Diana Gabaldon: 2010 National Book Festival


Uploaded by LibraryOfCongress on 08.10.2010

Transcript:
>> From the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
[ Applause ]
>> Diane, come on up.

She is not only your favorite author,
but she is the favorite author of the National Book Festival.
[applause] In the straw vote that the Library of Congress ran,
Diana received the most votes
of all the authors appearing today, close to 400,000.
[applause] So, hearty congratulations and hurray for her.
Now I'm supposed to introduce her,
but rather than be bum rushed off the stage telling you things you
already know, I decided to take another tack,
and I went to Diana's website and saw
that she had a whole page devoted to "Answers
to the Questions that Everybody Asks Me."
So I thought what we'd really like to know are answers to the questions
that nobody asks her, so I wrote to her ahead of time
and asked her a few of those questions, and she gamely
and graciously and hilariously, at times,
wrote back the answers to these questions.
And I'm just going to share a few of them with you,
and maybe they'll prompt some of your own,
which Diana will take questions at the end.
I asked her what her favorite word is,
one that she loves to see and say and use.
Her answer: absquatulate, which I looked up and found to mean,
"to leave, especially in a hurry or under suspicious circumstances,
and sometimes taking along something or someone."
Another question I asked: When did you first see a real man in a kilt?
Answer: February 1989 at a Highlands Games in Phoenix, Arizona.
Now, we notice it must have been a fetching image
because it was just two years later that the first book
in the Outlander series came out full of kilted Scotchmen.
Another question I asked: Have your children read your books?
Answer: No, none of my kids reads my books, as my eldest daughter said
to me, "I don't want to read sex scenes written by my mother."

[laughter] And the last one I'll share with you:
Which of your characters would you most like to play
in a movie version of one of your books?
Answer: Black Jack Randall.
So please join me in welcoming this accidental novelist,
this great imaginer, this character all her own.
[ Applause ]
>> Well, thank you very much.
It's awfully nice to see so many of you here today.
You know, I have hopes of eventually appearing before an audience
in Washington, D.C. not looking like a drowned rat,
but today is not the day.
I've done the Book Festival three times before.
The first time it rained all day;
the second time it was 96 degrees outside,
and while today it's very nice outside, it's beautiful,
I spent the last half hour in the book tent signing books,
and with all the body heat in there, it's pretty darn humid,
so you'll have to pardon the dripping.
It'll slow down after a while.
Anyway, many thanks.
It's, as you mentioned, that I was an accidental novelist.
That's not quite right.
I've known since the age of 8 that I was meant to be a novelist,
but I came from a very conservative family background.
My father was fond of saying to me, "Well, you're such a poor judge
of character you're bound to marry some bum,
so be sure you get a good education so you can support your children."
Well, with this going on at home, I thought perhaps I wouldn't announce
that I wanted to write novels, it being kind of an iffy profession,
and instead I went into science and I got assorted degrees,
including a Ph.D. My dissertation was "Nest Site Selection
in the Pinyon Jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus,
or as my husband says, "Why birds build nest
where they do, and who cares anyway?"

[laughter] But I did still want to write novels,
and when I turned 35 I said to myself, well you know,
Mozart was dead at 36, now you'd better get a move on here.
And so I said fine, I'm going to write a novel.
Okay, up to this point I had written all kinds of things,
include Walt Disney comic books, which will come
into the conversation a little later, and, you know,
annual reports, and grant proposals and textbooks
and Popular Science articles, and all the stuff that you write
as an academic -- I was a university professor --
and no one had ever shown me how to write any of this.
I just tried it and if it didn't look quite right,
I poked it until it did.
And I said, well, okay, fine, you've been reading novels
for 30 odd years, surely if you write one you will recognize it.
I said, okay, I'm going a write a novel for practice,
and only two rules: I will keep doing it
until it's finished no matter bad I think it is,
because how else will I learn,
and the second rule is I will do the absolute best that I can
with the writing every day, because otherwise how will I know
if I'm any good, and how will I get any better?
So those were my only rules.
So the next question, of course, was what I am going to write, and,
because I read everything and lots of it, so I thought about that
and I said well, I may be read more mysteries than anything else,
perhaps I should write a mystery.
And I said, no, mysteries have plots, I'm not sure I can do that.
And I said, what's the easiest possible thing
to write for practice.
And after a bit of thought I decided that would be a historical novel.
I was a university professor, I knew my way around a library.
