• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor


Well, now–here’s a question to keep you entertained while I’m gearing up to visit the UK: What sorts of things might you like to see in THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, Volume II?

I’ll be working on this book during 2010 (yes, yes, along with Book Eight, and a few other things, no doubt), but am just beginning to form up an idea of the potential contents. There will of course be

Detailed synopses of

“Cast of Characters” listings for all the aforementioned books. These lists note which books each character appears in, and give a thumbnail description of each character (for those readers who have trouble remembering who’s who).

A Comprehensive, Alphabetized and Phonetic Glossary of All the Gaelic in All the Books (so far). [g]

Interesting Features on Writing in General (chunk writing vs. outlines, how to organize scenes so you can find them again, the Fine Art of Backing Up, etc.) and Writing These Books in Particular (the “shape” of each book, internal structure, and interconnections)

Reader’s Guides (book-club discussion questions and commentary)

Features on Costume and Cookery of the 18th Century

A Truly Massive (but well-organized!) Bibliography, of allllll the References used in writing the more recent Books.

Many Inspiring and Beautiful Photographs of the Scottish Highlands (and perhaps a few less inspiring ones of the author) taken by Barbara Schnell, the German translator for the books.

A Selection of the most Piquant, Poignant, Offensive, and/or Hilarious (whether deliberately or inadvertently) Letters received–and the Author’s Unexpurgated Responses to Same.

Controversy: Commentary and discussion on the more controversial scenes, themes, or incidents in the various books.

So….what else? All suggestions welcome!

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162 Responses »

  1. Ange.Andrews– oooooo good idea about the ending with the ghost thing! and the hector thing, very good. I think we need to be best friends because I used to have those kinds of hunches for the tv show Lost back when I loved it. =)

  2. I'd love to see a list of the plants/herbs and what they are good for. I was thinking of going back through and doing that myself.

  3. Hi, Diana,
    I just plowed through this entire list of comments and didn't see any reference to this issue. Please forgive me if I just missed it.

    From whom did Claire inherit her time travel gene? Since her parents died accidentally, any chance we will meet them in a subsequent book as time travelers themselves? I'd like to see your comments on this in the next Companion if it's appropriate. Maybe this is a good subject for a new short story?

    Many thanks, once again.

  4. Vancouver Voyeur I totally agree with you, that is at the top of my list. I want to know that secret. All the ideas so far are really amazing. Can't think any of my own at this moment, but will think about it and come back


  5. I would like a short users guide to the apothecary details, the plants that Claire uses in her surgery and other nursings.

  6. The engineer in me is rearing its ugly head…I would love to have a timeline. An easier way to tie significant dates, occurances, and people together. For instance, it would be nice to see that Jamie/Claire returned to Scotland in 17XX and stayed until 17YY but Roger left in 198X. I tend to be visual and it would be wonderful to have a high level date list in order to put together where and when the main characters are in relation to each other. I found myself being distracted during ECHO trying to figure things like this out.

  7. Hey Guys, give Diana a break!
    This series is a fictional/with real time history, NOT A HISTORY BOOK!!
    You try and write such massive volumes laid out to amuse and entertain people!
    You want actual times and dates? read a history book!
    Diana has given us Jamie and Claire to love and enjoy!
    I can't wait for the next volume to come out also, but really, it's just a story afterall.

  8. to Bald Bluebird re:In "Voyager," Jamie says to Claire, "I should know you from any other woman, and ye havena your name embroidered on your chest." To which Claire replies, "Not so much as a letter A!"
    That reference is "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The adulterous woman had to wear an embroidered letter "A" on her bodice. As for the herbal stuff, there a many, many Appalachian herbal reference books out there, and several British ones, as well. I'm sure if you goggled a specific herb, you would learn old uses as well as current ones. I also would love a map of locations; Fraser's Ridge in particular. I live on the now TN side of Roan Mountain(used to be part of North Carolina until 1775), and am curious, since they can see both Black Mountain (outside Asheville, NC) and Roan Mountain from the Ridge.

  9. Yes, I know where that's from; that's why I quoted it. My suggestion was that it would be nice to have a list of such allusions…because if you don't recognize it, how would you even know Claire (or Brianna or Roger) is having a little fun there? There are undoubtedly numerous such references that you, and I, and other readers miss because we're not familiar with the sources.

  10. I cannot wait to have it on my Kindle in addition to in hardback volume! I just got my Kindle this year, _An Echo in the Bone_ was the first book I read on it, and I LOVED the dictionary and search functions and thought a million times how handy it will be to have the 2nd companion on there for reference as well! And me to the people who want the next companion ASAP! :)

  11. Being from upstate New York, I recognized the references to Jane McCrea and Molly Stark. I think short descriptions of all the other local historical legends/characters/events woven into your novels would be interesting.

