Outlander tours, Lallybroch ( Midhope Castle) Outlander tours

Outlander star Jamie Fraser, Scottish actor Sam Heughan is quickly building up his resume as a film star . Outlander news from Outlander tours.

Last year, Heughan starred in the comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me alongside Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis, and he is slated to appear in the forthcoming superhero film Bloodshot and the action thriller SAS: Red Notice, both of which will premiere next year.

Now, it seems he might also have a part in a biopic about children’s author Roald Dahl and his wife, Academy Award-winner actress Patricia Neal, which is based on Stephen Michael Shearer’s book about Neal called An Unquiet Life.

Heughan’s casting hasn’t officially been announced, but he was tagged in an Instagram post by Michael Gallivan, a director who appears to be working on the film.

“When I first read the script I was full with emotions! It’s beautifully written and it looks absolutely stunning! With a stellar cast #hughbonneville #samheughan #keeleyhawes,” Gallivan wrote in the caption of the post.

While the post doesn’t include a photo of Heughan on set, his handle was tagged in the picture of a small house.

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We don’t know much about Heughan’s involvement in the movie, but we do know that he won’t be playing Dahl; that role went to Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville (who is perhaps better known as Lord Grantham). According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film is being “billed as a bittersweet, comedic and heart-warming story” of Dahl’s marriage to Neal.

More specifically the story will be set in London, New York, and L.A. during the 1960s, “as the writer struggles over some of his most famous works, and his wife returns to acting with Hud.”

It’s possible that Heughan could play American actor Paul Newman, who starred with Neal in Hud and will play a role in the biopic,but for now, nothing’s be announced.

Jamie Fraser is now Dr Fraser

Outlander star Sam Heughan – Jamie Fraser in Outlander – has been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow .
Outlander news from Outlander tours Edinburgh . Phone 07305-294773 for details of our Outlander tours.

His doctorate is in honour of the actor’s artistic success, as well as his charity work.
It is, however, a return to home turf for Heughan, who grew up there before moving to Edinburgh aged 12. The Outlander fan favourite graduated from Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama – RSAMD, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – in 2003.

NEW Sam Heughan’s movie, Bloodshot, with Vin Diesel, is coming out in 2020

Sam Heughan‘s new movie, Bloodshot, with Vin Diesel, is coming out in 2020

Outlander news from Outlander tours

During an interview with Parade, Heughan shared that the movie with Vin Diesel will be out in 2020. He didn’t give an exact date and that’s not all that surprising. The studio probably hasn’t decided on a date just yet. After all, we’ve only just found out that Caitriona Balfe’s Ford v Ferrari movie will be out in November.

What we do get is a little more information about the role Heughan is playing. This was something kept under wraps during the casting announcement so it’s fun to learn more about the character.

Based on the comic book of the same name, Sam Heughan will play a Navy SEAL, who has been changed with technology after something traumatic happened. This makes him a better soldier, sure, but it also changes part of who the character is. The good thing for Heughan is that it’s completely different to Outlander’s Jamie Fraser and that gives him a new range to his acting abilities.

There are plenty of actions scenes for him by the sounds of things. Heughan admits that he had to train because it is a physical role. At the same time, it sounds like comic book fans will see a slight twist, as he explains it’s an iconic character that plays a new superhero (or maybe a supervillain) in the movie.

NEW for 2019 – the Kelpies and castles tour

Looking for things to do in Edinburgh ? How about taking a tour from Edinburgh of two ancient castles and the Kelpies  ?

Our  Kelpies and castles tour features a visit to the amazing Kelpies  in Falkirk and two ancient Scottish castles in Stirling and Doune .  

 The Kelpies and castles tours are available daily seven days a week   .The tour spends up to an hour at each location .

kelpies falkirk tours

Normal pickup point is Edinburgh city centre . Five hour private tour around Falkirk for up to four passengers. Tours start at 10 am weekdays . Explore the famous Kelpies  in Falkirk .

Itinerary

  • 5 hour private tour group day trip around Falkirk and Stirling
  • Explore the world famous Kelpies , a unique tribute to the Clydesdale horses that used to pull barges along the canals of Scotland
  • visit Doune Castle and find out about its five claims to movie fame
  • visit Stirling Castle , home of Mary Queen of Scots and the Stewart kings of Scotland
  • Take in unique views of the historic Stirling and Doune Castle
  • Small private group tour with a maximum of 4 people

 

The world famous Kelpies

The Kelpies tours , the Helix , Falkirk
The Kelpies sculptures are the largest works of art in Scotland, and the largest equine sculptures in the world, designed by Andy Scott. 

