Countdown to Outlander Season 3 – 3 Days!

OUTLANDER fans – Droughtlander is almost over! Tune in to Starz on Sunday, September 10 to see the first episode of Season 3.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Outlander, the television series is based upon books written by Diana Gabaldon. There are eight books in the main series, and book nine is in the writing stage. Season 3 of the Starz television series is based on the third book, “Voyager”. This book tells what happens to the two main characters, Claire and Jamie, during the time they are separated after the Battle of Culloden, their reunion, and subsequent adventures in Scotland, France, the Caribbean and the New World. A large part of season 3 was filmed in South Africa, using the sets from the Starz series “Black Sails”.

The first book in the series is titled “Outlander”, and was first published in 1991. In Scotland, an outlander is a foreigner or stranger. Diana, who is a multi-talented woman, wrote this first book as an exercise to see if she could write a novel. As she explains on her website,

So where did you get the idea to write these books?

If you mean where did I get the idea to write a book, period—I always knew I was meant to write novels; I just didn’t know how. Finally decided I should try, and luckily I turned out to be reasonably good at it.

If you mean, why did I write books set in Scotland but that otherwise defy description— it was an accident. I thought I’d write a book for practice, just to learn how, and thought perhaps a historical novel would be the easiest thing for me to write; I was, after all, a research professor—I knew what to do with a library. So, where to set this practice book?

Well, I happened to see a “Dr. Who” rerun in a weak-minded moment, and was taken by a minor character—a young Scotsman from 1745, who appeared in his kilt. “Well, that’s fetching,” I said. “Yeah, why not?  Scotland, eighteenth century.” So that’s where I began, knowing nothing about Scotland or the eighteenth century, with no plot, no outline, no characters—nothing but the rather vague images conjured up by a man in a kilt (which is, of course, a very powerful and compelling image).

Where did you get the idea for a time-travel novel?

I had meant OUTLANDER to be a straight historical novel; but when I introduced Claire (around the third day of writing–it was the scene where she meets Dougal and the others in the cottage), she wouldn’t cooperate. Dougal asked her who she was, and without my stopping to think who she should be, she drew herself up, stared belligerently at him and said “Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp. And who the hell are you?” She promptly took over the story and began telling it herself, making smart-ass modern remarks about everything. At which point I shrugged and said, “Fine. Nobody’s ever going to see this book, so it doesn’t matter what bizarre thing I do—go ahead and be modern, and I’ll figure out how you got there later.” So the time-travel was all her fault. {g}

If you are interested in learning more about Diana or her books, there is much more information on her website. She is extremely friendly, and also has a Facebook page where she often posts what she calls “Daily Lines” from the book she is currently writing, the ninth in the Outlander series, titled “Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone”. This title indicates that someone is going to die, but we don’t know who that is. Diana often chats with fans, answering questions, correcting misconceptions, or just talking about everyday things.

Diana’s professional life prior to writing the Outlander series was very different. She earned a bachelor of science in zoology from Northern Arizona University (1973), followed by  a master of science in marine biology from the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1975), and a PhD in behavioral ecology from Northern Arizona University (1978).

She has written scientific articles and textbooks, worked as a contributing editor on the MacMillan ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMPUTERS, founded the scientific-computation journal SCIENCE SOFTWARE QUARTERLY, and has written numerous comic-book scripts for Walt Disney. She was a professor with an expertise in scientific computation at ASU for 12 years before leaving to write full-time.

Salon magazine once described “Outlander” as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting ‘Scrooge McDuck’ comics.”

Now for a peek at Season 3:

And another, new today, look at Claire’s journey.

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