Friday, December 18, 2009

Diana Gabaldon

I have planned from the start to bring up other authors of historical or time travel fiction, and the night after almost meeting Diana Gabaldon, queen of historical time travel fiction, seems like the perfect time.
Diana Gabaldon-- pronounced GA bul dohn, short a-- writes the Outlander books, a series now numbering seven, which follows the lives of Claire Beauchamp Fraser, accidental time traveling World War II battlefield nurse, and her 18th Century Highlander husband, Jamie Fraser. The books now span from Scotland and France in the years before the final uprising of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746 to Colonial America during the Revolution. Diana reported last night that there will indeed be an eighth book.
As to the books, I enjoy them. That's not surprising, since they contain some of the same elements as mine. In fact, I first heard of Diana Gabaldon when I told people what my novel was about and they asked if it was anything like hers. I was intrigued and started buying copies as I stumbled across them in thrift stores. I find her to be a skilled writer who tells a good story. I appreciate the research that goes into her novels, the detailed descriptions, and the excellent characterization. It's easy to see and feel everything.

One of the things I truly appreciate about Diana's writing is that, unlike some writers of historical fiction, she does not try to force modern viewpoints on Jamie. He is at times decidedly uncomfortable with some of Claire's 20th century ways, as I think an 18th century man would be.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of reviews of Diana Gabaldon's work out there. My own is, if you like historical fiction, time travel, or Scotland, if you like a good story, definitely give the Outlander series a try.
But as to almost meeting Diana herself, I stood at the edge of a good-sized crowd at the Barnes and Noble in St. Paul's Har Mar Mall last night. Although I saw her walk right by on her way to start speaking, there was a rather large bookshelf (not that Barnes and Noble has any other kind) in my way, so I heard, rather than saw, her speak, and found her to be a charming and humorous woman. Here is a true Renaissance woman with at least three degrees, a background in marine biology and computers, who also writes comic books for Walt Disney and historical time travel romance adventures! Now that's diversity, not to mention grabbing life by the horns and making it your own.

But I was impressed, too, by her thoughtfulness. Apparently, we were supposed to call in advance for numbers, to get books signed. However, she asked that people with handicaps and mothers with small children please come forward first. That consideration impressed me.
And the reason, of course, that I didn't entirely get to meet her, was that I had to get home to my own children. So, I'm glad I went, I enjoyed hearing her talk, I recommend her books, and hopefully another day, I'll get to actually meet her.

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