Diana Gabaldon takes her own Outlander tour

BEST-SELLING author Diana Gabaldon got to experience the Outlander effect for herself when she hit the tourist trail of the show’s top locations.

Outlander news from Private tours Edinburgh

The US writer stunned fans of the Jacobite telly phenomenon at the weekend as she turned up at Culross in Fife and nearby Falkland Palace.

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COLIN_HATTERSLEY
Diana relaxes in Culross Palace gardens, used as fictional Castle Leoch herb garden in series

It was almost like a surprise royal visit as gobsmacked tourists mobbed the 67-year-old, who happily posed for selfies and signed autographs.

Diana said: “It’s always fun being in Scotland but usually I’m stopping somewhere for research purposes. So it’s been nice to just feel like a tourist for a change.”

The Scottish Sun joined The Outlander creator for the day with tour company Mary’s Meanders, who specialise in the show’s location visits.

First stop was Culross, which doubles, as the fictional village of Cranesmuir in the TV series.



Photographer Graham Harris Graham, who runs The Outlander And Beyond fine art gallery in the town, praised the Arizona-born writer.

The 54-year-old told Diana: “I would like to thank you for paying my mortgage — seriously.”

Next up she visited ancient Falkland Palace, with its famous Bruce Fountain.

Outlander fans will know that’s where the ghost of Sam Heughan’s Jacobite character Jamie Fraser visits time-traveller lover Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe).

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Spanish fan Ana Garcia was completely overwhelmed when she spotted her idol.

The tearful 46-year-old from Barcelona, who works for a mobile phone company, said: “I came here to visit Outlander locations but never expected to see the woman who made it all happen. I will never forget this moment.”

The show has seen a huge boom in Scottish tourism

Victoria Arias was also delighted to meet the woman whose books have sold 35million copies and been translated into 40 languages.

The 30-year-old French blogger said: “This is my third time in Scotland to visit Outlander locations but the first time I’ve met Diana.

“It was fantastic to see the person who started it all in a place where it is actually filmed.”

Diana’s visit came after tourist chiefs announced visitor numbers continue to rocket — up 67 per cent from 887,000 to 1.5million a year — on the back of the TV smash which is shown in 87 countries around the world.

But humble Diana said: “The Outlander effect is sort of a miracle — I had nothing to do with it other than writing the books.”

The mum of three was working as a professor at Arizona State University when she first began writing her story “for practice” — after famously seeing actor Frazer Hines play a Jacobite warrior in a 1969 repeat of Doctor Who.

It has since spawned nine books — with the latest, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, out later this year. And the fifth TV series — which is shown on Amazon Prime in the UK — will start filming around Scotland from next month.

We joined Diana on a scouting mission

But aside from all the official stats, Diana also receives personal testimonies about how Outlander has changed people’s lives.

She explained: “When we were filming an episode from the first series in Culross there was a little shop up the back street where myself and another writer went for a sandwich.

“But all we had on us were £20 notes and the owner didn’t have any change.

“I said ‘”We’re with the film thing and he said he knew because we had our cans — headphones — over our arms. He told us he’d trust us to come back and settle up later.

Outlander’s Sam Heughan reveals celeb crush and tells fans his favourite Scottish words

“But just as we left he came rushing after us and said, ‘I saw your name on your headphones and I’ve just realised you’re Diana Gabaldon — for you everything is free. Take anything you want’.”

She added: “Then there are people who make crafts and do art — there are thousands of Facebook pages that sell Outlander gear.

“One woman wrote to me saying she has a business doing stencils to go on bedroom walls of Outlander erotica and asked if she could use some of the more romantic quotes from my books.

“So there are these spin-offs all around the world, although Scotland is where you can see the direct financial impact it has had.”

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Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has received an award for boosting Scottish tourism

Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has received an award for boosting Scottish tourism through her fantasy saga.

Outlander news from Private tours Edinburgh .

The US writer, 67, received an International Contribution to Scottish Tourism award at the Scottish Thistle awards.

