Diana Gabaldon (in her full name Diana Jean Gabaldon Watkins) is an American writer, born on January 11, 1952 in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she also grew up, from a Mexican-American father (Tony Gabaldon, state senator from Arizona for sixteen years, later a supervisor at Coconino County), and English-American mother (Jacqueline Sykes). She has been active as a writer since 1991, when she published her most known series, Outlander. She is best known as a writer of historical fiction, speculative fiction, historical romance and historical mystery.
Gabaldon has earned three degrees, a Bachelor Degree in Zoology, after attending Northern Arizona University (1970-1973); a Master Degree in Marine biology, from the University of California, in San Diego (1973-1975); and also a PhD in Behavioral ecology, also from Northern Arizona University (1975-1978).
During the 1980s, Gabaldon was a full-time assistant professor at Arizona State University, in the Center for Environmental Studies, and she did research, worked as a scientific computing and database expert, and she had taught university classes in anatomy and other subjects. During mid-1980s, she wrote software reviews and technical articles for computer publications, popular-science articles and comic books, as a freelancer, for the Walt Disney Company.
What made Diana Gabaldon write was just a pure desire to practice and to learn how, and she had no intention of showing it to anyone. She started writing in 1988. Because of her research skills, Gabaldon had thought that the easiest genre would be historical novel, although she wasn’t specialized in history, and at first she didn’t know for sure the time period. What inspired her was that she saw an episode of the TV series “Doctor Who” which was named “The War Games”. The Doctor’s companion was from Scotland of the 1740s, and was a young man about 17 years old, whose name was Jamie McCrimmon. The character provided the inspiration for her main male character, James Fraser, and for her mid-18th century novels, with Scotland setting. She wanted to have “an Englishwoman to play-off these Scotsmen”, although her main female character, Claire, slowly started taking over the story, and began telling it herself, with modern remarks and behavior. The author settled for time travel as an explanation for modern behavior and attitude of her female character.
While writing her series, her research was “the old-fashioned way,” though books, at a time where Internet wasn’t as accessible as today. She didn’t visit Scotland before starting to write, and all her inspiration came from books, as well. After signing her book, she took part of the advance money and went to a two-week trip to Scotland.
She posted a sample of her novel on CompuServe Literary Forum, and science fiction and mystery author, John E. Stith, made her acquaintance to agent Perry Knowlton, who represented her still unfinished first novel, initially titled “Cross Stitch”. It was initially thought as a trilogy. The first book’s title was changed into “Outlander” due to the publishers, but in UK it remained unchanged, because, according to the author, the British publishers had found the initial title suitable, a play on “a stitch in time”. After she finished the second book, resigned her job at Arizona State University to pursue a full-time author career.
She currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband, and they have three children, Laura, Jenny, and fantasy author Sam Sykes.
Diana Gabaldon is most known for her series Outlander, which she wrote in 1991, composed from nine novels, and a few other short stories related to the main or secondary characters. The series is published in 26 countries and translated into 23 languages. The Outlander series focuses on a 20th-century British former nurse, named Claire Randall, who time travels to 18th-century Scotland, and finds adventure and romance with the Highland warrior James Fraser.
But besides writing the Outlander series, she has been worked on short stories as well, such as “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” (2010), a short story included in the anthology Songs of Love and Death (written and edited by George R.R. Martin, which is a cross-genre anthology). In this short story, the author reveals what happened to Roger MacKenzie Wakefield’s parents, Jerry and Dolly, as he discovers the mystery of the standing stones. Another short story that follows the path of another “Outlander” character is the novella “The Space Between” (2013), following the destiny of Joan MacKenzie and Michael Murray. Both short stories had been collected in “A Trail of Fire” (2012).
“Red Ant’s Head” (2010, October) was posted on her official web page, and is a contemporary mystery, unrelated to Outlander, following private investigator Thomas Kolodzi. It is intended to be developed into a full novel.
“Humane Killer” (2009, November) is a short story written with Samuel Sykes included in “The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy”. This anthology includes dragon stories from a variety of authors.
Besides Outlander, Diana Gabaldon has written quite a few other novels, although none gained the same success as Outlander.
In 2014, Outlander has been picked up for television adaptation, being ordered in June 2013 from Starz, whose production began in October 2013, in Scotland. The series has received very good reviews and ratings, being picked up for a second season before the ending of the first one.
“Ourlander” has been released also as an audiobook (in an unabridged version, and read by Davina Porter; and the abridged version, which was read by Geraldine James). Also, several books from the series “Lord John” have, also, been released into audiobook form, and were read by Jeff Woodman.
Another series Diana Gabaldon wrote is “Lord John”, which consists on a set of novels and short stories centered on the character Lord John Grey, who is a secondary character in the series “Outlander”. The spin-off series comprises five novellas and three novels, taking place between the years 1756 and 1761, during the time period covered in “Voyager”. The series can be categorized under the genre of historical mystery.
Besides being involved with her Outlander series, she also wrote non-fiction. Diana wrote an introduction to the Bantam Classic edition of Common Sense, written by Thomas Paine, which was published in 2004, and an introduction for the classic Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott, a paperback edition from Modern Library, published in 2001.
Diana Gabaldon received the RITA Award in 1992, for the novel “Outlander”. In 2006, received the International Corine Book Award, in the category Weltbild Readers Award, and on October 10, 2006 received Award from the Quill Book, in the category Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror.
Books in order of publication by series:
|Dragonfly in Amber||(1992)|
|Drums of Autumn||(1997)|
|The Fiery Cross||(2001)|
|A Breath of Snow and Ashes||(2005)|
|An Echo in the Bone||(2009)|
|Written in My Own Heart’s Blood||(2014)|
Outlander Short Stories
|The Custom of the Army||(2012)|
|A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows||(2012)|
|A Plague of Zombies||(2013)|
|The Space Between||(2014)|
|A Trail of Fire||(2014)|
|Seven Stones to Stand or Fall||(2017)|
Lord John Books
|Lord John and the Private Matter||(2003)|
|Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade||(2007)|
|Lord John and the Hand of Devils||(2007)|
|The Scottish Prisoner||(2011)|
Lord John Short Stories
|Lord John and the Hell-Fire Club||(1998)|
|A Plague of Zombies||(2013)|
|Naked Came the Phoenix||(2001)|
|No Rest for the Dead||(2011)|
Outlander Graphic Novels
Outlander Non-Fiction Books
|The Outlandish Companion||(1999)|
|The Outlandish Companion, Volume Two||(2015)|
|The Official Outlander Coloring Book||(2015|