Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Survivor" Interview

Well, it is April Fools' Day, but this isn't a joke. [g] Mind, it isn't that "Survivor," either.

A friend of mine who runs an interesting blog on freelancing had asked me if I'd do an interview with her, for a series she was doing on the blog, explaining a bit about my own experiences with freelancing. I did, and if you're interested in more of the background of what I did before I began writing novels [g], or what-all is involved with the business/promotional side of being an author...

Here it is.


  1. Diana - you're the true wonder woman of the 21st century! I'm consistently impressed with everything you have're a wonderful inspiration for someone like myself, embarking on a challenging journey (mine being breaking into Broadcast News in a bigger way...look for me on CNN one day ;)). I admire you to no end!

    And, when will this youtube channel come to fruition? Give us a heads up when it does :)

  2. You would be intimidating if you weren't so down to earth and I'm always amazed at how matter of fact you are about all your achievements.

    :) Terri

  3. Dear Nathalie--

    I normally watch Fox News in the morning (finding CNN abysmally simple-minded), but will definitely keep an eye out for you! [g]

  4. Dear Terri--

    Well, like I tell people, it's not all that startling. [g] I've just been at it awhile.

  5. Whew I am exhasted just reading that! LOL

    The more I read about you the more I am in awe at how you keep all those "balls" in the air.

    I too am curious about this YouTube channel. Please keep us advised (I'll subscribe to it!)

  6. Dear Diana:

    Thank you for alerting us to this interview. As always, it is quite humbling to read what it takes for you, as a successful author, to be and to produce the entity, "Diana Gabaldon."

    I particularly enjoy reading this manner of your writing because I can "hear" you speaking. Your writing is so conversational.

    As to morning news shows, I agree with you about CNN but cannot stomach ANY Fox News {{shudder}}. Instead, I keep tuned to C-Span or NPR.


  7. Diana - I'm glad you like Fox News over CNN! I used to say "I want to work for Fox News" but then I'd always get this response "Whaaat? No way, they're terrible." So I got tired of it and now I just say CNN, since no one seems to object to it (weird). But if I had my pick, I'd definitely go for anchoring Fox News :)

  8. Dear Nathalie--

    More power to you. [g] My general impression is that the people who thought George Bush was the devil incarnate think Fox News is...well, I don't know quite _what_ they think is wrong with it, but they're Very Vocal about it, and most folk who don't share their political opinions would just rather not get involved in a silly argument about television news (that would be me, for one), so we just smile pleasantly and go on watching what we want to.

  9. Diana -
    "George Bush is the devil incarnate" is the overwhelming consensus in Los Angeles, which makes me a minority, and the *precise* reason why I don't advertise my preference for Fox News... Like you, I just say nothing and go about my business ;)

  10. Dear Nathalie--

    I imagine that's the consensus more than in, say, Columbia, MO. [g] Still, I take leave to doubt that it's really such a consensus as it seems; I live part time in Santa Fe, and if you listened to the rich white people there (many of whom spend their all-too-free time out in the middle of one of the main roads, hopping up and down with signs demanding that Bush/Cheney et al be indicted, imprisoned and (doubtless) executed, IMMEDIATELY), you'd get that notion--but not if you talked to the much more numerous Hispanic population.

    It's just that the Bush-haters are So Dang LOUD and Obnoxious, nobody wants to say a word in their vicinity--leaving them with the erroneous impression that the whole world agrees with them. [rolling eyes]

  11. Diana -

    That's very true, actually...I suppose that is the essence of the "Silent Majority" and, conversely, the "Very loud minority!"

    Though, since Hollywood/the Media is dominated by vehement Bush-haters (and now obsessive Obama-lovers!), that is truly all I ever see or hear, on every street corner, at every coffee house, every restaurant...[double rolling eyes]

    Can't wait till I get my time on a big network to balance it out ;)

  12. What I'd like to ask, from reading that interview is where did you get the bravery? It strikes me that the word 'can't' doesn't seem to be in your vocabulary, Diana. Where did that come from?

