Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has gotten on the Outlander train – well, horse and cart – and held an Outlander-themed event in all of their stores today (Sunday, July 5). As part of that, they conducted a Twitter Q&A between Diana and fans this afternoon. Here’s the chat!
Q Diana, would you mind if your fans put an arm around you when having a picture taken?
A Nah, people do it all the time.
Q What’s your favorite way to unplug and relax? Seems like you are always so BUSY!
A I read. <g> And mess around with my husband.
Q Will Claire with age gain more powers as the old Native American lady predicted? Like healing by touching.
A I think she will, but don’t know the particulars yet. I don’t plan the books ahead of time – this Would Not Be Fun.
Q Has having the show changed how you write/approach the story? If so, how?
A No, why should it? I’m working about thirty years beyond where they are.
Q How much are you satisfied with the new cast? And will you fly to Prague?
A Absolutely love them! Couldn’t be better cast. No, don’t think so – gonna be a busy summer.
Q What’s next for Jamie and Claire? When’s the next book coming out?
A Smile when you ask that, stranger… No, really, I have no idea. I’ve barely got into the writing of Book Nine – takes about 3 years.
Q Of all S2 characters, is there one you have been or will be really excited to see cast?
A Absolutely love the Comte St. Germain! #greateyebrows But gotta say Fergus is my favorite so far.
Q I sense an eyebrow competition with Murtagh. Now that man has some great eyebrows as well!
A Rof,l! Will suggest that to the Writers Room.
Q Thanks for strong, gay protagonist in your books. Conscious decision or as your writing came out that way?
A Nah, it was all Lord John’s idea – he’s a very strong mushroom (a character who just pops up and walks off with the scene).
Q I love Lord John!
A Yeah, me too!
Q True that the scene in the 1st episode where Jamie looks up at 20th Century Claire will be last scene in the last book?
A More or less. The ghost will be there, I can say that much.
Q What made you want to become a Romance writer?
A hahahahahahahahaaaaa…. You think you’re safe, just because you’re in England…
Q What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll sic Sam Heughan on me? #IllRiskIt
A Oh, you have NO idea…
Q What scene are you most excited for the fans to see next season?
A Oh, lots! The honeypot scene, for one. <g> But also red dress, and a number of the tender, wrenching scenes.
Q I love William. Will we be getting some brother/sister moments between him and Bree?
A I hope so. I reckon they have a lot to say to each other.
Q Is Season 2 now filming, to your liking so far?
A It’s terrific- really enjoying it!
Q But do you now have an image of Sam as Jamie and Cait and Claire in your head as you write the characters?
A No, I don’t have any trouble maintaining show and book in different parts of my head.
Q Do you have a “do not disturb” sign for your office, or do people know not to come up – unless summoned?
A None of the above <sigh> This is why I work in the middle of the night…
Q Does Sam know he needs to learn Chinese and learn how to knit?
A Well, he’s been game for everything else he’s had to do so far…though I did hear, “something something aussi….” recently.
Q Have you given thought to how many books you’ll ultimately write in the series?
A Yes. That doesn’t mean I have an answer, mind….
Q Will there be a spinoff?
A Of what? If you mean the show, that’s not up to me (and probably a little early to think of). If books, there already is.
Q Are there going to be any responses on this chat?
A Yes. Been typing right along…
Q The way you talk about your characters… ever feel as if you are a medium just channeling them?
A Sometimes. Mostly not.
Q How do you write, tweet and post on FB simultaneously? Are you an alien life form? #floored
A Well, I do have an Alienware computer, with enormous amounts of RAM and memory…
Q I started reading the books at the end of April and I’m on Echo now. They are just epic – thank you for these books!
A Thank you! Glad you enjoy them!
Q What has been your craziest fan moment? Please don’t say it involves me! (Ed. note: this questioner is personally known to me, and I won’t reveal her identity…. unless bribed)
A Well, you’ve been there for a few… <g> No, it was probably the lady with the FC icon tattooed on her foot…
Q Would I be crazier or less crazy if I got the ABOSAA icon tattooed on my foot?
Q I figured it was me screaming when I saw you in Seattle.
A Nah, people do that all the time. <g> Not always in parking lots,mind…
Q In the battle of Culloden is there a symbolic message with Jack Randall falling on Jamie?
A Ah… symbolic of wha?
Q Have you considered an Outlander prequel of sorts about Jamie and from his POV?
A Well, there will be a prequel about Jamie’s parents. And I may do a text form of The Exile.
Q Which Outlander characer was the most challenging to develop and why?
A Brianna, probably. She wasn’t organic; I was just stuck with her because Claire was pregnant at the end of DIA.
Q Did you ever envision Claire and Jamie capturing so many hearts when this journey began 20 odd years ago?
A Nah, I wasn’t planning for anyone to read the book.
Q What is your favorite, or one of your favorite, movies of all time?
