FAQ

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that I see on Compuserve, Facebook, and via email.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, just a place where newcomers can find quick answers to some of the more common questions. (Last updated August 10, 2014)

NEW AND UPCOMING RELEASES
  1. Now that WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD is done, what else is Diana Gabaldon working on?

    There will definitely be a Book 9, but Diana has not yet started working on it in any serious way.  See the Release Dates FAQ for a list of Diana's current and upcoming books and stories.

  2. How can I get autographed copies of Diana Gabaldon's books?

    All of Diana's books are available through the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is Diana's local bookstore.  She stops by the store frequently to sign their orders.

    If you want autographed copies of any of the books (in any format, including hardcover), the Poisoned Pen can get them for you.  (I ordered a set of autographed OUTLANDER hardcovers from the Poisoned Pen in January, 2008, and the bookstore staff seemed very helpful and knowledgeable about Diana's books.)  Diana says they ship all over the world. 

    Contact gabaldonorders@poisonedpen.com for more information.
ABOUT THE TV SERIES

If you have questions about the OUTLANDER TV series, please see the OUTLANDER TV Series FAQ for the latest information. I try to keep it as up-to-date as possible.

ABOUT THE BOOKS
  1. Who is the ghost in OUTLANDER?

    Diana has said many times, on her web site and elsewhere, that a) the ghost Frank sees in the beginning of OUTLANDER is Jamie, and b) we will find out the explanation for the ghost and what he's doing there, but not until the very end of the very last book.

  2. Will Jamie ever time-travel? 

    The answer to that is a definite NO.  Diana has stated, repeatedly, that Jamie will never time-travel under any circumstances.  The ability to time-travel is genetic, and Jamie lacks the time-travel gene.

  3. What did Jamie mean in THE FIERY CROSS when he said, "Tell her...I meant it." 

    He was referring to the scene in DRUMS OF AUTUMN (chapter 16, "The First Law of Thermodynamics") where he and Claire discover the site of Fraser's Ridge, and they discuss the prospect of Jamie's death.  He meant it when he told Claire that he will love her forever, even after he is dead.  In other words, that death cannot separate them.

  4. What is the order of the Lord John books/stories?

    1. "Lord John and the Hellfire Club" (short story, first story in HAND OF DEVILS)
    2. LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER (novel)
    3. "Lord John and the Succubus" (novella, second story in HAND OF DEVILS)
    4. LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE (novel)
    5. "Lord John and the Haunted Soldier" (novella, third story in HAND OF DEVILS)
    6. "The Custom of the Army" (novella, published in WARRIORS 3 anthology)
    7. THE SCOTTISH PRISONER (novel, published November 29, 2011)
    8. "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies" (novella, published October 4, 2011 in DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS anthology)

    All of these stories take place during the time period when Jamie is at Helwater.

  5. Who is the "foot-tickler" in THE FIERY CROSS? 

    Diana confirmed on Compuserve that Claire's mysterious nocturnal visitor was indeed Jamie, as many of us had suspected.

  6. What are the differences between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH?

    I did a detailed comparison of the two books in 2009.  Look here:

    Differences Between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH: Part 1
    Differences Between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH: Part 2
    Differences Between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH: Part 3

  7. Why did the 16-year-old Lord John give his name as "William Grey" when he first met Jamie and Claire in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER?

    The answer depends on whether you want to look at it from John's point of view, or from the author's. :-)

    Here's a post from Diana on Compuserve that explains why John didn't give his name as "John William Grey". And here is Diana's explanation in the OUTLANDISH COMPANION:
    He was originally called William; however, I very much wanted to name Jamie's son Willie, and--with Jamie's older brother having the same name--I thought that would be too many Williams in a small space, so I changed Lord William to Lord John, as unobtrusively as I could.

    (OUTLANDISH COMPANION, p. 399)
  8. Jamie's son William "hears the stones" in ECHO.  Can he time-travel?