It seemed easier to look things up than to make them up,
and if I turned out to have no imagination, I could steal things
from the historical record, which actually works pretty well.
So I said, fine, a historical novel.
Well, where should I set this?
Because I have no background in history, just the six hours
of Western Civilization they make you take as an undergraduate,
and so I would have to look up everything, anyway.
So I was looking for a convenient time and place to set this novel,
and I happened to see a really old rerun of Dr.
Who on public television.
Yes, for those who are not laughing, Dr. Who is a really old,
really long running science fiction fantasy show.
The doctor of the title is a time lord from the Planet Gallifrey
who travels through space and time having adventures,
and along the way he picks up companions
from different periods over its history.
And in this very old show, which has to have been filmed 50 years ago,
it was filmed in the UK,
he had picked up a young Scotsman from 1745.
And this was a 17-, 18-year-old young man who appeared in his kilt,
and I said, well, that's kind of fetching.
And I said, well, you know, hum.
I found myself still thinking about this the next day in church,
and I said to myself [laughter] you want to write a book,
it doesn't really matter where you set it.
The important thing is to pick a point and start in.
And so I said fine, Scotland, eighteenth century.
So that's where I began, knowing nothing about Scotland
or the eighteenth century, having no plot, no outline, and no characters.
Just the rather vague images conjured up by the notion of a man
in a kilt, which is, of course, a very powerful and compelling image.

[laughter] In fact, my next to last book, "A Breath of Snow and Ashes,"
was a very lucky book for me.
It opened at number one on the bestseller lists
of several countries, and it also won me several awards,
including the Corine International Prize for Fiction,
which was totally cool, and I got to go to Germany to accept this.
Well, while I was there, the German publisher had me interviewed
by absolutely everyone in the German press, one after another,
every half hour for a week, and toward the end
of this process I was talking to a nice gentleman from one
of their literary journals, and he said "Oh,
I've read your entire works, they're just marvelous, you know,
your narrative drive is tremendous, your imagery is just transcendental,
your characters are so three dimensional."
I'm thinking yes, yes, go on.
And instead he said, "There's just this one thing I wonder,
could you explain to me what is the appeal of a man in a kilt?"

Well, I was really tired or I might not have said it, but I just looked
at him for a minute and I said, "Well, I suppose it's the idea
that you could be up against a wall with him in a minute."
[ Laughter ]
Yeah. The last time I told this story in Denver a couple
of nights ago there was a gentleman sitting in the front row in a kilt,
and I had said, you're going to regret this.
But, as I say, a very powerful and compelling image.
So anyway, that's where I began and that's where Outlander started.
So to date there are a number of Outlander novels out.
No one is quite sure what to call them.
Nobody knows quite what it is I write except that it's really big
and I've seen them sold successfully so far as fiction, literature,
historical fiction, historical nonfiction --
this is true, Foyles Bookstore in London had them
in the history section -- and when I mentioned this to the clerk,
he said, oh, well that would be Miss Kitty Foyle who,
at the time, was about 92.
He said, she has complete sway over her books or shelf,
and evidently she believes in time travel, so -- [laughter].
So I was saying, historical fiction, historical nonfiction,
science fiction, fantasy, mystery romance, gay and lesbian fiction,
military history, and horror.

No, really, the same year with that same book I was nominated
for a Quill Award, and for reasons known only to the people
who nominate things, they put the book in the science fiction,
fantasy, and horror category where I was
up against George R.R. Martin and Stephen King.
I was thinking, oh, great, you know.
But they had a lovely awards ceremony which was televised
from the Natural History Museum in New York.
So, you know, I dressed up and was wearing one of my best outfits
with the suede boots with the four-inch heels and all that,
which I can stand up in for about three hours,
and that's about how long they kept us
out in the foyer while they did all the TV setup.
So by the time we got inside and sat down at the tables, I, you know,
unzipped my boots and took them off under the cover of the tablecloth,
and so I was enjoying myself through the program.
Now science fiction, fantasy, and horror was the last thing
on the program, and as the time got shorter, I was thinking,
well now should I put my boots back on.
And then I'd look at George, who was on the other side of the table.
I don't know if you've ever seen George R.R. Martin,
he looks like an enraged Dewok [phonetic] but --
[laughter] he's really a nice man,
and he was wearing a purple brocade vest --
he's about three feet across, and I was thinking, hum,
surely the TV cameras won't pass that up.