A The Man Who Would Be King. Also, Amadeus. Also Casablanca.
Q Big question: Do you know who’s been cast as Roger and Bree, though we know you can’t reveal names?
A Nobody’s been cast for those roles, so far as I know.
Q When/at what point do you start to name your new books?
A The title just kind of comes along when it’s ready.
Q What part of DIA are you most looking forward to seeing in the show?
A Already seen it. The “honeypot” scene. <g>
Q Are Fergus and Claire related through the Comte?
A I don’t know that yet.
Q Are you an early morning, afternoon, or late night writer? Or just when the mood hits you?
A Late night. I do work in the daytime too, though – and ALL hours toward the end of a book.
Q How have your fans evolved? I am an avid reader but did not discover your books until January 2015.
A You mean are they getting crazier? <g> No, but there are a lot more of them, so the standard deviation’s bigger.
Q Have you seen Brianna? Is she the perfect mix between Sam and Cait?
A No, I haven’t seen either one.
Q What has been a challenge for you in seeing Outlander and DIA adapted for TV?
A Time and space constraints mean not everything I’d like to see can be managed. But they do a GREAT job, overall!
Q Do you have any idea jus thow much your fans love you?
A Would have to be deaf, dumb and blind if I didn’t. <g> Very much obliged to you all!
Q If Jamie is tone deaf how does he manage to speak Mandarin?
A Probably pretty badly, but who else does Mr. Willoughby have to talk to? Besides, he probably can do inflection.
Q Would Jamie have been as involved if it weren’t for Claire?
A Involved in what? Culloden or the Revolution? LIkely not, but who knows?
Q Any book signings in October in Phoenix? I am going there then.
A Don’t think so – but you can always get a signed book from the Poisoned Pen here in Scottsdale,any time.
Q Have your kids still not read any of the books?
A Nope. <g>
Q Which character do you think is most misunderstood by the fans and why?
A Oh, probably Frank. They tend to be blinded by their partiality for Jamie.
Q Has Frank been telling you his story recently? Can’t wait for #WhatFrankKnew.
A He just talks to me in occasional small flashes. A very secretive man.
Q What have you enjoyed the MOST about having your books made into a show? It surely has changed your life, yes/no?
A Just fascinating to watch the whole process – both on the technical and artistic side! And yes, definitely!
Q Do you find time to read other books in between when you’re writing or is it too much of a distraction?
A Nah, I read all the time, no matter what else is going on.
Q You never seem to tire of our often inane repeated questions. Just wanted to say Mahalo for that!
A I consider it a mitzvah. <g>
Q Were you able to keep a memento from the set and if so, what was it?
A Didn’t occur to be to collect anything. Had a lot of photos.
Q What about Sam Heughan as voice for one of the audiobooks?
A He’d be great, but I think he might be just that wee bit overbooked…
Q If blessed enough to see all the books come to life on screen – which adaptation would you be most excited for?
A Heck if I know – it’s all one enormous story to me.
Q How do you explain the Outlander obsession and have you noticed a dramatic increase since the show aired?
A It always comes down to the characters. People find them interesting and want to know what they’re doing. And yes, def!
Q What part of DIA are you most looking forward to being seen in S2?
A Oh, lots of them. The duel in the Bois du Boulogne, J and C’s conversation after the miscarriage, meeting with John Grey,etc.
Q When you began writing your “how to write a novel” paper, were you the teacher or the student?
A Always an explorer. <g>
Q Were you a lover of history before you started writing about it? Can’t imagine you weren’t.
A Oh, yes. I think most curious people are.
Q In the prequel about Jamie’s parents, will we see how many suitors Ellen had?
A Very likely, but I’m not far into that book yet.
Q Do you have a favorite moment from S1? What stood out the most to you? All of them doesn’t count.
A Would be between Jamie and Claire standing naked with each other for the first time and the final scene between Jamie and BJR in 16.
Q I just read Virgins in the anthology. No one warned me it was a tearjerker. Loved it! I wanted more!
A Yay! Glad to hear that. (Why would you expect a warning? All the books have Those Moments…)
Q Which character would you describe as being the most complex?
A Probably Jamie.
Q What character mirrors your wonderful sense of humor the most?
A Lord John. <g>
Q Do you have a favorite added scene to the adaptation? One you thought, “Oh I like THAT”?
A Oh yes – lots of them! I really enjoy the novelty of those bits.
Q If you had to pick someone to play Roger, who would it be? My pick would be Richard Madden.
A Luckily not my job.
Q Are you enjoying the research you’re doing now?
Q How did the story for Outlander come about? Do you have Scottish ancestry or just fascinated with the history?
A Neither one. Just wanted to write a novel for practice, and picked 18th century Scotland on a whim, having seen a man in a kilt.
Q Will you ever write about Black Jack’s childhood/background? Would be verra interesting!
A Well, not on purpose. If he happens to tell me about it, that’s another thing.
Q Have you ever surprised yourself with your own storylines?
