Here's the story of how I found Diana Gabaldon's books.
Diana often says that these are "word-of-mouth" books, but that's not true in my case. I had never heard of the series or its author, I knew no one else who had read the books, and I knew nothing at all about the plot or the characters in advance. I found OUTLANDER completely by accident, browsing in a Barnes & Noble bookstore sometime in the fall of 2006.
It was the small-size (mass-market) paperback edition. I remember it was on a rack at the end of one of the aisles, or I probably would never have noticed it. My eye was caught by the striking blue color of the cover, and I picked it up (a little startled by the size of it, but not at all put off -- I like Big Fat Historical Novels, and always have) and briefly glanced through it.
Time-travel...that's good, I'm always up for a decent time-travel story. Hmm...Scotland? That could be interesting. BUT...it starts in 1945, and the main character is an Englishwoman. Is the author British too? Probably.* I often find British novels hard to get into, especially if they take place that far in the past [and by that I meant the 1940's, not the 18th century!]. Am I going to be able to, you know, relate to these characters? **And so I put it back on the rack. Walked out of the store, and promptly forgot the author's name (quite unintentionally) ***. But I hadn't forgotten about the book, by any means, and I promised myself that if and when I ever saw it again, I'd give it a closer look.
A couple of months went by, and then I finally did find OUTLANDER again. I still hesitated (my thought at the time was, it's an awfully big book to buy if you're not sure ahead of time if you'll like it or not). So I went home without buying it, again, and with the name of the book and the author firmly fixed in my memory this time, looked up the Amazon reviews. (Lots of talk in there about the Wentworth scenes, but I'd already had a bit of warning about that, having flipped through the book in the bookstore. The first bit of a scene I read was the part where Jamie tells Claire about the fortress inside him, so I knew something awful was going to happen to him. But I had no idea just how devastating it would be. Not a clue.)
I was still wavering, undecided, and then I got a B&N gift card for my birthday. And I figured, why not? <g> Within a few pages, I was hooked! I devoured the first six books (ECHO and MOHB hadn't yet been published) in only about five weeks, then immediately started over, and I have been in a more-or-less continual state of re-reading or re-listening to the books ever since.
HUGE thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating this amazing story, and for her support and encouragement over the last few years!
* It took me a LONG time to learn otherwise. For those of you who don't know, Diana was born and raised in Arizona, and currently lives in Scottsdale, AZ.
** Mea culpa #1. This particular thought makes me want to go back in time and slap myself. <g>
*** Mea culpa #2. I would have been hooked several months earlier if I'd just bought the darn book the first time I saw it! <wry g>