And there was Stephen King on the other side and I was thinking, nah,
and so sure enough, I won and was obliged to scamper
up on stage in my bare feet.
I could just about see over the podium, and I said, well,
now you all know the terrible truth, I'm short.
But, anyway, I have a hard time describing what it is that I write,
but I'm glad that so many have you seem to like to read it.
As I said, they tend to be big,
that's because I wrote the first book for practice.
I didn't intend to ever show it to anyone, let alone try to publish it,
and so I didn't pay any attention to what was marketable or commercial
or whatever, I just put in anything I liked.
Now it was a perfectly straightforward historical novel
up to about the third day.
I had gone to the library to do the research, or to get started on it.
And I said, well, the only thing I know about writing a novel is
that it should have conflict, so I'm looking for conflict in Scotland
in the eighteenth century.
Well you don't do that for very along before you run right
into bonnie Prince Charlie, and I said, yeah, that looks like a lot
of conflict, we'll do that.
I said, now, I must have a lot of Scotsmen, of course,
because of the kilt factor, that I think it would be a good idea
if I had a female character to play off these guys
and will have sexual tension, that's conflict, that's good.
And I said, now, essentially,
putting aside the political complexity, we have English
versus Scots, so if I make her an Englishwoman we will have lots
of conflict.
So, the third day of writing I introduced this Englishwoman,
no idea who she was, how she got into the story
or what she was doing there, but I loosed her into a cottage full
of Scotsmen to see what she'd do.
Well, she walked in, they're all pressed around the hearth muttering
to each other, and they all turned around
and stared when she walked in.
And I was thinking why, does she look funny, what's going on here.
Anyway, one of them slowly drew himself up and he said,
"My name is Dougal MacKenzie and who might you be?"
And without my stopping to think, I just typed,
"My name is Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp and who the hell are you?"
I said well, you don't sound at all like an eighteenth century person.
So I fought with her for several pages trying to beat her into shape
and make her speak like an eighteenth century woman,
but she wasn't having any of this;
she just kept making smart ass modern remarks
about everything she saw, and she also took over
and started telling the story herself.
And so I said, well, you know, I'm not going to fight
with you all the way through this book.
I said, no one's ever going to see this,
it doesn't matter what bizarre thing I do.
Go ahead and be modern, I'll figure out how you got there later.
And so it's all her fault that there's time travel in these books.
But having made that decision, obviously anything went,
including the Loch Ness monster and a few other questionable items,
and so I arrived with this book which is completely indescribable
and has remained so for all these years.
My only beloved editor used to say, these have to be word-of-mouth books
because they're too weird to describe to anyone.
[laughter] Which is completely true.
This caused my a lot of trouble with book sellers because for lack
of any better idea, they started shoving it in the romance section
because there was an identifiable love story amongst everything else.
And I said, well, you know, this is fine, you know,
I like well-written romance, and so forth, but that's not what I write.
And anyway, it took me years to make them take it
out of the romance section because, as I said,
people who read romance will certainly go to the fiction shelves,
but the reverse is not true, you know,
and you will cut off the entire male half of my audience if you do that.
Men like the books and they see different things in them
than woman do, and I must say that I'm extremely gratified to see
so many gentlemen in the audience, because evidently the word
of mouth has been working.
Anyway, today I'm here with a quite different book.
It was, in fact, part of the Outlander series,
but for once it's short, you know,
to prove that I actually can do a short book.
Of course, it's short because it's a graphic novel,
and you know what they say
about a picture being worth a thousand words.
If that's actually true, then it is actually about the same size
as my others, it just fits in a smaller space.
I mentioned writing comic books for Walt Disney back in the 70s.
This happened because my mother taught me to read at the age
of three, in part, by reading me Walt Disney comics.
And I never stopped.
In my late 20s I was reading one, one day
and I said well this is pretty bad,
I bet I could do better than that myself.
And so I found the name and address of the editor who handled that line,
and I wrote him this very rude letter saying, "Dear sir,
I've been reading your comics for the last 25 years.
They've been getting worse and worse."
I said, "I don't know if I could do better myself, but I'd like to try."
Well, luckily I had hit Del Connell, a gentleman with a sense of humor
who wrote back and said, okay, try.
And he sent me a couple of pages of a sample script
so I could see how to lay one out.
I wrote him a story.
He didn't buy it, but he did something much more valuable.
He told me what was wrong with it.
I wrote my second story, which he did buy,
that was my first fiction sale ever,
and I bounced off the walls literally for days.
