Dinna Fash, There’s the Two of Them Now…

Photo: Aurora Corvillo Diez

Photo: Aurora Corvillo Diez

We waited (some of us more patiently than others) for what seemed like forever on the announcement of who would be cast as Claire.

Sam’s casting was announced July 9th, and knowing that production was supposed to begin mid-September, we expected news of our leading lady to come ‘any day now.’ After all, they had to rehearse, right?

The rest of July passed with no other casting announcements. August gave us Frank/Black Jack Randall, Angus Mhor & Mrs Fitz, but still no Claire.

August 29th, Sam taunted us with these tweets:

I know right? What a tease! It turned out to be:

September 5th produced Colum & Dougal, Sept 10th gave us Murtagh…

Then, on September 11th our patience was rewarded.

Her name is Catriona Balfe (pronounced Katreena Balf).  She’s a former Victoria Secret model, well-rounded actress probably best known for her roles in Super 8, Now You See Me, and the not yet released Escape Plan (with Arnold Scwarzzenager & Sylvester Stallone).

Here’s a brief clip of her speaking in an interview:

Don’t you think she even sounds like Claire should sound? She is irish and, get this—knows Gaelic:

I just LOVE that about her!

So- she looks like Claire, can hold her own with the boys on set, but do she & Sam have chemistry?  Here’s what Herself had to say about that:

“Hard to believe lightning can strike twice, but it surely did.  The moment Caitriona Balfe came on screen, I sat up straight and said, ‘There she is!’  She and Sam Heughan absolutely lit up the screen with fireworks.” ~ Diana Gabaldon

And, she later elaborated on Compuserve:

Hm.  Well, I can tell you that they’d never met or read together before (because Sam told me that), and I can tell you what the scenes were, I think. (Aside from anything else,… some of the audition scene scripts had apparently leaked, because a number of the self-taped auditions I saw on VIMEO were using them.)

Anything else I know was told me by the production or PR people and I can’t talk about those things unless I ask them specifically if it’s OK to mention thus-and-so.   (Not that there’s anything at all mysterious or weird; it’s just that some of the corporate entities involved are secretive by habit, and hey–it’s their show.)

There are two audition scenes, two takes of each, each about five minutes long.   The first one is the conversation between Jamie and Claire right after they’ve had sex for the first time, where she asks him, “Was it like you expected it to be?”, he tells her about horses and snakes , and it ends with “Do you want to do it again?”  “Would ye mind verra much?” and “No.  I wouldn’t mind at all.”  It starts with them fairly far apart, sitting facing each other, and they get closer and closer during the conversation, so with “I wouldn’t mind at all,” they’re kissing.

The second one is the big fight they have along the road, after Jamie, Dougal and the other men rescue Claire from Fort William.   That’s the one that ends with, “You’re tearing my guts out, Claire,” and then “Forgiven.”   That’s the one that had fireworks.  ~ Diana Gabaldon

I simply can not WAIT to see them together! For the time being, the closest we’re going to get is this selfie they took just the other day:

Love them!

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OutlanderFan.com’s Interview with ‘Herself,’ Diana Gabaldon…

Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series, books 1-7

First, I have to say a ginormous THANK YOU to Diana for graciously taking the time to do this interview; not only was she in the midst of writing MOBY (Written in My Own Heart’s Blood/Book 8), she was also gearing up for her daughter’s wedding in Scotland… I found her to be friendly, funny, and generous in her responses, for which I’m verra appreciative.

 As an Outlander fan, I’m curious about what goes on in Herself’s head when she writes/goes about her daily life. I want to know: 

  • Is the connection between Jamie & Claire a reflection of  Diana’s own sense of self?
  • What is she like to be around while she’s writing?
  • Is there a particular book/author that affected her life as much as Outlander has ours? 
  • Is she ever reluctant to turn over her stories/characters to us, the readers?
  • Does she think about Jamie as much as we do, lol?

I think you’ll find her responses enlightening as well as entertaining…

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{She answered this first question in true DG form, and left me laughing out loud…}

Not to sound cliché, but the dynamic between Jamie & Claire awakened my ‘inner-goddess;’ something about their connection  moved me to embrace my  femininity & literally view the ‘male species’ in a different light (much to my husband’s great delight, lol). Who/what awakened yours, or did you perhaps always have a sense of being comfortable in your own skin?                  

 Dear Jennifer- I just like men.

 

 {Don’t you just love that?  Her response just smacks of  Jamie or Lord John Grey, lol}

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{I did gain a lot of insight into her writing process from her response to this question…}

Whenever inspiration to write something hits me, it feels like I will literally burst; hopefully I’m at home when this happens- the kids can be running around screaming their heads off  like little barbarians in their underwear and it doesn’t matter, as long as I’m able to get it ‘out of my system’ and into the computer. However, if I’m not at home or near a computer it’s unfortunate for anyone around me as I’m rather edgy, and unable to focus on anything (hmmm, maybe I should get a tablet, lol). What are you like to be around when you write? Have you ever been inspired to write at an inoppurtune moment?