The Kelpies sculptures are the largest equine sculptures in the world and they have become Scotland’s best known cultural landmark with over one million visitors .

The Kelpies are 30 metre high sculptures of Clydesdale horses , a unique tribute to the work horses of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the freight barges and coalships along the canals of Scotland in the nineteenth century . Canals shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area. The Kelpies are the centrepiece of the Helix Park in Falkirk .

The Kelpies have become the most famous equine sculptures in the world . But now they have been given another name to make them more attractive to Chinese tourists.

VisitBritain, which markets the UK abroad, has dubbed them ‘Kai Po Ju Ma’ in promotional literature in China – which translates as “glorious armoured giant horses”.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture. The castle was the home of Mary, Queen of Scots and the Stewart kings of Scotland .

Stirling castle tours
Stirling castle tours

From Stirling Castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in views of the Forth Valley and Ben Lomond , as well as two of Scotland’s most important battle sites – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town.Like Edinburgh Castle , Stirling sits on a volcanic rock dominating the city skyline .

Stirling Castle is not only one of Scotland’s grandest and most imposing castles, it was also a real favourite with Scotland’s kings and queens. And their investment in it demonstrated just how much they loved to use it, as well as their desire to ensure it both impressed all who visited it, and represented a statement of their power and wealth. James IV created the Great Hall, the largest medieval banqueting hall ever built in Scotland, and James V’s Royal Palace, with its lavishly decorated Renaissance façades, was a masterpiece of the period.

Major conservation work has been carried out at Stirling Castle over many years to preserve the attraction as a major national and international monument. The refurbishment of the Great Hall was completed ten years ago . A particular feature of the Great Hall is stained glass windows featuring clan crests . A number of banquets and concerts are held in the Hall throughout the year .

Phone 07305-294773 for availability and bookings or contact us  online .

Doune Castle – featured in Game of Thrones and Monty Python

Game of Thrones castle tours, outlander castle tour
Game of Thrones castle tours

  • Doune Castle is unique in that it actually has five claims to movie fame
  • Game of Thrones ( Winterfell )
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  •  Outlander ( Castle Leoch )
  • the Outlaw King
  • Mary Queen of Scots

Your guide will give details of the history of the castle , information about the Game of Thrones filming plus all the other films made at Doune Castle including Monty Python and the Holy Grail .

Behind the scenes access

Visitors to the castle can get details about Game of Thrones filming in the Great Hall and courtyard of the castle .

Insider access

Take the audio tour of Doune Castle , narrated by Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Outlander’s Jamie Fraser ( Sam Heughan ) .

Game of Thrones t-shirts

The castle was used as the set for Winterfell in the TV series Game of Thrones (2011–present), an adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George R. R. Martin. The castle was also used as  “Castle Leoch” in the TV adaption of the Outlander series of novels.

The Great Hall is 20 metres by 8 metres , and 12 metres high to its timber roof, again a 19th-century replacement.The hall has no fireplace, and was presumably heated by a central fire, and ventilated by means of a louvre like the one in the modern roof. No details of the original roof construction are known, however, and the restoration is conjectural.Large windows light the hall, and stairs lead down to the three cellars on ground level.

doune castle, outlander tours

The hall is accessed from the courtyard via a stair up to a triangular lobby, which in turn links the hall and kitchens by means of two large serving hatches with elliptical arches, unusual for this period.

The kitchen tower, virtually a tower house in its own right, is 17 metres (56 ft) by 8 metres (26 ft). The vaulted kitchen is on the hall level, above a cellar. One of the best-appointed castle kitchens in Scotland of its date, it has an oven and a 5.5-metre (18 ft) wide fireplace. A stair turret, added in 1581 and possibly replacing a timber stair, leads up from the lobby to two storeys of guest rooms. These include the “Royal Apartments”, a suite of two bedrooms plus an audience chamber, suitable for royal visitors.

The Kelpies and Castles tour costs £195 .

Check availability by phoning us now on 07305-294773 or contact us online Toll free number 1-866-233-2644

Private tours Edinburgh – unique tours of Scotland 7 days a week – phone 0131-549-9785

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.

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).

Outlander’s Sam Heughan teases fans with ‘new tv show’ set in Miami

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.”

