Thursday, January 7, 2010

The COMPANION, Volume II

Well, now--here's a question to keep you entertained while I'm gearing up to visit the UK: What sorts of things might you like to see in THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, Volume II?

I'll be working on this book during 2010 (yes, yes, along with Book Eight, and a few other things, no doubt), but am just beginning to form up an idea of the potential contents. There will of course be

Detailed synopses of
THE FIERY CROSS
A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES
AN ECHO IN THE BONE
and
LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER
LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE
LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS

"Cast of Characters" listings for all the aforementioned books. These lists note which books each character appears in, and give a thumbnail description of each character (for those readers who have trouble remembering who's who).

A Comprehensive, Alphabetized and Phonetic Glossary of All the Gaelic in All the Books (so far). [g]

Interesting Features on Writing in General (chunk writing vs. outlines, how to organize scenes so you can find them again, the Fine Art of Backing Up, etc.) and Writing These Books in Particular (the "shape" of each book, internal structure, and interconnections)

Reader's Guides (book-club discussion questions and commentary)

Features on Costume and Cookery of the 18th Century

A Truly Massive (but well-organized!) Bibliography, of allllll the References used in writing the more recent Books.

Many Inspiring and Beautiful Photographs of the Scottish Highlands (and perhaps a few less inspiring ones of the author) taken by Barbara Schnell, the German translator for the books.

A Selection of the most Piquant, Poignant, Offensive, and/or Hilarious (whether deliberately or inadvertently) Letters received--and the Author's Unexpurgated Responses to Same.

Controversy: Commentary and discussion on the more controversial scenes, themes, or incidents in the various books.

So....what else? All suggestions welcome!

161 comments:

  1. If it wouldn't mess up what's to come in future book(s?), I'd love to see plot lines/side stories that didn't make it into the book for some reason - assuming there are things you haven't kept in there. :)

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  2. maps with points of interest and battle locations along with travel routes of the characters if possible.

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  3. A list of curious facts you have tripped over in your research, especially any that did not make it into the books on the grounds you thought a reader would never believe it LOL

    :)

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  4. This might be a strange one but a Fraser and a McKenzie Family tree.

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  5. Great news from Greece!
    Just discovered a book from "Lord John" series AND the "Breath of Snow and Ashes" - English version both of them - in one of the major bookstores in Athens....they were right there waiting for the people to buy them....without having to order them. Either your agent in Greece does a perfect job, or i've ordered so many of your books that i made them think again of their policy !

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  6. I'd be interested in 18th century medicines/illnesses/treatments

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  7. I was thinking that a comprehensive list of ALL characters from ALL books would work best. Perhaps that would come as an addendum to the "final" book. (Wow, even typing that sentence was painful.) I had a friend reading Echo and texting me for summaries of past characters and the problem arises that you may not know which book an individual first appeared in. (Your website would be a great place for a list that is easily update-able.)

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  8. One thing I want to see above all others: your writing process. What's your writing day like? Do you have a routine? How do you organize your plot?

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  9. I would love some pictural diagrams of the costumes/outfits. Also, a diagram of the timelines would be nice. I also second the family trees... so I can see how everyone is related. I am a visual learner. And the interesting medical treatments sound like fun too. I love your books! Keep up the good work!

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  10. How about some more drawings of the characters.

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  11. A timeline of major events would be cool... or family trees...

    Maybe any side note ideas and hope you have for characters. Like where you see them going even if you don't actually take them there.

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  12. Oh my, I won't be able to lift it! But I'd love it anyway. Yes, family trees are a good idea. I have totally lost track of all Jenny and Ian's descendants.

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  13. How about including some of the more impressive fan art?

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  14. Dear Diana, would it be possible for you to upload unpublished parts from book 1 and so on. It would be great to get an insight into the whole book from your original prespective and not just what was published. It would help keep the fans going until the next outlandish offering :)

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  15. ooo yes - maps. I likes maps precious.

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  16. It would be great to read about where/how people bought shoes in the 18th century, especially odd sizes (thinking of Brianna :) Also, the weaving looms and wheels of the time would be great to see.

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  17. Family trees and timelines, definitely!

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  18. Okay, I must confess, my memory isn't the greatest, but I don't remember reading in vol. I of the companion, if you ever mentioned why Jaime was out in the storm at the beginning of book one looking up at the window while Claire brushed her hair just before the storm hit and the power went out. Frank sees him on his way into the bed and breakfast house where they're staying, and sees the stag pin on his garment. Was there a reason why Jaime's "ghost" was there? Was he time traveling? Thanks.

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  19. Vancouver Voyeur, I am pretty sure that we will have an explaination for that scene in the final book. Well, at least that has always been my assumption. lol

    I would also like to see family trees included in volume II. A list of common illnesses and treatments(both useful and illogical ones) would be intersting as well. A map of the Ridge and surrounding areas would be great.

    Pardon my saying so, but I don't really feel like the Lord John books are part of the Outlander series, which then begs the question of whether they should really be included in the Outlandish Companion, book II. Lord John, surely, in the context of how he appears in the Outlander books. But, I feel the Lord John series is a spin-off of Outlander, and therefore, seperate. So, mayBe just a small section would suffice?

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  20. I'm with the folks that want maps. I know that not all the places really exist but I really like detailed maps. Maybe fictional places can be shown in a different color.

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  21. I'm probably the minority here but I would say focus on the last book, publish that and then write the Companion after the series is complete. :)

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  22. Hi Diana!

    How about little buttons in those musical greeting cards that play back the Gaelic phrases in the book?! Haha! Just kidding - although that would be very cool.

    More Gaelic phrase translations & pronunciations please. :0)

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  25. Yes, to MAPS, a family tree and something on medical practices/treatments of the time.

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  26. I like maps and family trees too, preferably on the inside covers, so you know right where to turn to look something up and they last longer.

    Of course I like the little drawings of jewelery, but you knew that. :-)

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  27. Definately sketches of the outfits/costumes you've described. And I'll add my vote to maps and family trees--particularly the one that was in the Reverend's office!

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  29. This is my Christmas wish list...
    I think displaying copies of the papers and items from the 18th century that Brianna, Roger, Frank, and Rev. Wakefield compiled would be neat.
    Also, images of the plants and roots Claire foraged, as well as images or artist's renderings of the Ridge and Lallybroch.
    And maybe pages from the books Claire and Jamie had printed for their grandchildren.
    Hope I'm not asking for the world on a platter.

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  30. Dear SteveandAlina--

    Well, I sympathize with your desire to have the next book sooner, believe me. BUT...

    a) I don't know whether the next book (Book Eight) _is_ the last book. It might be, it might not be. I won't know that 'til I get close to finishing it.

    b) It takes me between two and two-and-a-half years to write one of the big main books of the series. (I know there's a bigger gap than that between them; that's largely because I keep having to go zoom round the world so people can look at me and have me sign their books.)

    c) I'm sure this will come as a shock to you , but I've _always_ written multiple projects simultaneously; that's the way my mind works, and I get a LOT more work done by being able to switch from one to another than I would if I just sat and stared at the wall until another bit of Book X surfaced. I.e., writing other things (particularly non-fiction, which the COMPANION is) doesn't slow down my production of the book you want--in fact, it probably makes things flow faster.

    and finally--

    d) There are a lot of people who want a COMPANION to cover the next books of the series _now_. If they think they're confused about the details of earlier plots or don't remember a particular character now, how much worse will it be in three, four, five, six years from now?

    e)If I wait until the series--including _possibly_ two further novels, a prequel novel, and whatever Lord John books or other inclusions there may be (sorry, guys, _I_ get to say what belongs in this series, because I'm the only one who sees all the connections. And [cough] it's my name on the front, aye?)--the resulting COMPANION would be Way Too Big to contain anything other than the synopses and cast of characters. If I do a second volume now and a third when the series _is_ complete, we have room to include all kinds of other interesting stuff--which is why I'm asking y'all what you'd like to see, capisce?

