical.

    Thank you for taking that chance years ago, and for making my life a bit brighter.

  15. Diana,
    Thank you for posting. I am awed, inspired and not a little envious – the sheer work of putting words together in a story (and keeping the whole enterprise under wraps) seems insurmountable, but you’ve done it and done it beautifully.

  16. I am so excited about your new book, Diana! I have been reading the Outlander series since you published your firstt book. I have reread all of the prior works to Written In My Own Heart’s Blood twice. Keep on writing. You have a wonderful gift.

  17. I still smile to read this “history” of Outlander… so glad you were not wrong in all your conjectures and conclusions about writing! Here I am, along for the ride for 13 years, still just as excited for the next book!
    Wishing you all the best – Happy 26th writing anniversary –

  18. Diana,

    I was introduced to Outlander last summer and promptly fell in love. In the next month, I read the seven main line books for the first time. I have since reread them several times. I love, love, love Jamie and all things connected to him. Thank you for creating him.

    Recently, I found the Daily Lines and excerpts which are helping me to wait for MOBY. However, I was somewhat disturbed when Washington promoted Jamie to Lieutenant General. It may not seem logical, but a lieutenant general is higher ranking that a major general. Currently, in the American army the ranks of generals go: Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General, General, and General of the Army (rank is supposed to be used only in wartime). I don’t know where you are in the writing, reviewing, editing, correcting (repeat as necessary) cycle of completing MOBY, but you may want to think about what rank Jamie should be.

    Thank you again for the great books.


  19. You have provided me wih wonderful friends and hours and years of entertainment. I look forward to each new book to catch up with my friends Claire and Jamie. You’ve created a world I wish I could see but can picture so vividly in my mind. Thank God you did not get discouraged and quit. Anyone that can do such a wonderful job I consider a good friend without ever meeting. Thank you so much

  20. Hi Diana,

    Salutes from Germany. I’m really glad that you not only wrote outlander but too got it puplished it for it’s my very favorite book (of course I like your others too) and I read quite a lot of books during the more than forty years that have past since I started to read.
    Apart from that point I’m able to understand your emotions during the writing process and your motives quite well because about three years ago I started to write a novel myself, just for the fun of it (and I really like to invent and develop the characters as well as the story). It will most certainly never ever be puplished for I’m well aware I can not in the sligtest way compare my writing abilities with yours or any other professional author. But notwithstanding that I managed to write about 300 pages so far and I’m very much determined to finish it no matter how long it will take.

  21. Ms. Diana,
    Congratulations on such a wonderful (and meaningful) Anniversary! I so admire anyone who can turn thoughts and characters in their minds into a wonderful read on paper! I am very envious of your talent. Like you, I am an avid reader. But I have never had the courage to try to write something of my own.

    I have been reading the Series AGAIN (for about the fifth time!) this winter in anticipation of MOBY this summer. (This time I chose to read the books on my e-reader and have enjoyed them just as much.) Each time I read them, I get something new. And since I started at the beginning this time, I can appreciate things that are fore-shadowed in the later books.

    As always, you are the consummate professional at your craft. It always seems to me that you do such a splendid job that you probably came from the womb exercising your talent. It is good to be reminded that you were once unsure of yourself. It should be a great inspiration to all the writers out there who wonder if they are good enough!

    Best regards to you,

  22. I avoided this book until its siren’s call said, Really, just read a few pages, then buy me and read me in full. Did, and have been in love ever since.

    There’s more to how she did it. Search online about Jamie Fraser and his inspiration and connection to Doctor Who.

  23. Good day Mrs Gabaldon,
    as far as I can remeber,I loved to read. There were books when I was a kid,I read over and over again. Then my family moved from Switzerland to Canada. I had to learn a new language( actualy 2,french and english) and I kept on rading all kind of books. Then one day, I went to the drugstore,to get the medication for my boyfriend,and I past the book section. I decided to buy my self a book,to read on that weekend. So I started to look at the different books,and there was the one who got my attention. I picked it up, read the back of it,and decided to buy this book. But wait,I discovered that there was a whole series,so to be sure not to get caught as it happend before, having trouble to find the following book,I decided to buy the whole series they had there! So I came to my boyfiends house,and he said” You’re nuts spending that much money for books!” Well, he never understood,that buying those books,was for me a wonderful begining of a wonderful adventure,and I just finished my 11th or 12th re-reading,loving it as much as the first time. I can’t wait for Moby to come out,and even more for the Tv series! THANK YOU for writing this books,they helped me so much since 2001. I had a lot of up and downs those last years,and Jamie and Claire helped me so often to forget some of the hard days! God bless you and your family,who have to share their wife and mom with millions of fans! best regards
    Karin Bruenggel

  24. Many happy returns of writing days!
    You are wonderful and real talent always surfaces from people that really have it.
    Keep making us happy with your books. They make us laugh, cry, love; they make us angry and frustrated, they may confuse and enlighten in the same time, they are everything what a reader could ask for.
    Don’t stop giving us all these feelings, never.

  25. Diana,
    I got Outlander & Dragonfly In Amber as a 2 book set from a book club back in the 90s. I devoured them. I have waited longingly for each new book since then. The characters have become family that I want so much to
    keep up to date with. Thank you for great characters and their stories. Can’t wait to read more !!

  26. I am so glad you brought this book into my life- all our lives. The characters are so Alive, the plot with its many layers unfolds beautifully. The love develops deliciously. So many times over the years I find myself suddently thinking of moments between jamie and Claire. I have attempted to write a novel, myself, but have only succeeded in finishing some short stories. I am so glad that you not only persevered and brought your novel into a published existence, but that you went on to write more. Kudos to you!

  27. I read Outlander (for the first time) almost 10 years ago and have now read almost everything you’ve ever published. More than once, as far as the Outlander series goes. My husband has read them all multiple times, also, and we both admit to being spoiled by the quality of your writing. It really does make it tough to adjust to other authors.

    You are an exceptional storyteller who makes me feel as if I can actually see, hear and smell (goodness, the smells!) all the places you take me.

    I’m so glad for your determination to not only write, but to write WELL. You deserve every bit of success that has come your way, because you’ve worked for it.

    Happy anniversary to you! And thank you for sharing your creativity.

    • Hello,

      I understand the difficulty in finding “new” authors after reading these well researched, well written books, however, may I suggest James Clavel. He has passed away now but “King Rat”, ” Tai Pan”, “Shogun”, etc were all my favourites until this series. I believe last one was Gai Gin. The books though were not necessarily a series but most were historical. Loved him! Fantastic escapes into another world, which is what I enjoy so much about Jamie and Claire. Arianna Franklin – also deceased. Ken Follett also has some fabulous books. Sigh! How do you get your husband to read? My husband thinks I’m just obsessed, though he too is looking forward to the series, after listening to my excited comments – scrap hockey honey – my series is on – though still checking for an actual date as I’m too busy reading to watch T.V. Showcase says Summer 2014. Well, I’ve missed another series because my nose is always stuck in a book and T.V. is on hockey so trying to pin down a date so I can put it on the calendar. If you have another fabulous auther, please offer.