    (ps. To Nathalie, if FOX is where you want to be don't let anyone stop you! As in, don't settle for CNN. ;) )

  13. Dear Renee--

    Possibly from having parents who didn't think the word "can't" existed. [g]

  14. Oh my goodness! You are so busy and so productive!
    I am trying to find the time to finish my first (hopefully!) novel, and work full time as well as run a house and kids. A lot I know, but my writing always seems to take a back seat behind everything else. After reading what you have accomplished I feel I should try harder to make writing time happn. You are an inspiration!

  15. Diana:

    Though there is nothing that states this Blog is or isn't a forum to discuss politics, and while it is your Blog to discuss whatever you wish, when you choose to dance in that realm, are you open to others whose opinions differ? Are you willing to risk the drama that may follow? Do you, Diana, have the time and energy to moderate such discussion? (The "Survivor" interview highlights how busy you are...)


    Here's to your success!

    When you make it on to Fox News maybe you could investigate and report on why, during the Bush years, our government spent more on War and drastically cut funding to education, especially to the IDEA; instead of spending billions of $$ on War, how researchers could have been funded in finding a cure for autism which, in 2009, is diagnosed in 1 in 150 children and 1 in 94 boys whereas in 1994 the rate of occurrence was 1 in 11,660; why so many Americans cannot afford healthcare; alternative energy. While PBS and NPR address these issues, some may see them as elitist or inaccessible, whereas Fox news reaches the masses, and it's the masses that need education and awareness of issues that affect the welfare of our nation.


    *April is Autism Awareness Month*

  16. Diana - Love the candor of your blog and the podcasts. I don't live in Arizona, but would love to be your admin assistant and take over your more-dreaded chores. I'm a great proofreader, too.


  17. Dear Midge--

    I respect other's opinions. That's why I don't argue with them.

    My view of my Santa Fe neighbors is not political, btw. I just think there must surely be better ways to spend your time than trying to recapture the euphoria of your sign-waving youth, circa 1967.

    Folk can certainly say what they like here (providing they don't bad-mouth each other), but I have no obligation to respond or referee; if it devolves into political wrangling, y'all are on your own; I'll be up in the next post. [g]

    For myself, I don't normally talk politics (I really don't see a comparison between news shows as being that, though I'm aware that the anti-Fox people certainly do) or religion. If asked what my political orientation or religion _is_, I'll answer, but that's about it.

    I'm a Roman Catholic Libertarian, fwiw. [g]

  18. Midge-

    Thank you for your well-wishes...when it's my turn at the top, I'll be sure to be as fair as humanly possible ;)

    And, I didn't mean to turn this into a political thing at all. Sorry if I ruffled your feathers - certainly wasn't my intention, and I'm done now :)

    Lets talk about books again!

  19. Dear Judy--

    Appreciate the offer! I do in fact have an assistant, though--Susan the Elf, who hauls things to and from the post-office (no one would ever get _anything_ from me, if I had to do it), sets up the bookplate orders so all I have to do is sign the things and stuff them in the envelopes, and keeps track of the date-sensitive email requests and invitations and badgers me to answer them in a timely fashion. [g]

  20. Diana:

    FWIW, I am a devout cafeteria Catholic and registered Democrat, though I find myself sliding into the realm of Independent.

    No, discussing news show preferences does not equate to discussing politics but, in general terms, it has devolved into that. You have to admit that there IS that bent at Fox and, say, MSNBC. If they (ALL) presented the news in a straightforward manner, then we'd have something more equal to the news (of what I recall) from the days of my youth -- Walter Cronkite for example. Hence, my preference for NPR, PBS and C-Span. No personalities cloud the subjects they report.



  21. Nathalie:

    Please, no apologies needed. : )

    Since I have no leanings in broadcast journalism, when I learn of someone who does, then I appeal to his or her better nature and ask that he/she maintain journalistic integrity and report the news, and do not dumb-down the viewing public.

    I will certainly hope (and pray) for your success. I am from Los Angeles, too. Are you currently working in the industry or are you still in school?