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  31. All of the suggestions so far are all good ones. Thank you for asking for the input. Period maps would be awesome.

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  32. Yes, I think these are all excellent suggestions--thanks very much!

    I do have an excellent family tree, courtesy of a very talented German fan--in fact, those of you who have ECHO in German got this, I think, as a special poster inside the dust-jacket (it's Big and Ornate [g]--very beautiful!). I'll see whether we might be able to do something similar with the COMPANION II in English.

    I'll keep an eye out for decent maps as I do the research for Book Eight, too.

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  33. Probably very expensive - but I have loved the previews of Hoang Nguyen's artwork for the 'Outlander' graphic novel. I think it would be cool if there were visual representations of characters to go with the small bios. I'd love to see what Ian, Rachel, Jem, Arch Bug etc. look like (in your mind, at least)

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  34. please don't forget to include the "detailed synopsis" of the graphic novel (whose name, I'm afraid totally escapes me right now) in your Companion II!

    Your books were mentioned today on www.dance.net under highland dancing. I commented that I'd always wished to see Brianna talking about doing ballet as a kid (didn't all little American girls take ballet classes in the 60s?) and nobody knowing what she's talking about, because ballet wasn't invented until the mid 1700s or so.
    Jen in Oz

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  35. The family tree in the German version is great. Thanks for that.
    Maps would be really great.

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  36. I'll add my vote for some of the items mentioned already: maps and family tree. Also, I'd like the Glossary to include the modern day name for 18th century illnesses. For example, today what do we call the illness referred to as morbid sore throat?

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  37. I would love to see drawings of the clothes, maybe particular ensembles the characters have worn to big events... also their everyday clothes... it would help with the visualization, for me at least, LOL... I always seem to trip up (in my mind) when trying to "see" the wardrobe...

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  38. Hi Diana,
    I agree, if it's possible, I would love to have some maps - even of the sea voyages. Would it be possible to include Jari's calendar also? Mixed in with Karen H's list of dates, something like that?
    And perhaps some more recipes and receipts of Claire's herbal concotions and shampoos - and How to Make Paper a la Bree!
    :-)

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  39. I would also love maps, and maybe some discussion of your research and the history of the time (I loved that about the last Companion). I also like the idea of a list of curious facts.

    The other thing that fascinates me and could go with the clothes and cookery is just some discussion of other crafts/homemade things of the time, kind of a snapshot of every day life, you know? Stuff like the spinning/weaving/dyeing/sewing process, butchering animals, woodworking, etc. Is that too broad?

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  40. This may be a bit of whimsy to some, but I this it would be fun to see a letter written in "Jamie's hand", if that makes sense. Perhaps one of the letters to LJG or to the MacKenzies in "present" Lallybroch. I've seen this done before in books. You do such a fabulous job describing his scrawl that I think I know what it looks like, but would love to see it In Real Life.

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  41. *faints with delights*

    Maps, 18th century medicines/illnesses/treatments, pictural diagrams of the costumes/outfits, family trees, or whatever you want to put in it.

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  42. I'd love to see 'outakes' - scenes that you cut because the characters wouldn't cooperate, or because there wasn't space in the book, etc.

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  43. I love all the suggestions, especially the maps, family trees and medical anecdotes!

    This is not really a suggetion for campion2, but I just have to suggest it anyway. I just keep thinking of the french voyaguers that get ever so small a hint of intrigue in echo.....

    Is there another series waiting for you to tickle your fancy ....and ours.......Lord John, the french connection, hudson bay company....vive la companie....et,al. I once traveled a canoe in those waters....it would make a delicious story.....oh please do!

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  44. So I am going to jump on the bandwagon and say MAPS!
    Also, I love the idea of out-takes from the book, or storylines you didn't use.

    Diana, you made my day when you said MAYBE the 8th book won't be the last, I was under the impression that it would be. I am going to hold tight to that MAYBE ;)

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  45. The “controversy” section is my favourite, but a section dedicated to “misunderstandings” would be so interesting! I am sure there are a million questions we could ask you but it would be nice to see what the main ones have been and whether the readers really truly grasped what you, as the author, meant to convey. Some readers are still trying to figure out what happened to Claire’s coins; the ones she sewed into her dress before going back in DIA. We are assuming she used them in while travelling but not sure … hey, that could be the first entry!!

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  46. definitely maps, I really love being able to follow along with characters' travels. I also second the idea of a timeline and family trees.

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  47. I can't wait for Volume II!

    Here’s some subjects I would enjoy reading about:
    *How do you weave plot and history and character so well? Any tips (do thorough research first, write with your gut and then go back and change bits to fit the time period as necessary, etc?)
    *Who's the hardest character to write? The easiest?
    *What are your frustrations in writing the series?
    *Is there any scene that you wish you could go back and change or re-write? (I’m not saying there is…. I love them through and through!)
    *Are you dreading the series being over? Or looking forward to starting something new entirely? As a reader, I feel I get (ridiculously) emotionally attached to the characters – especially since I’ve been reading the books since I was in high school - and when they’re over I feel the loss of not being in their “world” anymore; I imagine as the author you get even more invested in their “world”.
    *Do you ever have dreams about the characters/scenes?
    *The medical scenes are always incredibly detailed and just fantastic. Have you ever sat in on a real surgery or event to help you write about it?

    I also love the spiritual aspects of the books and I would love to know if that's something that comes naturally in your writing or if you do a lot of research i.e. in quoting scripture, knowledge of Saints, religious ceremonies of the time, etc? I don't think I've ever read a book that captures people's spiritual and religious beliefs in such a beautiful and true way. It’s something I really appreciate about your books – as do my friends and family (of all different religions and spiritual beliefs) who also read your books.

    Thanks!

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  48. In addition to my first post, I think it would thrill most of us to include portrait miniatures of Jamie and Claire, as they would have been painted by Brianna. Didn't Frank have a portrait miniature of a red-haired Scotsman in one of his history lectures?

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  49. I just finished Echo and I'm floored. It was great!

    For the companions, I agree that I'd love to see the family trees printed out. I am fascinated with my own genealogy and I empathize with Claire (also my Mom's name) wanting to know her roots.

    The other thing that really fascinated me were the two books Bree received, her Mom's home medical companion and Jamie's stories for children. I'd love to see those in print some day.

    Thank you for your wonderful words!

    Breathe deeply,
    Laugh with abandon,
    Love wholly,
    Eat well.

    MiLady Carol
    www.GreenTeaLady.com
    http://miladycarol.com
    Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!