Private tours Edinburgh – unique tours of Scotland 7 days a week – phone 0131-549-9785

Sam Heughan shares about his early years before Outlander

Sam Heughan ( Jamie Fraser ) shares about his early years before Outlander

“When I was a child I was lucky to get taken to a lot of live shows by my parents, then I moved to Edinburgh as a young teenager. They had a free ticket scheme for previews at the Lyceum Theatre and we would regularly attend. It was a great insight into the acting world as sometimes things would go wrong and you’d see “behind the curtain” many a time – it made me realise there was a whole world of people working behind the scenes and all the hard work that goes into a single production.”

Jamie Fraser Outlander tours

Sam had a few jobs before his acting career took off –   “I applied to go to university to study film and English. I knew I was interested but didn’t know how to get into the industry. After taking two years out I finally applied for drama school. During that time (and in fact more as a “jobbing actor” I’ve done a whole variety of things: Bar/cafe work, an usher at the theatre, reception work, worked at Harrods, delivered sandwiches by bicycle in winter, temp at NHS and most proudly I served whisky at a sushi bar. ”

Private tours Edinburgh – unique tours of Scotland 7 days a week – phone 0131-549-9785

Jamie feels the Outlander effect

OUTLANDER star Sam Heughan has been making it big since he shot to fame in the hit sci-fi drama.

The Scots heartthrob’s fortune has soared thanks to the global success of the show. Visit Lallybroch , Jamie Fraser’s home , on our Outlander tours . Phone 07305-294773 for details .

midhope castle, Outlander tours
Lallybroch is Jamie Fraser’s ancestral home

The ‘Outlander’ effect has been credited with boosting Scotland’s economy as the number of visitors to historic sites topped five million for the first time in 2017 with fans flocking to see filming locations for the show.

And it seems its popularity has also boosted Heughan’s bank balance after his company posted an impressive set of results.


E


Accounts filed for his firm Cairn Mor Creative show it had total shareholder funds of £1.3 million .

 

blackness castle, outlander tours
Blackness Castle is Fort William in Outlander

Heughan, 38, set up the company, which is based in Surrey, in April, 2015, after he finished filming the first season of Outlander.

The Scots star plays Highlander Jamie Fraser in the hit show – which is currently airing its fourth season.Last month, fans celebrated the show’s 50th episode as the stars thanked fans for their support.



 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Lallybroch , Jamie Fraser’s home , on our Outlander tours . Phone 07305-294773 for details .

 

We previously told how Sam sent support to she headed to the Golden Globes last week.

And Sam celebrated with as it won big at the RadioTimes Readers Awards in December.

Outlander star Sam Heughan reveals he DID audition for James Bond before Daniel Craig landed the role

 

will there be an “Outlaw King” effect in Scotland ?

At Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Scotland’s tragic Mary, Queen of Scots, the volunteer guides and workers are preparing for a tourist surge.

This 15th-century palace, a bulwark of the Stuart dynasty, is astonishingly well preserved and already draws visitors who walk among its stone halls and ramparts and admire its little loch.

Outlaw King tours from Private tours Edinburgh . Phone 07305-294773 for more details or contact us online.

But Frances Murray, tour guide and shop manager, knows there are more on the way. Why? Because last week Netflix launched Outlaw King, a production about the life of Robert the Bruce, filmed in part at Linlithgow. And, following the huge success of the Outlander TV drama series, filmed in several Scottish locations, the country knows a thing or two about the TV effect.

“The uplift places such as this get from television shows like Outlander is amazing, and we’re expecting the same from Outlaw King,” said Murray yesterday. “Sometimes, though, we get tourists from overseas who ask to see specific rooms where some of the scenes were shot, and we have to explain that they don’t actually exist. But this is such a beautiful and interesting building that they soon get wrapped up in it.”

The West Lothian palace was only one of several Scottish locations for the new film, which stars Chris Pine as the warrior overlord. The others read like the index of a tourist brochure: Borthwick Castle, Dunfermline Abbey, Glasgow Cathedral and Doune Castle near Stirling. And the beautiful landscapes of Skye are already upstaging the principal actors.

VisitScotland, the national tourist agency, has produced two glossy and substantial brochures that chronicle some recent world-class productions. On the cover of one of them a moody Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall stands beside his silver Aston Martin with the mists of Glen Coe gathering behind him. In 2015 an online poll conducted by USA Today voted Scotland the world’s best cinematic destination. The country’s filmic credits include well-known movies such as BraveheartThe Da Vinci CodeThe 39 Steps and Whisky Galore. But it also makes atmospheric cameo appearances in movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the ethereal beauty of Harris was deployed by Stanley Kubrick to realise his imagined Jupiter.

