• “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

Happy Birthday, Claire!

In honor of Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser’s birthday–October 20, 1918– here’s Claire’s first scene from WRITTEN IN MY HEART’S OWN BLOOD. (NO, I don’t have pub date for this book. I’m not done _writing_ it, for heaven’s sake. When it’s done, I’ll tell you, OK? (I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, THE SCOTTISH PRISONER and Jamie will perhaps help tide you over–that one comes out next month–November 29th))


Copyright 2011 Diana Gabaldon

Mrs. Figg was smoothly spherical, gleamingly black, and inclined to glide silently up behind one like a menacing ball-bearing.

“What’s this?” she barked, manifesting herself suddenly behind Jenny.

“Holy Mother of God!” Jenny whirled, eyes round and hand pressed to her chest. “Who in God’s name are you?”

“This is Mrs. Figg,” I said, feeling a surreal urge to laugh, despite–or maybe because of–recent events. “Lord John Grey’s cook. And Mrs. Figg, this is Mrs. Murray. My, um…my…”

“Your good-sister,” Jenny said firmly. She raised one black eyebrow. “If ye’ll have me, still?” Her look was straight and open, and the urge to laugh changed abruptly into an equally strong urge to burst into tears. Of all the unlikely sources of succor I could have imagined… I took a deep breath and put out my hand.

“I’ll have you.”

Her small firm fingers wove through mine, and as simply as that, it was done. No need for apologies or spoken forgiveness. She’d never had to wear the mask that Jamie did. What she thought and felt was there in her eyes, those slanted blue cat-eyes she shared with her brother. She knew me, now, for what I was—and knew I loved—had always loved–her brother with all my heart and soul–despite the minor complications of being presently married to someone else. And that knowledge obliterated years of mistrust, suspicion, and injury.

She heaved a sigh, eyes closing for an instant, then opened them and smiled at me, mouth trembling only a little.

“Well, fine and dandy,” said Mrs. Figg, shortly. She narrowed her eyes and rotated smoothly on her axis, taking in the panorama of destruction. The railing at the top of the stair had been ripped off, and cracked banisters, dented walls, and bloody smudges marked the path of William’s descent. Shattered crystals from the chandelier littered the floor, glinting festively in the light that poured through the open front door, the door itself hanging drunkenly from one hinge.

“Merde on toast,” Mrs. Figg murmured. She turned abruptly to me, her small black-currant eyes still narrowed. “Where’s his lordship?”

“Ah,” I said. This was going to be rather sticky, I saw. While deeply disapproving of most people, Mrs. Figg was devoted to John. She wasn’t going to be at all pleased to hear that he’d been abducted by–

“For that matter, where’s my brother?” Jenny inquired, glancing round as though expecting Jamie to appear suddenly out from under the settee.

“Oh,” I said. “Hm. Well…” Possibly worse than sticky. Because…

“And where’s my Sweet William?” Mrs. Figg demanded, sniffing the air. “He’s been here; I smell that stinky cologne he puts on his linen.” She nudged a dislodged chunk of plaster disapprovingly with the toe of her shoe.

I took another long, deep breath, and a tight grip on what remained of my sanity.

Mrs. Figg,” I said, “perhaps you would be so kind as to make us all a cup of tea?”

[end section]

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355 Responses »

  1. I’ve read the series three times ( reading book 7 for the second time). I’m from Norway and my sister introdused me to this AMAZING story of Jamie and Claire,and I’ve loved it ever since I opened the first book :) Unfortunately, they stopped translationing your books into norwegian just before book 7 was released. So I’ve been reading An Echo In The Bone in english. Some of the woords are difficult to get good substitute for in norwegian,so I don’t always get every little detail right. My friends and family can’t belive I’m reading these books over and over again,but I discover new tings every time :) And I like that you use authentic history as an background for this lovestory. You make Jamie and Claire alive and I can’t help myself from crying and smiling as they struggle to survive. And they REALLY have to struggle!!!!! Cant wait for book 8 and how everything ends. Well,actually a part of me want’s you to keep writing because I don’t want to let go of J & C, they have a special place in my hearth :)
    You’re a GREAT writer !!!!!

  2. I am guilty also of re-reading the Outlander series several times over as I wait for the new editions. I have never been so addicted to a series or author. It never gets old and there is always something I missed in previous readings. I have loaned my copies out to family and they are all just as enthralled as I. Looking forward to the eighth book in Outlander as well as Clair’s writings.