  12. I would like to see renderings of some of Claire's dresses. Especially the red silk one from DIA. And maybe Brianna's green-slime one.

  13. I’d love to see some recipes from the period like the one Jamie’s sister, Jenny, was perusing in “Dragonfly In Amber”, I believe she wanted to make something their Mother always made and the contents of the recipe were hinted at, but not revealed.

    I have pondered this each time cooking is mentioned in one of the books and it always comes across rather vague and like camping out would be these days. I’ve read “old” recipes from he 1800s and 1900s and found the tools and units of measure to sound strange along with the names of some of the ingredients. So, I can’t help but wonder what the few recipes (written down) there would have been in the 1700s, must look and sound like.

    KEEP IT UP! I love this STORY! (Especially the time-travel & the mystery & nuances that surround it)

    Thanx bunches,

    p.s. loving the Outlander series VERY much! (Lord John Grey; NOT so much)
    p.s.s. LOVE that Adso (the family cat) has appeared in "The Fiery Cross" as we are a family of pet/animal lovers.

    • Dear Kathy–

      We’ll definitely have recipes in THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, Volume II. {g} As for Lord John…you may enjoy SCOTTISH PRISONER, as that’s a two-man book; viewpoint shifting back and forth between Lord John and Jamie.


  14. Also, I’ve noticed the people who time-travel are orphaned at a very young age ( Claire, Roger, Geillis Duncan..etc) or seem to come from nowhere. This reminds me of the Highlander series where the immoratals “might” have been dropped on earth from someplace extraterrestrial or it’s left to one’s imagination. I’m VERY curious where you’re going with that explanation (if there is one)??? ;o)

    Thanx again,

  15. family tree chart

  16. I downloaded Outlander my e-Reader and started reading it in October. Seven months later I was ready for book 8 (yes, I read them one after the other) and was shocked that it hadn’t been published-yet. Yours is the longest series I have ever read and I absolutely LOVE it. But I can wait, impatiently, because I know it will be worth it.

  17. First of all I would like to say fantastic blog!
    I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting
    my thoughts out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally
    lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.

    Any recommendations or hints? Many thanks!

    • Dear John–

      My main writing time is at night, between midnight and 4 AM. I normally settle the dogs with a couple of bones [g], then light a candle with a brief prayer, (I just say, “Lord, let me see what I need to see; let me do what needs to be done.”) then sit down and do a quick run-through of email and Twitter while I sip my Diet Coke and finish waking up. Then I start working.

      It helps, btw, if you’ve left something set up _to_ work on, the last time you were at it. I.e., while your brain is still humming at the end of a work session, write down a few words of what you think you might work on next–maybe just the kernel of an idea, or maybe a paragraph of the scene itself. That gives you something to latch onto immediately, to get back into the page.

      Best of luck!


  18. I’d love to have a list of herbs/tonics how, they are made/found and what they were used for. Whether soaps or medicines.

  19. A timeline with years/places/important characters. My best guess, a chronology. Which book were they in France with Bonnie Prince? Which book did they go to the Ridge? Is there a real place like Fraiser’s Ridge (Grandfather Mountain perhaps)?

    Outlander 1 Virgins 1740
    Outlander 2 A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows 1941 1941
    Outlander 3 Outlander 1743 1946
    Outlander 4 Dragonfly in Amber 1744-46 1968
    Outlander 5 Lord John and the Hand of the Devils / Lord John and the Hellfire Club 1757
    Outlander 6 Lord John and the Private Matter 1758
    Outlander 7 Lord John and the Hand of the Devils / Lord John and the Succubus 1758
    Outlander 8 Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade 1759
    Outlander 9 Lord John and the Hand of the Devils / Lord John and the Haunted Soldier 1759
    Outlander 10 The Custom of the Army 1759
    Outlander 11 The Scottish Prisoner 1760
    Outlander 12 Plague of Zombies 1761
    Outlander 13 Voyager 1766-67 1968
    Outlander 14 Drums of Autumn 1766
    Outlander 15 The Fiery Cross 1767-68
    Outlander 16 A Breath of Snow and Ashes early to mid 1770′s 1970
    Outlander 17 An Echo in the Bone 1777-78 1972
    Outlander 18 The Space Between 1778
    Outlander 19 Written in My Own Heart’s Blood 1778 1973-74

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