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  50. Aside from the maps suggestion, it sounds like your outline pretty much covers all the subjects I'd love to read about, at least until the next book comes along! I prefer the view of the characters that your descriptions of them have created in my mind and would not wish to have sketches of them included in Companion II, unless you felt such sketches accurately reflected your personal vision of them. Hope you have good weather in the UK!

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  51. I would like to see a layout of River Run and Fraser's Ridge. This is so exciting! Thanks Diana!

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  52. I would love a timeline, maybe simultanious timelines for what happens in Jamie&Claire, and Brianna &Rogers time.
    I agree with the costume drawings, and I would love more details about 18th century clothes. How they were made, what materials, etc...

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  53. I'll vote with others on:
    Timeline of historical events that appear in the Outlander and Lord John series along with much loved maps. Provide just enough information so a reader can research events that probably should have been learned in school.
    Synopsis of characters and which books they appear a must. Family trees would be great.
    Gaelic "dictionary" a must. A CD with audio of pronunciation would be a plus.
    One item mentioned by others that I hadn't thought of, but would be very interesting would be a listing of herbs and their medical purpose as used by Claire in the 18th century based on her 20th century medical training.
    Look forward to everything published by the favorite local author!
    Kathy
    Phoenix

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  54. - pictures or sketches of what men and women wore in 1700's America. (All I can think of is Felicity from the American girls dolls)
    - pictures or sketches of fictitious places in the book. For example, I have always had a hard time picturing Claire and Jamie's house in Fraser's Ridge. Oh, how about a map/sketch of Fraser's Ridge, like where everyone lives in relation to each other? That would be great!

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  55. I am so happy that you'll be doing another companion book! My votes go to include floor plans of the house at Lallybroch and the Big House at Fraser's Ridge. A map of Lallybroch and the Ridge would also be so helpful. I would also love to see Fraser and Mackenzie family trees. And some of Mrs. Bug's recipes would be much-appreciated!

    But what I am most interested in is your character development for Henri-Christian. My son William has achondroplasia, which is the form of dwarfism I assume HC has as well. My family also has enlarged adenoids, and Liam had his removed at 21 months so he could breathe again at night. (I will admit to shedding tears when reading about HC as he reminds me of my little guy.) I would love to know the research and inspiration that went into his character.

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  56. I also would love to see the characters in their costumes as well as an artist rendering of the main characters similar to Claire's portrait previously posted on your website.

    I also would like to see the gaelic phrases in alphabetic order for ease of reference.

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  57. I would like to see more about Bree's dream journals in addition to drawings of all the main characters. And I too am really interested in seeing some drawings of what the characters have been wearing in the last few books. And maps. Yeah maps.

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  58. I love the map idea, too, and REALLY like the floor plan idea of the house on Frasier Ridge (the one that burned and the one still to be built--hopefully--in the future, since Jamie had already it lined off before they left).

    I loved the section in the first OC where you described your getting to know the characters and how some came easily and some were tough to crack. I also LOVED the excerpts you included in that one, and I didn't stumble across them for quite some time since I assumed (silly me!) that since I was coming in to the series after 1-6 had already been written, the excerpts must have been for books 5 and 6. I was thrilled to finally "see" the scene about Jamie's hand surgery in Echo! I had been wondering when that was going to pop up!

    In reality, though, I'll read anything you care to scribble down... even your recipes are entertaining!

    thanks!
    Shannon

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  59. Ooh, I hadn't thought about floor plans of the main residences in the series, but I LOVE that idea!

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  60. Maps&timelines yes. The Family Trees would be very helpful. I'm most interested in more information about the herbs/medicine Claire uses, and your resources for finding them. You have "painted" such wonderful word pictures about the characters, I see them in my mind. I don't know if I want to see more than that!

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  61. Dear NE Mom--

    [s] People bought shoes from a cobbler, and it didn't matter what size their feet were, because there were no standard sizes to start with. Either shoes were made to fit an individual, or they were made on a last (a wooden form) that produced shoes that would make shoes that the greater number of people could at least manage with. (Bear in mind that a great many 18th century people--especially poor people who couldn't afford custom-fit shoes--wore sandals or clogs. Even shoe-shoes were frequently made as a foldover (rather than slip-on) kind of thing that tied around the ankle or over the top of the foot, so you just crammed your feet in, and hoped your home-knitted stockings would provide enough padding to keep you from getting blisters until the shoe broke in and more or less conformed to the shape of your foot.)

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  62. Dear Kathy--

    The morbid sore throat was what we call diphtheria. You don't see it much in western countries anymore, because of the standard childhood DPT vaccine--the "D" part is diphtheria. (The "P" is "pertussis," or whooping cough, and the "T" is tetanus. You don't want to get _any_ of those things!)

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  63. Dear Nancy--

    Well, not _quite_ voyageurs [g], but I think you'll enjoy the next Lord John short piece--"The Custom of the Army." That'll be out in March, in an anthology called WARRIORS (edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois), and it deals with the battle of the Plains of Abraham, before the Citadel of Quebec. It's got French people in it. [g]

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  64. Re out-takes, etc.

    Look, guys--I think many of y'all are under the impression that I think these books out in advance, and thus _have_ scenes, storylines, etc. that just don't make the final cut.

    That's not how I work. I _don't_ plan the books out in advance (at all), and I work in disconnected pieces that eventually sprout connections and join (slowly) to form a coherent shape--at which point, the writing gets faster and easier, because I can see the shape of what's missing.

    Once in a long while, I'll start a scene and it just doesn't go anywhere. Most often, I just leave the fragment and go work somewhere else, and sometimes later (sometimes _much_ later), I'll come to a spot where I realize that fragment can be salvaged to fit, or can be the springboard to something quite different--but I really don't _have_ tons of unused 'stuff'. Almost everything I write either ends up in the book, or is just fragmentary bits that I shovel into a compost heap and mind occasionally for imagery or ideas. That kind of stuff wouldn't make any sense to a reader, though; it's not even complete sentences, for the most part, let alone a coherent scene.

    ONCE in a long while, I'll have a scene that's coherent and good--but just doesn't fit in the book. Generally, that's because it belongs in the _next_ book [g], so I just keep it until the spot for it shows up.

    But no, I really don't have any kind of out-takes that would be interesting to read.

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  65. Dear Chelsea--

    My regards to William! [s]

    Henri-Christian is (in part) the result of a brief conversation I had with a Canadian producer at CBC, where I was doing an interview on a book-tour some years past.

    After the interview, we were chatting, and she remarked that one thing she particularly admired about my books was the way in which I portrayed people with disabilities--i.e., as real people, part of their families and communities (it was Iain Finlay she was struck by; the man with cerebral palsy in FIERY CROSS, at the Gathering)--and mentioned that she had a young daughter with achondroplasia.

    It immediately popped into my mind that Fergus and Marsali's next child was a dwarf, and so I did a certain amount of research on dwarfism in general, achondroplasia in particular--and asked a couple of my medical friends whether they'd had an experiences with such children.

