For fans of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” novels, the wait is over.
Gabaldon’s novel “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood,” the eighth installment in her series, was released on June 10 following a five-year wait since the publication of the seventh book, “An Echo in the Bone,” which ended on quite the cliffhanger.
The publication of Gabaldon’s new book also comes just ahead of the debut of the Starz TV series “Outlander,” which is based on the author’s series. The TV show, which stars Caitriona Balfe as WWII-era nurse Claire, who travels back in time to 18th-century Scotland, and actor Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whom Claire meets during her adventures, debuts its first season on Aug. 9.
Gabaldon recently participated in an interview with the website Goodreads in which she took questions from fans and discussed her series as well as the upcoming TV show. (Spoilers for the series follow!)
She also revealed that “Blood” is not the last of the “Outlander” novels.
“There’s one more,” Gabaldon said. “I've never been willing to commit to more than one at a time, because I just don't know – I don't plan the books out ahead of time. So I have no idea how much ground we'll cover. But there is certainly one, because I wasn't finished telling the story at the end of number 8.”
In addition, she discussed how she came up with the idea of Claire time-traveling to an earlier century – or rather, how she didn’t, and how Claire decided for her).
“All I had when I began writing the first book was rather vague images conjured up by the notion of a man in a kilt, so essentially I began with Jamie, although I had no idea what his name was at the time,” Gabaldon said. “I need a female character to play off all these men in kilts. And some sexual tension – that would be good. So I introduced this English woman – no idea who she was or how she got there, but I loosed her into a cottage of Scotsmen to see what she'd do. And she walked in, and they all turned around and stared at her. And one of them said, ‘My name is Dougal MacKenzie. Who might you be?’ And without stopping to think, I typed, ‘My name is Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, and who the hell are you?’ And I said, Well, you don't sound at all like an 18th-century person. So I fought with her for several pages, trying to beat her into shape, make her talk like a historical person. But she kept making … modern remarks, and she took over telling the story herself. So I said, ‘Go ahead and be modern. I'll figure out how you got there later.’ So it's all her fault that there is time travel in the books.”
Gabaldon addressed those who are already complaining that people cast in the TV show don’t resemble the characters they imagined.
“I am constantly amazed by people on Facebook who say, ‘Well, I don't like that actor. He doesn't look like Jamie in my head,’” she said. “And I say, ‘Exactly how would the producers figure out what is in your head?’ What would they say to the other 7 million people who have their own individual notions of what he looks like? Actors act…. Their job is to become this character. And I have in fact seen Sam Heughan become Jamie and Caitriona Balfe become Claire right before my eyes. It was an astonishing transformation.”