But I continued to write for him for about three years,
at the end of which, the Disney powers that be said,
well we've got 40 years of classic Carl Barks' strips in the files,
why are you buying new ones?
Why don't we just recycle those?
So they did, and that was the end of my comics career.
But, you know, I enjoyed the forum, I really liked it.
And so when graphic novels kind of began seep
into the mainstream a couple of years ago, I said to my agent, well,
you know, if anyone would ever like me
to write a graphic novel, I'd been thrilled.
And a month later along came Betsy Mitchell of Ballantine Books
who said, would you like to write a graphic novel, and I said well, yes,
I'd like that very much, Betsy.
And what she said to me, was, I want a new Jamie and Claire story,
you know, one that's never been seen before, but I want it to be set
within the parameters of Outlander.
And I said, well that's interesting; let me think about that for a bit.
And so I did.
Well, Outlander is called that, of course,
because of Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser, who is an Outlander
in every sense of the word.
You know, she's a fish out of water, out of time,
doesn't speak the language, knows nothing of the clans
that were surrounding her,
knows nothing of eighteenth century politics.
Consequently, there's a lot going on around her that she doesn't see,
doesn't understand, or is purposely kept ignorant of.
And I said, what if I told that story from the point of view
of someone who knew everything she doesn't know.
Okay. Now probably you've seen a graphic novel or a comic book,
whether you read them regularly or not.
At the top of the first page you'll see a very large square panel,
and this is what you call the setup panel.
This is where you introduce the main character or a main character
from the story in a situation that has something to do with the story.
Okay, on the front page of "The Exile," which is the new book,
you will see what looks like a big square of swirling blue,
and if you look closer you'll see it's a thrashing sea
and a louring sky, and a stark Scottish cliff at one side
with a little kilted figure at the top leaning on his sword.
Well, he's looking out to sea, and coming through the mist
and spray is a small sailing ship.
Well, this is Murtagh, Jamie Fraser's godfather, and he's waiting
for Jamie to come back from France.
So this story begins before Outlander begins,
and we will learn what sent Jamie back
from France and a few other things.
And the story is told largely from the point
of view of Murtagh and Jamie.
So we see, you know, all the things that Claire didn't see,
including what Murtagh thought of Claire when he first saw her,
and what he thought of her marrying Jamie and so forth.
But we will also, along the way, pick up
and solve a few little mysteries
that people has been asking me about over the year.
It's like what did Mrs. Fitzgibbons think of Claire's underwear,
and what happened to Claire's shoes.
Claire's shoes are sort of "Where's Waldo?"
of this book.
The answer to that question is in there,
but you have to look closely to find them.
Okay. So anyway, this is where "The Exile" came from.
Well, the next question, of course, is who's going to draw the pictures,
because it's not going to be me.
And I wrote the script, of course, I laid it out.
And the way you lay out a comic script, or the way I do it,
is to actually draw the boxes on the page for the different panels.
At the top I put a description of what I want to be going on in
that panel, and they include things like the focus and the placement
of characters and the expressions on their faces,
any particular objects that should be there.
It's really exquisite.
And under that I put the dialogue in script form.
Well, this then goes to an artist, and the artist,
of course is pretty critical here.
Well, I went back to New York and spent an afternoon with Betsy
and her merry band of graphic novelists going
through an entire roomful of samples of art from graphic novels
and comic books and they were saying we like this, and I was saying I
like that, and we, you know came to a meeting
on several criterion that we agreed on.
And they sent me, a week later, a pile of samples from 10 artists
who matched both of our criteria, and who were also available
for the two years it would take to draw this.
It took me six months to write the script, so,
in fact I was not taking time away from writing book 8.
I finished it before I finished "Echo and The Bone."
But it took the artist, Hoang Nguyen,
two years to finish the artwork, and you can see why.
If you look at it, I chose him for his sheer painterliness.
He does beautiful things with light and composition,
but he also has an exquisite touch with faces and with expressions.
Now, if you've seen graphic novels very much,
mostly the characters only have two expressions;
they're either completely deadpan, or they're going --
and I'm saying, well, no this won't do, you know,
scowls won't cut it here.
We need expressions to carry the emotion here,
and so that's why I chose Hoang, was that he could actually do that.
And he's done it, you know, just beautifully.
Now people say, well, you know, this is what I think Jamie looks like,
or that's not what I think Claire looks like,
but if that's what Diana thinks they look like, okay,
this is not what Diana thinks they look like.