    So that's where Henri-Christian came from. When I was working on ECHO, I knew I had to have some Really Pressing Reason for Claire to travel back to America before Jamie could leave Scotland, and thought of various things, including a dangerous subsequent pregnancy for Marsali--but we'd kind of Done That with Lizzie and the transverse lie, and you really don't want to repeat an effect without a truly good (dramatic) reason, so...eventually I asked one of the aforesaid medical friends (Dr. Amarilis Iscold, a lovely Brazilian pediatrician) whether she could think of anything that might be a dangerous problem for Henri-Christian--maybe something respiratory (because I'd read enough to know that children with dwarfism often have such problems), but it had to be something Claire could reasonably address with what was available in the 18th century. So Amarilis came up with the notion of adenoids--mentionoing that enlarged adenoids often run in families, and if they did in this case, Claire might have noticed Germain or the girls mouth-breathing, or having the classic "long face" of a person whose adenoids prevent them breathing normally through their nose. So I put in such a mention, in one of Claire's letters to Bree, and there we were. [g]

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  66. I am dying to know how you fit everything into your day! Especially with kids (I know your kids are older now) but seriously how did you ever get a moment to yourself?? Even as I type this everyone is suddenly talking to me! How do your organize your day? Also, how do you keep track of all your ideas and different story lines along with paying bills and grocery shopping??

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  67. Check out this great museum-the history of shoes is detailed, with photos of the collections:
    www.batashoemuseum.ca

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  68. How about a section that lists chronologically the various sex scenes in the books! *g* (You know, just in case there's a need, ye ken!)
    If that's not feasible how about listing some holiday traditions (ex: Christmas) that was enjoyed in the 1700's.

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  69. Dear Diana,

    thank you for asking :-)

    - Maps, yes please.
    - Costumes are a great idea... Claire's Gutenberg gown for example
    - Maybe a recipe or two for anything from food to hair shampoo
    - Indians... for example what would a typical Mohawk look like
    - Inspirations... I love finding out what inspired various scenes
    - Picture of Rollo :-)
    - Maybe tie-in with a charity that Claire would have liked, like 'Médecins Sans Frontières'. donating a small percentage to it.
    - Lyrics and music to one or two of the songs from the books.

    Overall, I would love to see new material (thoughts) of any kind. When I read the first companion I was a bit disappointed that I had actually come across most of the interesting stuff already, either on your website or in interviews.

    Good luck with the writing and should you find yourself anywhere near Devon on your UK tour, I'd be happy to play tourist guide for a day... or maybe, considering the weather, I should say, show you were to get a good hot chocolate!

    Hope you have a great time whatever the temperatures :-)

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  70. I'd love to see recipes for the food they ate and for the non-toxie herbal tinctures and such that Clare uses. I'd love to see all the recipes but I appect that puttingones that could be toxic could be a risk.

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  71. I would like to see a timeline of the battles referred to in the books. I admit I did not pay attention to my history classes.

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  72. I would love a kind of blueprint of som of the important buildings like Castle Leoch, Lallybroch, the house in the rue tremoulins etc.

    It would also be very interesting to know if you found some more "accidental" similiarities between your stories and the real history. I loved to read about you finding out about the Scot called Dunbonnet and after using it in your story found out that this guys name was actually James Fraser (or only Fraser, I can't remember...).

    Or/And maybe some information about the everyday life in the 2nd half of the 18th century(including customs etc) would be very interesting and even supportive to understand and relate to the actions of the characters a bit more.

    And after all I would love it if you could but some decent gaelic swear words into the gaelic-thing part of the companion( only if this is appropriate, of course ;)).
    It happened so often that I read one of your books, Jamie or Murtagh or whoever was swearing in gaelic, Claire didn't understand a thing and Jamie said that this is not meant to be understood by a lady. This always kind of bugs me ;) Could something like this even be possible??

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  73. I don't have much to add to the great suggestions by everyone else, but I do have one wish. I'm not sure if it's feasible or not, but a companion cd that has some of Roger's songs on it would be so neat!

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  74. I'd love to see a few pages devoted to some sort of herbal, in an 18th century style.

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  75. References to the herbal/natural remedies that Claire uses would be nice. How do you developed certain characters like William or Rachel? Who was the dog that inspired Rollo? Jamie is hilarious, intelligent men have a certain brand of humor that is a cut above. What or who do you draw from in order to make up the funny scenes with Jamie's cutting wit (and Claire's for that matter).

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  76. Thank you so very much in advance for Companion II and although I seem to be in the minority, I really like the idea of including the Lord John timelines and other information.

    I have noticed that nothing happens to a character without a reason. Just as the connection came to light regarding Geillis and Roger, I have a hunch that there may be one or more additional connections between the Greys and the Frasers and the MacKenzies and the Murrays before all is done (or my imagination is on overload waiting for the next installment LOL).

    While echoing (pun intended) the many pleas for maps, timelines, biographies, floorplans, herbals, dictionaries, fashion info and the like, I also really appreciate the fact you will offer a bibliography as things you mention in passing often send me off on various research tangents ;-) The one in your current Companion is quite dog-eared at my house, I assure you!

    Could you possible include a currency converter-type thing or something that talks about the value of barter versus gold/silver/paper notes not only here but in Scotland/France? That way, as they all travel back and forth, we'll understand more about the commerce involved.

    Speaking of commerce, I love the bits of knowledge you impart about farming and printing and education and shipping and sailing and becoming a minister and all the other "occupational"-type bits (should I include piracy, smuggling, prostitution, spying and revolt on the list as well? Many of the characters seem to enjoy the seamier side of life).

    One other map not mentioned that I would love to see would be the locations of all the standing stones mentioned (and any others that are in the various vicinities as I feel we may see more locations in future stories). My assumption has always been that these sets of stones are extant fairly close to where you have placed them?

    Finally, thank you for going ahead with this project now instead of waiting. I've started my annual re-read of the series and am running constantly to the current Companion to look stuff up--how cool that (perhaps) by my 2011 or 2012 re-read, I will have Companion II to highlight as I go along...

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  77. I agree with the suggestions of, and would love to see: maps, timelines that include both Outlandish and historical events, family trees, and blueprints & elevations of homes or other locations important to the books. I also like the idea of Interesting and Unusual Facts and Tidbits.

    I like the suggestions of recipes and remedies, but think these have potential as stand-alone publications. :)

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  78. Meant "floorplan" of buildings, not "blueprint," but don't know how to edit the comment. :-p

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  79. Oh yes please, Maps!! yes, maps.
    As a trained Geography teacher I deplore the state of map reading in todays world! (ever watch the Amazing Race???LOL) So much can depend on how far it was to get to the creek to get to the field where the battle was!
    And the family trees of everyone would be nice!
    And finally a time line where you can see who was doing what when! And why they were doing it and not with someone else!
    (hum guess the history part of my training is showing too isn't it??)

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  80. Maps, definitely, please, and family trees, but contrary to a lot of wishes mentioned here, I'd hate to see pictures of characters or costumes etc. That's something the mind adds while reading and you get used to these - your own images. As soon as they are provided from the outside - so to speak - your own private J&C universe crashes forever, which I personally would regret very much. Besides, pictures are quite expensive to add to a book...*g*

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  81. Oh yes, I repeat the request for maps, maps and more maps - floorplans for some of the houses would be magnificent...., and drawings of costumes would be fantastic as well.

    I'd like to see you add a section on how you interwove HISTORY with FICTION perhaps? How did you decide to depict any historical persons?

