Profile: Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series

This article is from 2014

*4diana Gabaldon

The author appears at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

Diana Gabaldon is the Arizona-based author of the Outlander books series, a historical-fantasy-time travel mash-up of epic proportions begun in 1991. Now into its eighth instalment, it’s amassed global sales of over 20 million copies and she’s appearing at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival.

20 million? That’s impressive.
Yes, and it’s increasing all the time. The latest book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, beat Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir to the top of the American charts when both books were released in the same week earlier this year.

So what’s it about?
Claire Randall, an English nurse in 1946 who travels to Scotland, stumbles through a portal and travels 200 years into the past, arriving in the middle of the Jacobite Uprising. Adventures ensue, and there’s romance too with rugged clansman, Jamie Fraser.

Sounds pretty straightforward.
Ah yes, but Gabaldon explodes the simple set-up into a massive expanding canvas of characters, plots and time-shifts. She even has a series-within-the-series – a set of six more books that focus on the mystery-solving adventures of Lord John Grey, one of the side-characters in the main books.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it …
It’s true, Gabaldon’s books tend to be of the doorstoppingly long variety (about 800 pages each, although one tops 1400). But Gabaldon is a genuine ‘fans first’ kind of writer, and her online interaction sets the bar for satisfying behind-the-scenes chat. It’s not hard to see why readers get addicted to her stories.

Can’t I just Game of Thrones it and watch the TV series instead?
Actually, you’ll be able to soon. The pilot episode of a TV series based on the books just had its premiere at San Diego’s geekfest Comic-Con, and the series begins on US TV imminently. 

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 18 Aug, 3pm, £10 (£8).

Diana Gabaldon: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood

Gabaldon discusses the latest instalment in her hugely popular Outlander series.