I met Diana Gabaldon and I did not squee…

… or clutch her hand and ask her to come home with me, or faint, or completely embarrass myself in a myriad  of other ways…

Currently Diana is on a book tour promoting the recent release of the 7th (of at least 8, I think) novel in her Outlander series, Echo in The Bone. 4 years ago when A Breath of Snow and Ashes came out, I had to miss her visit because the high school show I was directing was in its final dress rehearsal and well, it’s sorta important for the director to be there for that. So when I saw she would be here again, I begged the husband to play superDad  while I made the hour+ drive to meet one of my literary idols.

It was a very nice evening – I met some wonderful women (when you’re in a room of people all as passionate about a book as you are, you make friends very quickly). Before Diana came out, a group of Scottish dancers  performed a variety of numbers.

scottish dancers

Sorry for the fuzzy pics, but I have a wimpy point-and-shoot, and didn’t want to use the flash, so I jacked up the ISO and hoped for the best.

I loved the more feminine costumes a few of them wore for some of the dances.

scottish dancer

My favorite was the Sword dance – soldiers would perform this dance before battle as a way to predict the outcome (touch a sword or knock it out of place, and things could go bad…talk about pressure!).

sword dance

Of course, all this Scottish dancing required some music,  and most of it was provided by this fine gentleman.

piper at gabaldon reading

Then came the part we were all waiting for, Diana herself! She was wonderfully warm and relaxed as she chatted with the audience, describing how she became a novelist and sharing various stories concerning the books and her characters.

diana talk

She also performed a reading from EITB, the passage she chose made for many giggles from the audience. If you read the book, the part she read involves Jamie and Claire, and a discussion they have involving grey hair and being squidgy.

diana reading excerpt

Then she asked for questions from the audience, and there were many of the usual: when will there be a movie (who knows), when is the graphic novel coming out (fall of next year, she thinks), etc. My question focused on whether she ever found herself working events from her own daily life into her novels and if so, could she provide an example? She said it doesn’t happen too often, but a few she could remember involving direct quotes both came from her husband: one about how bad he smelled and the other while teaching a youngster how to pee standing up. It was an entertaining answer.

While waiting my turn in line for the book signing, I do what I always do these days while waiting for something – I took out Miss Scarlett and began to read.

Did I mention I was in a room full of people who LOVED books? The questions started coming fast and furious…most of them starting with, “Is that a Kindle?” By the end of the night I had several people planning to buy one…one woman even texted her husband demanding he go out and buy it for her 20th anniversary present. As a test driver, I believe I have more than earned the discount I got on my Sony Reader.

Finally, the highlight of the night – I got to walk up to Diana and have 10 seconds with her.

mel and diana edit

She was very gracious, and smiled for pictures and signed books for the 200+ people in line.  Yet she still took a moment to talk to me and wish me all the best on my writing journey.

diana's autograph 2

Early in her talk, she mentioned she was 35 years old when she decided that if she wanted to write a book, she better get to it. That was so encouraging to me, to know that I can do this, I’m not too old or too late or too anything. I just need to start writing, and more importantly – to keep writing.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year, and if I get frustrated and feel like I just don’t have the time, I’ll remember those words…Keep Writing!

And I will.

And who knows what can happen then.

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