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Monday, January 11, 2016

Conflict, character...and some science, too

“Conflict and character are the heart of good fiction, and good mystery has both of those in spades.” – Diana Gabaldon

Born on this date in 1952, Gabaldon is an American author, known for the Outlander series of novels set in 1700s (and a bit in the mid-1900s) Scotland.   Her books merge multiple genres, featuring elements of historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure and science fiction/fantasy.   A television adaptation of the novels has been on the Starz channel for the past couple seasons.

I had the chance to meet Gabaldon (who said her name rhymes with Bad to the Bone) at the Historical Novel Society’s annual meeting last June, when she was the keynote speaker and I was a presenter on “Women of the West” – in relation to my new novel And The Wind Whispered. 
                                                                              With Diana at the HNS gathering
A scientist first, Gabaldon is the founding editor of Science Software Quarterly (in 1984 while employed at the Center for Environmental Studies at Arizona State University).  During the mid-1980s, Gabaldon wrote software reviews and technical articles for computer publications, then got into popular-science articles and comic books.  In 1988, she decided to write a novel “for practice, just to learn how,” and the result was Outlander.  To date, she has written 8 in the Outlander series as well as helped produce the popular TV series. 

Gabaldon said that her background in science and technology has been a great assist to her writing.  “What underlies great science is what underlies great art, whether it is visual or written, and that is the ability to distinguish patterns out of chaos,” she said.  “People assume that science is a very cold sort of profession, whereas writing novels is a warm and fuzzy intuitive thing. But in fact, they are not at all different.”

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