    Diana answered this question on Compuserve on June 21, 2012, as follows:
    Willie has a strong imagination and some of Jamie's gift for poetic expression <g>; he's not a time-traveler.
    Still not convinced? For my detailed analysis, look here.

  9. Who are the two unidentified men who rescue Jerry MacKenzie near the end of "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows"?

    If you've read AN ECHO IN THE BONE, especially chapter 90 ("Armed with Diamonds and with Steel"), you probably already know who these two are.  And if that didn't clear up the mystery for you, read WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD!

  10. There are several references in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER to a "disastrous conversation" between Jamie and Lord John.  Where can I find that scene?

    It's in LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE, chapter 32, "The Path of Honor".  And it's a really terrific scene, one of my favorites in that book.

  11. Where are the Gaelic audio files mentioned in the Author's Notes in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER?

    They were never posted, and I'm not sure they ever will be.  Cathy MacGregor posted this update on Compuserve on Feb. 22, 2012:
    I have been in the wonderful position of organizing the Gaelic translations for Diana's books for a few years now.  It's great fun: I translate the REALLY simple stuff,  and I get my great friend Catherine-Ann MacPhee, who is a well-known Gaelic singer, actress, BBC tv presenter, etc. etc. etc., to do the more complex stuff . . . and I got our pal Kevin Dooley, an Irish singer and writer,  to do the Irish chunks for the latest book, The Scottish Prisoner.  I recorded them too, and that's what we'll have up on her website  as soon as we can.  You wouldn't believe how complicated it is to do the phonetic transcriptions!  I've been a learner, off and on, for over 10 years now (and I grew up hearing a smattering from my grandparents), and I still find them really difficult.  Also, the page refs from the book are different from the typescript I was working with, so that took a little work . . . and somewhere along the line I realized that Diana already had some stuff in Gaelic in there that we did not have to translate . . .so we hadn't recorded them, as we had only recorded what was on our "to-do" list. There's more, but I won't  bore you to death: my wee bit of work is richly rewarding, and  I'm looking forward to making the recordings and transcriptions available as soon as we can.  

  12. What did Geillis Duncan mean in OUTLANDER chapter 25, in the thieves' hole, when she said, "So it's possible"?

    According to Diana, "She means 'so love (like that) is possible.'"
SOCIAL MEDIA
  1. Does Diana have a Facebook page?

    Yes! Diana's official Facebook page was launched in September, 2011. For more details, see Diana's blog post here.

  2. How can I follow Diana on Twitter?
    Diana's id on Twitter is Writer_DG.  Look here to see her recent tweets.

  3. What are the #DailyLines, and where can I find them?

    Diana posts brief bits from her current writing on Facebook and Twitter under the tagline "#DailyLines".  She has not yet posted any #DailyLines from Book 9.

    For technical assistance in accessing the #DailyLines, on either Facebook or Twitter, look here.
I will be adding to this FAQ from time to time, as I think of more things to include.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know.  Thanks!

50 comments:

Deniz Bevan said...

I've got one - who's the body in the cask of creme de menthe? I've reread the books four times and I still never remember from one reread to the next!

Laura said...

Karen ~ such a great list of FAQs! I'm going to post it on the forum for others to find.

Deniz ~ the body in the cask is the excise man Mr. Willoughby kills in the brothel, in front of Claire the morning after she and Jamie reunite. I don't think we ever get a name for him, do we?

Whitney said...

I had a question in regards to the newspaper article reporting Claire and Jamie's death.
The mistaken date of their deaths is the 21st of January in 1776, but the fire that burnt down Fraser's Ridge actually happened on Dec 21, 1776. So how come the newspaper article is dated Feb 13, 1776. Is this an error? If not, what incident is the article referring too, since it was printed before the incident happened.

Karen Henry said...