Next year another major historical drama built around this nation’s vivid and bloody history will be released in British cinemas. This time it will be Mary, Queen of Scots herself who will get the Hollywood treatment in a film starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary and David Tennant as John Knox .

Tourism, along with whisky and salmon, forms the cornerstone of the Scottish economy. In a recent interview Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change – and it generates around £11bn of economic activity.” He also reckoned that one new job is created in Scotland for every £60,000 spent by visitors.

VisitScotland has calculated that, taken together, the value of direct and indirect spending represents 4.5% of the Scottish economy, and that visitors’ spending accounts for almost £9bn per year. But recent analysis by the Scottish government suggests that a lot more growth can still be found from the tourism sector’s productivity, and that it was the lowest of six sectors targeted for growth in the national economic strategy. Film and television tourism will be vital components in achieving this growth.

Sam Heughan and some extras carrying swords
 Sam Heughan in Outlander. Photograph: Aimee Spinks/Starz/© 2017 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved

Fiona Hyslop, culture and tourism minister in the Scottish government, yesterday spoke of her delight that the world’s top film and television producers are now making Scotland one of their first destinations. “Producers now know that when they choose Scotland, as well as magnificent scenery and locations they’re now getting highly-skilled and professional technical crews to go with them,” she said.

Crucially, too, the long wait for a world-class national film studio could soon be over. At last week’s Bafta Scotland awards first minister Nicola Sturgeon referred to the need for a national film studio, saying: “Watch this space.”

Yet some would say that with its remarkable scenery and stunning vistas, Scotland already possesses the best natural film studio in the world.

Outlaw King tours

Take a tour of The Outlaw King film locations in Scotland , featuring Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace . Phone 07305-294773 for more details. Starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce the lavish Netflix production was filmed at 45 different locations across Scotland .

    • Blackness Castle
    • Linlithgow Palace
    • Bannockburn
  • Doune Castle

Robert the Bruce was born on the 11th of July 1274 in Turnberry Castle and died in 1329 in Cardross. Bruce’s body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey and his heart is buried in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.

The Outlaw King Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland at Scone Palace on the Stone of Destiny.

Day trips from Edinburgh contact Private tours Edinburgh +44-131 549 9785 – daily tours of Scotland

Outlander season four – first episode in November

Outlander season four spoilers: Stephen Bonnet star reveals new villain’s ‘unravelling’

OUTLANDER villain Stephen Bonnett is set to rip the Frasers’ lives apart in season four

Outlander season four opening credits given Americana theme

Outlander fans are getting more and more excited for the premiere of season four next month, which is set to plunge Jamie Fraser (played by Sam Heughan) and Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) into an entirely new world as they settle in the American colonies.

Viewers last saw the married couple washed up on the shores of North Carolina in the season three finale last year, following months of turmoil as they navigated their way across to Jamaica and beyond.

Book your Outlander tour now on +44-7305-294773 or book online .

blackness castle tours
Blackness Castle Outlander tours

The new instalment will finally see Jamie and Claire enjoy a settle home life for a brief stint, but the arrival of Irish pirate Stephen (Ed Speleers) has the potential to ruin everything.

blackness castle tshirt
Outlander t-shirts

What’s more, the show’s latest trailer has teased Brianna Fraser (Sophie Skelton) will make the monumental decision to go through the Standing Stones in a bid to find her parents.

This comes after the university student receives a stark warning from Roger Mackenzie (Richard Rankin) Jamie and Claire could be in danger, but it’ll be nothing compared to the horrors Stephen will inflict.

The psychotic character could be set to take a particular fancy to Brianna on the hit time-travelling series, but how will the plot progress? Surely Highlander Jamie wouldn’t let Stephen continue his reign of terror.

Shedding light on his character, the Downton Abbey actor hinted at the timeline to come.

“He’s a tricky man,” Ed told Glamour Online.

“There’s a lot of levels to him, a lot of layers,” he continued. “I think he has a very particular view on the world.

Outlander season 4 spoilers: Stephen Bonnet star Ed Speleers has teased his

Outlander season 4 spoilers: Stephen Bonnet star Ed Speleers has teased his “unravelling” (Image: STARZ)

Outlander season 4 spoilers: Stephen Bonnet star Ed Speleers has teased his

Outlander season 4 spoilers: Stephen Bonnet is the new villain for the latest series (Image: STARZ)

“Whether that’s due to circumstance, whether that’s due to nature, nurture, all of this — what actually he’s really about, who he really is.”