It comes as VisitScotland published a paper detailing how sites used in the TV adaptation have seen visitors soar.

The report says that set-jetting is a growing trend in Scotland, partly due to the “Outlander Effect”.

Ms Gabaldon has told in many interviews how she was inspired to write the Outlander series after watching an old episode of Doctor Who.

Her lead character Jamie Fraser is based on the kilted companion Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines, who appeared during the Patrick Troughton doctor era.

Outlander follows a romance between Jamie, a Highland poacher and Claire Randall, a World War Two nurse who is catapulted through time to the Jacobite era.

OutlanderImage copyrightSTARZ/AMAZON PRIME
Image captionCaitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Outlander

It was adapted for TV in 2014 for US network Starz, with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in the lead roles. Filming continues to be based in Scotland, with many Scottish locations doubling as France, the Caribbean and North America.

On receiving the award, Ms Gabaldon said: “It’s fabulous. I hear a great deal from fans of mine who have read the books and seen the TV show, who come to Scotland because they all write to tell me how wonderful it was and they send me souvenirs of their trips.

“I have a stack of postcards as well as a small number of Loch Ness monsters scattered around the house.”

‘Truly extraordinary’

The Outlander Effect and Tourism paper, published on Thursday, reports that attractions that appear in the Outlander TV series have seen visitor numbers soar by 67% since 2013, from 887,000 to 1.5million.

Doune Castle, near Dunblane, which doubles as the programme’s Castle Leoch, has seen the largest surge – 226.5% between 2013 and 2017.

Numbers at Blackness Castle, near Linlithgow, which features as Black Jack Randall’s headquarters, increased by 181.7%.

And Glasgow Cathedral’s visitors increased by 66.8% after it was screened as a French hospital.

Doune Castle, which featured in Outlander, welcomed 142,091 visitors last year

All Scottish visitor attractions were surveyed to discover how screen tourism and Outlander has impacted on their business.

Almost all respondents considered screen tourism as positive for the industry and a fifth of attractions located next to filming locations said they saw an increase in visitors.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “The impact of Outlander on Scotland has been truly extraordinary.

“It has been amazing to see the global reaction to Diana Gabaldon’s stories of adventure, romance and Scottish history – and the subsequent television adaptation – and seeing it translate into visitor growth for Scotland.

“Screen tourism continues to be a growing trend, however it is Outlander which has been the story in recent times, inspiring millions of visitors, from the USA to Europe and even China, to embark on their own Scottish adventure.”

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, added: “Scotland’s wonderful landscapes, rich history and culture continue to captivate visitors from home and abroad, making tourism one of our most important industries.”

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Diana Gabaldon might write an episode of Outlander series five

The good news today is that  seasons 5 and 6 have been confirmed ( as if there was any doubt about that ), and that Diana Gabaldon may be writing at least one episode.

Creator of the Outlander book series that the STARZ show is based on, Gabaldon enjoys a bit more creative freedom with her creation than other authors and adaptations. Showrunner Ronald D. Moore made sure of this from the beginning — Gabs serves as a series consultant from time to time, as well as appearing in episode 4 from season 1.

Also also, Diana has written an episode of the series: season 2, episode 11, ‘Vengeance Is Mine’. The hope was that she would be able to write additional episodes, but continuing work on the ninth novel in the series prevented this from happening in seasons 3 and 4.

During the 44th Annual Saturn Awards, we were able to chat briefly with Diana on the red carpet before the ceremony, where she accepted the award for Best Fantasy TV Series on behalf of the show. (This is the third year running that the STARZ series has taken home the golden statue.)

Diana Gabaldon at the 44th Annual Saturn Awards
Photo by Mary Anne Butler

She mentioned that production was wrapping on season 4, and that she was very excited for fans to see where the season goes.

We asked her about the possibility of her returning to write an episode in the coming seasons, and she said that as long as her writing and editing schedule for book nine, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, goes well, she would be interested and available.