When I began to write my first novel, I had 1) two full-time jobs, 2) three children under the age of 6, and 3) a husband who would have begged me to wait until I had “more time” before trying to write a novel (out of fear that I would die of exhaustion), if I’d been incautious enough to tell him what I was doing, which I wasn’t. Consequently, I usually didn’t have a lot of uninterrupted time to write the novel. (I did have time to write; both my jobs involved tremendous amounts of writing, so I was often at a computer.)

The other thing, though, has to do with how I write. Which is to say—I don’t write with an outline, and I don’t write in a straight line. I don’t decide what I’m going to write and then sit down and work on it. What I need to begin working is what I call a “kernel”: a line of dialogue, a vivid image, an emotional ambiance…anything I can sense concretely enough to write a line or two describing it. Once I have that on paper, I stare at it, and I fiddle; put words in, take them out, add clauses, shuffles sentences—so the top of my mind is concerned with the craft of the thing, looking for maximum euphony and clarity and accuracy. That kind of frees up the stuff on the bottom to wander around kicking at the compost piles down there and asking random questions: What time of day is it? How is the light falling? Is it lighting someone’s face? Who just spoke? Are my hands cold? Etc., etc., etc. (as the King of Siam might remark).

The end result of all this is that I learned almost immediately to crystallize a kernel when I got one; to visualize whatever it was as a mental image attached to a few words. Then I could just carry that around in my head until I got to my computer. Once there, I could drop my kernel onscreen like one of those Japanese gel capsules that you drop in boiling water and get Godzilla made out of pink sponge.
 
I can write anywhere, under just about any conditions, except for someone talking directly to me and insisting that I pay attention to them. <g>
 
As to what I’m like when I’m writing, I’m told I make faces.
 
{So she started writing Outlander on the ‘down-low;’ how intimate! And I love that she doesn’t write with an outline or in a straight line. The characters and plots are complex and fragmented, and don’t really conform to a given outline; they deserve to emerge at their own pace, in their own way… In the end, they are all cohesive. That’s one of the things I love most about Outlander, how the characters & plots are so diverse; they branch out on so many different levels and yet stay rooted, like a tree… Their secrets are revealed to us in each piece of bark, each knot and leaf, and flow together hypnotically like a weeping willow swaying in the breeze…
Also I will never look at my kids’ gel capsule/animal sponges in the same light again, lol.}
 
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{I hope my husband takes no offense by this next question, lol!}
 

I always say that if I’d read Outlander 20 years ago I’d probably be living in Scotland/married to a Scotsman right now, lol; is there one book/author in particular that has ever moved you to consider a lifestyle change?

 

Sure. All the wonderful books I’ve read since childhood convinced me that I was meant to be a writer. <g>

 

{Alrighty then… next question!}
 
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{*Sniff, don’t hurt my baby!  Who else can relate to this next one?}
 

As crazy as this sounds, whenever I loan out any copy of the Outlander series, I feel both happy to be turning on someone new to the series and also a little protective, lol, like I’m trusting them with a family member. As the author/creator, do you ever have protective feelings of the characters? Is there ever even a tiny grain of reluctance to share or ‘entrust’ the characters/story with us ‘perfect strangers,’ lol?

No, I don’t have a reluctance to trust the story to readers. That’s what I wrote it for, after all. <g> That said, I do occasionally roll my eyes when obliged to listen to some of the less thoughtfully considered reactions people sometimes have to the story or characters.

Now, everyone brings his or her own background, perceptions, experience, and expectations to a book—that’s why each re-read of a complex book is different; you’re a different person each time you come to it. But that also means that some readers with a limited world-view, or who have had a very strong life experience of some kind, will read a book with a personal bias that, um, I don’t share. <cough>
 
The deeply moving, maternal letter of farewell that Claire writes to her daughter before departing into the past? Two letters from women upset that this tender physician put a P.S. on the letter saying, “P.S. Stand up straight and don’t get fat.” Distorted Body Image! How dare I cause young women to worry about their bodies?!? How could I do such a thing?
 
Having been through stuff like that before, I wrote back with a polite letter, asking whether perhaps each reader had had someone in her life with an eating disorder or other serious emotional issue connected with body image? Both of them admitted that, well, yes, in fact they did. I sympathized, but pointed out that no one else had had that reaction to the letter, and while their reaction was of course valid, it didn’t mean that it was universal, or correct.
 
Then there are the very young men and women who have grown up in a post-feminist world with not much exposure to history—not any history in particular, but just the notion that historical periods were different from the present, and not just different in terms of not having electric waffle-makers or tampons, but different in terms of how people thought, and the conditions and concerns that shaped that thought. You know…the concept of a frame of reference.
 
Lacking that concept, they tend to get seriously bent over events in the books that would <be> Unacceptable (that ultimate word of power <cough>) to Modern Enlightened Thought. Older readers almost never respond that way to the same events, but are inclined to find them moving, funny, or sexually arousing.
 
