Thursday, December 16, 2010

Warm rolls with minced pigeon and truffles

Well, here's an entry for the new website feature, 'Entertaining Things Fans Do.' {g}

(Yes, I really_ am_ working on the new website; have had out-of-town company for the last couple of days, though, and much as I enjoy them, they do take up time in which I could otherwise be going blind typing up descriptions of the seven big OUTLANDER novels....)


I may have mentioned that I get interview requests All The Time? Well, this one came in from the Canadian publicist a few weeks back, with a note saying, "You don't have to do this if you don't want to."

I read it, laughed, and emailed back, "Are you kidding? This is the most interesting interview I've had in months, if not years!" At last, an interview that didn't start out with some variation of, "Soooo....how did you get the idea to write these books?", didn't ask me "whether you've thought of making a movie of these books?", and didn't want to know who I'd cast to play Jamie Fraser!

(You know that feature on my website called "FAQ"? It'll be on the new site, too. It stands for "Frequently Asked Questions," and the point of it to supply answers to the Questions That EVERYBODY Asks Me. You'd think someone preparing to do an interview with somebody would go look at the somebody's website first, wouldn't you? But noooooo......) But I digress.


This interview was from a nice person named Theresa Carle-Sanders, for her food website, www.IslandVittles.com, and she wanted my permission to run a short excerpt from VOYAGER, describing a particular 18th century dish, to accompany a brief interview about the food in my books.

The interview is here
and I hope you'll enjoy both that, and the website, which is drool-worthy.

35 comments:

  1. Outstanding! I too, wondered about that _very_ recipe and can't wait to try. I actually have quail in the freezer...now to shop the other stuff!

    Did you actually plant the pomegranate, or was it there when you bought your home? I have never heard of the tree as a nursery plant...how cool.

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  2. Diana, you are too cool! Thank you for the interview, and for this fantastic post and link. Everyone is loving your chicken and pine nut dish...maybe that should be my next "recreation." Theresa

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  3. I'll have to try the recipe. Only drawback is my husband won't go anywhere near a mushroom. More for me, I guess.
    My husband and I also made a deal 33 years ago when we married -- He shops and cooks and I do the dishes and clean up. He's a much better cook( a killer spaghetti sauce!) than I am and I actually like washing the dishes and cleaning up afterward.

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  4. I really enjoyed this post, including your interview and her recreation of Jamie & Claire's meal. It looks like I have a new blog to add to my subscriptions! By the way, your chicken & pine nut dish sounds delicious!

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  5. This was a fun departure from the usual interviews!

    Funnily enough, I have a pomegranate on my kitchen counter. I buy one maybe once a year, when they come out at Christmas and it's a real treat. I never know quite how to cut them up properly without making a huge mess, but this one came with its own booklet!

    I think you should write a cookbook next, in your spare time.

    Pam

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  6. Have you already posted the chicken and pine nuts recipe anywhere? That sounds yummy.

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  7. What a great interview - that's one of the many meals in the books which has always stood out for me too! That and the hot bridie which Brianna buys when she's booking her passage to America...mmm, yum!

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  8. Dear Melanie--

    The pomegranate was here (though substantially smaller {g}) when we bought the house, just about twenty years ago. It's HUGE. Probably twelve-thirteen feet tall, with a canopy diameter of at least fifteen feet. The thing really does bear hundreds of fruits every year; the birds of the neighborhood are having a ball. {g}

    --Diana

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  9. What a fun treat for fans and you to have such a delectable interview (hehe I couldn't help myself). Food! My favorite topic besides reading and knitting. My husband's dear friend treats us a couple times of year to an Estonian meat pie, they are very similar to the meat roll in Voyager only stuffed with smoked(more of a bacon)ham...but boy are they yummy and addicting and you can't eat just one! One of my planned adventures this winter is to see if I can make these meat pies...and then have them ALL the time!
    Happy Cooking and Bright Blessings,
    lauren

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  10. HI Diana;
    I was reading the interview and thought about a company that might carry pigeon. They are in L.A, but I'm sure they can send you a package. The name is Broadleaf, www.broadlefgame.com they carry items such as snake, crocodile, and boar. Who knows? Maybe they can get their hands on some pigeon for you.

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  11. What a great idea to interview authors about the foods in their books. This receipe sounds delicious.
    As for pomegranates, I use them to add red to my Christmas decorations. They look so lovely with the greenery on the mantle and in baskets with the cuttings from our Chritmas tree. Just another suggestion for your tons of pomegranates from your tree.