      • Dear Irene–

        Well, if you go back to the home page here, click on “Resources,” and then on “The Methadone List.” [g] That’s a list of authors _I_ particularly like and can recommend whole-heartedly to people who want to know what to read next while waiting for the next Outlander novel.



        • Thanks Diana! That’s how I got onto Arianna Franklin. I check it periodically. A few I discovered by poking around – Susanne Alleyn, Nancy Bilyeau, Oliver Potzch and Samuel Thomas. Great reads. Presently re-reading your series in e-reader (can’t hold those heavy tomes anymore) in anticipation of the series. Can’t wait!

  28. Thank you for your books, your research and the stories . Coming from a medical back ground with a great interest in homeopathic remedies. A relative of mine a medicine woman of the mountains. So your Clair gave me great joy. Jamie reminding me of my deceased spouse. But thank you.
    My spouse now and I are researching the Ft. Sante Fe and the battle with the Indians that happened on our land also the land 1243 acres next to us.
    Thank you again for opening up our minds to a whole new world and history.

  29. Happy Anniversary!!
    All the very best for you and your family,
    Forever grateful,

  30. A few years ago … my husband and I were spending our summer vacation in the tiny Alands archipelago (between Sweden and Finland), paddling, cycling, hiking and being generally outdoorish about it all. Until I admitted I’d love to also read something, for a change. In Mariehamn (the capital, boasting 11,343 inhabitants), we found a small bookshop and I said all I wanted was a fat English book, no matter which.

    I was lucky, there it was: A Breath of Snow and Ashes. So I bought it and read it.
    That’s how my own Outlander Adventures got started. :-)

    Should you be interested: yes, one can start with Breath of Snow and Ashes, realize it’s not the first part, enjoy it a lot and then go and buy the rest of them. Anyone envying me this Outlander-marathon? :-)

    And then (a few years ago) … I started learning French at our local language school. I was quite sad last year when I realized I simply couldn’t afford to attend any more (Time Issues aka Too Much Work), so, out of spite, I went and bought Outlander in French. The Kindle version. Now, it cannot be said I speak or read French, but since I know the books well enough from my first reading, I mostly guess what’s going on. I also use the Kindle dictionary a lot. Quell plaisir! :-) At least I learned how to say Scotland in French! And what fesses are :-D

    It all boils down to me having to thank you, Diana, at least twice so far, no?

    Actually, there’s also a third reason: after a hard day’s work, knowing my life’s mostly not exciting and whatnot, I really appreciate some time travelling, healing, loving and doing stuff – by Jamie & Co., while I lay in bed :-) In know, I know … still: thank you for that, too.

  31. I echo everyone’s comments – love Jamie and Claire. I can relate to Claire and search for Jamie! I have enjoyed the tour through Scotland in your books to the point that my best friend and I took a ten day photographic journey through Scotland last May. It was phenomenal and I can’t wait to return and photograph the southwestern corner – where we did not venture due to time constraints. I eagerly await the next book – thank you for sharing your talent and your imagination.

  32. Happy birthday Jamie and Claire, and thank you Diana! I also have introduced many friends to your novels and now they are as addicted as I am. I’ve had the new novel on pre-order for months!!!! Not long to wait now!! Please don’t stop!

  33. Well… I have read Outlander (eh hem) more than once, but I decided to listen to the audio version while knitting as a refresher before the series… since I hadn’t experienced it that way I thought it might be fun. It just so happens that I listened to that bit when Jenny talks about being pregnant last night. It is a wonderful bit of writing. I am so glad that you decided to write a novel…. and another and ….

  34. Thank you, Diana, for the wonderful Outlander series! I’ve read them all and, because of the TV series, am reading them again. So far Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber seem like brand new books because I read them so long ago and have a tendency to gallop thru your books to find out what happens.

    I am enjoying them immensely the second time around because I’m reading slowly and savouring your writing. These books cover so many topics but I think of this series as the best love story I’ve ever read because of Claire and Jamie’s relationship. All your characters are believable and interesting with depth and personality. Each book has been a great read!!! Thank you for sharing your writing adventure with us.

  35. My “first contact” with your books was 1998 – so funny – because it wasn´t a decision at the bookshop – no – I won a “mixed package” of books from your german publisher – and I took Outlander (Feuer und Stein) with me to a holidaytrip with 12 friends to Danmark.

    The hardcover was published in Germany in 1995, and the paperback I won in 1997.

    So – there are some pictures from this holiday – me on a sofa – reading and reading and reading. Lost for the world!

    Thanks foru your books – they are really “true friends” in my life!


  36. Hello Diana, i just have to tell you how much i love your books and your characters. I have to tell you that i have read a lot of books and especially in my teens, wich was when i read Outlander the first time. But your books about Jamie and Claire have always been with me and i could never forget them.
    So what i wanted to say was hank you for writing these wonderfull books.

    Nurdjan from Sweden

  37. So glad you started And finished your first novel! I am in aw of those who can tell a story that makes me feel like I know the characters and feel with them. Thank you for sharing your talent with us all Diana.

  38. Diana,
    I have read, re-read, and re-re-read these books, much to their well-worn appearance, and just finished yet again an Echo in the Bone to prepare me for when MOBY is delivered to my kindle so I can re-enter the lives of my favorite characters. (I will of course get a hardcover book for my library, but hope to keep this one pristine, hence the kindle). Your imagination is limitless and I congratulate you on your well-deserved success. I am bursting with excitement not only for you, but for all of us fans who eagerly wait for the series to premier. I already informed my husband that we WILL be paying extra for the STARZ program whether he likes it or not and I anticipate he will soon become a reader as well because he will also want to be informed of plots and characters ahead of time. I cannot thank you enough for the hours of pure enjoyment, sometimes anger, and often tears you have brought me. [I don't think I will ever get over the Loaghaire character to be honest, but now that she's finally married off I hope I can get past it.] I also hope someday to go to Scotland to visit some of the historical sights, particularly the battlefields. You have picqued an interest in history in me that none of my teachers were ever able to inspire. Your gifts are many, and I am grateful. Thank you so very much. You’ve enriched so many of our lives in ways money never could.

  39. Diana,

    Can you tolerate yet another gushing fan? :) I first discovered the Outlander series only 3 years ago. I’d heard of this novel some time ago, yet didn’t purchase it until 2011. Within the first hour or so I was hooked. I devoured it within a weekend (housework, dishes, laundry, etc, were all ignored for 2 & 1/2 blissful days. Also, I must admit with *some* (small) amount of shame & a smidgen of guilt, so did my family. (I did manage too cook a meal or two for them – simple fare that could be prepared without too much thought and only required one hand for preparatiion, because the other hand was holding your book.) They were fed, the house didn’t fall down around me, so all is well. On Monday I rushed to our nearest book store and purchased the remaining books – devoured those as well within a month. I had quite a bit of housewrk to catch up on at the end of this I’m month but I’m not complaining.

    Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give you that might help you understand how superbly written your books are, how in-depth the characters, backdrop, etc are is to tell you something from several months ago. I’ll preface this by saying that I’d just reread the series for the eleventy-millionth time, (okay, slight exaggeration – I’d revisted/reread your books about 8-10 x’s. Anyhoo, I’d just finished Echo (again!), and was watching something on television, (can’t recall what, other than it was an historical documentary of some kind. There was an issue regarding health-care/medical attention, and I thought to myself, “well, for goodess sake! Claire would’ve been able to handle that!”. Within a second, two at the tops, I realized that Claire wasn’t REAL!!! And that, Ms. Gabaldon, is among the highest praise I can give you. Your characters are so fully developed, (even that disgusting S. Bonner! Blech!!), that I momentarily forgot that Claire was a purely fictional character.

    As for the series, while I am thrilled for you, I must be honest and admit to a smidgen of trepidation. Brcause these characters are so fully formed in my mind I’m almost, Almost, I repeat, with ‘almost being the key word, almost trepidatious about the series. How can the series possubly live up to the vision in my head re: these characters?? It’s a tall order to fill, though I trust your judgement in the choosing if said characters.

    I anxiously await MOBY and have already told friends and family that unless there is some kind of horrible catastrophe to not contact me for 2 or 3 days after June 10th. I will be busy with my nose in this book.

    Please, keep up the amazing work! My copy of MOBY is pre paid and I will be at the bookstore bright and early June 10th. Addionally, I look forward to seein you when you tour the Toronto, Canada area. I will definitely be there!

  40. Diana…..
    As I read all the messages from your loving readers who now feel as though we are all dear friends….I realize that my feelings were not as strange as I thought. Also, you have such a diverse group of fans! And from all over the country…how cool is that?
    Everyone … falling in love with the characters…admiring Claire to no end and her life in general….the way she loves and the way she is so strong and determined are just amazing to me. Not to mention the way she loves Jamie and each time they were separated I couldn’t read fast enough for them to be back with one another! I am still afraid they will die off someday and not return. If that ever happens we’ll all be here to comfort each other because it will be like losing family or best friends. You make them so real and to see them come alive on TV is going to be so ……what??? It almost makes me nervous! Amazing…. to so many who have followed the journey along with you. But thrilled…. since I’ve done so much talking to others about the books, you and the characters who have come alive for us for so long in your writing.

    I wanted to just add my CONGRATULATIONS to you and your family and all the time out of your life that you have devoted to writing each book knowing you have this “following” of people waiting patiently.
    I never thought I would pick up such a long read…… I sometimes think I have AADD because I can’t sit still long at all because I am just antsy and have so many things I enjoy doing. BUT, when I was so hooked on The Outlander Series…I could only go to the bookstores hoping for the next one and I actually stayed put and read every one of them!! Not only was I proud of myself but so was my husband. I would read to him as we traveled in the car so he can’t wait for the TV Series as well. I also have to thank you for just “coming alive” to us on your blogs and FB and your web pages! I love the way you talk back to us when you feel the need…how many authors would actually do that?? I don’t know.. because I don’t follow any others like I have you…and it makes the books so much more real. I compare it to knowing the artist of the painting you have hanging on your wall ….only better…. They then begin to mean much more.
    So thank you for giving so much of yourself to us out here! CANNOT WAIT for the TV Series …that is what I was looking for tonight….when it is actually beginning? It has been a while since I have looked…..so I need to keep surfing tonight. Also need to tell you…. that was great how you shared the process of choosing the characters with the public. I can’t believe you put yourself through that agonizing experience with everyone’s opinions!!! BUT we love you for it. So…again. You have made yourself a special friend to us all. May God bless you, your family and your future! If I were to write a book….it would ramble on forever….sorry folks!

  41. Diana,
    As like many of the other fans on this page I have read, and re-read this series at least once. It helped me get through some very difficult days. There were many. I hope someday to find myself in the Scottish Highlands, as well as other places that you have written about. I have always been fascinated with Gaelic history, custom and folklore – even taking a college course on the subject. I tell my family that if I ever win the lottery, they will find me in Scotland. I really mean that!
    I look forward to the next book. I will be waiting at the bookstore door when it opens on release day! I will also buy the TV series when it is released on DVD. I am sure that my family will be exiled while I watch it the first time…They are welcome to join me the second (third and fourth…..) viewings.
    Thank you for writing the best stories ever!
    Linda McG.

  42. Diana,

    Congratulations on 26 years of writing!

    I’m a very new fan and have to say I’ve never been pulled into a story as quickly as I have with your world of Jamie and Claire, et al. I picked up “The Scottish Prisoner” at my local mall bookstore in December, flipped it open to read the front flap and was instantly intrigued. Whenever this occurs with a book, I will immediately check to see if it is part of a series or if there are other books by the author. I wandered around the store and found “Outlander” and noticed a lot of books, all of them very BIG. Historical setting? Check, check, check! Time-travel? I love science fiction so check! A Highlander? Oh yeah, big check. So commenced a Happy Dance in the Aisles. I promptly purchased the entire 7 book series and “The Scottish Prisoner”. Half way through “Voyager” I absolutely fell in love with Lord John Grey and promptly ordered all the Lord John books (he is actually my favorite character now). “Outlander” is also the only reason I signed up for Starz and I am now one of your readers waiting for the 8th book (pre-ordered of course) and feel very fortunate indeed that I need only wait until June!

    Thank you!

  43. Sorry if this seems impertinent, but you are extremely youthful looking. To Australian eyes you look in your thirties. (Us Australians do age quickly though, too much sun) Thank you for the books, and my 86 year old mother says can you please get on as she would like to finish the Outlander series before she dies, ditto for George Martin, perhaps you could have a word to him? All the best.

    • Why, thank you, Jane! [g]

      No, I don’t think that’s impertinent at all; much appreciated!


      • I agree with Jane! I’m going to be too old to read the next one!!! I read Outlander in the early 1990s and have been hooked since. Write faster please!!!

  44. I just hopped on to this site to find out about the next book, so that I can plan my summer reading – geeky yes, but I look forward to the books almost as much as the holiday! I realised that I have been reading your books for half my life. I was sixteen when I first read Cross Stitch, which was sixteen years ago.

    It’s been 13 years since my girlfriends and I devised our incredibly scientific, not to mention reliable, Jamie Scale. Many a man has been dissected and rated, with the last question on the scale carrying the most weight. That question is: could he carry off a kilt? My lovely husband knows he only rates a 7 on the scale, but is willing to work on it. Ok, extracting tongue from cheek now.

    So thanks! Can’t wait for the journey to continue.

  45. This was such a lovely post — thank you so much for sharing it. With the buildup to the show, I’ve begun to (very slowly) re-read the series. I thought my own writing ambitions had abandoned me long ago, but am rediscovering the “kernels” of stories and characters I’d put aside for too long. I’ve been using this re-read to dig in and dissect what I think it is that has made these books, this story, these characters, so unforgettable to so many people in hopes that it will help me focus and hone my own writing skills.

    Thanks, Diana.

  46. Dear Diana and Fellow Fans;

    I don’t remember the year I first picked up “Dragon Fly in Amber” (it was in paperback), but from then on I was hopelessly lost! I have every book and a couple years ago decided that I would invest in signed copies so slowly but surely have gathered them all and not so patiently am awaiting MOBY! I was lucky enough to find my own Jamie although late in life. While Jamie isn’t perfect, your glimpses into his character and what shaped him are seriously valid, especially in today’s world. Thank you more than I can express for stories that not only entertain but teach!


