1) I've been a skim-reader all my life, but I discovered very quickly that you just can't do that with Diana Gabaldon's books, or you miss too much. <understatement!!> So I started listening to the audiobooks, and was astounded by the amount of detail that I'd missed the first few times. I've been listening to the OUTLANDER audiobooks on a continuous rotation (with occasional short breaks) for about 7 1/2 years now. <g> I never get tired of them!
2) In September, 2008, I became Section Leader (moderator) of the Diana Gabaldon folder on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, which is the online forum where Diana hangs out. This has been a tremendous opportunity for me, and a lot of fun, but it's not without its challenges, especially in a year as busy as this one has been! Diana refers to what I do on the forum as "herding the bumblebees", which is an image that always makes me smile. The trick to herding bumblebees is to do it without getting stung. <g>
3) I visited Scotland in July, 2012, on the Celtic Journeys OUTLANDER Tour, along with my mom and my sister Alice. We had a wonderful time, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. You can see my blog posts about the trip here.
4) I've been lucky enough to meet Diana Gabaldon in person three times. Diana called me "the fabulous Karen Henry" in front of 1200 fans at an appearance in Annandale, VA, in April, 2013. Needless to say, I was thrilled!
5) Diana has mentioned me by name in the Acknowledgements to AN ECHO IN THE BONE, THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, A TRAIL OF FIRE, and WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD. The e-book edition of her novella, "The Custom of the Army", is dedicated to me. <g> And the character of "Keren-happuch" in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER was named in my honor. I'm flattered and delighted, of course!
6) Last but definitely not least: Without the OUTLANDER books, I would never have started this blog, Outlandish Observations. It's succeeded far beyond my wildest imaginings <g>, and the average number of visitors per day is up more than 300% since the TV series premiered in August. My Outlandish Observations Facebook page now has almost 5900 followers. THANK YOU ALL!!
I originally bought OUTLANDER with a gift card my mom had given me for my birthday. I have always thought it hilarious that I got so thoroughly addicted without spending a penny of my own money. <g> If you want to see the story of how I found the OUTLANDER series, look here.
Many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an amazing story, and for her support and encouragement over the last few years. It means a tremendous amount to me!