Whitney - have you read AN ECHO IN THE BONE? The issue of the date on that newspaper clipping is explored in some detail in ECHO.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I have a question and forgive me as I am totally ignorant as to the writing process... Also, forgive me if this question has been asked and answered in the past. Do you know if Diana knows how the story will end? I know she's mentioned that we will need a box of kleenex and that she will address the ghost issue. My friends and I speculate what we think will happen and then got to talking... Do you think Diana has that worked out or does that come to her as she writes? I wanted to ask this on Compuserve but was afraid that it was asked of her repeatedly. If it is not, I'll post is there. Thanks! Amy

Karen Henry said...

Amy:

I think she does know how the story will end, but I DON'T think she has planned out how to get there. She claims she doesn't plan all this stuff out in great detail, years in advance. But yes, she has said we'll find out about the ghost at the very end of the very last book.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Where can I get a copy of the celtic prayer that was in the forward section of the earlier print of Cross-stitch (Outlander)

VerĂ³nica Rojas said...

Karen, thank you very much for this blog. It is so complet, informed, rigorous and tidy ... Great work!!
I am a huge fan of Outlander serie and I will like having a blog similar in Spanish, my language.(Sorry for my poor English)

Greetings from Peru!!

Lisa W. said...

This is a picky little question... I just re-read Outlander (it still takes my breath away!)and I have to ask -- where was Marley during the whole horrendous night that Jamie was at Randall's mercy? Last we saw, Marley had been knocked out by Jamie and was lying unconscious on the floor. Was he there the whole time? Am I correct in remembering that it was really Marley who was trampled by the cows? And just how did Randall escape? I will probably work my way back through the entire series, but meanwhile, would really appreciate it if someone can help me with these questions!

Karen Henry said...

Lisa - yes, it was Marley who was killed in the cattle stampede. We don't know how BJR escaped, and I doubt we will ever find out.

Karen

Marie said...

Karen, the following question has been on my mind for a long time - maybe someone has answered it before, but I am still not sure about Jamie's age at the beginning of "Outlander": Claire walks through the stones and "arrives" in April 1743. When they get married Jamie tells her he is "three and twenty". But given that his birthday is 1 May 1721 he is only 22!? And Claire (being born in 1918) is 26, turning 27 on the 20 October - so she is 4 years older than Jamie, is that right? Thanks for helping me there! Marie

Karen Henry said...

Marie:

There is a certain amount of date-confusion in OUTLANDER. <g> We know from later books that Jamie was born on May 1, 1721, so you're right, he was not quite 22 when he met Claire in late April of 1743. (Jamie is, like Diana, not very precise about dates in general.)

Claire was born on October 20, 1918. If we accept Diana's explanation that the beginning date in OUTLANDER should have been 1946, not 1945, then Claire was 27 in April, 1946 when she went through the stones, and turned 28 six months later, on the day she tells Jamie the truth about the time-traveling.

If you accept that Jamie was born on May 1, 1721, and Claire turned 28 on October 20, 1743, then she is 5 1/2 years older than Jamie.

I try not to take the dates in the early books as set in stone. Thinking too much about it will just give you a headache. <g> Diana freely admits that she is very bad at dates, and even now she relies on other people (including me, on occasion) to verify the dates and ages of characters in her books.

Karen

Merih said...

Hi Karen,

I spent a good chunk of time looking through your site, and I just want to say how impressed I was, and how much I enjoyed it. I showed it to my DH as well. I don't know how you manage all the things you do.

Merih

Karen Henry said...

Hi Merih, good to see you here! I'm so glad you've been enjoying my blog. It's a lot of work, but also a tremendous amount of fun! :-)

Karen

Tania said...

Hi Karen, I really like your blog - you really seem to know EVERYTHING about Jamie and Claire >g<
So maybe you can help me with this: In "Echo" we learned about Fergus' parents... wasn't his father presumably a French Comte? And his mother the sister of ... who? Is it possible that Fergus is some relative of Claire's as she has got French ancestors, too? My sister has borrowed the book and not returned it yet, so I can't check it myself. Thank you in advance!