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  12. Hello Diana:

    What a lovely interview, although I shouldn't have read it just before lunch.... I think I'm drooling! I too think a Cookbook would be a great idea. I love the recipes in "Outlandish Companion" and would be delighted to see more. Just one more thing to add to your "to do" list (g)!

    Happy Holidays to you and yours,

    Elaine

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  13. You seem to complain a lot about being asked the same questions over and over. I think you should be happy that people are still taking an interest in your novels and that new people are discovering them.

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  14. Hi Diana!
    I read the blog about the food mentioned in Outlander...very interesting and fun:)

    I have one question for you that I have wondered about. What do you think about all of your success? How does it feel to be Diana Gabaldon? Is it like you are dreaming? Are you amazed at your fanbase? Do you sometimes get overwhelmed by everything? Just interested in what it is like from your side. Thanks!
    Devoted Fan,
    Heather

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  15. Dear Anonymous--

    I'm delighted. {g} And I have no problem whatever with new fans asking the same questions--how should they be expected to know it all? That's why I go to some trouble to have and maintain a good FAQ section on my website, and do indeed answer the same questions repeatedly here--as you can see if you cruise back through the blog archives.

    What I complain about are the interviewers who don't make even the most basic preparation by looking at the wealth of material on my website and blog, and don't expend any thought or effort on the interview itself. I'm not kidding--9 out of 10 will start out with "How did you get the idea to write these books?" and end with, "What question do you wish people would ask you?" (this is ostensibly courteous, while actually being lazy), with every question in between being something already explained on my website.

    Now, I wouldn't mind in the slightest, if they took my answers _from_ the website. I took pains to answer those questions fully, clearly, and as entertainingly as possible. But they don't.

    They interview me in person or over the phone, and the result in print generally paraphrases what I actually said--often enough, totally misquoting me, making up something I never said, or just catching a random phrase and kludging a sentence around it, with the result that I sound like an idiot.

    I've _been_ interviewed by truly wonderful interviewers; it's not only a talent, but a skill, to think of interesting, insightful questions. It's a great thing to be in the hands of a good one, and the result is marvelous for the audience, as well (most of the really good ones are radio people--Vick Gill of the NPR is one whose name I remember; he's interviewed me several times-- but there are a number of excellent ones--an esepcially wonderful woman in Australia just this last year). One of the advantages of radio, of course, is that the audience is hearing the complete context of both question and answer--there's no paraphrasis for reasons of space, no misinterpreting of notes, etc.

    Now, I don't by any means expect an interviewer either to be familiar with me or my books, or to have read the most recent one. But do you think it seems unreasonable to expect that they might go get the basic information--and get it right--before talking to me?

    The fans can always ask anything they want, though. {g}

    --Diana

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  16. Hi, Heather!

    Well, as I said to a young actor friend recently, who wondered how I could deal with "being so well known"--it's kind of like boiling a frog. {g}

    That is--I wasn't an overnight success. I didn't even hit the NYT bestseller list until my third book, and while I'd been going round talking and signing and promoting before that, I was doing so to fairly modest audiences. And bear in mind that I'm a very slow writer. {g} It takes me 2-3 _years_ to write one of the big novels, and it's only when a new book is out that there's a Big Deal going on.

    Basically, I've been doing this for twenty years now, and during that time, been doing what-all I can to establish bonds with the people who read my books, to keep them informed and entertained--and that process has kind of evolved along with the internet. I had one of the first, if not _the_ first, author websites, put up just after that third book was published in 1994. The web as we know it didn't even exist in 1994!

    I used to get--and answer--fan mail on paper, which was always a thrill. I still have it all, in boxes in my garage. {g} With email and blogs and everything, communication has gotten faster and better, and as each book has come out, the audience has increased, which is wonderful.

    But my life, as such, has changed pretty gradually. It's certainly a lot _different_ now than it was when I wrote OUTLANDER {g}--and in a good way, I hasten to add!--but it hasn't really been a shock.

    But yes, I'm constantly amazed by (and grateful for) the fanbase. There'll be a section in the new OUTLANDISH COMPANION for some of the most remarkable letters people have sent me over the years, and a section on the new website for the remarkably creative things fans do, from making those casting videos {g} to Lord John Grey tea, Lallybroch soap, naming show-dogs and racehorses after my characters and books, etc.

    I wouldn't say I get _emotionally_ overwhelmed sometimes, but physically, yeah. I _am_ about two years behind on the email, and sometimes updates of blog or website just have to wait, as I'm on the road, or need to write or do something with or for my family.