A ALL the time! I don’t plan the books out ahead of time – it wouldn’t be fun if I knew what was going to happen.
Q Why doesn’t Claire talk more about the future where she came from?
A Why should she?
Q What’s been your favorite scene to write?
A Out of four million words? Oh,let me think… Probably a conversation between Jamie and Roger that I wrote a few minutes ago.
Q What do you enjoy reading?
A Boy, you name it. If you check my website, though, you’ll find “The Methadone List” (under “Resources”) that has some favs.
Q Are there any questions you wish you would be asked (instead of answering the same things over and over)?
A No. If there’s something I want to say, I don’t wait for someone to ask a question about it.
Q Is the rumor true about a possible premiere of S2 on the Culloden anniversary?
A Haven’t heard that rumor but doubt it – nobody knows when second season premiere will be, yet.
Q Is there one of your characters that, in hindsight, you wished you would’ve written differently?
A No. It’s like your kids. They may not be perfect, but you wouldn’t change them.
Q The Fraser family is able to project and communicate in dreams across time to each other – is that a recurrent theme, major thread?
A Is that a question, or an observation? Yes, I expect you’ll see a bit more of it.
Q For SDCC (ComicCon, next week) any hints to any surprises (from production or your upcoming works) we might see or hear?
A No, I got no idea what might happen.
Q Was Frank a detached husband? Did he cheat on Claire during WWII?
A No, probably not.
Q When Outlander books are no more, any thoughts as to what you would do?
A Yeah, lots, but it depends on how long I live. <g>
Q Do you ever have days where you just need to be in a kind of dark cave to write?
A Yes. That’s why I work in the middle of the night.
Q How do you research/edit realistic phrasing for characters who speak with Scottish accent and the time period?
A I read everything I could get my hands on written by a Scot, listened to recordings of live bands, watched the BBC.
Q What can we expect at your Portland appearance?
A Well… me I suppose… I wasn’t planning to leap through flaming hoops or juggle penguins, though.
Q What is your favorite thing a fan ever gave you?
A WAY too many beautiful presents to begin to pick. Very special though, was a shepherd’s calendar… also an astrolabe.
Q At the time was there a reason you chose to make Claire and Jamie’s child (that lived) a daughter and not a son?
A I just knew she was a girl.
Q What ever happened to Philip Wylie? Will we see him again?
A Well, he fought in the Revolution, so we may see him. Haven’t seen him yet, though.
Q Do you have an “all time favorite” movie star and/or musician crush (or both)?
A Well, Runrig, I suppose (and the Beatles, a long time ago).
Q What was the best resource you used in writing the series?
A You have to be kidding. My “core” research collection has about 2200 books in it – so far.
Q Some fans, including me, are worried about the “more Frank” in S2. Do you think it’ll change your story much?
A Nope. Doesn’t change it at all. I’ve seen it – it’s brilliant!
Q Are you planning on novellas to release before Book 9? Space Between sequel?
A I’m sure there will be a few novellas done before Book 9, but I can’t say what they are.
Q Is there something you absolutely don’t want to be changed in the TV adaptation for S2?
A Yes, lots of things. Some of them I’ll get, others I won’t.
Q As Terry creates all these fabulous costumes do you now ask her for advice on clothing in that period?
A No. I would, if the occasion arose, but it really hasn’t.
Q Was it ever confirmed if Willie’s cousin (Dottie’s brother) was indeed killed?
A Well, his wife says he was…
Q What would Jamie and Claire’s wedding anniversary date be, please?
A I don’t actually know, because Claire didn’t.
Q Do you have any input on book tour stops?
A Not a lot, no. The publisher confers with accounts and makes the decisions.
Q Do you remember starting your books? Did you do a lot of changes from the first draft?
A Yes, of course I remember. I don’t write in drafts; I just fiddle constantly as I work.
Q Have you thought about how to conclude the series yet?
A No, it’ll come when it comes.
Q DIA is one of my faves so far…I think the scene I most want to see is when Claire loses Faith. So emotional.
A I expect it will be, yes.
Q Does your family ever feel jealous of your work? Fans, engagements, etc.?
A My husband worries that y’all are going to either kill me or prevent me writing the next book. <g>
Q Which character is most like you?
A Ah, c’mon… they’re all me. I mean – who else would they be?
Q Claire is my MOST favorite character… will there be a thread as to how she tracks back to Master Raymond?
A Maybe. <g>
Q Was there a particular reason why Claire is from 1945? Or did you choose that time just randomly?
A End of WWII.
Q Other than your first title “Stitches,” has the publisher questioned any of your other (perfectly) titled books?
A Oh yeah. <g> They routinely hate my first few suggestions.
Q Do you ever get angry with your characters? If you want the story to go one way, but it’s leaning somewhere else?
A Heck, no, I don’t plan the story to go anywhere in particular; I just live with the characters and we all respond to circumstance.
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