While Outlander will not be present at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) this year, they will have a presence at New York Comic Con (NYCC), where at the very least, a new trailer for the upcoming season 4 is expected to drop, if not the entire premiere episode (as they did last year during SDCC).

Visit our new Drummond Castle gardens pictures gallery from Outlander tours

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Outlander author talks about George R.R. Martin’s struggles writing The Winds of Winter

Diana Gabaldon, the author of the Outlander series and a friend of Martin’s, recently backed up that idea when speaking with fans last week. We’re not sure what question inspired her to talk about this conversation she had with Martin, but it was interesting. 

Game of Thrones doune castle
Doune Castle is Winterfell in Game of Thrones and Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Visit Doune Castle on a unique private tour of the Game of Thrones Castle in Scotland – Winterfell .

So Gabaldon asked Martin how things were going with “the newest book.” Quoth Martin, via Gabaldon:

I’m having all kinds of trouble. Have you ever killed somebody off that you later realized that you needed?…I just painted myself into a corner.

Let’s note that we don’t know when Martin and Gabaldon had this conversation. Perhaps it was years ago, and Martin has already written himself out of whatever corner he’d painted himself into. In any case, you have to wonder which dead character was/is giving him problems. It’s probably not a major one — the deaths of characters like Ned and Robb and Tywin are woven into the narrative such that we can’t imagine Martin ruing killing them off. Maybe someone like Maester Aemon or Qyentyn Martell or Kevan Lannister? It’s not the series lacks for dead people.

The idea of Martin being tripped up by a dead character he “needed” rings true. Martin is meticulous about his plotting, and has been known to rewrite parts of his books after he decides to change something. Diana Gabaldon isn’t phased, though. “This happens all the time when you write,” she says. “But you have an imagination…So if you paint yourself into the corner, I said, what you do is you get a new bucket of paint and you paint yourself back out and do the floor behind you. I mean, you can revise history — it’s easy if you try.”

Outlander –  George R.R. Martin –  The Winds of Winter –

Diana Gabaldon

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Outlander fans visitor numbers to the Clan Fraser memorial are up

Historians who maintain the Culloden Battlefield in Scotland are reportedly blaming fans of the novels and TV series for trampling the area around the Clan Fraser memorial .

The property manager of Culloden says more than 180,000 people visited the battlefield last year, up 28 percent from 2016. Some even left behind little cutouts of Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser on the Starz drama.

Outlander news from Outlander tours .

The Battle of Culloden was teased at the end of season 2 and depicted in the premiere episode of season 3 on Outlander. It was a brief re-creation of the actual confrontation that took place on April 16, 1745 between British troops and the Jacobite forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie. In the series, it’s where Jamie finally kills Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies).

Aimee Spinks/Starz

“Some of the things I have seen at Culloden have really got my back up,” Alasdair MacNeill of the Circle of Gentlemen, a Jacobite appreciation society, tells the Daily Record. “A lot the visitors are American and seem to think they are on a film set rather than a war grave. They maybe don’t know the history. But how would they feel if I walked my dog across Gettysburg?”

The National Trust for Scotland is reportedly hoping to reseed the area around the monument. In the meantime, Outlander series author Diana Gabaldon weighed in on the phenomenon with a not-so-subtle message to fans to tread lightly on such hallowed ground.

Diana Gabaldon

@Writer_DG

Katey Boal and her team do a wonderful job in conserving, curating and presenting this precious part of Scotland’s heritage, and I’m sure that all Outlander fans are more than grateful and appreciative of their efforts, and I am sure they will make every effort to support them. https://twitter.com/ScotlandNow/status/985868066021142528 

 

 

 

 

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Diana Gabaldon to dish on ‘Outlander’ at Savannah Book Fest

Savannah Book Fest: Scientist-turned-novelist Diana Gabaldon to dish on ‘Outlander’ at sold-out opening address

 

In the late 1980s, Diana Gabaldon was a research scientist working in the field of behavioral ecology when she set out to explore a new hobby that would transform her career rather drastically.

