The Outlander book and television series have both become worldwide phenomena, but fans may be surprised to learn that author Diana Gabaldon originally started writing to win an argument.
“I wrote the first book for practice; I wasn’t going to show it to anyone,” Gabaldon tells Entertainment Weekly.
However, after having a heated discussion with a man about what pregnancy feels like, she wrote a piece describing the experience of carrying a child. People liked what she wrote and encouraged her to continue, which is “like heroin to a writer.” Soon, she says, she was giving away free samples of her writing and more and more people became interested in her work.
The rest, as they say, is history.
In the interview, which was conducted at the EW PopFest on Sunday, Gabaldon also addressed criticism of actress Caitriona Balfe, whose TV portrayal of Outlander heroine Claire lacks the humor displayed in the book series, according to some fans.
“Caitriona’s a great actress, but there’s only so much she can do with her face,” the author explains. “You can’t film in somebody’s head.”
Gabaldon also offered a solution for readers who don’t like Balfe’s performance.
“Mostly, it doesn’t bother people. For those it does, well, they can just go read the book again. No problem.”
Fans of both the Outlander book series and the TV show may also find Gabaldon’s comments on Lord John Grey interesting. She says Grey is a “seething mass of repression,” and she decided to put his character — who had first appeared in Dragonfly in Amber — in Voyager because Grey hated Jamie but had to protect him, making for irresistible drama. She then decided to add sexual longing into the mix.
“I said, ‘okay, this is going to cause him a lot of conflict.’ So I was thinking, ‘what if there was a lot of conflict?’ Not only does he hate him and want to kill him, but he’s also physically deeply attracted to him — which is also something he can’t act on.”
Finally, Gabaldon teases to Entertainment Weekly that one of the first mysteries of the Outlander series will eventually be answered. In both the book series and the TV series, Frank observes Jamie watching Claire through a window while he stands on a darkened street. The book series has yet to explain how Jamie came to be standing beneath her window, but the author promises the mystery will be solved. In the process, she reveals her epic series of novels will soon end.
“It’ll be the very last thing in the last book, which I think is probably book 10,” Gabaldon says.
Gabaldon is currently writing the ninth book in the Outlander series, Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone. An extended preview of the book will be released with the Outlander Season 2 Blu-ray, due for release on Nov. 1. Entertainment Weekly recently offered a sneak peek of the excerpt. In it, Jamie and Claire discuss the night their stillborn daughter was conceived.
“…the night we made Faith.”
“I lifted my head in surprise.”
“You know when she was conceived? I don’t know that.”
“He ran his hand slowly down my back, fingers pausing to rub circles in the small of it. If I’d been a cat, I would have waved my tail gently under his nose.”
“Aye, well, I supposed I could be wrong, but I’ve always thought it was the night I came to your bed at the Abbey.”
“For a moment, I groped among my memories. That time at the Abbey of Ste. Anne, when he’d come so close to a self-chosen death, was one I seldom revisited. It was a terrifying time of fear and confusion, despair and desperation. And yet when I did look back, I found a handful of vivid images, standing out like the illuminated letters on a page of ancient Latin.”
Are you sad to learn the Outlander books will likely end after the 10th book?
Outlander Season 3 returns to Starz in 2017.
[Featured Image by Starz]