    But what I told my actor friend regarding fame was this: "You owe your audience/fans the best book you can write, or the best performance you can give. You would, because you're a decent human being, also want to give them respect, civility, and courtesy, even affection. BUT. You have to have priorities, and the first of these is your family, the second is your work. You value your fans very much, but you don't owe them your privacy or your soul."

    Thanks!

    --Diana

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  17. OK, that worked. I'd tried to post answers to the last two comments, and it told me the URL (??) was too big.

    So I'll need to break up the answers, I suppose.

    To anonymous--

    I'll reply at length again later tonight, but that answer was apparently lost. The bottom line, though, was that I'm always happy to answer anything for fans, and do--you can see that, if you cruise back through the blog archives there.

    What I complain about is interviewers who don't bother to find out anything before talking to me, and don't expend any effort whatever in the process. Not kidding; 9 out of 10 will start with "So, how did you get the idea to write these books?" and end with "Is there any question you wish people would ask you?" (This may be intended as courtesy, but given an inept interview preceding it, comes across as laziness.)

    Anyway, don't want to get too long again...

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  18. OK, that worked. I did save the answer to Heather, just in case, so will post that in two or three pieces:

    Hi, Heather!

    Well, as I said to a young actor friend recently, who wondered how I could deal with "being so well known"--it's kind of like boiling a frog. {g}

    That is--I wasn't an overnight success. I didn't even hit the NYT bestseller list until my third book, and while I'd been going round talking and signing and promoting before that, I was doing so to fairly modest audiences. And bear in mind that I'm a very slow writer. {g} It takes me 2-3 _years_ to write one of the big novels, and it's only when a new book is out that there's a Big Deal going on.

    Basically, I've been doing this for twenty years now, and during that time, been doing what-all I can to establish bonds with the people who read my books, to keep them informed and entertained--and that process has kind of evolved along with the internet. I had one of the first, if not _the_ first, author websites, put up just after that third book was published in 1994. The web as we know it didn't even exist in 1994!

    I used to get--and answer--fan mail on paper, which was always a thrill. I still have it all, in boxes in my garage. {g} With email and blogs and everything, communication has gotten faster and better, and as each book has come out, the audience has increased, which is wonderful.

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  19. Pt. 2

    But my life, as such, has changed pretty gradually. It's certainly a lot _different_ now than it was when I wrote OUTLANDER {g}--and in a good way, I hasten to add!--but it hasn't really been a shock.

    But yes, I'm constantly amazed by (and grateful for) the fanbase. There'll be a section in the new OUTLANDISH COMPANION for some of the most remarkable letters people have sent me over the years, and a section on the new website for the remarkably creative things fans do, from making those casting videos {g} to Lord John Grey tea, Lallybroch soap, naming show-dogs and racehorses after my characters and books, etc.

    I wouldn't say I get _emotionally_ overwhelmed sometimes, but physically, yeah. I _am_ about two years behind on the email, and sometimes updates of blog or website just have to wait, as I'm on the road, or need to write or do something with or for my family.

    But what I told my actor friend regarding fame was this: "You owe your audience/fans the best book you can write, or the best performance you can give. You would, because you're a decent human being, also want to give them respect, civility, and courtesy, even affection. BUT. You have to have priorities, and the first of these is your family, the second is your work. You value your fans very much, but you don't owe them your privacy or your soul."

    Thanks for asking!

    --Diana

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  20. Diana, I was at a fruit cutting get-together on Wednesday evening, one of our parish priests died, anyway, one of the moms came to me and said I hear you are a huge Outlander fan. She was so excited to find a fellow Jamie and Claire nut. So the first question she asked me was...... "Who is the ghost in Outlander?" And I told her it was Jamie and that I wasn't revealing anything that the author hasn't told to others many times over.


    I told her to check out your website and this blog. She is very happy to have someplace to go to to help her with her new addiction.

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  21. Dear Lisa--

    I'm sorry to hear about your priest; may his soul be with God.

    But very pleased you found a fellow-fan, and I hope we'll see her here!

    --Diana

    P.S. How odd--my long comments showed up, after all!

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  22. Hi Diana--
    I can certainly empathize with your exasperation with interviewers who seem not to have done their homework; I have heard (or read) many authors complain about the same thing.
    However, I had a thought: if I were interviewing you, I would want to ask questions that my audience would want the answers to, even if I already knew the answers.
    "How did you get the idea..." is as basic as it gets, and, face it, it's a great story, even if you do get tired of telling it. (I've told it to many people when introducing them to the books!) "What do you wish people would ask...", OTOH, is a cop-out.