  3. I can’t believe I almost came to tears. I love Jenny and I can see them both standing there. It is wonderful. I was dying to know how that was going to play out. Thank you. Can’t wait for more.

  4. Hi Diana,
    I am pre-ordering the book today, but I wanted to ask you please to come back to the Surrey Writers conference next year! I was unable to go this year due to a broken collar bone and was devastated!
    Looking forward to seeing you in Nova Scotia sometime again too!

  5. Thank you for that brief bit. Now, back to Drums of Autumn…..reading all again.

  6. Listen Outlander fans, I adore the series and have read it at least three times. I wish I was a young women and could accidentally run into the handsome hunk who is Jamie in whatever century he could be found. I would keep him for a while and then give him back to Clair and then return through the stones to my husband (maybe). Not much chance though since they are characters in a book. Anyway for those who took exception to my previous remarks about thier obsession with Jamie and Clair, it’s none of my business how you get through the day and if thinking about this really great story helps relieve the stress of everyday life and starts some people reading again, have at it. I was feeling grouchy that day, or so my husband tells me.

    My husband likes Dr. Gabaldon’s writing because she is spot on with her historical facts. Jamie does not turn him on, Clair does. So, health, wealth, and happiness on your 93rd Clair. Looking forward to the next book in the series.


    • I am a terrible speller – their obsession – T H E I R – BELONGING TO.

    • Anne,

      I would like to recommend two wonderful books to you – The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Both were written by Khaled Hosseini, an Afghani-American. They are amazing stories – I suspect your husband would also enjoy them.

      I discovered the Outlander series just this year. Count me as one who is mesmorized by the story of Jamie & Claire. It’s a delightful escape . This is what reading does for many people. If you have read it three times and counting – I rest my case.


  7. I love your series of books.
    I received “The fiery cross” in a box of books given to me and loved it but knew it was not the first in a series and when i asked learned, the one i had was the fifth one. Within the week i had all the book and within 2 1/2 had read them all.
    That was a year ago and have now read the series 6 times.
    LOVE YOUR WORK…… So can not wait for the next one

  8. Sticky situation indeed …. ahh …. will love to see how it turns out, like everyone else of course! While we all eagerly await news of Jamie, Claire, et. al, like children on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come … I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season with your family!!

  9. I came to Outlander late and therefore was able to read all of the books one after the other (one weekend after the other to the detriment of the household, oh well). I just love the characters especially Young Ian, the history is fascinating and appears to be so well researched (history major). I’m reading book #7 and so love Jamie and Claire’s progress, as well as their relationship (sex rules!). I’m thrilled that they will continue.

  10. The series is exceptional…I can’t wait for the next book…when i finished echo…bone, i yelled out and slammed the book closed…then i went back to the beginning of the last chapter and read to the end again because i coulldn’t believe it…Diane, you are amazingly talented…thank you

  11. I LOVE it. I am so excited for this book! Patiently excited, mind you – write at the pace you need. :)

  12. OOOOHHHHH what a torture. I just read the whole series for the, well quite honestly, I do not know how many times I already read it …… I have recently bought a tablet PC which made me buying the whole series again ( english and german ) even though I have to say, the german kindle edition of the books have quite a few errors and sometimes they are formatted a bit weird ( especially ” An Echo In The Bone ” ). I love the series and can not wait until book 8 gets released. Now i might have to buy the Lord John Series as well. Such an addiction :P.

    One thing though, is there an email address to contact Diana? I would like to send an email to her ( you )

  13. As many others, we are really looking forward to the next Outlander series’ book. Diana, your are certainly a very gifted writer. I know you are tired of hearing this, but if a movie is ever made, here are two suggestions of actors who could play Jamie & Claire:. My first choice Chris Hensworth and Emily Blunt. Just a suggestion. Thank you for sharing with us this amazing journey!!!!

    • I know there have been so many opinions on which actors/actresses should play Claire and Jamie, but I don’t think there’s a better “Claire” out there than Alex Kingston (she played Dr. Korday on the old TV series E.R.” She has the crazy hair, the English accent, the same general build…AND she’s an amazing actress. I haven’t “found” a good Jamie, yet…but Alex gets my vote hands-down for Claire!