    In additon, a 'Jamie's entry might be fun - what does he have to do to when he gets up, does the chores, etc? We know alot about how Claire's days progress from the books, expanding on Jamie's views would enrich the overall story, and probably please alot of the readers :D

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  82. In addition to lots of the stuff mentioned above, I'd love to read your thoughts or essay on A Marriage. God knows there are lots of different kinds of marriages, but I love all the contrasts of the marriages of the couples you portray - just would like to hear your impressions of the state in general!

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  83. you had my heart with cookery. the only other thing i could think of would be any focus on knitting. you mention it once in a while, and some focus on what they knit, who was knitting, and their sources of wool/yarn would be fascinating (and wouldn't take a lot of room. i couldeven do the research, lol!)

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  84. I am hoping that the companion will come out at the same time i purchase an ereader.
    I would love to be able to click on links where I can see illustrations of the fashions of the times, foods, maps, photos of the areas now, etc
    I have just finished "Echo" and found my arm muscles got a good work out lifting the book and I finally had to succumb and purchase a pair of +1 glasses from the chemist to read the small print. (I could empathise with Claire on this matter). It was also difficult to read on the beach here in Australia due to its size, lol!
    So, I would love an ereader of some type to adjust the print size, avoid the weight issue and hopefully discover extra features linked in to the books.

    Thanks again for years of great reading Diana.

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  85. Illustrations would be wonderful!!! I often think while reading your books, I would love to see a picture of this :)

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  86. Diana -- Thanks so much for your response to my Henri-Christian question! Talk about instant gratification. :) I did notice the mention in Claire's letter of "mouth-breathing", which made me think right away of my dad and my brother, and William before his surgery.

    I'm on my second read-through now of AEITB (a Christmas present from my Granma, whom I had you sign the first Companion for when you were in Kelowna BC years ago) and I'm looking forward to the graphic novel and second Companion book!

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  87. Sorry I've made this comment when talking about the nostril post - but I'll say it again as others have here. Family Trees for all the main families in the story. Claire and Fergus's family lines are surely going to be hot in the next book and what about that Rob Cameron he must go straight back to cunning ol Hector I reckon??? Very juicy. Also some maps would be good if your not familiar with America, like myself it would be good, Scotland and Helwater as well for that mater.

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  89. Oh yeah costume - stays are what they wore before bras right and other little bibs and bobs you mention . . yes pictures of what they are would be good. More things keep coming to mind like that tie on pocket arrangement and a rail and does a shift of today resemble a shift of the late 1700's?? I can't wait for the picture book . . .see now I feel I am pressuring you . . I know all in good time.

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  90. I took a picture of the family tree. Maybe you can't read the names on the upper left side but it's quite difficult to take a picture of the whole tree as one.
    Well,I can only post the link here.

    http://s12.directupload.net/file/u/22028/tlwunr2f_jpg.htm

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  91. A TIMELINE for Jamie Fraser's life! There are so many details to keep straight, it would be helpful to have dates for reference.

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  92. Diana,

    Aside from your wonderful writing, one of the reasons you are my favorite author is because you open up questions like this to your readers. You make yourself very accessible, and it makes us readers feel very special. Thank you for that.

    I love most of the ideas other commenters have listed, especially maps with travel paths noted, drawings or photos of the real and fictional places described in the book and drawings of both typical period clothes and artifacts and specific ones that have been described in detail.

    In the last Companion I loved the list of errata, especially your explanations and commentary. I'd like to see that for the books that have been published since then. (I work in Quality Assurance - I'd be more than happy to help suss out potential errata for the list!)

    Also, a timeline that helps us understand how time in all the stories overlaps - in particular the Lord John stories, but also the ongoing continuum between 2 different centuries.

    One additional thought, though not for the Companion II: several commenters suggested printing Claire's and Jamie's books, various letters and an herbal guide. It reminded me of J.K. Rowling's special printings of 2 of the textbooks she had mentioned in the Harry Potter series, which were produced to benefit a charity. If you were so inclined, a small printing that pretends to actually be, say, Jamie's Grandfather's Stories (sorry if I got that wrong!) would likely sell enough to do a lot of good for some worthy organization - and all your readers would be completely thrilled to own it!

    Thanks for considering these recommendations from me and all your other readers.

    - Nicole Z

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  93. Can't comment (or even read the whole post!) since I'm still on The Fiery Cross and also reading The Outlandish Companion. Just wanted to say THANK YOU for even asking fans what they'd like to see. That is completely above and beyond... and is verra much appreciated.

    Carol - myoutlanderpurgatory.com

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  94. Oh my, yes! I love Adderbury's idea of "Jamie's day"!

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  95. I'm entirely with Christiane: maps, family trees, floorplans, herbals, recipes, etc., yes, but, please, no pictures of characters. One of the pleasures of reading, especially such a long series as Outlander, is that one develops very definite mental images of the characters. (The surroundings also, but that's not as critical.)
    I have a very clear mental impression of what Claire (et al.) looks like...and, sorry, Diana, it's not quite like what's been previewed for the upcoming graphic novel. (Oh, I'll read it, of course, but I don't want the pictures messing up my brain. When I reread Harry Potter, it's a struggle not to "see" Daniel Radcliffe.)
    If I can think of anything for OC2 that hasn't yet been mentioned, I'll post again.

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  96. more detailed maps and more Scottish recipes!

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  97. If a complete list of all the Timetravelers that have been revealed in the series were to be included in the Companion II guide, that would be fantastic. Including their time travel history, such as their time and place of origin, resultant time travel destination, traveling "point of entry" and method used (ie, accidental, intentional..etc), number of times traveled, items of interest they can pass through with, and resulting injuries from time travel attempts. Also a list on the known dangers of timetraveling as has been listed in the series and experienced or witnessed by the characters.

    Probably most of this information was already being written and compiled by Roger MacKenzie in his writing "A Practical Guide for Time-Travelers".

    It would be nice to see a similar guide in Companion II.

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  98. I am a huge fan! and have loved your books since a young girl! When I am not reading them, I am listening to them on my ipod! I would love a timeline for reference. Also, I would love to see a listing of birthdates or at least birth years. I am constantly trying to figure out how old everyone is a certain points in the books. Thank you for all of your hard work and for updating your blog so frequently!

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  99. Perhaps a compilation of any religious research you've conducted re: Catholicism, Presbyterianism & Lutheranism of the 1700s?

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  100. YES! thank you Vanvouver Voyeur! reading the series over again and was struck by that question anew. Why and how did Frank see Jamie's ghost (?), if in fact it was Jamie?!

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  101. Yes please to an index! The first Companion is a wonderful book but so frustrating when you're trying to find something in it as it doesn't have an index.

    I'd also love a detailed Errata list and detailed timelines that give the ages of the characters alongside the years. Sometimes it's hard to remember that Claire is in her sixties!

    Another yes please to maps. As many as possible [g].

    And if I'm being really greedy I'd also love colour pictures of the military uniforms and clan tartans [g].

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  102. Hi Diana!
    I am new to your blog, having just found your website after 10+ years of reading the Outlander series. I fell in love with Jaime in the first book, and then it just progressed as the series did. Thank you for writing such a phenomenal series! I just love the series and I eagerly await a new book once the last one is done.