Karen Henry said...

Tania:

From what I understand in ECHO, Fergus is (probably) the son of Amelie Beauchamp, sister of the Baron Amandine. We don't know for sure that the father of Amelie's child was the Comte St. Germain, but it's strongly implied. Maybe we'll find out more details about this in WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD (Book 8). As for Claire's connection to the family, we know that she is descended from some branch of the Beauchamp family, but we don't know whether the Baron Amandine or Percy may have been her direct ancestor. Claire doesn't know, so the only way we will find out is if we get more information about this in the next book.

Hope this helps, and I'm really glad you've been enjoying my blog!

Karen

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen. Don't know if this has been asked before: What happened to Tom Byrd, Lord John's valet? I don't remember reading about him in Echo. Did Lord John leave him in England when he went to America with Dottie?

Karen Henry said...

Anonymous:

We don't know. Tom appears in "Plague of Zombies", set in Jamaica in 1761, but we have no idea what happened to him after that.

Maybe he settled down with a wife and kids in England, who knows? I do hope we find out at some point, though.

Karen

Sandra said...

Karen,

I may not be recalling this correctly, but didn't Diana once post an excerpt to a contemporary novel? A Detective Kolodzo or something like that? It's been quite a few years. Have you heard about this?

Sandra

Karen Henry said...

Sandra:

Yes, that's right. Diana has been talking about that contemporary crime novel (working title RED ANT'S HEAD) for many years, bot it never seems to get any closer to completion.

If you want a sample of Tom Kolodzi, check out Diana's story "Dirty Scottsdale", which was published in the PHOENIX NOIR anthology in 2009. It's hilarious, and quite different from her normal writing in that it takes place in present-day Phoenix, AZ.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Hello Karen,

I've been rereading all the Lord John books in preparation for the Scottish Prisoner, and was wondering if we ever found out what Lord John did that caused him to be sent to govern Ardsmuir prison as punishment, did it have something to do with a George Everett?

This has been driving me crazy.
Thanks in advance.

Maria

sivle angleton said...

You have a vast knowlage and a wonderful sense of the charactors. I do adore people with insight and intelligence. Its not often found in people this day and age. I Thank You for your shared wisdom in the stories of Diana Gaboldon. I am sure it is time comsuming. I spend most of my time reading and getting it out there that i want to play claire. Alot of people ask me why and i tell them the truth. Outlander was a calling to me. I was very young when i read it. As i grew so did the story and many a thing i have in common with claire. I wanted to be a doctor (but my family was too poor for me to go to collage) so i studied herbology and i often help people with my knowlage, I have studied for birthing babies and have learned healing from the local shaman. I have quite a pention for scottish men and sadly i am a rape victim. I wouldnt have to act or be tought how that feels as any other major movie star would. I wont droll on forever about myself. I will just say that all my life i have felt differently and i guess everytime i see standing stones i walk through them just hoping i fall into a vortex looking for MY jamie. Anyway, i am happy about your blog and keep up the good job. I look forward to reading more.

Mary said...

Well done, Karen--good friend to Outlander!

Marie said...

Hi Karen,
I have just reread "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" and there is one scene that has confused me before: How did Malva know about the (hidden) scars on Jamie's ribs and his "left hurdie"? We all know he didn't have an affair with her (of course not!!!!), so how did she know?
Thanks for your answer! Marie

Karen Henry said...

Diana has responded to that question on Compuserve by saying that it's likely Allan saw the scar on Jamie's bum when they were bathing in the creek or something, and he told Malva about it. Remember the "Spring Thaw" chapter in ECHO, where the men were bathing naked in the creek? It might have been a situation like that.

Karen

kim said...

I have a question that, other than Diana, you seem to be the best person to ask....
In ABOSAA, on the bottom of p 938, in italics, Brianna says "But that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead." From Where/What/Who is she quoting here?
Thanks for helping!
kim

Karen Henry said...