    • diana, i discovered the outlander after my daughter rebecca past away 6 years ago and i was hooked. I was out of writers and the ones i read where boring, and there you where the cover drew me in,bought it and put it 0n the shelf for a while. with help of your first book i started to climb out of my dark silent hole. I love the characters, the humor, love the discreption of children and history coming alive.thank you. lost year visiting germany i read them all in german and i was thrilled when i made to book 3 i had to think which language i was reading.hurry for the translater. your books helpd my to deal with my loss. love gabi

      • Dear Gabi–

        I’m so sorry for your loss. [hug] I’m glad if the books could give you a little escape when needed, though. [smile]


    • My god…Diana I remember the occasion well because I was pregnant with my first child and it was a difficult one at that. So my doctors said I had to stay home and rest. So I spend most of pregnancy reading. I came across with your book after reading a few books like A Knight and Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, and a novel Series by Kathleen Woodwiss. and the Skye O’Malley Saga by Beatrice Small. I will admit I nearly gave birth before my time due to all the excitement and ordeal both Claire and Jamie suffered and continue to suffer. I awaited anxiously for the next book to be published then as I continue to await today for the release of the next book. I never get bored. I can not tell you how many times I have reread the books and I continue to find little things here and there and I wonder. I recently visited Scotland and stopped by Castle Doune. I am in love with the place and I can’t wait to return to Scotland.

  47. Dear Diana, I met you about 20 years ago at Dr. Kathi Fry’s office in Scottsdale. I was her nurse Ellie. I have always been a voracious reader, and when I read Outlander, I was hooked for life. Your books are like family to me, and sit second only to my Bible in importance to me. I have read and re-read them till the covers fall off. I loved all the nursing, homeopathic, and later doctoring that Claire did. My ancestors are Scottish, so all the better, and they came from North Carolina. I even have a wooden snake that Jamie spoke of that his brother gave him, and keep it with the books. I have NEVER known an author that could weave words into poignancy as you do. Beside my deceased Mother’s picture, I have the words you wrote in a preface about feeling a gentle wind pass you and you can believe it is your Mother. Best wishes on 26 years, and know what a true gift you have given to us all. I am excited and fearful about what Claire & Jamie will look like on film, because, the characters are so real in your mind, how could anyone do justice to them? Your devoted fan, Ellie Skon

    • Ellie!

      How lovely to “see” you again! [g] So glad you still enjoy the books–and I’m _sure_ you’ll enjoy the TV series; from what I’ve seen, it’s going to be fabulous!


  48. Just one more gushing fan here! My adventure into your books began when I was trying to convince a new friend that Elmore Leonard was the most awesome author. Every day it seemed I pushed the name and she would say try Diana Gabaldon. I finally wrote your name down on a sticky note. That sticky note survived
    several seasons of purse-changing. One day I swear an angel sat on my shoulder and whispered your name and on my lunch break at work I went online and ordered THE SCOTTISH PRISONER. I wanted to start the book right after I finished the Elmore book I was reading. I told my friend I bought the book and she exclaimed you have to read Outlander FIRST! So I ordered it online and after the first or maybe the second chapter I ordered the rest of the series…devouring each one. I then ordered lord John series and EXILE and the companion. After I finished all of those I pre ordered written in my own heart’s blood. I told my husband I can’t wait…I craved more Jamie & Claire! So I started with Outlander again…you have a special God-given talent; PLEASE keep writing. – Eva

  49. Four years ago, I began researching my paternal genealogy. So far, I’ve traced back to John Berryhill, 1509, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In the 1700s, my ancestors left an Ulster, Ireland Scot plantation for America. They settled in Mecklenberg, NC. William Berryhill was an officer in the American Revolution.

    Historical fiction is my favorite genre, so while browsing Audible.com, I happened upon Outlander. I thought it would be a fun way to learn about the time and locations of the Berryhill family. Little did I know that not only was this true, but I had also stumbled upon what is now my absolute favorite series of books.

    Thank you for breathing a life of detail into my own family history and writing books to relish again and again.

  50. Diana-

    I have purchased your books, read and re-read them until the covers tear and fall off (due, I am certain, to clutching, strongly clutching and possibly choking the book during scenes) and replaced them as I loaned them out to others and never received them back. I’ve purchased hardcover versions to help alleviate the clutching issue, although the dustcovers did take a moderate amount of damage before I simply removed them. I look for them at thrift stores and yard sales so that I can “loan” them out without risking my copies. I follow your site and lurk at the Ladies of Lallybroch. I could go on and on about how your books have a very definite place in my life and how I pick them up whenever I feel the need for Jaime and Claire’s company, or wish to share mine with them. But the most interesting to me is that rather than just scrolling down to leave a congratulatory message on the 26th anniversary of this beloved series, I read every message left by others and found myself smiling and nodding and feeling a kinship with absolute strangers based on nothing more than your words.

    Thank you. So very much. :)

  51. Diana,
    Thank you for such wonderfully rich stories and thank you for taking your time to “finish” it to your satisfaction.

    And thank you for the audiobooks and the casting of Davina Porter as the narrator. I am making the assumption that perhaps you have sole control or at least a say in who narrates your books, and if you do, please excuse my impertinence in asking that there never be a change from Davina Porter. The first time I read Outlander, I started reading it but I stopped after just a few chapters, because I was so enthralled with your story I wanted to fully experience it and to do that I thought I should hear the Gaelic, Latin and French, especially the Gaelic, since I was fairly certain of the Latin and French pronunciation, but I had no idea of how the Gaelic was pronounced. I got the audiobook of Outlander and I was amazed at how the Gaelic words were pronounced and was even more amazed at the performance Davina Porter gave with each narration. Just as actors perform Shakespeare’s words far better than most readers of his works, I think Ms. Porter narrates your novels to such perfection, each is a performance not to be missed. I don’t want to imply that it is necessary to listen to the audiobooks to understand your books or to enjoy your books, I am saying that listening to a professional actress (Davina Porter) narrate your books is truly a performance not to be missed, just as readers of Shakespeare’s works should hear professional actors perform Shakespeare’s works. Ms. Porter is so good that I forget that it is a woman speaking as grown man or a wee child as in Jaime and Hamish.

    There is another reason your books in audiobook format are so wonderful. I had praised your series to my sister as well as to other family members and friends, but my sister firmly declared she had no time for books and wasn’t a reader of novels. On a road trip home to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family, I listened to an audiobook, by C. Harris, in my car and my sister was a captive audience. She loved the book and asked for more book recommendations. I was doubtful that she would listen to your books, because she had been so opposed to books I thought she would see the number of CDs and baulk. But she became an avid fan of your books and your audiobooks have been a blessing for her. First she found that by listening to your books she was willing to stay in one place to finish some of her paintings that she then sold and now your audiobooks are a comfort to her. She is now fighting an aggressive cancer and your audiobooks through the library’s Playaway device which are small and light enough to carry and listen to as she goes through her radiation and chemotherapy treatments. She is looking forward to “reading” your latest book.