This is as close as we could come as an approximation.
It is a graphic novel.
That means it is essentially cartoons,
though very sophisticated cartoons.
The art is not meant to be an accurate figuration of what Jamie
or Claire looks like, and, in fact, they look quite different from panel
to panel just as real people would if you took photographs
of them every 30 seconds.
I don't know if that's going to cause a problem or not,
but I better put it back.
The drawbacks of waving your hands when you talk.
Anyway, I think we're good now.
Yeah, so anyway, what we did was I explained
to Hoang what the characters looked like.
He did approximations of them.
I said, "No, more nose, curlier hair," you know.
I continued to say more nose,
curlier hair through the entire thing.
Hoang is a wonderful artist.
He's a Vietnamese American.
He came to the U.S. when he was nine years old.
In fact, I just saw him, met him for the first time this last week.
He came for the launch party so that we could talk to the audience
about both the art and the drawings, and he told me his dad worked
for the U.S. Embassy, and in fact, his family made it
out on that last day, so.
But anyway, he says he likes to draw on both sides of his heritage,
so to speak, from the Vietnamese and also from the more western milieu
in which he grew up, and you can see it in the delicacy and the elegance
of - excuse me - of what he does.
But, possibly coming from an Asian background and so forth,
all of his characters tended to have rather flat noses.
And so I kept saying, no, Jamie has a long pointy nose, you know,
and so we got the for the most part, but there are still places in there
where he looks a little flat to me.
Anyway, you know, nothing is absolutely perfect.
You're not seeing what I see when I see Jamie and Claire,
but you're seeing a reasonable approximation of them.
And as I mentioned at the end of the book,
if you could see inside my head, if you could see exactly what I see,
every single one of you would say, but they don't look like that.
[laughter] So, I don't think that it will disrupt your own mental images
of them, and I hope you'll enjoy the art as it is.
I should pause at this point and see if any have you have any questions
since we have about eight minutes remaining here.
Yes, I see someone waving back there.
>> Can you say - I don't know how to pronounce it - Sassenach?
>> Sassenach.
The question was, you know,
can I say this unpronounceable word that Jamie calls Claire.
It's pronounced Sassenach, and it means an Outlander
by specifically an English person.
Yeah. Um-hum.
Yeah, you're welcome.
Anything else?
Surely that can't be the only question.
>> How many more?
>> Oh, how many more?
Well, I don't actually know.
I don't plan the books out ahead of time.
I don't write with an outline and I don't write in a straight line.
I write where I can see things happening,
and then these little pieces kind of stick together
and eventually I get a shape.
All of my books have geometric shapes inside,
and once I've seen the shape, then the writing becomes much faster
because I can kind of see the pieces that are missing,
but it takes me 18 months to two years to get to that point.
And it does take me two to three years to write one of these books.
It usually is a little longer than that between books because there's
so much travel and promotion to be done.
So I say to people, you have a choice:
you can have the next book sooner, or you can look at me.
You're looking at me.
Yes, somebody back there.
>> What prompted you to choose Lord John
as a central character [inaudible]?
>> Oh, what led me to choose Lord John
as a spinoff character to write a series about?
Well, that was an accident.
Some years ago I was invited to submit a short story to a book
about short stories of historical crime, and I said,
well that's interesting, because I did originally want
to write a mystery and loved to do that,
and I said, sure, you know, why not.
But then I began to think.
I can't write a short story about Jamie and Claire
because of the way in which I work.
You know, if I wrote something that was significant enough of an event
to make a good short story,
then that would be kind of a rock in my way.
I'd have to take account of that circumstance when I worked
on my next book and I just didn't want to complicate things.
And so I said, well, but you know, there's Lord John.
I could write about him because he's a fascinating character.
He talks to me easily, and yet he's not constantly
in the main story; he drops in and out.
And obviously he's having an interesting life during those
periods when he's not on stage,
so why don't I write about one of those.
And so I did.
Well, it was a good story, but it was a British anthology
which meant it went out of print like that,
and people in the U.S. began saying, well we've heard about this story,
we love Lord John, where can we get this, and I said, oh.
I said, well I enjoyed writing that story.
What if I wrote another or two just this time, and inspiration allowed,
then we could, you know, collect them
and people could have them if they like Lord John.
So, I did.
I wrote a second Lord John story, and I mentioned it to my agents
as I was on my way out of the country for a book tour.
