• “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!)

Tagged as:

38 Responses »

  1. Glad to hear you had a good time, Diana! I'm totally envious of your travels. It amazes me how things just come to you. My mom, grandmother, sister, aunt, and I (that sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn't it? hehe) were all just wondering if you are still planning to write a prequel including Brian and Ellen.

  2. I am SO excited for the Scottish Prisoner. When do you expect it out & how does that compare to the expected completion of Book 8?

    Loving all your blog posts today, too!

  3. I think I love you! (And the words and images you inspire in my mind!) :) Safe Travels~

  4. Yes, I still plan to write Brian and Ellen's story, but probably not until the main series is complete.

    I'm working on both Book Eight and SCOTTISH PRISONER, but the latter is almost certainly about a third the size of the former, and thus pretty sure to finish up first. When? Geez, how would I know? [g]

  5. Are you sure you didn't say something to embarass Mr. Scott? ;)
    I was just feeling nothing but envy about the way that you are able to travel–so non-touristy (Great word 'eh?) and then I read about your CDG experience and the envy factor went down a teensy bit. Seriously though—the driver got lost?! You must have picked up on a few French curse words while on that bus.
    Glad you had a safe journey. Now hopefully you have some time to put that knee up and recover from your journey. :D

  6. Nice picture. Thanks for sharing. Verra handsome and your smile is lovely. The CD is amazing. I constantly listen to it. I'd loved to have seen them sing live. Perhaps with any sort of luck, one day US or Canada will have a show of some sort.

    Also that little conversation tidbit you posted, I love that you see something and quickly make up a conversation like that. It makes me smile. Awesome!

  7. Ha ha, okay, that exchange between John and Jamie would have had me rolling around in laughter, if my back wasn't killing me. I write myself, although not half as well as you do, and I personally love it when I'm doing something completely unrelated to any of my stories and then a couple characters just start nattering away to themselves at the back of my mind. I just kind of stop, go "WTF?" then sigh and go looking for a pen and paper. It's wonderful, innit? :D

    Clarice, also happily waiting for "Scottish Prisoner."

  8. I want to send you some fan mail, but I don't know where to post it. Should I leave it as a comment on this post or do you have an email adress I can send it to?

  9. Thank you for the glimpse into your next novel. It's gonna be good, but they all are. :)


  10. Dear Michelle–

    Allan's a lovely man, and a good sport.[g] I _think_ we may eventually have a few minutes of video from the Aberdeen launch, showing him in kilt and in character (I saw about half of "I Am Ready" and man, it was impressive. The guy's got a major-league voice, and One Solid Presence.)

    Someone with much more technical expertise than I have is fiddling with the video (alas, we have only a few snippets, owing to lack of equipment), as I understand there's a sound problem. If it _can_ be fixed, though, I'd sure like y'all to see it.


  11. Dear sleepy–

    dgabaldon@aol.com will get it to me–thank you! (Though you're always welcome to say anything you like here, of course.)


  12. aye Allan is a very good looking guy and very tall even with the sunburn lol and a lovely voice! I dont think we could have asked for anyone better :)

  13. Hi Diana:
    I don't know how tall you are, but Allan looks huge standing next to you. Very suitable for the character of Jaime.
    And that sunburn! Ouch…

  14. Dear Sandra–

    I'm five-foot-two(ish). [g] Allan is about my husband's height (6'3"-6'4"), though burlier.

    And yes, that looked really painful, though he didn't seem bothered. Living with a lot of red-heads as I do, I wanted to put cold tea on him…

  15. I know about it. My husband is a red head too. Being kinda olive skin myself, sometimes I forget about it, until I see the por guy peeling off.

  16. Dear Sandra–

    Ditto. I'd have to be in direct sun for a good long time before I burned, and my son's luckily inherited my melanin levels [g]. Husband and girls, though…especially my eldest, who has _no_ pigment in her skin.

  17. Lowlander or Higlander, doona matter, as long as they're in kilt. Verrrrra nice. **sigh**

  18. Evening all!

    Wow, I really hadnt quite appreciated how badly sunburned I was until this glorious photo came to attention… Thanks for that one, Diana! :0) haha

    Thanks for all the kind words everybody! This has been an absolute whirlwind of an adventure thus far…and loooooong may it continue! (with the support of all of you wonderful Gabaldonians!) :-D

    Cheers the noo,


  19. Hello Allan,
    Just wanted to say thanks for the autograph on my CD and thank YOU Diana for obtaining it for me. :-D
    (Someday I WILL make it to Scotland!)

    Susan H.E.

  20. Dear Allan–

    Yer welcome. Look–you're Really Big and you radiate testosterone (most guys your age do, but you focus it a little better). In terms of female response, that's Deeply Attractive/Slightly Threatening. Add a touch of sunburned fuzzy chick to it and they feel summat safer swooning at your feet (which I notice all your twitwits are doing, btw [g]).


Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.