    Diana, when you allowed your books to be done as audiobooks, you probably never dreamed that a different format could have such a powerful impact but I have to tell you what a true godsend it is to be able to listen to your books when one is too ill to hold a book or even concentrate on reading words on a page and the device provided by the libraries is a part of that gift, since it’s a way to listen without the bulk of a CD player or the expense of a smartphone or mp3 player. And Thank you or your publisher or whoever chose Davina Porter as the narrator. Most of all, thank you for your devotion to your craft. Your words are so well chosen they make the senses feel and smell and see the stories you tell. A true gift.

  52. Hi Diana

    Congratulations from me too.. I’ve been around and with you since Cross Stitch first made it into the UK shops and have enjoyed every step of the way you and your characters. I’ve started MOBY and my husband says he now has to book an appointment for any contact until it’s finished!

    Still awaiting news of a UK station taking up the series.. getting desperate to know what we will do over here now! US get it on my birthday and I was so wishing it was here so it would be a nice birthday treat but I’m going off to the Yorkshire dales for the weekend to walk the hills instead now.. 2nd prize!

    I saw that BBC were asked by a fan on a forum somewhere and they said they didn’t think there would be enough interest.. don’t they know how popular your books are!!!! I love the BBC and only really watch BBC channels most of the time but when I think of some of the stuff that makes it on there.. Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear boys to mention but one, it makes my blood boil.

    Anyway, rant over but a big thank you for all the enjoyment so far……..?















    Could someone please tell me if I misinterpreted what I read in MOBY, or perhaps I’m losing my memory, much sooner than I would have thought. Claire speaks and refers that Jenny new of her past. I have no such memory of Claire or Jamie telling Jennie that she came from the future. If this did happen could someone tell me approximately about where I could locate this , I’m assuming its in the last book
    Thank you for the help

  55. Thank you for deciding to write. I adore this series. I have been a fan since Outlander first became published. It touches the heart, mind, passion for history, adventure, infinite possibilities in so many ways. Inspiring.

  56. Started with a clearance copy of Voyager purchased at Lloyd’s Smoke Shop in Wiarton, Ontario, followed by immediate purchase of the first two books in paperback and the one just out in hardcover. One lasting little thing I carry around in my memory is Claire’s discovery of Bayberry Candles. I make a total hash of describing the series to anyone who will listen, there is just so much I run out of breath. I was thinking of getting the series for my e-reader (never used), but perhaps Audible might be fun and different. Planning a 4 night mini vacation in Niagara Falls, Maid of the Mist, hiking the south end of the Bruce Trail, butterfly house, botanical gardens, all the things I never could do when I was the host to my English, Irish and American visiting kin. I always seemed to be the one stayed with the one who got seasick or was too old or infirm (in one case too pregnant) to boat into the thundering mist or to go down the power tunnel or on the Spanish Aerocar over the whirlpool. I have always wanted to do that – 35 years ago I worked for the firm that serviced the Aerocar, new cables every 7 years and quite interesting to ‘string’ them over the whirlpool. Legally the cable car is considered to be an elevator and is subject to the safety standards that apply to an elevator. Ooh La’ I hope you enjoy the scenery as I listen. Hubby will be occupied with 5 different golf courses while I get to be a tourist. But it is about a four hour drive to the Falls from where we live now so maybe he will listen to Outlander on the way. When Hubby turned 60 (64 now) he treated himself to a trip to Scotland, played 9 courses in 8 days including the Old Course at St. Andrews and Carnoustie, and I stayed home with the dog and a few good books while he was outa’ my hair.

    Funny that James Clavel was recommended reading to ‘fill in’ waiting for our next Claire & Jamie fix. Years ago I remember telling me Mum that I was “in bed with my two James’s” while my husband was working shifts – the two James’s were James Mitchnener and James Clavel. Oh, when The Noble House came out I was late for work every day for a week. I think often these awful days of Mitchener’s hopeful ending to The Source and somewhat hopeless ending to The Covenant and how S. Africa and Israel are almost opposite now. When the Russians invaded Afghanistan I was the only one in my group of acquaintances that knew where Afghanistan was, because the first Mitchener I ever read was set there. Caravans?

    Love your work, keep it coming.

  57. I always wondered why you originally called your 1st book Cross Stitch?
    When I was in Scotland, that was the only title I found for your book, Outlander.
    I love the 200 years span for every storyteller I came across started with, “Two hundred years ago…”
    Alex Beaton, a Scottish folk singer on his tour through Scotland, showed us the Clava Cairns and the Culloden battlefield. I mentioned that the Clava Cairns reminded me of your book and our small tour group chimed in as so many of had read it. In search of your book in Scotland for those who had not read it, led me to your original title, Cross Stitch. Now, again my question is why that name?

    • Dear Dawn–

      CROSS STITCH was the working title for my manuscript. It’s not a particularly _good_ title; it’s just what I called the book while I was working on it. We sold it first in the US, and the editors there said, “That sounds too much like embroidery; can you think of something more adventurous?” So I did. [g] Then six months later, we sold it in the UK, and the editors _there_ said, “We love the book, but we can’t call it OUTLANDER; to us, an outlander is someone from South Africa.” So I said, “Well, I _did_ originally call it CROSS STITCH…” and they said, “Oh, lovely!” So there you are. [g]



  58. Couldn’t sleep and started “Outlander”. Can’t believe I haven’t heard of you since I am a voracious reader! Anyway, read till my eyes dropped and upon wakening, am heading out onto the back porch to dive into it again. Thank heavens for summer vacation! I love Claire’s spunkiness and courage. After admiring the scenery of the bike race through Glascow in the Commonwealth Games, I just might tune into the tv series that start the end of the month. At least for a few episodes, anyway. I do prefer making my own mind movies! Thank you for opening a new world to me! Looking forward to many more hours getting to know your characters, and some of the writing advice from your blog, I intend to share with my new class of 10 year-olds in the fall (especially about the practicing…love that bit!). Best wishes from Canada!

  59. Hi,

    In a writing landscape filled with conferences and critique groups as far as the eye can see (and some still farther, lying in wait beyond the horizon), I find it refreshing that you embarked on your initial writing venture totally solo.

    A few years back, I began a novel, and I got stuck around 80,000 words in. My approach is similar to yours, in that I would visualize scenes that did not necessarily occur in sequential order. I was enjoying piecing them together like a quilt, but I think I got hung up on the fact that I “needed” an outline. It ruined my inspiration. To date, I sometimes try to sit and pick up the story again, but I am left affronted by the fact that someone at a conference assured me that I needed to know the entire storyline before I wrote the story.

    So, thank you for sharing your experience. I am going to try to shake off the unnecessary advice and get back to my manuscript, in the hopes that one day I will finish my beloved tale (whether anyone knows about it or not, its unfinished state eats away at me).

    I love your writing style, and I am so happy that someone finally caught on to the idea of putting Claire and Jamie on screen!

