Interview with Diana Gabaldon author of Outlander
What kind of story is Outlander?
Well, Outlander is essentially, historical fiction, but it's historical fiction with multi-layered adventures going on through it, and not only the adventures of history but the adventures of time travel. The adventures of love and loyalty, honor and betrayal, sword fights, cannon fire, gambling with cards and souls. You know, basic stuff of literature.
How did this TV project get started?
Well, it was extremely complex and most of the details would be really boring, but essentially, a guy named Jim Kohlberg who is our other executive bought the option on the Outlander books. He had fallen madly in love with the books and, in fact, had read them four times before he came to talk to me about it, which was impressive.
He originally wanted to make a feature film of it, but after a couple of scripts, all I will say about that is that Ron [Moore]'s pilot script is the first script I've ever seen based on my work that didn't make me either turn white or burst into flame. So after a couple of unsuccessful tries at making a feature film, he sort of shifted his focus and it actually ended up being a sort of four-pronged deal between Jim [Kohlberg], Sony TV and Starz and Ron [Moore], of course.
When writing Outlander, did you ever envision it coming to life in a show?
Well, no, as a matter of fact. I wrote Outlander for practice in order to learn how to write a novel. I wasn't intending to show it to anyone, let alone try to get it published. So yes, this has all been rather exciting.
Do you trust Outlander in Ronald Moore’s hands?
Yeah, Ron's a very smart guy. What he said to me was, “This has to be a faithful adaptation. It's my wife's very favorite book. It's my job not to screw it up.”
What are your impressions of the show?
This is fabulous. I have been impressed about absolutely everything about this production since the very beginning and this is even better. This is just amazing that they can do so much.
Does it feel like what you had in mind when you wrote the book?
As I told Ron [Moore], it's not exactly like seeing the story come to life because it's slightly different, but it's even better in a way, because anyone who saw it would recognize that as the story, but there are all these little interesting novelties. I would have written in this, that and the other, I would not have had dried herbs hanging over the table in the kitchen, but of course it is entirely right, so maybe I will write that in the next time I do a 19th century kitchen.
Do you have a favorite spot in Scotland?
Last summer, we went up to Orchny and past Stroma is one of the eerier places that I have ever seen, it is a deserted island. It was just fabulous.