“It will all be unraveled all in good time,” the star added cryptically.

Exact details of the pain Stephen will cause are being kept tightly under wraps, but book-fans can already guess at the torment that’s ahead.

It’s unlikely the pirate will be a worse foe than the infamous Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies), however his actions are set to have lasting consequences on the beloved Fraser family.

Meanwhile, The Spy Who Dumped Me star Sam has teased the first meeting between Jamie and his long-lost aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) in the season opener.

Outlander season 4 spoilers: Stephen Bonnet star Ed Speleers has teased his

Outlander season 4 spoilers: Will Stephen Bonnet cause trouble for the Frasers? (Image: STARZ)

The Scottish actor shared: “[Meeting Jocasta is] a really important moment [for Jamie].

“Jamie’s mother and father have always been a very strong presence in his mind, and in his life.

“For him to meet his last relative — and that she looks and sounds so much like his mother — is really big for him.”

English actress Maria went on to describe her character as “a woman who is clearly nobody’s fool, she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, although she sees them everywhere”.

“She can’t help but be attracted to this incredibly opinionated and empowered woman [Claire],” the actress then added. “She doesn’t meet women like that.”

Outlander season four gifts – t-shirts, phone cases, scarfs, throw pillows and prints

Day trips from Edinburgh contact Private tours Edinburgh +44-131 549 9785 – daily tours of Scotland

Outlander author Diana Gabaldon talks about her favourite books and writing methods

The Great American Read, hosted by TV personality and journalist Meredith Vieira, is an eight-part TV competition shining a national spotlight on the importance of reading and will feature an interview with Diana Gabaldon,   best known for her Outlander series of novels and the STARZ TV series derived from it.

Outlander news from Outlander tours .

In fact, the TV series returned Outlander to the No. 1 spot on the New York Times best seller list 23 years after it was first published.

Doune castle tours
Once a Royal residence, Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany in the late 14th Century.

Gabaldon, who is currently working on the ninth book in the series, appeared at PBS’ summer TCA session for The Great American Read. Following is a bit of what she had to say.

What was it like when you found out you made the list?

I said, “Who else is on this list?”

Is your favorite book on the list?

Trying to pick one favorite book out of the universe of books is impossible. Trying to pick one off of a list of 100 is difficult but maybe not impossible. It’s a dead heat between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Lonesome Dove. Having made that decision, I was thinking: What do these books have in common? Why do I like them both so much? I finally decided that it’s because they share what my husband refers to in reference to my work as the “One damn thing after another” school of fiction.

What book or books really changed the way you thought?

My dad at one phase of his career was an elementary school principal. And his elementary school held a book sale — it was a very active school and all the parents brought in books by the ton — which he collected in this little janitorial room. Just before the book sale, he would let my mother, my sister and me into that room with an empty cardboard box each. We brought back the books that we had taken last year and added them to the pile, but we extracted new ones. When I was about 15, I filled my box halfway with the paperbacks that had the covers ripped off and I found out why.

What are you reading right now?

I’m in one of those phases where I’m reading four books at once because I’m actively working on the ninth book of my main series, and so I’m rereading Dorothy Sayers‘ The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery for probably the 80th time, because I love the series and the characters, but it’s a book I can step in and out of. I can put it down when it’s time to go to work myself. But I’m also running a nonfiction book in the background that I’m reading for general interest. Then, I’m also rereading parts of my own eighth book Written in My Own Heart’s Blood because I’m working on the ninth book, and there are pieces where I encounter an emotional thread that I had dropped in the last book. So, I will go back to read through it and pick that up so it will come into the new book with its original power.

When you were first writing Outlander, did you start with the love story or did you start off with the mythic quality of the show?

Neither one. I don’t write in a straight line and I don’t plan stories out ahead of time. In fact, I don’t actually know what’s going to happen in a book.

I began writing Outlander for practice. I knew I was supposed to be a novelist, but I didn’t know how; and I decided the way to learn was to actually write a novel. So, Outlander was my practice book. I was never going to show it to anyone, so it didn’t matter what I did with it. It didn’t have to have a genre, so I used anything that I like. I’ve been reading since I was a 3-year-old. I like a lot of stuff, so I used it all.

Now that Outlander has been adapted, does the image of the actors supersede in your own minds, or maybe in your readers’ minds, the characters as written?