    I recently got into listening to audiobooks. I think I have been listening to them for about 1-1/2 years now. I have the hardback editions of the 1st six novels in the series, and that is how I got so deeply involved in the series at first. I thought audiobooks were silly for a LONG time! Then I started doing medical transcription, and I found that by the end of the day spent transcribing the doctor's dictations, the last thing I wanted to do was to pick up and hold a 1,000+ pages book. They tend to be HEAVY! Hence I got involved in audiobooks for several of my favorite authors.

    I have just purchased the unabridged versions of the first 3 in the series, plus the last Echo in the Bone. Drums in Autumn will be next, but I am writing to you to see if there is anything that you can do with your publisher to see about getting the unabridged versions of The Fiery Cross and A Breath in Snow and Ashes out in unabridged, digital format. I agree with your "abridged book" assessment in one of your blog posts wholeheartedly, and I won't buy an abridged version of any book period. The only versions that are available on Audible.com for these 2 books are the abridged versions, and even though they are each about 15 hours long, the unabridged versions are some 43 to 50+ hours long, which says to me that a HUGE part of the books are being cut out, which really would take away from the story.

    Anyway, I wrote to Audible about getting those 2 books in unabridged format, and they told me that Recorded Books did not hold the digital rights to either book, and that they only people that could approve Audible selling the books would be either the publisher or the author herself. Well, that would be you.. :) So, I am writing to you today in hopes that you can somehow work a miracle or two and get the digital rights to the 2 books mentioned so that your fans on Audible can purchase the full versions of ALL of the Outlander series. It makes no sense to me quite honestly why books 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 would be available in unabridged but not books 5 and 6.

    I would greatly appreciate any help that you could provide. I have the hardbacks of each of these, but I really want the audio versions of them. Would you please help your fans out? Thanks so much for reading this. I hope to see the 2 books available very soon!

    I hope you have a very safe trip abroad and that you get to meet more fans than ever. I have even thought about looking up some of my home state's history since NC is where Jaime and Claire wound up. I find that quite interesting..:)

    Take care,
    Linda in NC

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  103. Spooky... just a few hours ago I wrote an e-mail to Diana about the unavailable audio downloads and next thing I see is someone else posting about it on here... spooky...

    Well, it is totally off topic, but I just had to add my voice to Linda's plea. If there is anything you can do, Diana, many of us would be thrilled to bits :-)

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  104. Astrological readings on Lord John and Percy Wainwright.

    Just one comment though. You mentioned about publishing comments that readers/forumites have made about the books. Personally, if someone had written a comment that was deemed by you (and everyone) as offensive, I don't think the poster would like to see their embarrassment immortalized in print in a book. I think the feelings of the commenter should be taken into consideration.

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  105. How about a timeline of how the Lord John books fit in and around the Outlander books? I sure was happy I'd read them when I got into An Echo in the Bone because I think I'd have been lost without!

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  106. The more maps the better for me! :) Also, maybe when there is a character description also list the specific books they have been in. I loved the last Companion, so I'm sure I'll love the next couple! ;) Oh! Maybe put in clan tartan pictures or coat of arms, etc... that is interesting to look at! Thank you for doing this! :) I can't wait!

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  107. P.S. Are you sure you knew what you were getting into asking us what we would like?!?! :)

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  108. Diane,
    Will there be any way to address when certain key events took place? For example, in Echo there are several references to Brianna having told Lord John about her and Claire being time travelers but I don't recall and could not find the place where this actually happened. At the end of Breath she tells Lord John that she is from America but not that they are time travelers. Was it earlier and I missed it?
    Thanks!

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  109. Your proposed list alone would make for a large book!

    As a reader, the only additions I'd appreciate would be visual aids. I find maps, family trees, time lines, instruments used in battle/medicine, etc incredibly useful so I'd imagine they'd make it a true companion to both series.

    I think other things, such as your personal writing routines, your own thoughts about writing, travel, etc, would be interesting to see in a memoir.

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  110. I _must_ have recipes! Traditional Scottish recipes that would have been used at the time, as well as recipes for things Jamie and Claire were eating when they came to the colonies and how they produced things.

    AND herbal remedies and recipes to make some yourself. Yes, there are heaps of books on herbals, but I would like to have a source of the more traditionally used and easily made home remedies. As well as some of the completely off the wall 'cures' for things during the time.

    I only discovered your books a few weeks ago and I am nearly done drums of Autumn. I am obsessed. Thank you so much for such a perfect historical fiction series. I don't know how I hadn't discovered them earlier!

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  111. I guess the one "thing" I would like to see better with the help of the Companion, is the "floorplans" or views of the rooms. So often, I can't imagine what the small cabins on the Ridge would look like especially with those scenes where everyone just takes a flop on the floor...
    Or what about Claire's surgery? Or the cave/barn/paddock that Jamie built? Or the whiskey clearing/mash floor? Or the Lallybroch kitchen? Well, you get the idea...

    And thank you for asking us for our ideas - how amazing to have any sort of "conversation" with an author you adore...

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  113. All of the ideas so far have been great. I would like to see a map of standing stones/time travel locations. We know of several from their mention and use in the books, but it would be neat to see them all on one map. Also, I would love to see some of the minitures that Brianna painted. Maybe even of Jaime and Claire? I would also enjoy seeing some of Mrs. Bug's recipes, namely the bannocks, included.

    I really love that you have created a non-fictional reference point based on fictional books. It has settled a disagreement more than once amongst my Outlander friends!

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  114. I've only seen it here once, but I can't say I've read every single comment... I love your book lists! (Methadone list?) I got so many other books out of it to keep me busy! I also have to say that I love going to a bookstore, choosing a book and then seeing your quote on the cover. It makes me feel like I'm making a good choice!

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  115. Detailed drawings of the clothes would be wonderful - for example Claires wedding dress etc.
    And recipes and maps would be great too...

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  116. Hi Diana,

    Please could you let me know where you'll be in Manchester on 20th?? I've been trying to work it out via Google and have come up against a brick wall...

    I'm so excited about getting my book signed!

    Lizzy

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  117. Hmmm...those last three comments ought to generate some interesting ideas....

    One more thing to add...how about a bit on Claire's garden - layout, plants, and such?

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  118. I´m a new fan of yours from Finland and wanted just to say that your books are fantastic and inspiring! I started to learn Scottish Gaelic while reading The Outlander or Muukalainen, as it´s in finnish. I wanted to ask if there´s any news on The Exile? Can´t wait, I will order it straight away when it´s puplished!

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  119. If you could get the same woman to do astrological natal charts for Brianna, Roger, and Maybe Lord John, that would be fantastic! Also, I'd love to see any excerpts you may have relating to your story about Master Raymond.

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  120. Vancouver Voyeur, it's my belief that this was hinted at in 'Echo'. Jamie and Claire are talking about his dreams of the children, and he mentions he once dreamed he saw her in a softly lit window, doing something with her hair, looking frustrated, and thinking to himself, "So this is what electric light looks like."

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  121. Please, Please explain the fully-dressed "Jamie ghost" in the beginning of Outlander. :)

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  122. I think I've actually got a request no one's yet come up with!
    I'd love to see a list of the literary and pop culture allusions and references that go right over Jamie's, Ian's, Lord John's (and other people's) heads.
    For example:
    (I don't have the books with me at the moment, so these won't be exact quotes.)
    In "Voyager," Jamie says to Claire, "I should know you from any other woman, and ye havena your name embroidered on your chest." To which Claire replies, "Not so much as a letter A!"
    And some pages further on, she comes up with what I'm sure is a quote from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," but I haven't checked it.
    In one of the later books, Brianna says," No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!" which nagged at me until I Googled it.
    I'm sure everyone picked up on the significance of "Does the name Ringo Starr mean anything to you?" but there have to be references, quotations, and allusions that I, and other readers, missed.
    So, please, a list of those would be fun.