{How true, everyone brings their own frame of reference/life experience/perceptions to the story. I personally was not offended by the passage in Outlander where Jamie ‘disciplined’ Claire for almost getting them all (Jamie, Murtagh, Dougal, Rupert etc) killed upon her rescue from Captain Randall/Fort William. While such an act seems unreasonable in 2012,  I understand that in 1743, things were a little different; Jamie had his reasons which I won’t go into here, but relative to his upbringing in the Scottish Highlands in that time period, he did what he believed was necessary, for Claire’s own good.  However, I am aware of other Outlander fans who were indeed offended, and while I completely understand and sympathize why someone would be, I just personally don’t see the two as the same.  (At the risk of sounding callous, I did find it a little funny, and it led to one of my favorite scenes ever in the series, you can see it on the Need a Jamie Fix? page, it’s #2.)}
 
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{I’ve been dying to ask this last question, ever since I became a true Outlander fan.}

Throughout my daily life, I find (as do many of my fellow Outlander friends) that I often notice things/people that remind me of something from the books (a dragonfly, mortar and pestle, etc.) Is it like that for you? For example, if you were to see a tall redhead say, at the grocery store, would your mind go automatically to Jamie? Or is it maybe something you try to turn off when you’re about your daily life/with your family?

This is a corollary to the “where do you get your ideas?” question. <g> The answer being, “everywhere. All the time.” Stuff just washes through me all the time—sights, sounds, smells, thoughts, visions, conversations, figures of speech, you name it—and some of it crystallizes into kernels and some of it doesn’t.

The automatic sifting of Stuff naturally stops (or retreats so far into the subconscious that I don’t notice it) if I’m concentrating on something, but otherwise, it’s just there all the time, like breathing.
 
{So it’s not just us, she thinks about it all the time too! That’s reassuring, especially when you consider that MOBY is in the works :)}
 
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Well, this experience was truly a pleasure for me, and one that I’ll always be thankful for!  I want to thank Diana again for taking the time to share with us her insights into her creative process.  I had so much fun doing this, and I hope you enjoyed reading it! What do YOU guys think of  Herself’s insights? ♥

Book 9?

I’ve been feeling pretty anxious lately, desperate even, thinking about Book 8 / Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (MOBY).

I know the Outlander saga began 21 years ago in 1991, but for me it only began in October 2010;  I was spoiled by reading each consecutive book as fast as my little fingers could download them onto my Kindle. I devour MOBY Daily Lines from Diana Gabaldon’s facebook page like they’re Scooby snacks and I want more more more!

I have a lot of questions that need answers, like will Jamie & Claire overcome their immediate-vicinity-challenged relationship?  Will they grow old peacefully somewhere or die tragically-but-oh-so-romantically?  Will Jem & Roger be reunited with Brianna & Mandy?  Will Jenny & Claire rekindle their close friendship?  Will Jamie & Willie bond now that he knows Jamie’s his father?   What about Ian & Rachel?  I hope they get married, poor Ian deserves to be happy.  And don’t even get me started on ***MOBY SPOILER (skip ahead 2 lines if you don’t want to see)*** Roger turning up @ Lallybroch when Jamie was a little boy!

SO  many storylines to tie up and, silly me, I assumed that I’d get all of  the answers when MOBY is released sometime in 2013.  (I can just hear Herself  saying, “Ha!  That’s what you think…”)

Check this out:

  • February 1st 2012, DG said in her blog post ‘State of the Wicket’:

“I don’t know yet if WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD is the last book in this series!!”  (http://www.dianagabaldon.com/2012/02/the-state-of-the-wicket-february-2012/)

  • March 14th 2012, someone asked on Diana Gabaldon’s facebook page:

“I thought that I read on this page that MOBY would be the the last book of this series. Can anyone confirm or deny?”   Herself replied:  “I deny it categorically. <g> That is–I don’t yet _know_ for sure whether Book 8 (MOBY) is the last or not…but I’m beginning to think there might just be a Book 9.”  (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDianaGabaldon/posts/347439301965579)

I don’t even want to consider that Jamie & Claire might NOT manage to live together under the same roof (or at least sky?) yet.  And what would this mean for our other favorite characters’ predicaments?  I know what it would mean for me:  TORTURE.  But also:  ELATION.  As much as I want everything to be wrapped up neatly and Jamie & Claire to have their happy ending, I admit I would like a 9th book  a wee bit more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d probably still whine about how long Book 9 was taking, and how hard it is to wait, but it would be worth it.  Oh aye, Jamie Fraser is always, worth the wait, sigh.  I need a Jamie fix…

My Outlander-Appreciating Husband

My husband Craig SO gets my Outlander obsession.  Here’s my proof-  lookie what he got me for Christmas!

The wine glass charms are my favorite.  On the front are the American book releases and on the back are the UK versions!  That’s GENIUS, and duly appreciated by this Outlander fan.  Plus, they combine 2 of my favorite hobbies,  Outlander & vino  = )

The coffee mug is awesome, it just doesn’t get much better than starting off your day with a little Outlander java- am I right?

The T-shirt says it all:  “Jamie and Claire make Edward and Bella look like casual acquaintances.”  In your face twihards! (just kidding, I love Twilight too lol)

I hope Outlander fans everywhere had happy holidays too.  Happy New Year everyone!