  60. Hi,

    I feel as if I know you. I have read every book in the series more than three times at least. I was starting over when my husband was hospitalized for cancer. I feel as if I know Claire and Jamie. Their love for each other echos the love my husband and I had for each other and often I find myself wishing real life was like fiction in that Clair and Jamie always find each other even after death. In my heart I know we will always be together just as Clair and Jamie will always be together. Your books have lifted me and sustained me when nothing else could and for that I give thanks.

    I watched the first episode of the series and loved it but I will always love the books more. I hope you continue to write more books in the series. I will watch for each and every one you write and publish. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent with the rest of us.

  61. Wow, my twin daughters and I are enjoying the heck out of the Starz tv series. It must be exciting to have your published works made into a tv series. I loaned the first three books to another daughter that wants to watch the series too. I want to read them all over again.

    Thanks so much for bringing such joy and letting us immerse ourselves in your books and imagine what it would be like to move back and forth through time. I’m glad someone finally decided to film your novels. I hope that’s really not the last book??? How do you know it will be??? Something else could pop into your head, you never know. Happy continued writing.


  62. Dear Mrs. Diana,

    In all honesty until I saw a commercial for Outlander I never heard of the series. I’ve started reading Outlander, and I am enjoying it very much. I plan to continue reading your series.

    I’m a writer as well, but not published. My stories focus on Fantasy elements, but I’m more connected with time travel. It seems when I start a story that isn’t time travel based I get stuck. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember. Recently I’ve been thinking about starting a blog or finding a way to get samples of my stories out there for people to read. I’m very interested in feedback and hopefully a readership in the event I get blessed enough to become published.

    My question to you is how did you find the forum you did, and would posting samples to a blog dedicated to just my stories be helpful as well?

    Thank you in advance for giving us some of your valuable time,


    • Dear Tabitha–

      Congratulations on writing! Getting words on paper is the hardest thing there is. [smile]

      Now, getting people to _read_ those words…it isn’t a matter of just posting stuff and people will read it. Unless you already have a dedicated readership for your blog, who will naturally pay attention to anything you post, your problem lies in attracting people. You can do that in various ways–joining online groups that have an interest in the sort of fiction you write, and becoming a useful member of said group (discussing things intelligently, showing up regularly so people get to know you–not just showing up and talking about your books), for instance. Once people know you, you can mention what you do, and chances are that people _will_ be interested in seeing it.

      Or you can look for a writer’s group where you can post excerpts or chapters. Now, frankly, I didn’t–while the Compuserve Books and Writers Community does _have_ sections for writers–with monthly exercises, or the Novels Workshop–I’ve never hung out there. I was just on the Forum since the mid-80′s, when I stumbled in as the result of a software review I was doing for BYTE magazine. I liked the company [g], so I stayed–and when I began to write a book, two years later, people already knew me. As it is, I began posting things there then only in order to win an argument with a man about what it feels like to be pregnant. [g] But people liked the snip I posted, asked for more…and little by little…things happened. That’s kind of how things _do_ happen when you do this particular odd thing for a living, I’m afraid.

      Best of luck!


  63. I’m a bit worried, all the commits are from women, girls and ladies. they do mention, in some cases that their husband read “their” book. I guess I’m the only man who bought outlander and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I bought a kindle version after seeing the first episode on Starz. I’ve traced my family back to 1690 when we arrived to Pennsylvania US, from Scotland, I’m sure running for our lives. I don’t know how to trace further in Scotland. The Outlander is therefore fascinating and very informative. Yes, we men can enjoy a good love story as well as you girls. Wonderful book and TV series, but of course the book is always better. I’ve been an avid reader since I was about 10 years old. I’ve read an enormous number of what are considered the best fiction and non-fiction books and Diana is the best.

  64. Ok, so I have to admit I started watching the series out of curiosity, but after the 1st episode decided to buy the books from Amazon. They are amazing. I can’t put them down. Thank you! for creating such a brilliant body of work… even if I’m a bit behind, better late than never!

  65. I came across Dragon Fly in Amber at a small PX stationed in Germany and picked it up to pass the time while out in field excercise. I worked the night shift, and as long as our communication links are up, it’s idle time. I didn’t know at the time it was a second book in a series until the end of the book. I had to wait until I was back stateside to find them, but I read the cover off your second book, and passed it around to my sisters. Your creativity opened up a world for us to go to to forget about being home sick and not showering for weeks at a time. (YUCK!) After the military my life was bursting at the seams between college, career, and familiy, and my reading consisted oftext books, journal reports, children’s books, children’s school appointed novels with a few other thrown in when time allowed. I didn’t realize you had continued the series after the fourth book, until I caught wind of Outlander coming to television. They are now on my Christmas list. Thank you for continuing on the beautiful story of Jamie and Claire.

  66. Just thanking you for what you have created in me. I was not an avid reader. I have become a fan of yours since Outlander started on the STARZ network. I love the characters that are on the show and I love this time period. I am ordering all your books that you have published. Thanks to you I am returning back to being a reader and someday I hope to write. Claire is my nickname and I sometime imagine that this is me and I was reincarnated. (Lol)

  67. In 1983 I was attempting to teach my kids about the up coming new idea of computers . Back the we communicated with a scientist in Denver. Over the next few year’s we enjoyed our Commodore 32. One day my daughter saw your chat when you wrote those lines . She was 12 at the time. I thought that your book was familiar when I read it years ago but didn’t realize it until now. Love all your books. Do ‘t think much of the series at present. Leaving out too many nuisances for the future. But thanks, your books gave me hope after I lost my Jamie in a car accident. Kept me sane really. Hope you never stop the audio books since I’m getting old and the eyes don’t work right. Thank so much.
    A old fan from long ago.
    Old CompuServe nick name Pebbles
    qdrn (Latin for every day RN)

    • Hi, Pebbles! [g]

      I do indeed remember you–_and_ the early days of computing, 300 baud dial-up modems, etc. My, how times do change…

      Lovely to see you again, though, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the books. I think Davina Porter does a fabulous job with the audiobooks; so pleased you like them!

      All the best,


  68. Without a doubt this book has saved my marriage and awakened my soul . About sixteen years ago I borrowed Outlander from my mother to keep my sanity at my job as a home health aid. I read it and immediately became hooked . I couldn’t put the books down and I told myself I would find my Jamie one day and marry him.
    Fast forward to my current situation and I am a married mother of four beautiful children who pretty much lost herself in day to day activities like most women do . My soul had been numb for so long , just going through the motions . I was grieving the loss of a child , traumatized from my husband having been involved in a serious accident , overwhelmed , and contemplating divorce.
    I picked up Outlander recently after watching the first few episodes and I was hooked. Half way through the book it was like I had a revelation . My husband is “my Jamie ” . The similarities are eerie ..minus the red hair and Scottish accent.( My husband is blond and from Ireland )
    The more and more I read the more things became apparent . That was the bond we had and I had put it on the back burner . My husband patiently stood by my side and loved me as I walked around like a heartless self absorbed zombie . It wasn’t him it was me . I had closed the chamber door and he was still there knocking . Strong , brave , kind , sexy , smart , funny ,amazing father , and husband … why had I tried to shut him out ?
    It seems like no amount of therapy could have helped me rediscover my marriage like your books have . Its such a gift you have given us with your story . Thank you for helping me realize what matters . I could have lost the best thing in my life without realizing it.

