• “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

Pictures, You Say…

Pictures, you say. Well….see, the thing is, if I’m taking pictures, I’m always looking around for something to take a picture _of_. Which is not an unreasonable thing to do, but it stops me actually _seeing_ things.

And it gets in the way of the things that are looking for me.

For instance, the last bit of the recent trip was two and a half days in Ireland. This was research, as part of SCOTTISH PRISONER takes place there—but rather random research, as I wasn’t looking for a specific battlefield or anything of that sort, but just absorbing the vibes of County Galway and Limerick (as well as Dublin) and sitting around in pubs listening to people talk (I have some slight ear for Scots, but none at all for Irish regional accents or idiom).

Well, so. Our path to Limerick took us (by plan) through Athlone, as a certain amount of 17th-century Jacobite plotting went on there, and I thought it might be useful. Nothing specific in mind, though, so we were just driving through the city, looking round in a vague way for the castle. “You don’t know where it is?” asked my husband (gallantly doing all the wrong-side-of-the-road driving, and thus slightly white-knuckled in the narrow streets).

“Nope,” I said cheerily. “I may not even need it, but if I do, I’m sure we’ll find it.” So on we went, reaching the far side of the city pretty fast (it’s a small city, Athlone). Rather than get onto an unfamiliar motorway, we pulled into the parking lot of a shopping center—which was across the street from a park, with a river running through it.

OK. One of my basic principles when on foreign ground is that you always head for water. River, lake, ocean, pond—it doesn’t matter. Something interesting is always going on near water. So we crossed the road, and Doug headed—with logic—right for the river. I stopped dead, at a ratty little poster in a frame, showing faded depictions of the flora and fauna to be found on the River Shannon (that being what we standing next to). I took a quick, but intense look at this, and when I spotted “amphibious bistort,” I heard, clear as anything, the following:
“Fraser glowered at the plant in his hand.

“And what’s that?”

“An amphibious bistort, if I’m not mistaken,” Grey replied, with some pleasure at the name.

“Can ye eat it?”

Grey surveyed the spindly thing critically and shook his head.

“Not unless you were starving.”

“I’m not. Put it back and let’s go.”

Right. So the River Shannon and the amphibious bistort were looking for me—but I certainly wouldn’t have found them, if I’d been looking for church spires or cud-chewing cows to take photos of. (No, I have no idea why these people are where they are; I just know they _are_, because I’ve just seen them there.) And on the way back through town, sure enough, Castle Athlone materialized right in front of us, and I spent a blissful twenty minutes climbing through it. So when the time comes, I can pull that memory up entire, from the tiny flowering plants growing in the cracks of the black stone, to the way the arrow slits widen on the inner aspect, to allow for someone drawing a bow—and I know that a bow-shot from one of those slits would have reached a boat coming ashore from the Shannon (having come down from Lough Rea—don’t ask me who’s in the boat or who’s shooting at them; I don’t know that yet), because I know how far it is from the Castle to the River—not far at all.

And that’s why I don’t take pictures when I travel. (I _do_ collect postcards from art museums.)

So I’m afraid the only picture I came home from Scotland with is the one above, of me and Big Bir—er, me and Mr. Allan Scott-Douglas (the voice of Jamie Fraser on the outlanderthemusical CD), who very graciously came to have a drink with me and sign a bunch of CD’s. (NO, I have _not_ just made some scandalous remark that caused Mr. Scott-Douglas to blush—would I do that? He’s just got a ferocious sunburn from outdoor rehearsals for his next show, “King Arthur”, which is being performed at Craigcrook Castle near Edinburgh, later this month. See here for details.)

[As an afterthought, it seemed only fair to show you a photo of Allan _in_ character, though he's no less charming as himself.]

Oh—before I forget, there’s a brand-new video of the song-snips from Outlander: The Musical, here! (And many, many thanks to the talented Michelle Moore, who made it!)

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38 Responses »

  1. Vera lovely indeed!

  2. Allan just has to grow out his red hair a bit…and who knows what could happen???
    Had to replay his line, "blood of my blood, bone of my bone…" (especially the "bone" part…ahem.) ;)
    I do kinda wish Claire's part had an American accent, though. I hope the musical actually gets together and tours somewhere nearby so I can see it. (Michigan!) Allan should play Jamie, of course!

  3. Why would you want Claire to have an American accent?

    She is English…..

  4. Dear Anonymous–

    Why on earth should Claire have an American accent? As Shona says (and as the books say throughout….[cough]), she's an Englishwoman.

    I imagine Allen would appreciate your good opinion, though!


  5. "Allan," sorry!