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  123. With respect to the last poster,
    I love the following quote:
    "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, Bloody Timmy's in the well!"

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  124. I would second the maps, timeline and most certainly the brief physical descriptions of the characters, as starting on book 4 for the first time, I find myself forgetting the minor detail descriptions of people. (I ask my Mom, who read the series when it first came out, such questions as "How tall and old is Claire supposed to be?" to which she can only respond with "Older and shorter than Jamie but taller than the Scots," which isn't entirely helpful!)

    Oh, and I would also add a disclaimer for any of the medicinal and cookery recipes included, excluding you of any responsibility from possible negative consequences of making/using the recipes; "just to cover your ass," as a pre-law friend of mine would say.

    More generally, my Mom would like to thank you for all the time you have put into crafting the stories, the joy of reading it has provided over the years and congradulations on making it into the fiction section of regular book stores! (Making me happy as I no longer have to accompany her incognito to the romance novel book sellers.)

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  125. As a budding herbalist, I'd love to see something about the herbs and such that Claire references/uses (nothing too technical of course for liability issues) but I'd be curious. The MD turned old fashioned healer was something that really appealed to me as a former pre-med student who has now (over a long journey) started working on becoming an herbalist.

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  126. Dear Dr. Gabaldon,
    Your series is simply wonderful! Your creativity has enriched my life in ways that are hard to express. Thank you :)! Add my vote to the list of those longing for maps, plantation drawings, and Mrs. Bug's recipes. I especially love the idea of a Companion that includes "illuminated pages" containing envelopes we might open that illustrate Jamie's letters to Brianna and Roger, or Claire's list of herbal medical supplies, etc. or house plans of the Big House and its surrounding features we might unfold from the book. Most of all, a CD containing the gaelic featured in the book would be perfect! I long to really hear the words Jamie and Roger speak and am sure, despite your helpful pronunciation guide in the Outlandish Companion, that I make dreadful work of their beautiful language.

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  127. Dear Diana,

    I have been following the comments here and these are my favourites so far plus a few new thoughts...

    - First and foremost any new background insights into the books, anything new about the characters and how things came about, (extremely rare, but possibly existing) bits that might have been edited out etc... in other words, any true, cooked by you, Outlander morsels, please.
    - Maps (seems the vote is pretty unanimous on this one *g*)
    - Floor plans (brilliant idea, whoever came up with it!)
    - illustrations of what the inside of a typical cottage/homestead/longhouse would have looked like at the time, daily implements included
    - Costumes (specific Outlander ones, like the C&J wedding attire as well as illustrations of what would have been worn at the time by various classes)
    - illustrations and short biography of some of the famous people that appear and what made you include them
    - additional family tree for Lord John Grey and updates on those of the others from the first Companion. I am especially curious about the four children that Buck is supposed to have according to Companion one, though there is only one child showing on the family tree that the Reverend has of Roger.
    - Errata... we all love reading about mistakes that slipped under the radar. Much more fun than when everything runs like clockwork *g*
    - Recipes of the time from food to soap
    - the glossary in alphabetical order this time (someone must still be kicking themselves over that one from Companion one, LOL)
    - lyrics for some of the songs of the time as well as those prayers that keep coming up and their story
    - Picture of Rollo
    - Time lines... I am especially interested in one that clears up the events taking place at the end of Echo, beginning with the Frasers arriving at Lallybroch. The dates given make no sense when one compares what J&C did relative to each other (printing mistake?) it would be great to get an idea of what they should have been.
    - short condensed list of all the main characters listing their birthdays as far as known and their main physical characteristics for quick reference
    - Index... I agree with others that the first Companion is awkward if one wants to look something up in a hurry
    - list of the literary and pop culture allusions and references that go right over Jamie's, Ian's, Lord John's (and other people's) heads (brilliant suggestion made by BOLD Bluebird). Seeing them listed in one place would be a great source for a quick giggle.


    What about a little 'spoof' story? Like putting Jamie into a modern day situation... could be in the form of him having a really vivid dream... maybe him getting to grips with a car, or have him stumble into Royal Ascot and dazzle the Queen by calming her horses... :-)

    Things I would not be as keen on are too much in the way of Herb Lore (there was rather a lot of it in the first Companion)and drawings of the main characters. I simply find most drawings of people in books not real enough, too one dimensional... quite apart from them looking different from how I imagine them.

    I love the idea of an Outlander CD with Gaelic phrases, songs ranging from old historical Scottish ones, Bagpipes, a piece of Bach, French court music and Songs of the American revolution to Indian war cries and 'The Banks of Loch Lomond'. Basically a CD giving the sounds from the books. Such a CD would obviously be fantastic as a freebie with the Companion but it would probably make top of the charts if sold on its own.

    Well... back to work :-(
    whilst listening to Outlander on audio :-)

    Keep well everyone!

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  128. Hi, All,

    Diana, I loved the section in the first Companion noting random and quirky bits you've turned up in your research. More please!

    Echoing others, please do NOT include pics of the main characters. One joy of reading is getting to use our imagination to fill in the author's descriptions.

    And maps -- yes!

    Thanks!

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  129. As North Carolina is so important to the books, I would love to see something about the Scots settlements in eastern (Cape Fear) and western (Blue Ridge) NC, including information about Native Americans and also Regulators.

    Also, I have to say I loved the fight Jamie broke up about the proper way to serve barbeque -- we still have that fight in the Carolinas today! Maybe something about barbeque western vs eastern style to go along with Ms. Bug's recipes!

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  130. I was wondering if you would be speaking at the Flagstaff Highland Festival this year? Thanks Tracy

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  131. Wow, people are coming up with some good stuff here and I have absolutely nothing else to contribute! oh, maybe some ideas you might have discarded for what else Ian might have been up to while he was with the Mohawk.

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  132. Floorplans of Lallybroch and the Ridge. Possibly a layout/small map of the Ridge Settlement (Where is Bree's house in relation to the Big House, vs the New House and graveyard/ white spring / gold / Ute / Hiram / etc)

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  133. These are all such wonderful ideas, and I can't wait for the Companion - as you mentioned, Diana, some of your readers do sometimes get confused and need reminding of certain characters or events from previous books!

    The first companion was like having you right there with us, telling us your thoughts and fixing our pronunciation (the correct pronunciation of Laoghaire was a revelation to me!), and I am so looking forward to the next one. Thank you for doing what you do each day and bringing us all such joy.

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  134. Hi Diana
    My wife and I are huge fans, we have just come back from the UK and unbeknown to us you just happened to be in Edinburgh the same day as us. I wish that I had read your appointments earlier.
    We travelled all around Scotland locating the places from your books. We found the Fraser headstone at Culloden Battlefield and Jamie's print shop at the bottom of The Royal Mile. Did you know that there is a small village in the north of Scotland called Fraserville, was that where Jamie and Clair finally settled in the end?:-) and one of Fergus's children started up the department store in Edinburgh called Frasers?
    You really picked a popular name for these books.

