Diana Gabaldon

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Diana Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon at a book signing in August 2007
Born (1952-01-11) January 11, 1952 (age 64)
Arizona, U.S.
Occupation Novelist, Professor
Period 1991–present
Genre Speculative fiction, historical fiction, historical romance, historical mystery, historical fantasy, scientific literature
Notable works
Spouse Doug Watkins
Children 3

Diana J. Gabaldon (born January 11, 1952) is an American author, known for the Outlander series of novels. Her books merge multiple genres, featuring elements of historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure and science fiction/fantasy.[1] A television adaptation of the novels called Outlander premiered on Starz in 2014.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Gabaldon was born on January 11, 1952, in Arizona; her father Tony Gabaldon was of Mexican-American ancestry, and her mother Jacqueline Sykes of English-American ancestry.[4][5] Her father Tony Gabaldon (1931–1998) was an Arizona state senator from Flagstaff for sixteen years and later a supervisor of Coconino County.[6][7][8]

Gabaldon grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona.[4] She earned a bachelor of science in zoology from Northern Arizona University, 1970–1973; a master of science in marine biology from the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1973–1975;, and a PhD in behavioral ecology from Northern Arizona University, 1975–1978.[4][9]


Gabaldon was the founding editor of Science Software Quarterly in 1984 while employed at the Center for Environmental Studies at Arizona State University.[10] During the mid-1980s, Gabaldon wrote software reviews and technical articles for computer publications, as well as popular-science articles and comic books for the Walt Disney Company.[9] She taught environmental science at ASU for 12 years before leaving to write full-time.[9]

Novel writing[edit]

In 1988, Gabaldon decided to write a novel for "practice, just to learn how" and with no intention to show it to anyone.[11] As a research professor, she decided that a historical novel would be easiest to research and write,[11] but she had no background in history and initially no particular time period in mind.[4] Gabaldon happened to see a rerun episode of the Doctor Who science fiction TV series titled "The War Games."[12] One of the Doctor's companions was a Scot from around 1745, a young man about 17 years old named Jamie McCrimmon, who provided the initial inspiration for her main male character, James Fraser, and for her novel's mid-18th century Scotland setting.[4][11][12] Gabaldon decided to have "an Englishwoman to play-off all these kilted Scotsmen," but her female character "took over the story and began telling it herself, making smart-ass modern remarks about everything."[11] To explain the character's modern behavior and attitudes, Gabaldon chose to use time travel.[11] Writing the novel at a time "when the World Wide Web didn't exist," she did her research "the old-fashioned way, by herself, through books."[4] Later Gabaldon posted a short excerpt of her novel on the CompuServe Literary Forum, where author John E. Stith introduced her to literary agent Perry Knowlton.[11][13] Knowlton represented her based on an unfinished first novel, tentatively titled Cross Stitch. Her first book deal was for a trilogy, the first novel plus two then-unwritten sequels. Her U.S. publishers changed the first book's title to Outlander, but the title remained unchanged in the U.K. According to Gabaldon, her British publishers liked the title Cross Stitch, a play on "a stitch in time"; however, the American publisher said it "sounded too much like embroidery" and wanted a more "adventurous" title.[11] When her second book was finished, Gabaldon resigned her faculty position at Arizona State University to become a full-time author.[9]

As of 2014, the Outlander series comprises eight published novels. The eighth installment, Written in My Own Heart's Blood, was released on June 10, 2014. Gabaldon has also published The Exile (An Outlander Graphic Novel) (2010). The Lord John series is a spin-off from the Outlander books, centering on a secondary character from the original series.

Personal life[edit]

Gabaldon lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband Doug Watkins, with whom she has three adult children:[5][14] Laura, Jenny,[4] and fantasy author Sam Sykes.[6]

Gabaldon is a Roman Catholic.[15][16]


Outlander series[edit]

The Outlander series focuses on 20th-century nurse Claire Randall, who time travels to 18th-century Scotland and finds adventure and romance with the dashing James Fraser.[1] Set in Scotland, France, the West Indies, England and North America, the novels merge multiple genres, featuring elements of historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure and science fiction/fantasy.[1]

Main series
Short works

Lord John series[edit]

The Lord John series is a sequence of novels and shorter works that center on Lord John Grey, a recurring secondary character in Gabaldon's Outlander series. The spin-off series currently consists of five novellas and three novels, which all take place between 1756 and 1761, during the events of Gabaldon's Voyager.[30][31] They can be generally categorized as historical mysteries, and the three novels are shorter and focus on fewer plot threads than the main Outlander books.[31]

Other works[edit]

  • Naked Came the Phoenix (2001), a collaboration with twelve other authors
  • "Humane Killer", short story co-written with Sam Sykes, published in The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy (2009)
  • Phoenix Noir (2009), a short story collection with fifteen other authors


The Outlander series has been released in unabridged (read by Davina Porter) and abridged (read by Geraldine James) audiobooks. Several of the Lord John books have been released in audiobook form, read by Jeff Woodman.