  22. Dear Midge--

    Am whole-heartedly in favor of the application of _some_ kind of journalistic standards. The "media" as such has always been biased, and likely always will be (as I can tell you from reading Revolutionary War-era "news" accounts; Lord John's encounter with the news clipping describing him as the Hero of Krefeld is not really stretching it for comic effect [g], even though the effect _is_ comic), but we did have a brief period in the US when the ideal of objective reporting was at least given lip service. Be nice to have that again.

  23. Dear Maggie--

    Well, it's _hard_--the more so, because no one (including your family) thinks that writing is a good use of your time, unless and until you sell something. Up to that point, you are obviously just "wasting time" or (worse still) "TAKING time away from your family," etc., etc., etc.

    Mind, the moment you _do_ sell something, suddenly you're validated--but up to that point, you can't get no respect. Let alone "approved" time for writing.

    This is why I always did my writing on my lunch break at the university and in the small hours of the night (when I was doing my freelance stuff; I'd normally keep a software review or textbook chapter open on one screen, and a scene from my novel on the other. When one stuck, I'd switch and work on the other until _that_ stuck, then switch back. And if my husband came into the room--I wasn't telling _him_ what I was doing, either, for reasons noted above--I'd pop back to the "respectable" (i.e., money-earning) writing. [cough])).

  24. Midge-

    I just graduated and am doing an internship in entertainment news, which is mind-numbingly stupid, for lack of a better word. I'd like to break into something more serious, but, obviously, this is an *incredibly* difficult time to find something in my preferred arena.

    (This bit goes out to everyone)
    On that note, I am putting together a website to showcase my resume reel...Would anyone mind (Diana, that includes you) if I posted the link to the website here (once finished, which will be soon), so any interested parties can take a look and give me feedback (via my personal email so as not to deter from Diana's blog)? I would appreciate your opinions, should anyone be so inclined to take a look... ;)

  25. Nathalie et al:

    You better believe both entertainment and serious news is mind-numbingly stupid!

    When it becomes an international event as to whether Michelle Obama broke protocol by hugging the Queen, or that Octomom (who lived about a mile away from me before she moved to La Habra!) is still commanding $40K per interview and ever became a news subject beyond the "miracle?" of birthing eight babies, then it demonstrates how dumb the execs in those high paying jobs really believe us to be.

    Put in your time until you work your way up the ladder. Until then, you'll have to put up with what the higher-ups believe is news worthy. And whatever you do, don't inflate your lips, don't develop a plastic forehead, and don't implant yourself with boobs so huge that your face can barely be seen above your cleavage.

    Good luck.


  26. Midge-

    I agree with you entirely - however, I would SO much rather talk about the weather, for instance, than Jessica Simpson sunbathing topless in Mexico this morning. Ugh. Lesser of two evils, right?

    Thank you for the advice - it's going in my permanent memory bank ;)

  27. Nathalie, please don't apologize! If you want to work at FOX you shouldn't have to justify it to anyone or make any promises. It shouldn't even be a problem for anyone that you want to work there. I say, 'Go for it with no apologies.'.

    Although, I would be careful in making a webpage. These days, if you have conservative leanings and you want to get into the world of news you have to be very stealth about it. We know conservatives are persecuted and not offered jobs because of it. So, be careful, be smart and don't let anyone talk you out of your beliefs in what's right. (Can you tell I'm a conservative? And proud of it.)

    Diana, what a great gift parents like that are. It's so hard to overcome not having that growing up.

  28. Renee-

    Never fear, my website is nothing but a site to house my resume and video clips of recent work - news packages, anchoring, etc. No personal information beyond that...

    And again, thank you so much for your enthusiastic support!

  29. Dear Nathalie--

    No, of course not--go right ahead!

  30. Diana, I have to say, my husband is also a Fox News watcher and states about you: Good Woman! she is obviously intelligent! lol ;) Also, I have given you a little award and some good words on my site: congrats! :)

  31. Diana - I'm detouring from the news commentary -

    I just finished reading the Lord John books, following that alternating chronology of the novellas and novels! :) I thought well of Lord John through the Outlander series and have become quite intrigued by him. I was wondering if the third novel - Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner - has any kind of eta? I'm interested in the back story of Lord John's relationship with Jamie and how it evolves from those tense/volatile scenes to their open respect witnessed in Voyager through A Breath of Snow and Ashes -if that's even potential subject matter for the next Lord John book?