    If I lived near you, I'd be happy to take some pomegranates off your hands. :)

    And thanks for the Bloody Men excerpt! I alerted my daughters to it, but haven't heard back yet.

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  23. Dear Bluebird--

    Yes, that's a good point. But that's why I complain about the interviewers not looking up the basic (and easily available) answers; I went to a good deal of trouble to write up the whole "How/why" story and all the information is there, done in my own words, totally accurate, conveying not only factual information but also some notion of my personality.

    Instead, though, they _ask_ this question, which not only obliges me to tell them the story (it's not that it's a huge chore, but it does give me a good idea what it must be like to be a Broadway actor who does the same show every day. Words, intonations, gestures--it's exactly the same thing every time, and yet it needs to seem fresh...), but--and _this_ is what I mind about it--they _then_ take their notes of what I said (which are necessarily abbreviated) and try to reconstruct some space-appropriate synopsis of it, which invariably mangles the facts ("She posted her novel on Compuserve and was scooped up by a literary agent"--which is a common rendering, but _so_ not what happened), and/or makes me sound like a nit because they've taken half a sentence that I actually _said_ and made up the rest.

    Why could they not look at the nice, accurate, well-written account, cut-and-paste what they need from that (it's a long story {g}), and ask stuff that's not in the FAQs to fill in?

    As I say, I _have_ been interviewed by good interviewers. One woman (whose first name is Anne, but I've unfortunately blanked on her last one--it was short, I remember that, like "Wells" or "Good" or something) who did a profile on me for Publisher's Weekly first read _everything_ on my website, asked me to send her any more material I might have (I sent her all the interesting interviews I had; I keep the good ones that are in text form), did the interview by phone, then called me back twice for additional questions and minor clarifications. That particular piece is one of only _two_ (out of hundreds)printed interviews about/with me that contains no errors, no misquotes, and no misleading statements.

    One thing; it does give me a solid appreciation of just how accurate (or not {g}) the historical record probably is.

    --Diana

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  24. Great article,

    Being a foodie I love any recipes, I would definitely make this if I could get my husband and kids to eat it. Being from England I grew up on steak and kidney pudding, liver, kidneys and bacon, peas pudding with boiled ham and bubble and squeak. Many moons ago I spent one sunday making Steak and kidney pudding (it takes 8 hours to steam) my husband took one bite and asked if I would mind if he spat it out. The nest day I took it to work the British Consulate New york, i gave it to my boss and he told me it was the best pudding he had ever eaten. It all depends on what you know I suppose.

    Back to the article, as I said it was great very fresh and and a new perspective.

    As a hugh fan i am thrilled Diana that you have your own site that we can come to. This is the only place to go, I wish others would follow.

    Sincerely

    Michelle K
    Virginia/England

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  25. About the repeated questions... When I discovered the Outlander books. I hadn't even considered there being websites and blogs to do research on. I wonder if some people just don't think to do the research like I did?

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  26. Dear Anonymous--

    Doesn't take a lot of research {g}; googling my name would turn up both website and blog, right up top. But no, I imagine a lot of readers wouldn't think of that--but interviewers? Whose _job_ it is (or should be)?

    --Diana

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  27. Oh ya, interviewers SHOULD know their stuff! Or at least get the basics down so they can think up some interesting questions. Or at least spend very little time on the questions you have been asked over the years.

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  28. Gosh, has it been nearly 20 years since that fate-filled day when I wandered through a bookstore looking for the perfect book to read? Back then, I didn't have many chances to wander a bookstore. We lived in a rural area and didn't get many chances to wander bookstores. I was looking for thick drama-type book to keep me busy reading.
    The book was on a stack of new tittles fresh from th publisher. Being of scottish decent the cover art appealed to me and the discription sounded good to me.
    I bought my First edition Outlander withen a few minutes.
    I've read it several times, never once loaned out my copy but, I've bought the book again several times as gifts to friends who enjoy reading.
    I guess I never thought this one purchace would effect my life as much as it has. I've waited for the next book time and time again. I've been to bookstores on the release date to buy my first editions every time a new installment has been released.
    I've never met Dianna, but my dream is to do just that and ask her to sign all my Jamie and Clare books. Perhaps, One very special day I'll be able to ask her to sign my books "Live and in Person"!

    ReplyDelete
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