  6. And appreciate it he most definitely does…! :-D

    I also suspect she meant she wished Claire had an American accent so she herself could play the role – or feel like she could. More a general musing on what it mightve been like if the character Claire actually WAS American rather than a suggestion for how it 'should' have been done on the CD. I think…

    Dear Anonymous of Michigan – care to enlighten us if this was what you meant?

    Oh and Dear Susan – you are more than welcome! (though I still haven't quite gotten used to people actually wanting my autograph at all…)


  7. Dear Allan,
    Have you ever wished for a large group of international women to hang on your every word, and wonder about your complexion?
    Well, after years of wishing we could all see Jamie 'in the flesh', we have all transferred our affections to you.
    Sorry. :)

  8. Dear Allan–

    Generous thought. [g] How hard is it to imagine oneself as an Englishwoman, though? I mean, I do that every day, just about (well, when I'm not being a gay Englishman or a sadistic bisexual pervert or a Chinese foot-fetishist….).


  9. Having only heard samples of the songs so far, I love everyone's voices (especially Allan's!) except for the voice of Clare. It's true that I've just finished all the audio books, narrated by Davina Porter, who was spectacular but unfortunately Sue Robertson didn't really do it for me.

    Now if you would consider an Australian who can do an excellent English accent (if she doesn't say so herself), then I would be more than happy to audition for the musical (is [w] the "wink" equivalent of [g]?!). I even have the hair for the part!

  10. Dear Toni–

    Well, everyone's opinion is going to be different, as to what seems "right" for one character or another. I'm _very_ impressed by Sue's beautiful voice, though, and her ability to hit a nice mid-Atlantic accent through it all.

    Again, though, I'm pretty flexible in terms of performers "doing" the characters. I can, after all, actually _hear_ Jamie and Claire [g], and am able to make mental adjustments for the variability of voices playing them. It's just imagination, I mean.


  11. Changing Claire's accent to an American accent would make Claire American. With that the whole story or musical would sound really weird and out of context. Specially, since the U.S did not join World War II until 1941. if I remember correctly Claire was a Nurse throughout the whole war, the six years she was separated from Frank. Again, I think that would be re-writing a story that doesn't need any more re-writes. (I'm sure Diana did her share)

  12. I think I will buy the album and get a really good idea of what it sounds like! I loved "Is Tu Fuil ‘o Mo Chuislean" and "I am Ready" sounds wonderful from the sample (and I can give the rest of the songs a fair go).

    I'd just like to add that I'm absolutely aching to read what happens with regards to the cliff hangers in the next book (and then the rest of the plot, in that order!). I'm trying to stifle my impatience though, since as you said somewhere, the simmering and boiling of ideas will only make the story better.

    I want to thank you for writing about Jerry Mackenzie, as I'm extremely intrigued as to what happened to him. I can't wait to read it! I also love Lord John, and love that you decided to write so much about him – thank you!

  13. Dear Toni–

    I just love Jerry MacKenzie, and I think you will, too. And _that_ story is out in November! (for anyone not up to speed–it's a short story (no, really!) about Roger's parents, published in an anthology titled SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH, edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois. The story itself is called "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows.")

    As for the CD…I really think you'll enjoy that, too. Hope so!


  14. I am very confused by people wanting Claire to American or Austrialian?!?!?!?!? She is English!!!! Very English! …you know the place attached to Scotland and Wales; part of Great Britain. I think Sue portray's Claire's voice very well!

  15. Dear Diana,

    I'm so very upset at only just finding out that you were in Ireland for a couple of days. I have only just returned to the States (MO) a couple of weeks ago after living there for a year. I would have happily hunted you down had I known you were there! (I lived in Limerick from August 2009 until May 2010, at which point I moved to Galway where I lived until a couple of weeks ago.)

    Being a photographer myself, if you happen to feel the need for any photos, I would be happy to share. I have, literally!, hundreds and hundreds of photographs that I took over the past year. I must admit I don't have any of Athlone (though I've been there a couple of times), but could easily obtain them since I'm going back to Ireland in January (to walk in the graduation ceremony for my master's degree), and the boyfriend lives in Galway and is a photographer as well. [g]

  16. Nope ..I'm sorry ..Why would Claire have an AMERICAN Accent ? I seem to have missed something in my reading of the books ? From what I've heard Sue has a very good,slightly "proper" clipped English accent. Sort of like Julie Andrews with attitude ..just about right for a fairly well educated 1940's gal

  17. Okay is HE married? lol and to the Irish photographer share pics!! I would love to see some! Sorry late just getting caught up… :)

  18. Dear AJ–

    Allan is single. [g]


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