|Born||January 11, 1952|
Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.
|Genre||Speculative fiction, historical fiction, historical romance, historical mystery, historical fantasy, scientific literature|
|Children||3 (including Sam Sykes)|
|Parents||Tony Gabaldon (father)|
Diana J. Gabaldon (/ˈɡæbəldoʊn/; born January 11, 1952) is an American author, known for the Outlander series of novels. Her books merge multiple genres, featuring elements of historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure and science fiction/fantasy. A television adaptation of the Outlander novels premiered on Starz in 2014.
Gabaldon was born on January 11, 1952, in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, the daughter of Jacqueline Sykes and Tony Gabaldon (1931–1998), an Arizona state senator from Flagstaff for sixteen years and later a supervisor of Coconino County. Her father was of Mexican ancestry, and her mother was of English descent.
Gabaldon grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona. She earned a bachelor of science in zoology from Northern Arizona University, 1970–1973; a master of science in marine biology from the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1973–1975; and a PhD in behavioral ecology from Northern Arizona University, 1975–1978.
Gabaldon was the founding editor of Science Software Quarterly in 1984 while employed at the Center for Environmental Studies at Arizona State University. During the mid-1980s, Gabaldon wrote software reviews and technical articles for computer publications, as well as popular-science articles and Disney comics. She was a professor with an expertise in scientific computation at ASU for 12 years before leaving to write full-time.
In 1988, Gabaldon decided to write a novel for "practice, just to learn how", and with no intention to show it to anyone. As a research professor, she decided that a historical novel would be easiest to research and write, but she had no background in history and initially no particular time period in mind. Gabaldon happened to see a rerun episode of the Doctor Who science fiction TV series titled "The War Games". One of the Doctor's companions was a Scot from around 1745, a young man about 17 years old named Jamie McCrimmon, who provided the initial inspiration for her main male character, James Fraser, and for her novel's mid-18th century Scotland setting. Gabaldon decided to have "an Englishwoman to play-off all these kilted Scotsmen", but her female character "took over the story and began telling it herself, making smart-ass modern remarks about everything."
To explain the character's modern behavior and attitudes, Gabaldon chose to use time travel. Writing the novel at a time "when the World Wide Web didn't exist", she did her research "the old-fashioned way, by herself, through books." Later, Gabaldon posted a short excerpt of her novel on the CompuServe Literary Forum, where author John E. Stith introduced her to literary agent Perry Knowlton. Knowlton represented her based on an unfinished first novel, tentatively titled Cross Stitch. Her first book deal was for a trilogy, the first novel plus two then-unwritten sequels. Her U.S. publishers changed the first book's title to Outlander, but the title remained unchanged in the U.K. According to Gabaldon, her British publishers liked the title Cross Stitch, a play on "a stitch in time"; however, the American publisher said it "sounded too much like embroidery" and wanted a more "adventurous" title. When her second book was finished, Gabaldon resigned her faculty position at Arizona State University to become a full-time author.
As of 2021[update], the Outlander series comprises nine published novels. The ninth installment, Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone, was published on November 23, 2021. Gabaldon also published The Exile (An Outlander Graphic Novel) in 2010. The Lord John series is a spin-off from the Outlander books, centering on a secondary character from the original series. Gabaldon announced in September 2021 that she is working on the tenth Outlander series book which is possibly the last.
Gabaldon lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband Doug Watkins, with whom she has three adult children. Her son, Sam Sykes, is also a fantasy writer.
Gabaldon is a Roman Catholic.
The Outlander series focuses on 20th-century nurse Claire Randall, who time travels to 18th-century Scotland and finds adventure and romance with the dashing James Fraser. Set in Scotland, France, the West Indies, England and North America, the novels merge multiple genres, featuring elements of historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure and science fiction/fantasy.
The Lord John series is a sequence of novels and shorter works that center on Lord John Grey, a recurring secondary character in Gabaldon's Outlander series. The spin-off series currently consists of five novellas and three novels, which all take place between 1756 and 1761, during the events of Gabaldon's Voyager. They can be generally categorized as historical mysteries, and the three novels are shorter and focus on fewer plot threads than the main Outlander books.
Professor Gabaldon's research works included:
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The Outlander series has been released in unabridged (read by Davina Porter) and abridged (read by Geraldine James) audiobooks. Several of the Lord John books have been released in audiobook form, read by Jeff Woodman.
A television adaptation of the Outlander series premiered on Starz in the US on August 9, 2014. Gabaldon made a cameo appearance as Iona MacTavish in the August 2014 episode "The Gathering". Gabaldon is a paid consultant for the show, and wrote the screenplay for the 2016 season 2 episode "Vengeance Is Mine".
In 2010 Gabaldon adapted the first third of Outlander into The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel, illustrated by Hoang Nguyen. The same year, a 14-song cycle based on Outlander was released under the title Outlander: The Musical.
Gabaldon's Outlander won the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Romance of 1991. A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005) debuted at #1 on The New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List and won the Quill Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror. In 2007, The Montreal Gazette noted that Gabaldon's books "are in demand in 24 countries in 19 languages", and that the author "continues to churn out one bestseller after another." By 2012 her novels had been published in 27 countries and 24 languages.
Lord John and the Private Matter reached No. 8 on The New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List in 2003. In 2007, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade debuted at #1, and the Hand of Devils collection reached No. 24 on The New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List. The Scottish Prisoner debuted at #6 on The New York Times E-Book Fiction Best-Seller List in 2011, and the novella A Plague of Zombies was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for the “Best Short Mystery Story” the same year. Reviewing the Lord John series, Publishers Weekly said that "Gabaldon's prose is crisply elegant" and that she "brings an effusive joy to her fiction that proves infectious even for readers unfamiliar with her work or the period."
My name is pronounced GAB-uhl-dohn (long o).
...I try to avoid describing myself by any sort of label, so to speak. I'm a Roman Catholic and a Libertarian, but that's as far as I'd go in description
For those who like to lose themselves in long stories, the Brandon Sanderson story, the Diana Gabaldon story, the Caroline Spector story, and my Princess and Queen are novellas.