And I said, oh, I've written the second Lord John short story.
And they said, oh, good, how long's this one.
And I said, well, I knew you'd ask, so I looked.
It's about 85,000 words; I need maybe five more to finish it up.
They looked at each other and they looked at me, and said,
that's the size that normal books are.
[laughter] And evidently I had written a novel not realizing it,
and so they took it away and sold it to everyone, and everyone said, oh,
here's a new Gabaldon book and it's short.
They were thrilled.
And they said, can she do that again,
and my agents being good agents, said oh, I'm sure she could,
and they probably gave us a three-book contract
to write more Lord John books, so that's where he came from.
Yeah. I didn't actually do it on purpose, but,
you know, I enjoy him very much.
Yes.
>> I have one.
>> Oh, you have one here.
>> I question your process.
Do you get up every morning and go in a special place and write -
>> Oh, process.
>> -- write at night?
>> I write at night.
>> You do?
>> Yeah, no, my, well, let's see, let's put it this way.
When I began writing Outlander I had two full-time jobs,
I was a university professor, and I wrote almost full-time freelance
for the Computer Press, and I had three children under the age of six.
The youngest of those is over here on the grass, now 24.
So, anyway, it -- yeah, I wrote at night is basically the answer there.
But I'm normally a night owl, anyway,
so now that the kids are all grown and so forth,
and I don't have either of my two full-time jobs,
I normally go to work around midnight --
midnight to 4 a.m. is my main time.
But, you know my husband likes to go to bed fairly early, around 9:30
or 10, so usually -- and I'll tuck him in, and then I'll go lie
down on the couch with two Dachshunds and a book,
and if no one needs me -- these days they mostly don't --
I'll fall asleep, but I'll wake again naturally around midnight
and go to work, and then I go back to bed at four.
>> So basically that's your [inaudible].
>> That's my main time, yeah.
I will write during the day, as well,
but usually only an hour here and an hour there.
And I do research and other things during the day.
>> Thank you very much.
>> My pleasure, uh-huh, yes.
>> Three generations of my family are now hooked on your books.
>> Thank you.
[laughter]
>> And when they heard I was coming here today, the one question all
of them asked was, "When's the next Outlander book?"
>> Ah, uh-huh.
Well, "The Exile" is an Outlander book, but I know what they mean.
They want book 8, yes.
I was just thinking about the three-generation thing.
I was signing books in Chicago once and had a grandmother, mother,
and daughter who were all reading the books
and I was signing for them.
The grandmother was talking to me and she said, you know,
I was in the middle of Voyager when I turned to my granddaughter
and said, "I just had a terrible thought,
we're both lusting after the same man."
[ Laughter ]
Anyway, the rough answer to your question is,
with luck, in 2012, I think, yeah.
You will have a book next year I think, because the third book
under my Lord John contract, "Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner,"
I work on multiple things at once because it keeps me
from having writer's block,
and as the Lord John books are substantially shorter,
that's likely to be done first.
So my guess is that you'll get that next fall.
So you will have something to read.
Now, that's called "Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner"
and it is a two-person book.
It alternates in viewpoint between Jamie Fraser and Lord John,
so I think you'll enjoy that.
And then with luck, book 8 will be out the following year, we hope.
Okay, we have time for maybe one more question.
[inaudible] Oh, over here?
Who's he pointing at?
Oh, there you are.
Sorry.
>> Can you give us an update on the movie/TV series?
>> Oh, can I give you an update on movie -- really quick.
Yeah. Yes, the books are under contract, under an option contract.
Now that does not mean they're actually making movie,
it means that they want to make a movie and they're looking
for 60 million dollars in which to do it.
So, they have hired a scriptwriter, and I'm talking to them
in San Francisco next week, so with luck, I'll have some news for you
at that point, and if I do, I'll put it on my website.
The next question, which I can answer without hearing it,
is who would you cast to play Jamie Fraser?
[laughter] Okay, up to about a month ago I had no answer
to that, but now I do.
Okay, you've never heard of him, but this is a very nice young guy
from Edinburgh named Allan Scott-Douglas, a very fine actor.
He is six foot four, he does have red hair, and he is Scottish.
[applause] He's also 27, and I think he might actually remember what it's
like to be a virgin.
[laughter] Yes, do we have 30 seconds for another question?
No, we're done.
Yeah. Okay, well thank you so much, and I'll see you
at the signing later, thank you.

[ Applause ]
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