Kim:

It's a quote from Christopher Marlowe.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080915053250AAG2dOZ

Karen

Kimberly said...

Hello!

I am re-reading "Outlander" and got to the part last night where Claire tells Jamie where she's really from and how old she is. I seem to remember reading earlier in the book that she was twenty seven. She says something about her "twenty seven years," or something to that effect. Did she not say it to Jamie?

Thanks for your help!
Kimberly

Josette said...

hi. I'm not sure how often you check these but, do you know why Gerald Forbes is referenced as Neil Forbes in Echo? It makes me crazy every time I re-read it,

Bridget said...

Sorry this might duplicate...I am terrible with these online Q&A's. Anyway, I love your blog and I love these books. So excited about the upcoming series. I am just now on the fourth book (Drums of Autumn) and have some questions? First, where is the money that Clair left the future with? She said she had 2 gold coins and I believe she said one of them would be about 6 months worth of wages or more? Also, why doesn't Clair tell Jamie all about Loghaire sending her to see Gaellis and ultimately being thrown in jail and almost burned at the stake? Also, is it ever told why Gaellis wants to change the past other than she is a Jocobite and for the Stuarts? Seems to me that she would understand that the monarchy in modern times have no power and serve a just a figure head? There must be more to this character. Also, is that the skull that Clair holds in Dr. Abernathy's office in the future when she tells Joe she is leaving? Thanks so much. Would love a reply because I am going mad with curiosity.

Anonymous said...

In Book 1, when they first arrive with Claire, why did Claire call him Jamie McTavish? I cannot find an earlier reference in the book.

Paul Andrews said...

Thanks for this blog. For someone just starting the series it helps explain so much. I love that Diana included Comte St. Germain in Dragonfly in Amber. I researched the real Count Saint Germain for several years and published a historical novel, "The Man Who Would Not Die," on his many colourful adventures. More at my website if interested http://paulwandrews.wordpress.com.

Susan H. said...

Love your blog -- thank you for all your work on it. At the end of Ch. 37 of The Scottish Prisoner, when Jamie sees the old gods as he's burying Quinn, the tall Druid king is wearing what sounds like a tartan, and Jamie notes that in the light, it almost seems pink (like Fraser red?). Earlier in the book, Jamie mused that perhaps the Druid king had been a time traveler through the stones. I have to think there is some significance to this, but haven't a clue.

Denise Colbert said...

Hi,

Loving all the DG forums to get my Outlander fix in between marathon reading sessions, but I've noticed that DG and many others (including your good self) use a lot. I'm usually able to figure out stuff like this, but aside from a few weak ideas I'm drawing a blank. What does it mean? Please put me out of my misery!

Leigh Duncan said...

Hi I have a question about a line Jamie sad in Voyager. In chapter 54 The Impetuous Pirate Jamie tells Claire "What I wouldna give to have ye tied facedown over a gun, and wi' a rope's end in my hand." What does that mean? Thank you very much for the gift of your time.

Jill + Sada said...

What I want to know is how many characters know that Claire & her family members are time travelers, and who they are. The list seems to be getting long, & I get confused trying to remember who knows & who doesn't. Hope you can help me out - great blog, thanks!

Allie McGrath said...

Thanks for your blog! I have a question…was Faith Fraser conceived in Scotland or in France at the monastery as Jamie healed?

Paula Middleton said...

At the end of ABOSAA why does Brianna not know who Jeremiaj Alexander Ian Fraser Mackenzie is? When Roger shows her the wooden crate with that name carved on top she says "Who is that?"

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how Claire was able to give Ian penicillin for his encounter with Geillis Duncan workout Ian questioning her. He doesn't find out til much later that she is a time traveler, yet Claire specifically remarks that she had a dose left that she brought from the 1960's when she realized he may well have been exposed to syphilis.

Aubyn said...

