I mentioned a while back that I was finally going to get a chance to meet my all-time favorite author ~ Diana Gabaldon. After a twenty year wait and an 1100 mile roundtrip drive, I can now mark it off of my bucket list! Of course I hope to get a chance to see her again sometime without that long of a wait.
available July 5th!
This trip came about because several things came together in time and space:
I need to note here, I
have had never been a person to get starstruck. Over the years I've met many famous and well-known people. My opinion and reaction has always been the same ~ they're just people like everyone else. Now I have to admit that I was beyond excited about meeting Diana and have come to understand what a rabid fan feels. Diana was extremely gracious to me and my mother-in-law who was also really thrilled to be there. I started her on Outlander well before I married her son - my own Red Jamie.
Outlander and the rest of Diana's books have been constant companions of mine for the last twenty years. I've mentioned before that I was a member of that original Lit Forum on Compuserve way back then. Diana began posting excerpts from her "practice book" after another member (a male) started arguing with her regarding what childbirth is like for a woman! We will all be forever grateful to this now-informed man for taking on a woman with the experience of three births who also just happened to be trying her hand at novel writing. 2011 marks the 20th Anniversary of Outlander and there is a special edition coming out in July. I think it's sort of poetic that this is the year I finally managed to meet her!
Anyhow, the next day Diana was doing a talk about An Echo in the Bone and reading excerpts from her upcoming book. It was held at the Kingman Library and was a really special event. The hostess from the library outdid herself and had scrumptious treats and drinks for the group. ~ I must confess to eating THREE of the huge, chocolate-covered strawberries!
Diana has a distinctive speaking voice as well as that for the written word. She made her characters come alive for us during her readings. We are all in for a HUGE treat when these new books come out. Diana read two different beginnings for her next installment in the Lord John series: Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner. They just made us all want more, more and more. (Mature fans of Jamie will love this excerpt that she shared with us. It made one of the much older ladies at the presentation gasp out loud and cause us all to giggle!) It will be very interesting to see if this one or the beginning with Lord John is chosen to start the book. I really liked them both and would have a hard time picking.
Her dry sense of humor and very quick wit both come across in person as much as in Diana's writing. She patiently answered lots of our questions and was very nice about explaining various aspects of the books. Because of the small venue we were actually able to have conversation with this lovely woman who is very generous to her readers. She shared a lot about herself, her life and her writing. It really struck a chord with me when she detailed her unorthodox way of writing a story. She told us that she might write Chapter 7 or 16 before she starts on Chapter 3 or even 1. She doesn't write in the "linear" method that is taught in most places. Her stories come to her in chunks that she then has to piece together and make fit into the overall puzzle. This truly was a light bulb moment for me and I'm sure, others in the audience who dabble in writing. I have never been able to write an outline and then follow it. I tend to go backwards with it and make my outline fit what I've written. My creative endeavors have always been little nuggets that don't always flow together or in a logical order, but do belong to the same story. Thank you for letting us all know that it's OK to write in whatever way suits us!
The girls and I were on our way out of town on Saturday when we stopped at the festival in the park that was wrapping up KABAM's happenings for the week. Diana was also scheduled to speak there, but we were disappointed to find out that it was one of the last events of the day. Due to the fact that we had a 9+ hours drive ahead of us, we decided we would have to miss it and get on the road. As we were walking back to the truck with our purchases, who do you think was pulling in? The lady herself! I must say it made my day when she recognized us and stopped to chat for a few minutes. It was icing on the cake to get to say our goodbyes to her and thank her again for being so patient and gracious to some of her rabid and adoring fans.
If you'd like to learn more about Diana and her world, you can visit her website and Twitter. The books that are available now are:
***I will be writing a bit more about our girl's road trip over at my other blog: MoonCat Farms Meanderings later this week. You'll have to check out a couple of the creatures we met on the road!