    The way it came about that we started to read your books was, one day I went into a book store in Brisbane, Australia, and I bought a book called The Firey Cross, thinking that it would be a good book. I took it home and started to read it and after a few paged thought it was all messed up so I chucked it in the cupboard.
    After a couple of months Sandra was reading the first Lord John book and was chuckling at something an I asked what? and she just said it was something about Jamie and Claire, I immediately pulled out the Firey Cross and looked at the author and asked her who was the author and Sandra said Diana Gabaldon, we then realised that my book was the last (at that time) of the series, so we went straight out to buy the first 4 books to start from the beginning. Now we are up to the Echo in the Bone and I have just finished on the plane back from the UK and just have to wait for the next one!!! Keep up the good work, I have a lot of respect for someone who can write a book those sizes and still keep the reader enthralled the whole way through and keep us wanting MORE. I don't know what I am going to do when you stop the series!

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  135. Dear Diana,
    I'd love for there to be an Outlandish Companion that encompasses the entire story. I'm guessing that if the next book is the last, this Outlandish companion will cover it, and that will be that.
    But if this one comes out and you're planning more books, I hope you plan on more Companions :-) because they're amazing! (And I hope you plan more books about Jamie and Claire. The series is extraordinary, and i"m only midway through drums of autumn!)

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  136. I'd love to know who owned Lallybroch in the time between Young Jamie in 1700's and Brianna in present day (ie was it family etc)

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  137. This morning I picked up the audio version of "Dragonfly in Amber" at the library. It was so difficult to get out of the car when I arrived at my destination! It's been a few years since I read the novel and wow! I fell in love all over again.

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  139. I would love to see a summary of the medicinal herbs and plants Claire used, even with photos.

    I also love the idea of a clothing section

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  140. I would love to see a summary of the herb and plants she used, even with photos.

    I also love the idea of a clothing section

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  141. I've been wondering where the excitement and drama of life nowadays is. I've been thinking how hard life was back then. Were people then more emotionally durable? There weren't the kinds of medicine we have, so there was more pain. And if we hate the thought of modern dentist, what of a 18th century dentist?? What about blood and gore? We don't see much of it at all. What about losing loved ones? Seems like there was so much more of it then. I'd be very curious to read something about the 18th century psyche. Also, statistics on longevity. If you got on a ship in England, what chance did you have of surviving, reaching the other side, not dying of fever, being pressed by the Navy, kidnapped by Indians, or dying in childbirth????? Okay, I'll stop ranting.

    As a writer (aren't we all??) and mother, I'd like to know your secrets for securing writing time away from your children without guilt.

    Another thing I'd like to know is, are there any male hearts out there like Jamie's nowadays? I have a fantastic husband, but >come on< ...!

    One last comment for Vancouver Voyeur, I think the series will end at Jamie's "ghost" scene in the first book. Just a hunch.

    EVERY woman loves Jamie, but I love Lord John too! Is his Hector Cameron, part of Jocasta's Cameron's and the Rob Cameron in the last book? LJ is such a lonely heart!

    Okay, I'm really done...

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  142. Ange.Andrews-- oooooo good idea about the ending with the ghost thing! and the hector thing, very good. I think we need to be best friends because I used to have those kinds of hunches for the tv show Lost back when I loved it. =)

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  143. I'd love to see a list of the plants/herbs and what they are good for. I was thinking of going back through and doing that myself.

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  144. Hi, Diana,
    I just plowed through this entire list of comments and didn't see any reference to this issue. Please forgive me if I just missed it.

    From whom did Claire inherit her time travel gene? Since her parents died accidentally, any chance we will meet them in a subsequent book as time travelers themselves? I'd like to see your comments on this in the next Companion if it's appropriate. Maybe this is a good subject for a new short story?

    Many thanks, once again.

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  145. Vancouver Voyeur I totally agree with you, that is at the top of my list. I want to know that secret. All the ideas so far are really amazing. Can't think any of my own at this moment, but will think about it and come back

    :winks:

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  146. I would like a short users guide to the apothecary details, the plants that Claire uses in her surgery and other nursings.

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  147. The engineer in me is rearing its ugly head...I would love to have a timeline. An easier way to tie significant dates, occurances, and people together. For instance, it would be nice to see that Jamie/Claire returned to Scotland in 17XX and stayed until 17YY but Roger left in 198X. I tend to be visual and it would be wonderful to have a high level date list in order to put together where and when the main characters are in relation to each other. I found myself being distracted during ECHO trying to figure things like this out.

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  148. Hey Guys, give Diana a break!
    This series is a fictional/with real time history, NOT A HISTORY BOOK!!
    You try and write such massive volumes laid out to amuse and entertain people!
    You want actual times and dates? read a history book!
    Diana has given us Jamie and Claire to love and enjoy!
    I can't wait for the next volume to come out also, but really, it's just a story afterall.

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  149. to Bald Bluebird re:In "Voyager," Jamie says to Claire, "I should know you from any other woman, and ye havena your name embroidered on your chest." To which Claire replies, "Not so much as a letter A!"
    That reference is "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The adulterous woman had to wear an embroidered letter "A" on her bodice. As for the herbal stuff, there a many, many Appalachian herbal reference books out there, and several British ones, as well. I'm sure if you goggled a specific herb, you would learn old uses as well as current ones. I also would love a map of locations; Fraser's Ridge in particular. I live on the now TN side of Roan Mountain(used to be part of North Carolina until 1775), and am curious, since they can see both Black Mountain (outside Asheville, NC) and Roan Mountain from the Ridge.

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  150. Yes, I know where that's from; that's why I quoted it. My suggestion was that it would be nice to have a list of such allusions...because if you don't recognize it, how would you even know Claire (or Brianna or Roger) is having a little fun there? There are undoubtedly numerous such references that you, and I, and other readers miss because we're not familiar with the sources.

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  151. I cannot wait to have it on my Kindle in addition to in hardback volume! I just got my Kindle this year, _An Echo in the Bone_ was the first book I read on it, and I LOVED the dictionary and search functions and thought a million times how handy it will be to have the 2nd companion on there for reference as well! And me to the people who want the next companion ASAP! :)

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  152. Being from upstate New York, I recognized the references to Jane McCrea and Molly Stark. I think short descriptions of all the other local historical legends/characters/events woven into your novels would be interesting.

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  153. I would like to see renderings of some of Claire's dresses. Especially the red silk one from DIA. And maybe Brianna's green-slime one.

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  154. a diagram of all of the family trees, please

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  155. Diana Gabaldon has ruined me for other authors, I am afraid that I cannot read another book without comparing it to hers. This book, along with her others are just wonderful, I don't know how else to tell you that this is one of the best I have read. This book should not be classified as romance because it encompasses so much more than that. This book or this series will keep you up at night and thinking of it all day, I wouldn't be surprised if you become a fanatic of Scotland and it's culture when you are done with these books. I can't speak highly enough of her books or her writing, I feel Diana Gabaldon is a master storyteller and her writing is just superb.Jamie and Claire are so well written and the story so plausible (to some I am sure), you are just drawn in to their world.I cannot speak highly enough of these books and you will never know for sure till you read them how good they are.

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