  14. …HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CLAIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. I am anticipating this book with all my heart! I cannot wait to dive in to bed with this book clutched to me…. I am doing my best to be patient… one cannot rush perfection!!!! Ah, Jamie…. I miss you so……

  16. I know this may be mean and some people will disagree but, “I don’t care about the side stories!” lol. I would totally vote for not writing anything else until the next book in the main series is done! I hate waiting so long for a new book to continue where the last left off. I don’t check the site often because it usually takes so long for each book but today I stopped in and saw the big count down timer and went crazy! I was so excited that the next book was FINALY coming out. . .

    then I read the description and found out it was yet another book that does nothing to continue the story in my opinion. I couldn’t care less about Lord John and his little side story, and I don’t want to read a story about jamie back between the second and third book. . . to me that story was already told and i don’t want to see it expanded and possible changed or show inconsistancies with what was already written. I have given prequels a chance before and they always disappoint.

    Just finish the story you started then if you must go back and add all the others once the original story is finished.

    i will step off my soapbox now. . .

    • Dear Jennifer–

      Well, you’re entitled to your opinion–but it doesn’t work like that. I.e.,…I _can’t_ “finish the main story and then write the others.” I don’t plan the books out in advance, I don’t write with an outline, and I don’t write in a straight line. The story (all of it–and it _is_ all one enormous story, whether you personally want to read only one part of it or not) emerges for me in disconnected chunks, I write concurrently with the research, and the chunks that emerge are not only not in order, but quite possibly not from the same book. Besides that, I learned long ago (before I ever started writing fiction) to work on multiple projects simultaneously, because that keeps me from ever having writer’s block {g}, and it also ups my productivity considerably.

      What this means is that I’ve been working simultaneously on WRITTEN (the book _you_ particularly want {g}) _and_ SCOTTISH PRISONER _and_ “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” (Roger’s parents’ short story) _and_ “Lord John and the Plague of Zombies” during the last year. WRITTEN is by far the biggest and most complex piece, so it rather reasonably takes a good deal longer to finish. I _think_ it’ll be done by the end of next year, but I’m not guaranteeing anything; I can’t predict what will happen, either in the story or in my personal life. {g}

      Anyway, the smaller pieces obviously come out sooner, but the fact that I’m writing them doesn’t in any way slow down my progress on the longer/larger books–and as I said, all the small pieces are in fact part of the larger, overall story. If you ONLY want to read about Jamie and Claire, that’s fine, but I think you might be missing a few bits that you’d really like to have. Your choice, though.


      • Please just keep it coming – any of it – all of it!!! Side stories, prequels – your stories are so intelligent and compelling and addicting. I feel like these characters are part of my family (or I am part of theirs!). Thank you for sharing them with us all. LOVED A Leaf on the Wind . . . :-)

  17. I found the series last winter and am now re-reading them. I don’t usually re-read anything unless it’s YEARS later. It’s not just that the books are engaging, fun, witty, wise, and full of suprises…………………….but since I now know how events have unfolded, I enjoy seeing how you have “built” the plots and how those little hints are there to move the story in one direction……………or another!

    Another “plus” after finding your books, is that I feel more connected with history. And that is even though I know that the stories are fictional! I guess you’ve written so many actual real details into the stories that I feel like the characters COULD be real and maybe they really DID do what you have written? I’m starting to ponder the history of each of us, our parents, earlier ancestors, and actually seeing our lives and struggles reaching up through past generations

    As I watch (and read) to see the story unfold, it seems that Claire and Jamie’s world is maniplated in such a way that it’s like watching a chess game unfold. And as I spend so much time with your chess game, I’m starting to see my own life in the same way. As a result, I’m looking around and paying more attention to details and wondering more about peoples’ motivation and actions.

    And all this from your fiction! I love it!

    And please please hurry on that next book………………

  18. Diana Gabaldon, you are the worlds biggest tease! Now I’m anticipating the next installment in the lives of of Clan Fraser even more! Happy writing you amazing woman, you!

  19. Thanks for the tease!!! I had just about gotten over the severe withdrawal pangs when I saw on Amazon that they were taking pre-orders for THE SCOTTISH PRISONER. I’ve placed my order and now, I can’t wait!!!! Reading the snippet was a breath of fresh air. Please hurry with MOBY, we need to get everyone back where they belong.

    P.S. I haven’t been able to successfully find a replacement series either. Other authors just don’t compare!You have such a talent.

  20. Teaser is too accurate for this little bit!

    Happy birthday to Claire, and to my own (twin) brother and sister! Unfortunately I am the only one in my family who knows they share a birthday.

    Thanks for the snippet! It just makes me realize how much more I love these books :)


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