What a great thread! So many questions answered. Something I'm curious about: in The Fiery Cross, Robert Springer aka Otter Tooth's journal seems to indicate that he traveled to the 18th C via the circle of stones that Rodger finds when he's trying to escape from the Indians taking him to the Mohawk. I don't remember how exactly this is indicated, I believe he references the same geological features described when Rodger finds it or maybe the carvings in the rock. Anyway, later on in ABOSAA when Donner describes the night he and Springer and the rest of the group went through the stones, he says it was on Okrakoke, a coastal island in North Carolina, far to the southeast of the circle Rodger finds. Is this an oversight on the part of the author or am I missing something here? Like the pirate in the joke says, "It's driving me nuts!"

Aubyn said...

The way I interpret that is that Ian is probably too in awe of Claire and her ways as a healer to question anything she does at this point. Everything she does is strange, so why should sticking a needle in his bum be thought any stranger? Also, he probably doesn't know a great deal about normal medical practice of his own time, being young and from an isolated estate. Plus, he is a bit traumatized at the time. That's my take on it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Can you explain how BJRadall is an English soldier and Frank Randall's Scottish ancestor?

Miz Mouse said...

He's not a Scottish soldier. He's an Englishman who was assigned to the Highlands as his duty. That's whrre he's stationed.

Kathy said...

Hello everyone...I'm re-watching the series. In an early episode, the beautiful song by the castle's musician is translated by Jaime for Claire. It is exactly what Claire has just experienced, traveling through time. Can someone explain this for me. Thnaks.

Aubyn said...

Hi Kathy. Good question. the way they shot it in the series, it seems like a pretty big leap. Here's my take on it.

There are plenty of Celtic folk tales that were often told through song in which people, usually women but sometimes men, would step into a "faerie circle" or accidentally fall asleep atop a "faerie hill" and be taken away or put into a long and deep sleep by the faeries. Think Rip Van Winkle (although that's not strictly Celtic). This sleep or absence would often last for two hundred years in these stories, and that's part of the inspiration for the plot of the outlander books. The time travel part at least. The idea is that maybe whomever came up with these legends in the past maybe witnessed some event of disappearance or reappearance that they couldn't explain and so concluded faeries must somehow be involved (The 'little people's were often blamed for mischief in Celtic cultures). But Gabaldon asks,"what if it was actually people falling unintentionally through time?" And uses this idea to flesh out the Outlander universe and root it more firmly to our own. When Claire hears the translation of the song, she recognizes the red flags- the mysterious hill that people usually avoid because of bad juju, the 200 years part and of course the going to sleep (aka knocked out by a crazy time portal in a rock)and waking up in a strange land (or time) and thinks (I'm paraphrasing here) "Wow, that sounds a lot like what happened to me. this could have happened before, possibly many times. This could have been going on since time immemorial." And most importantly, sometimes the people in the stories return. Maybe there's a way for Claire to get back too.

It's explained more thoroughly in the books. I highly recommend you read them. I know it seems super intimidating (they're incredibly long. All of them.) but if so I also highly recommend the audiobooks. You can "read" while you're doing almost anything. ;)

Aubyn said...

So, to clarify, he's not specifically singing about time travel, she's just interpreting it that way. At least that's how it's layed out in the book. I don't remember if the words to the song in the show are different from the lyrics in the book.

Susan Presba-Morris said...

I was wondering if anyone can help me remember exactly when Claire can travel through the stones?

Whitney said...

They never celebrate holidays (Christmas, Easter,) or did I not pick up on it?

Anna said...

I'm late to outlander. Watched both seasons and now reading the books. Just finished when Jamie cane home bitten from the brothel and I just cannot get past it! I am sure it's been discussed here but I can't find where. Help wrapping my brain around it! So I can move on and keep reading lol

Unknown said...

Hi, I'm puzzled... How can the ghost in the first episode be Jaimie if he can't time travel?