Nine years!

Nine years ago this week, I started reading OUTLANDER, and my life changed forever, in more ways than I can count.

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. 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>


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Karen. I just got the books this past Christmas. I couldn't wait for April 4th to find out what happened. I devoured the first 4 books in short time and have been reading The Fiery Cross in dribs and drabs. Promise to finish soon and move on though the series

Sara K. said...

I first picked up Voyager not long after it was published (I think 1994 -1996). I had no idea it was part of a series. I think the ship on the front cover (the original cover, that is) caught my attention. I read the book realizing quickly that I was missing a significant backstory. I was a teenager and this was before the time when you could google things or look them up on Amazon so I just read it anyway. It was years later (maybe 2002 or 2003) when I finally was handed Outlander and realized that it was the same series!

Michelle said...

I first heard of Outlander when my mother, reading a book review in The National Review magazine, commented that the reviewer mentioned the book Outlander in passing. She hadn't read Outlander, but a cousin of hers, who lived in North Carolina, had recommended it to her. Always looking for a good book, I looked it up on Amazon, saw it was a series, and ordered the paperbacks. This was a pretty blind purchase, but the book had great reviews and I knew if I like the first one I would want to read the rest. That was before the last three big book were published. And I have all the Lord Johns, novellas, and stories. All because of a passing mention in a review of an entirely different book.

Anonymous said...

My friends my mom gave me the first 4 books when I was 13! What was she thinking?! That was 1999 I think. And since then I have preordered every book and have even met Herself. Love your page Karen!

Peigi said...

In past interviews, they often say that DG has sold something like 24 million Outlander books. Do you know what the current count is?

Love your comments - some things are just meant to be!

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen , love your story about how you found the Outlander series , my story is a lot like yours , a friend recommended that it was perfect for me since I loved reading historic fiction , I read the book that day and haven't looked back since, I'm more of a fan of the book than the series , but I'll be an Outlander Fan for a long time to come ,

Susanlynn♥ said...

I first heard about Outlander years ago when I was on a site for fans of Highlander, the TV Series starring another goodlooking guy, Adrian Paul. Several people recommended the series , but I never looked for the books. When I saw that Outlander was going to be on Starz, I decided to watch. At the same time, one of my friends was reading the series. She gave the books to me after she finished them. I started reading the first book this summer, and I was lost after that. I read the books every spare moment that I had. I love the books and the TV show. I am now on MOBY, but I am trying to read slowly and savor the experience. I plan to reread DIA before season two begins.

CraftyJo said...

I found 4 of these books (the first four) at a 'garage sale' type of thing and, as I am a great believer in re-cycling books I thought I'd give them a try. I've re-read them many times now and never tire of doing so. I have, of course, bought the others in the series since then and replaced the tatty old copy of Cross-Stitch with a nice new one too. I've introduced several people to these books too, pity I can't share the TV series with them as we still don't have it on any mainstream channel here in the UK....where it's filmed!!!

Anonymous said...

I have just recently discovered the books. I was trying out audible for the first time and Outlander just happened to pop up. I knew nothing about the book series or the TV show. Needless to say I have become completely obsessed.

sharon said...

I had spotted a title on the library shelf that caught my eye several times (Dragonfly in Amber). This was about 2003-4, but when I'd pull it out I discovered it was the second book in a series. It was spring of 2005 when I finally stumbled across the first book and I think i got as far as Frank seeing a highlander looking up into their window before I knew I was hooked. I spent about 6 months lost in the books, resenting every minute I had to return to the 21st Century and then had to go through the book version of Droughtlander till 6-7 & 8 finally came out. i remember starting to moan about what was I going to read when I finished the series (about half way through Voyager), because I knew nothing would ever measure up and nothing has. So now we are in another droughtlander, both on paper and on film. Will it never end!!!!

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