A television adaptation of the Outlander series premiered on Starz in the US on August 9, 2014.[2]

In 2010 Gabaldon adapted the first third of Outlander into The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel, illustrated by Hoang Nguyen.[32][33][34] The same year, a 14-song cycle based on Outlander was released under the title Outlander: The Musical.[35][36][37]

Reception and awards[edit]

Gabaldon's Outlander won the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Romance of 1991.[38] A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005) debuted at #1 on The New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List[39][40] and won the Quill Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror.[41] In 2007, The Montreal Gazette noted that Gabaldon's books "are in demand in 24 countries in 19 languages," and that the author "continues to churn out one bestseller after another."[9] By 2012 her novels had been published in 27 countries and 24 languages.[6]

Lord John and the Private Matter reached #8 on The New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List in 2003.[42] In 2007, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade debuted at #1,[43] and the Hand of Devils collection reached #24 on The New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List.[44] The Scottish Prisoner debuted at #6 on The New York Times E-Book Fiction Best-Seller List in 2011,[45] and the novella A Plague of Zombies was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for the “Best Short Mystery Story” the same year.[46] Reviewing the Lord John series, Publishers Weekly said that "Gabaldon's prose is crisply elegant"[47] and that she "brings an effusive joy to her fiction that proves infectious even for readers unfamiliar with her work or the period."[48]


  1. ^ a b c Reese, Jennifer (November 27, 2007). "Book Review: Lord John and the Hand of Devils (2007)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Ng, Philiana (May 8, 2014). "Starz's Outlander Gets First Poster, Premiere Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  3. ^ Hibberd, James (August 15, 2014). "Outlander renewed for second season". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Eckman-Onyskow, Bev (August 26, 2009). "Santa Fe author ready to release new book". Alamogordo Daily News. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Official site: FAQ - About Diana". DianaGabaldon.com (Internet Archive). Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "From science to fiction". Northern Arizona University. May 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ Moorhead, M.V. (November 30, 2000). "Science, Fiction: Historical romance novelist finds mystery in biology and literature, too". PhoenixNewTimes.com. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Death Resolution: Senator Tony Gabaldon". AZleg.state.az.us. January 1998. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Donnell, P. (October 6, 2007). "From Academia to Steamy Fiction". The Gazette (Montreal). Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  10. ^ Gabaldon, PhD, Diana J. (1984). "Editor's Note". Science Software Quarterly (John Wiley & Sons) I (5): 82, 107. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Official site: FAQ - About the Books". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Gabaldon, Diana (May 11, 2010). "The "Dr. Who" Connection". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  13. ^ Hemmungs Wirten, Eva (1998). "Global Infatuation: Explorations in Transnational Publishing and Texts. The Case of Harlequin Enterprises and Sweden" (PDF). Section for Sociology of Literature at the Department of Literature, Number 38 (Uppsala University): 56. ISBN 91-85178-28-4. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Official site: Bio". DianaGabaldon.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  15. ^ Richards, Linda (June 1999). "Interview: Diana Gabaldon". January Magazine. Retrieved November 27, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Interiew: Diana Gabaldon". Lightspeed. September 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014. ...I try to avoid describing myself by any sort of label, so to speak. I'm a Roman Catholic and a Libertarian, but that's as far as I'd go in description 
  17. ^ "Official site: Written in My Own Heart's Blood". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Official site: "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows"". DianaGabaldon.com. April 18, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  19. ^ DeNardo, John (January 14, 2010). "Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois". SF Signal. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  20. ^ Johnson, Suzanne (October 27, 2010). "Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing November Releases in Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance". Tor.com. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Pocket Releases Songs of Love and Death". GeorgeRRMartin.com. November 24, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  22. ^ Martin, George R. R. (March 31, 2010). "Not A Blog: Love. Death. Sex. Heartbreak.". GRRM.livejournal.com. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "Official site: A Trail of Fire". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Official site: The Space Between (Novella)". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Official site: Virgins (Dangerous Women)". DianaGabaldon.com. December 7, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Dangerous Women Arrives on Tor.com". Tor.com. July 24, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Dangerous Women by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois". Publishers Weekly. October 7, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  28. ^ Martin, George R. R. (January 23, 2013). "Not A Blog: A Dangerous Delivery". GRRM.livejournal.com. Retrieved January 23, 2013. For those who like to lose themselves in long stories, the Brandon Sanderson story, the Diana Gabaldon story, the Caroline Spector story, and my Princess and Queen are novellas. 
  29. ^ "Official site: The Outlandish Companion Vol. II". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Official site: Lord John Grey Series". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "Official site: Chronology of the Outlander Series". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  32. ^ Brienza, Casey (September 21, 2010). "The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel". GraphicNovelReporter.com. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Fiction Book Review: The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel". Publishers Weekly. August 23, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Official site: The Exile (graphic novel)". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  35. ^ "PROGRESS! OUTLANDER:The Musical now on Amazon!". DianaGabaldon.com. September 26, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Outlander the Musical". DianaGabaldon.com. October 26, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Stage Tube: First Listen of Jill Santoriello's Outlander Musical". BroadwayWorld.com. July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  38. ^ "RITA Awards: Past Winners". Romance Writers of America. Retrieved October 31, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Best-Seller Lists: Hardcover Fiction". The New York Times. October 16, 2005. Retrieved October 31, 2013. 
  40. ^ Garner, Dwight (October 16, 2005). "Inside the List". The New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013. 
  41. ^ "The Quill Book Awards: 2006". TheQuills.org. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  42. ^ "BEST SELLERS: October 26, 2003". The New York Times. October 26, 2003. Retrieved December 3, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Fiction". The New York Times. September 16, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Fiction". The New York Times. December 16, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Best Sellers: E-Book Fiction". The New York Times. December 18, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Official site: A Plague of Zombies". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  47. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Lord John and the Private Matter". Publishers Weekly. September 15, 2003. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Lord John and the Hand of Devils". Publishers Weekly. September 10, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 

External links[edit]