What became the New York Times bestselling series “Outlander” began as a piece of historical fiction and a challenge Gabaldon gave herself. She wanted to write a novel, just for practice. While watching the science-fiction television series “Doctor Who,” a Scottish character from the 18th century caught her attention. He became the foundation for one of the “Outlander” main characters, Jamie Fraser.

“That was an accident,” Gabaldon said in an interview with January Magazine. “I mean, everything was an accident, amazingly. I wanted to write a book for practice to learn how to write novels. And I was thinking what would be the easiest possible kind of thing to write, and I thought maybe a mystery, because I read more of those than anything.

“And then I thought, ‘Well, mysteries have plots. I’m not sure I can do that.’ And I thought perhaps that would be a historical novel because I was a research professor. Well, I was a scientist, but I did know how to use the library and it’s easier to look things up than to make them up entirely. So I said, ‘OK. I’ll write a historical novel.”

Gabaldon had joined an online message board, an early precursor to chat rooms, on the subject of literature. In the group, a man asked for a description of what it was like to be pregnant. Having three children already, Gabaldon understood the experience, but she had also written about it. At the time, she had kept her novel writing a secret. She shared a portion of the manuscript with the online message board, which reacted to it well. She decided to share more, and to write more.

In a stroke of luck, she found a literary agent and and sold the first unfinished manuscript for “Outlander.” Although it began as a piece of historical fiction, Gabaldon’s female protagonist did not fit well into 18th-century Scotland. So the book took a turn into science fiction with the introduction of 20th-century British nurse Claire Randall, who time travels from 1945 to 1743.

Originally marketed as a romance novel, “Outlander’s” popularity later allowed the publishing company to transition the series into the fiction section. Described as part historical fiction (based around the true story of Scotland’s Charles Edward Stuart), part romance novel and part science-fiction, “Outlander” has been hard to categorize, but that has rarely defeated its popularity.

“Whenever you’re dealing with something that’s difficult to describe, that you can’t get across to someone in a sound bite, it sounds like the normal default is to pick what’s easiest, and in the case of fiction written by women, fiction involving women, fiction involving any sort of relationship, the word that comes to mind is romance,” Gabaldon said in an interview with Vulture. “It’s canned stuff: ‘It’s steamy, it’s stirring, it’s sizzling, it’s a bodice ripper.’ And as I say, in romance novels, those are courtship stories. Once the couple is married, that’s the end of the story. And in our story, that means we would have stopped at episode seven.

“I’ve never seen anyone deal in a literary way with what it takes to stay married for more than 50 years, and that seemed like a worthy goal. On one level, this series is telling the story of how people stay married for a long time.”

The original “Outlander” book was published in 1991. Since then, Gabaldon has finished seven more books in the series, with a forthcoming ninth in the works. The “Outlander” series has been published in 26 countries and 23 languages and now includes several companion series. It has sold more 28 million copies in print.

In 2013, Starz revealed a television adaption of 16 episodes. It premiered in 2014 and was renewed for a fourth season in 2016. The third season aired in September and the fourth season is now being filmed. The television adaption has been nominated for several awards, including multiple Emmys and Golden Globes.

Soon after the second book, Gabaldon retired from her science career to focus on writing. She holds degrees in zoology, marine biology and a doctorate in quantitative behavioral ecology.

Tickets for her opening address at the 2018 Savannah Book Festival sold out in minutes.

“Diana Gabaldon, like Oprah, could run for president,” said Kim Bockius-Suwyn, executive director the festival. “I have to remind people we’re a literary festival. Diana’s fans are hysterical. They crashed our website.”

DIANA GABALDON

What: Savannah Book Festival opening address

When: 6 p.m. Feb. 15

Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.

Cost: Sold out

Info: savannahbookfestival.org

For more details about Outlander tours , phone 07305-294773

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