    What is even more weird is I was just reading my husband’s family genealogy and he has a distant relative who was an outlaw / rebel back in the 1700′s who was from the next county over from him in Ireland. Pretty creepy .

    Cheers !

  69. Thank you so much for these wonderful novels – they are truly a joy to read. The characters come to live under your pen (computer!) and I wait longingly for each new volume. I especially enjoy the first person narratives by Claire. Being “inside her head,” so to speak, makes Jamie even more the heroic figure he is.

    Thank you once again!

  70. I purchased Outlander in the early 90′s on a whim while delayed in the Atlanta Airport. It was a cold evening and I was traveling alone for work. I quickly became lost in the story and have been a fan of yours for over 20 years. I have read and reread the series for years whenever I had a few spare moments to escape and enjoy a book! I just read a Huff Post review of the Outlander Series on Starz ( which I have subscribed to as well and I am hooked!) It was a great review and I hope this series continues! I have to say Sam beats the Jamie in my mind’s eye…what a perfectly cast actor! The Outlander Series has kept me company for years, even as a busy wife, mother and business woman. I love the perspective from which it was written and also portrayed on screen. Keep up the great work! Your my favorite and I have recommended to friends for years!
    Can’t wait for season 2!

    • I have nothing but praise for Diana Gabaldon as the author of a brilliant series. It is the best of the best and so very well researched. In 1992 my sister gifted me with the first three books. I’m sure it was at least eight months before I opened the first book (Outlander) and from that day forward I was hooked as well! In 1998, on a whim, I ‘tested’ Diana Gabaldon’s research/knowledge and went to Scotland (for Summer Solstice). I actually used her Outlander books as a ‘GUIDE.’ I’m well travelled but must say, thanks to Diana Gabaldon and the Outlander series, my experience in Scotland…Culloden Field (because of my passion for the history I was given an English ball shot from the battle..another story), the stones and more was probably the most memorable of my travels.

      In truth the actors chosen for Jamie and Claire were not as I had envisioned in the ‘theatre of MY mind,’ however, after the third episode I changed my mind (my prerogative :-) )…Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe as well as the others in the TV series were well cast.

  71. DIANA!

    Where have I been all your life ? Writing life that is. Oh, I know, in hobbitland.
    I’m a Scot and live in Inverness. Found out about Outlander in september. The tv series was linked with the refrerendum over here because our tv companies had not picked it up, seemingly it would sway our votes, lol. I watched the first episode on the net, liked it a lot, the lass playing Claire is brilliant, read the book and now I’m hooked. I’m on my second book just now and looking forward to the others.



  72. I have been a rabid reader since the age of 5. I have very eclectic tastes and do not limit my reading interests based on subject or medium. The only regret regarding my reading is that, unfortunately, I read very fast. I just finished “Written In My Own Heart’s Blood”. I started “Outlander” when the trailers for the Showtime series first came out. I love the way that, unlike some Authors, you expect your readers to be intelligent. You not only entertain me, you enlighten me. You cause me to stretch myself, to want to know more, learn more, understand more. You have also opened my heart with many of your words & phrases. For all of this, I am deeply grateful to you. I am 61 years old. This is my first fan letter. I’m glad I waited. Please don’t stop writing. Thank you.

  73. Just browsing for a book to read and came upon Outlander. Wow! So in love with the series and its characters. I have just finished book 4. Thank you Ms Gabaldon for giving me so many hours of entertainment. As good books pull emotions freely from the reader I must admit I have cried, laughed, feared, longed, mourned, etc. and do not look forward to the day when you have put the series to rest. I feel like these characters are part of my family now. And by the way……we need more “Jamies” in the world! Thanks again for Outlander.


  74. Diana,
    Like many that have written before me, I am in insane book monster, consuming roughly 3 novels a week for as long as I can remember. This year however, as I work on my masters degree in midwifery, I have fallen behind in pleasure reading, and when I have indulged, I’ve been disappointed. Your novels have torn me from my novel funk! I dream about the characters, the scenery, and the moments constantly. I love them so much that I got my sister to read them, and she hasn’t read a novel since the 8th grade. Our shared love of Outlander has brought us closer together, and the enchanting tails bring a much needed reprieve from very busy school life.

    Thank you, truly, for your work and wisdom.


    PS – As a midwife and a mother I absolutely LOVE Jenny’s description of pregnancy in Outlander! It is so beautiful I frequently find myself sharing it with patients and providers <3

  75. I have watched the series of your book and am mesmerized by the program. I do not see well now so I can’t read the book. Do you know when the series will continue? Is there more after Both sides now? It seems the story would go on. I can’t wait until my eyes are better to read your book. This is a great story. I am hooked.

    • Dear Georgina–

      Yes, the second half of Season One will begin airing on April 4th (in the US). The story definitely continues! [g]



  76. I started to read the outlander books before I had my fourth child who now as a 21 year old has now read them herself, they have given me much joy and I have passed them on to many friend, I am an eclectic, indiscriminate and voracious reader. Dianna is a storyteller in the best tradition of authors like Neville Shute, a ripping good yarn is hard to find, and I will always be thankful to the friend that gave me a copy of Cross Stitch to read.

  77. I started reading this series a long time ago and have just rereadthe 8 larger books. In the last book I am wondering how Frank stuck a letter under the desk at Lallybroch and there is a major editing miss whe Lord John and Hal attended the weddings of Dottie and Denzell and Rachel and Ian only to enquire several chapters on if Ian had survived is arrow wound.
    Looking forward to the next!!

  78. Hi Diana,
    I have read that you are a night owl and do your writing in the wee hours. I was just curious if you are phase shifted-get up late/work late-or maybe you are a short sleeper and just don’t require much sleep? Hope this isn’t too personal :) I work in Sleep Medicine and have a professional curiosity about creative people’s sleep habits.
    I have always been phase shifted, but found an adaptive career for my schedule.
    I love the books, am re-reading the series. Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy the humorous bits, Jamie’s dry sense of humor, and that I just crack up laughing so often while reading.
    Thank you for the gift of these stories!

    • Dear Pam–

      I normally sleep in two shifts. [g] My husband is a lark, and likes to go to bed around 9:30 PM. I tuck him in, then go lie down on the couch with the two dachshunds and a book. Usually, I fall asleep in minutes, but will wake naturally around midnight. We get a Diet Coke and a couple of raw bones and stagger up to the office, where the night shift–when I do most of my writing–commences. I quit around 4-4:30 AM and go to bed for real (i.e., with my husband [g]), getting up around 8:30 or 9:00.


  79. To cut a long story short, for 14 years my husband and I have been `Jamie and Claire` We have never signed our real names on birthday and xmas cards and I call him J always.

    I met him when I was thinking of separating from my first husband. My present husband is Scottish and I had just started reading the first novel when I met him. I felt as though I too had gone through the stones and the decision not to go back – to my old life – was as painful as for Claire
    . We even had Jamie and Claire favours at our wedding!

