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Diana Gabaldon: 2010 National Book Festival

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>>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 ]>>This has been a presentation
of the Library of Congress. Visit us at LOC.gov.

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