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  • “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. Ah, Diana! Thank you for the treat! Outlander is a great vacation escape for me! Happy Birthday to your Claire! That woman is an inspiration! As are you!

  2. Reading the first sentence and standing in the floor of Lord Johns house……


    The last book……the last sentence of the series?

    Greetings vom Hamburg/Germany

  3. Ahhhhhh…Happy Birthday Claire…we are really sisters separated at birth…I’m an RN and an herbalist and I LOVE LOVE LOVE DIana’s books, they are BEYOND fabulous!!!! What a lovely little teaser…have THE SCOTTISH PRISONER on pre-order….what a delightful thing to anticipate!

  4. *laughs like a loon* I can just see Claire rubbing her forehead while trying to think of how to handle this mess…

  5. I read this on compuserve a little while ago but at that point it was still “book 8″ – when I saw the title ‘Written in my hearts own blood’ I got a little teary-eyed! It’s the little phrases like that which are so well-crafted that make your books so special. Love the way Claire expresses herself.


    Ps I hope one day the ‘ghost’ in cross stitch is explained! I can’t work out if it is Jamie ‘dreaming’ like he does with jem and Mandy or if it’s really him waiting for Claire 200 yes later…

  6. Just to assure me that my mind has gone on the far away trip you fear will be at your door . I believe I got some 20-25 years, Just a sweet tease, how delecious. Jenny finding a beau perhaps?

  7. Thanks for the excerpt Diana! Happy Birthday Claire!

    I am just finishing up ABOSAA after the nth re-read in preparation for the Scottish Prisoner which I will pre-order real soon. I’m so glad to see Jenny and Claire reunited! That was one of the issues from Echo in the Bone that worried me.

    I have to say that I’m able to read other books after the Outlander re-reads. What’s ruined me after Outlander is all the bodice-ripping romances featuring Scottish lairds! It’s real hard to get into those after Jamie and Claire! I used to read those just for the entertainment. Outlander is on a whole different level.

    Patiently waiting for MOBY! Judging by how quickly this year has gone by, we’ll arrive at MOBY publication day before you know it!

  8. Oh, WHAT TIMING! I just finished re-reading the entire series (again) not an hour ago! lol Happy Birthday to Claire – and THANK YOU Diana for keeping it going! I’ve had 5 surgeries in the last 4 years and spent an awful lot of time “off of my feet” so to speak – it was wonderful to have the Frasers, MacKenzies and Murray’s to keep me company :)

    Am going to get started on the Lord John books in anticipation of the Scottish Prisoner :)

  9. Happy Birthday Claire
    Thanks for the snippet , Diana
    Not enough ! Sigh…………………….

  10. Hi!

    My name is Valérie. I don’t speak english at all but, I read the saga until «An echo in the bone», in french, and i would like to know: Diana does a French official website? When will the next book?
    Sorry for the poor quality of my English.
    J’adore cette série! Je l’ai fait découvrir à ma tante et elle a adoré aussi.

  11. Oh, so many questions!! I want to know why Jenny is there, where they are, why is Claire married to someone else, what has happened to them all???? What a great tortuous way of getting us even more hooked, Diana! I don’t think I can wait until the end of 2012 to read it!!
    Happy 93rd birthday, Claire :).

  12. Oh my birthday too! Happy Birthday Claire and thank you Diana for the wonderful gift of more of your books.

  13. I have loved the story of Jamie and Claire and can’t wait for the new book! I was divorced after 23 years of marriage and then last year ran into my former fiance (we had broken up shortly before our planned wedding 25 years ago, although we had been very much in love). We are back to together and I find my life feeling very similar to Claire. I am also in the medical field and my friend reminds me very much of Jamie. I can’t wait to see what is next for Jamie and Claire (and us)!

  14. You are so gifted Diana. That first line of the excerpt was so incredibly vivid and descriptive. Who else can put that much imagery into one sentence and make it work so beautifully?! I have been reading your books since I was 16 and literally have you to thank for half the words in my vocabulary.
    My personal favorite: discombobulated.
    I guess I must content myself with re-reading my 25th Anniversary copy of Outlander while I wait for more excerpts..
    Happy Writing!

  15. I’m so excited!
    Happy Birthday Claire! :D

  16. Someone gave me OUTLANDER shortly after the death of my first husband. It was a wonderful way to stop the circular thinking and panic that had been disrupting my life and robbing me of sleep. I was instantly hooked, and own the entire series. Since I have a (in my opinion) realistic idea of the time and effort needed to write such books, I have contented myself with re-reading the entire series (so far) every winter. My enjoyment never wanes, and I still get that sense of peace and removal from the pressures of my own life every time. Thank you Diana.

  17. Ive only recently discovered the Outlander books. I’m tearing through The Drums of Autumn right now. Im completely spell-bound! How dull my own life is now! I’m going to be a 45 year old grandma with a dirk in her purse before I know it!! Thank you Diana G for so much entertainment!! The most fun reading I’ve ever had!

  18. Happy Birthday Claire!!! She’s about a month younger than my Gramma…give or take the extra 200-ish extra years.

  19. What a treat to find an exerpt about Claire and Jenny. I (and my sister and many of my friends) cannot wait for the new book to come out. You have a wonderful gift that you share with all of us. Happy Birthday Claire.

  20. I have been an avid reader for many years, but over the last dozen years or so have turned mostly to non-fiction. My dear daughter began talking about the Outlander series every time I talked to her on the phone. My intital thought was “I am so not into anything involving time travel.” However, eventually I decided to read the first book just because it is wonderful to have something to share in common with one’s adult children. I have been completely CAPTIVATED to say the least. The course of the last two years have held some deep personal challenges that have greatly contributed to health issues. These books have been such a blessing! They could be marketed as a “pain relief” substance :-).

    Thank, thank, thank you Diana. What a wonderful mind with which you have been gifted!


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