    I was also wondering if there was more to come in Echo about Jamie's appearance in front of the B&B in Outlander before Claire ever goes through the stones? I don't understand how Jamie's dream of seeing Claire accounts for Frank seeing Jamie...did I miss something? :)

    Thanks - and sorry if this is a question that's been posed and answered multiple times.


  32. Dear Deirdre--

    With luck, I'll start work on SCOTTISH PRISONER sometime after ECHO is done. [g] No idea when it'll be finished/published, but _maybe_ late 2010 or early 2011. I won't have any idea how long it it until I'm well into it--nor yet how much ground it covers.

  33. Dear Lara--

    Thanks! [s] Appreciate the good words!

  34. "I'd normally keep a software review or textbook chapter open on one screen, and a scene from my novel on the other."

    That sound very familiar to me. I always do this, when I write a short story and my Mum can come into the room any minute. You really can't get on with your things this way sometimes. *sigh*
    And I have to say I'm not very creative when I have something else on my mind like studying and learning for exams.
    I hope you're getting on well with An Echo.


  35. Dear Julia--

    So far, so good! Though there's a lot to do yet. One day at a time...(sometimes one _word_ at a time [wry g], but as long as you don't stop, you get there).

  36. No, I don't think I will stop.
    For that I have too many ideas in my head but I have to finish some of them first. :)
    Thanks for your answer.


  37. Dear Diana,

    I read the article when it was posted and was, too, amazed by your, um, energy. Diet Coke and candy bars must be quite a pick-me-up (not in the article, just picked up elsewhere).
    Anne, Carlotta and I are going to the Gainesville event on 17 May. We are all very excited and look forward to hearing you speak.


  38. Diana, thank you for your encouraging comments. Quote "Well, it's _hard_--the more so, because no one (including your family) thinks that writing is a good use of your time, unless and until you sell something. Up to that point, you are obviously just "wasting time" or (worse still) "TAKING time away from your family," etc., etc., etc." Unquote. I have this to contend with also. No one gives any credit or respect to my writing and I always feel i have to justify my time spent working on it. I am not good at writing late at night, as my brain has usually given up for the day by then, but I have been thinking of "training" it to work later. I do believe that we operate out of habit and if you are used to working late you can do it, and it willl only take some time of making myself do this before I will find it a habit to do so. Thanks again for your encouragement and inspiration!

  39. Dear Maggie--

    Well, some folk find that they work better by getting up very early in the morning, rather than staying up late at night. Personally, I would just sit at the computer, staring blankly at the screen for thirty seconds or so before falling face-first into the keyboard, if I tried getting up a 6 or 7 AM to write. Now, 2 or 3 AM--no problem! [g]

    Writing successfully is pretty much a process of playing mind games with yourself--both in how you get words on the page, and when you do it. You just have to figure out how your own mind works, and try to take advantage of whatever quirks you have.

    Good luck!

  40. Hi again, Diana. I'm going almost completely OT here, but I was wondering if you had ever thought of spinning off a series of books with Young Ian?
    I think there's a lot of love out there in Outlander land for Ian Jr.. Next to the two mains, of course, he's my favorite character.

    I know he's involved in a lot of plot now, but he's still very young and there's still so much trouble for him to get into. ;) Would it be a possiblility in the future?

    Thanks much!

  41. Dear Renee--

    That's not something that's talking to me right now--though I do have a contract for a little "special" book, for an outfit called Subterranean Press, who does limited-edition shortish things with good binding, and that story (whatever it is) will be Ian's. You never know what that kind of thing might lead to; look at Lord John! [g]

  42. Oh, great! I will definitely get my hands on that when it's available. If it's not too limited! I love Ian.

    I hope it's a spark that starts a fire.

    Thanks, Diana.

  43. Dear Diana Gabaldon,

    I have loved your books for many years. I always called them like the Library of Congress does "historical fiction" not "historical romance".