I know that for a number of readers, because they say so on my Facebook page and so forth, the vision of the actors does, in fact, supersede their original vision of what the characters looked like. It doesn’t for me. They still look the same way they always looked.

That said, what an actor does is magic. It’s pretty much what we do but in a different venue. Their magic is to embody somebody that they aren’t. The first time I saw Sam Heughan, though, they sent me his audition tape for Jamie Fraser, and I was looking up his pictures on my way to wherever I was going, and he has a very limited filmography, not many pictures, and, frankly, the ones that he had up were strange.

Anyway, so, when I saw the audition, I didn’t know what to expect. He appeared, and five seconds into it, I was saying, “He doesn’t look anything like his photos. He looks fine.” Five seconds more, he was gone, and it was just Jamie Fraser right there. I recognized him immediately.

How did your story get discovered and championed?

Well, it’s actually extremely humdrum. The only novel thing about it was that in 1988, the internet basically didn’t exist except for a few small special interest groups, CompuServe, Delfi, GEnie, but owing to various career choices I had made, I was an “expert in scientific computation,” and I was in that world. I had discovered a group of people called the Literary Forum on CompuServe. This was not a writers’ group. This was just people who liked to talk about books. There were a few writers there, though.

I had always known I was supposed to be novelist, and when I was 36, I said, “Well, you better start writing a novel, then.” Actually what I said was “Mozart was dead at 36. You better get started.” So I did. I was not going to tell the people that I knew on CompuServe what I was doing for various reasons, and I didn’t. But one night I was having an argument with a gentleman online about what it feels like to be pregnant.

He said, “I know what that’s like. My wife’s had three children.” I laughed, and I said, “Yeah, Buster. I’ve had three children.” He said, “Can you tell me what it’s like?” I said, “I can, yes, but it’s kind of complex. I can’t fit it in a 30‑line message slot.” I said, “I have this little thing I wrote a few months ago in which a young woman explains to her brother in some detail what it’s like to be pregnant. I’ll put it in the library here for you.” My husband says I am congenitally unable to lose an argument, and he’s right. That’s why I overcame my fear of showing what I was writing, in order to win an argument, and I did, as a matter of fact, win the argument.

But what happened was that everyone who had been following the argument went and read this piece, and they all came rushing back, and they said, “This is great. What is it?” And I said, “I don’t know.” They said, “Well, where’s the beginning?” I said, “I haven’t written that yet.” And they said, “Well, put up some more of it. This is fascinating.”

I don’t write in a straight line. I write in little bits and fit them together. Whenever I had a bit that would stand alone without too much discussion, I put it up. And people got more and more interested. They said, “This is great. Diana has a new chunk. Have you read it?” This was my first experience with the power of word of mouth, also the power of giving out free samples, which I have employed ever since.

And essentially what happened is that I was introduced to an agent who I had my eye on by a CompuServe friend who was this man’s client as well, and he said, “You’re almost ready to look for an agent. Would you like me to introduce you to so and so?” And I said, “Yes.” I wasn’t finished writing the book, but I was afraid my friend would be run over by a bus or leave CompuServe, so I said, “Yeah. Go ahead and ask him.”

So he wrote a perfectly straightforward typed letter to Perry Knowlton, who was the agent. Perry, God rest his soul, was a much older gentleman who never touched a computer in his life. So, I followed up my friend’s note with my own query letter. Mind you, my book was still not done. It said, “Dear, Mr. Knowlton, I’ve been writing and selling nonfiction by myself for several years. But now that I’m working on a novel, I understand that I need good literary representation. You’ve been recommended to me by John and these other people who all think you walk on water.” I said, “I have this very long book. I don’t want to waste your time reading it, it’s a long historical novel. Would you be willing to read excerpts from it?” I didn’t tell him it wasn’t done. Excerpts were all I had.

He very kindly called me back and gave me a heart attack and said, yes, he would read my excerpts. So, I hastily wrote a 26‑page single spaced synopsis of what I thought I knew about the rest of the story and sent it with my bundle of excerpts, and he took me. It is not usual to buy an unfinished book as a first novel, but I was very lucky. I actually finished the book six months later, gave it to him, and he sent it to five editors who he thought might like it. Within four days, three of them had called back with offers to buy it. So, he negotiated amongst them for two weeks. He emerged with a three‑book contract, and bing, I was a novelist. Like I said, it’s very humdrum.

New episodes of The Great American Read premiere September 11 through October 23 on PBS. Voting opened with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode on May 22 and continues throughout the summer, leading up to the grand finale on October 23.

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