    I have read and re-read all the books many many times and they are very special to me. Thankyou.


  80. I just wanted to say how happy I am to see your book finally made into a tv series. I discovered “Outlander” sometime in the 90s in my public library’s used book store. I bought it for $1.00 and finished the book in record time. I then, of course, had to hunt down more of the series but, being a teenager, didn’t have the money for it so had to resort to stalking the used book section in the library. I was nervous to watch the show when I found out it would be on TV. I had very specific images in my mind of who I thought Claire, Jamie, and the rest should be like. I also was afraid the tv adaptation would stray from the original storyline. I was so pleased with the casting and look forward to more episodes in the future!

  81. diana,can not thank you enough for these books and for your wonderful writing I’m on A Breath of Snow and safeness its next to the last. this story is wonderful and fills my hours I live alone and ther is nothing better then a warm blanket and a good book to see you through.I do not know what to do when these end,I guess start book one again.
    happy holidays and for wanting to learn how to write a novel.

    • Dear Linda–

      There are two books after A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES–AN ECHO IN THE BONE (#7) and WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD (#8). Hope you enjoy those, too!



  82. I started reading your books (and rereading them) in about 1990. They make me laugh, cry and always care about the characters. On top of that I enjoy learning about the history of the 18th century and the little tidbits about herbs. I am really glad that you started to write and have continued to go on. Thank you.

  83. Between 11/26/14 & 1/3/15 I read all eight books. However, I am 74 years old and would like to know how the saga ends. Please hurry up and write.
    1. Is there any truth that Jamie also turns out to be a time-traveler?
    2. Claire takes him with her to our time where they retire to a senior community in Florida an die of boredom.
    Just kidding.

  84. One day I was at a thrift store and I was browsing through the books they had (I love to read). Anyways, I came across your book, “A Breath of Snow and Ashes”, I thought to myself, hmmm, this sounds interesting. So I bought it. Now, at this point in time I hadn’t had a lot of time to read, so I put the book in a stack of books that I was going to read as soon as I had the time. You see, my husband is in the Navy and after finally feeling settled in one place, Virginia Beach for 11 years, I thought we’d be able to stay and retire there. But the Navy had other plans for us. They shipped us clear across the country to a place I’d never heard of, (Lemoore, CA; It was there that I found this book). I knew we wouldn’t be staying there long due to the fact of not having proper medical facilities for my family. Sure enough, 6 months later we were sent to San Diego. At, this point I’d pulled out your book and started to read it, and made it through the 1st chapter, then I was forced to put it down due to having too many things to do. One weekend our satellite company offerd the premium channels for free (trying to reel in customers, lol). I saw the very 1st episode of “Outlander”, and I recorded it to my DVR, so that at a later time I would subscribe to Starz only because I liked the 1st episode. Well, I haven’t subscribed to it yet, but I did pick the book up again, and as I continued to read it, 1) I felt like something was missing, (seems it was, the 1st 5 books before it, lol) and 2) It reminded me of the very 1st episode of “Outlander” I saw on Starz. I said as much to my husband and I informed him that I will be subscribing to Starz whether he liked or not (that didn’t go over easy, so I had to bargain with him, but I now have Starz and plan to search for it ,OnDemand. Today however, I got curious, and Googled you. Low and behold, I WAS SHOCKED! I couldn’t believe it, the book I was really beginning to love was the TV series I wanted so badly. Then, I realized that I would have to put the book dow again, and read no further. Not until I have the chance to purchase the rest of your books, especially the 5 books that came before them. It will take me a good while to be able to purchase them, due to not having the funds I need to get them. You see the housing market isn’t that great, and my husband and I bought a house while we were living in Virginia before the housing market crashed. We are stuck having to rent it out for $400 less than our house note, and we have to pay the rental agency as well. Now we are here in San Diego, and yes we are living in Military Housing, we are still losing money. Plus we pay my parents and his mothers house notes as well considering that they live on limited funds (they receive Social Security Disability), which isn’t much. I’ve no clue as to why I’m telling you my story, I had originally just wanted to get on here and let you know that I have been reading books avidly for 24 years, sometimes 1 a day, and I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed reading the first 1/3 of the 6th book. I am now starting a “savings jar” so that I can purchase your other books. I tried my local library and for some reason they do not have them. Maybe they are crazy. Anywhoos, keep writing and don’t stop. I haven’t gotten to the last book written, but I think it would be pretty awesome if close to the end Claire and Jamie could somehow be transported back into the 20th century. Of course, who knows what to do about Frank. Don’t worry, I’m not giving you advice, it’s just as I read a story I think, “wow, what if this happens”, my own imagination getting away from me.

    Thank you bunches,
    (And yes, that is my real name, but I’m a woman, not a man, lol)

    • Dear Jamie–

      I definitely think your library is crazy. It’s sometimes possible to find cheap copies of paperback editions of my books, used, on sites like Abebooks.com or Alibris.com. In any case, I hope you’ll soon be able both to watch the Starz series (which I’m _sure_ you’ll love!) ad read the books.


  85. I really wish I had discovered your books years ago! A friend suggested them last summer when I was laid up with a dislocated shoulder (must have been worse than Jamie’s…it took three tries to put it back). I started Outlander in July then found out about the Starz series. Loved the book and promptly bought the next seven books. Finished the eighth book in September (I’m retired so I read a lot) and immediately started again! Read them all again but slower this time (missed a lot by reading too fast). I love all of your characters and feel like they are friends. Of course I love Claire and Jamie both individually and as a couple. In fact I enjoy all the couples and their different relationships. And I absolutely love Germaine and Jemmy. Thanks for these beautiful books!

  86. Diana,

    I am a 72 year old great-grandmother and reading is my hoby. I just finished all eight books for the second time. My favorite book subject is historical fiction. You are the best author I have read and can’t wait for the next book in the series. Thank you for keeping a senior citizen young at heart.


  87. Dear Diana,

    Can you please get your finger our and publish episode 9. I have recently finished 8 plus all the novellas and I am now suffering withdrawal symptoms because I cannot get a new Outlander fix. I know it takes time to write a story as good as Outlander but please take pity on a poor mortal.
    I have tried various other suppliers but have yet to find a product that has the same effect so I suppose I shall just have to wait impatiently, suffering these withdrawal effects until it happens.

    yours shakily


  88. I am new to your series, thanks to Starz ! I absolutely love the series. I am so compelled now to read the books now reading is way more interesting and imaginative than the visual form. Thank you for being an inspiration to all the future writers out there dreaming of writing and publishing there own stories.

  89. Dear Diana,

    I was delighted to realize that so many of your other fans also re-read and re-re-read your books. I made the mistake of buying the earlier ones in paperback and they’re now falling apart from so many re-readings. I now plan to buy the earlier ones in hardback. I’ve been working on my own historical novel for a long time, but keep re-writing parts of it, so I may never actually finish it, let alone submit it for publication. Every time I read or re-read one of yours, I feel inspired to try to improve my own. At the moment, my goal isn’t so much publication as just exploring the many possibilities of my story, but since I’m now 77 years old, maybe I’d better get on the stick.