    I just checked out your blog for the first time. I was surprised to read the response at the bottom of my note to a comment you received.

    Please tell me your Fox station is not the Unfair and Unbalanced station with O'Riley et al but like our local TV station that is called Fox and has a news program.

    Granted our news sources need to do a better job of reporting the news and not sensationalizing trash. And while CNN is not the sharpest tool in the drawer and MSNBC contributed to the financial crisis I am surprised that a woman who writes so well about homosexuals would condescend to watching Fox’s style of hate and fear mongering.

    If you want a change of pace I suggest Jon Stewart’s "Daily Show". At least they don’t pretend to be real news.

    I guess I have fallen prey to the notion / assumption that everyone thinks like I do but there are often many different opinions that require respect.


    Diana Gabaldon said...
    Dear Nathalie--

    I normally watch Fox News in the morning (finding CNN abysmally simple-minded), but will definitely keep an eye out for you! [g]

  44. Back to Ian. I think it would be great to have Ian involved in some of the early, early explorations of the West. Like Robert Gray and The Columbia, with Ian ending up traveling around the globe. But that 1788 timeline might be a problem.

    Okay, I'll shut up now about Ian. :)

    Diane, this is a free country. It really makes me angry when people insist that FOX news is a hate and fear mongering network. I don't think it's really relevant what news Diana chooses to watch. It's her business and maybe you should practice some tolerance and not judge those of us who watch FOX.

  45. Dear Diane--

    I watch TV news while I do my morning exercise (sort of combination of old-fashioned stretches with minor Pilates and physio-ball stuff). I've seen Bill O'Reilly now and then--on which occasions he's been generally witty, but never hateful (unless you consider calling Ted Kennedy a pinhead hateful, and I must say I don't).

    I'd be interested to know exactly what you've seen on Fox News that causes you to refer to it as "hate and fear-mongering," though. It's naturally not unbiased--nothing on television is, or can be, by its nature--but I've never seen anything there that caused me to think there was an anti-gay agenda (which you seem to think there is). They don't slavishly parrot the "Obama is our Newborn King" message (which MSNBC rather does), and they do have analysts who occasionally point out the idiocy of "stimulating" an economy that's in crisis as the result of debt by increasing said debt unto the third generation, but I don't have a big problem with that, either.

    Still and all, while I'd be interested in your opinion, I do have a book to finish here, and _very_ little time for discussion. Also, on principle, I don't discuss politics or religion, as such discussions are invariably futile and lead to nothing but rancorous exchanges. So I hope you'll forgive my not carrying on a continuing conversation on the subject.

  46. Nathalie, if you're out there reading this here is a prime example of why you should strive for FOX.

    I hope 'you' watch this Diane and see the true hate and fear mongoring and arrogance involved with this reporter.

  47. Hi Renee -

    JUST now saw your note - I have to say, that video was funny and awful all at the same time. I really, really don't like it when people attack Obama's character by saying things like he's a terrorist, fascist...or whatever....I may not have voted for the man, but he's definitely not a bad man and comments like that make us look bad. Now, his politics....;)

    On the OTHER hand, what that reporter did was in no way, no how, at all acceptable in the world of broadcasting. Talk about throwing unbiased, straightforward reporting of the facts out the friggin window...jeez...She made herself the fool in that one, though.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  48. I just call him a Socialist. I think it fits with his politics, without personal besmirchment. ;}

  49. Wow! Lots of talk about politics! I haven't checked in for awhile, so needless to say I was a little surpised...Just wondering about ECHO and the progress of the the final frenzy?

    Diana- will the unabridged audio of the book be available at the same time as the hardcover?


  50. Diana,
    Thank-you so much for your Drunk Chicken Pasta recipe. It was a great success with all my grandchildren ages 14-20 and i was so pleased to be able to serve a great new dish with nary a pasta bow left in the very large bowl; and even more pleased to share your receipe with their mothers and hear that they in turn have made it several times at the husbands and kids' requests. Gramma rocked- Thanks to you!

    P.S.Eagerly anticipating the arrival of my preordered Echos-print ,audio and Kindle