Saturday was a busy day for Diana Gabaldon at SDCC! A little past 2:00 pm a roar went up from the crowd as bagpipes echoed through the convention hall. Diana, Ron, Maril, Cait, Sam, Sophie, Tobias, and Richard strode through the room, smiling, waving, and generally being gracious. Sadly, my video shows all the Outlander celebs except Diana! Being so petite, she was engulfed by several massive body guards! Nobody messes with Big Al, et al! Where were they going? Headed to an autograph session for 100 lucky fans!
Every fan, and there were thousands, passing through Starz booth #4029 drew a card for either swag (tees, totes, hip flask) or the autograph session. Many went through the booth multiple times trying for an autograph card. However, with only 100 tickets given throughout the entire SDCC, chances of drawing one were slim pickings.
Diana signed her name for all those lucky fans who drew an autograph ticket. Her extrinsic and intrinsic hand muscles must be mighty strong by now (Ha ha: Anatomy Lessons #22 and #23)! Cheerful, friendly, and patient throughout, she is the consummate professional. Go, Diana!
Inside the booth, you can glimpse her at the far end, seated next to Ron. She was the first signer greeted by fans as they entered the booth. Could it get any better? Well, I am sure passing down that table and greeting all the other celebs in the line was pretty awesome, too!
About 3:30 pm, the signing was over and the entire ensemble retreated from the hall, led by pipes and surrounded by body guards. I scurried toward the exit to get a good keek as they left. Although the rest of the party keeps pressing along, you can see Diana pause near the end to greet fans. Is it any wonder she is so beloved?
Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear! About 4:05 pm, Diana messaged me that she was free, could I meet? Hah! What do you think?
I ordered a Lyft via my app and the car was waiting for me as I exited the convention hall!
I waited in the lobby of Diana’s hotel and in a few short minutes, there she was, looking fresh as a summer’s breeze despite having been through a frenetic, noisy, demanding signing session. We found a quiet table for two, ordered drinks, and some bites and began what turned out to be a three hour convo! I asked if we could talk about whatever popped up and she was agreeable to free-form!
What did we discuss? Ah, well, topics were far-ranging and not in any particular order:
- buttocks (snort)
- episode 3.1
- Sam Sykes
- writing styles
- strong women
- diarrhea (understand, we are both trained scientists!!!)
- and fingernails 😁
In the interest of truthiness, we talked buttocks when we met for drinks in 2016. Turns out, buttocks are her fav body part to write about! Readers ken these anatomical parts are honored in many book passages. Thought you might find this an interesting factoid. Pretty cheeky! <G>
She shared a splendid photo of her first grandchild! A beautiful “little” guy with gobs of dark hair, he was at slumber in a cute onesie. Little? Not really. At birth, the lad was 22” tall, and over 9 lbs.! Large babes appear to run in the family. He has a splendid full name, his first name given in honor of a beloved uncle. Psst: Do you agree with the entire world – Diana really doesn’t look old enough to be a grand mum?!
We talked about her only son, Sam Sykes, who also had an autograph session at SDCC! Sam (named long before she ever met the splendid Mr. H.) has written a series, “Brave Chef Brianna” which Amazon describes as: “To prove herself as a great chef, a young woman sets up a restaurant as the sole human in a city full of monsters… Her menu is full of weird delicacies, her kitchen is run by a half-bird harpy, and her dining room is filled with skeleton businessmen.” Love it! Seems he inherited the imaginative writing gene from his clever mum. Although none of her children have read her books, she says Sam uses phrasing and breaks in words that echo her own writing style. She is justifiably delighted with his success as an author!
At 6’5” he also towers over her diminutive 5’3” frame! His height, a genetic gift from da. Love the Goofy shirt, Diana!
We talked a bit about strong women and agreed that yelling and throwing stuff “does-not-a-strong-woman make.” We didn’t stop to enumerate strong-woman traits, but book readers ken Claire is a pretty decent example of what it takes to be one!
Season 3, episode 1! Yes, we discussed it freely because I saw it. We both agreed it was wonderful and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed come early September. As you likely ken, it was unexpectedly shown at the SDCC Outlander Panel event.
Please don’t be unhappy with those who got to see the episode. Just so you know, this is what it took to get inside Ballroom #20 where the Outlander Panel took place: I arose at 3:00 am, grabbed 1/2 cup of coffee made with a Trader Joe’s coffee stick, water, banana, peach and some trail mix and hopped a shuttle to Petco Park. From there, a quick hike to the “everything-but-Hall-H line.” By then, at least 200 people preceded me. Three hours later, we were ushered inside the conference center to wait another 3 hours. Just before 10 am, we snaked our way (actually galloped) through many stanchioned lanes until we finally entered the ballroom.
Outlander fans sat through 7 panels, including The Brave New Warriors, featuring Richard Rankin – he was delightful, charming, and so very funny! Some panels, like BNW, were very entertaining; others, not so much. 😉
Why did we wait so long? One cannot leave the ballroom and return to your seat without a hall pass. If you leave without a timed pass, it is back to the end of the outside line for you! So, once folks got in, they stayed in the ballroom until they saw the panel(s) that interested them. As people vacated their seats, after seening their panel, Outlander fans scurried forward to grab a closer seat. I also did not leave to find food until 6:30 pm after the episode, for the same aforementioned reason. I am sure folks around me heard a lot of borborygmi (Anatomy Lesson #47) from my hungry tummy!
At 5:00 pm sharp, Jenna Dewan entered and welcomed Ron, Maril, Sophie, Rick, Diana, Sam, Tobias, and Cait, all of whom joined the stage with broad smiles. Next came a half hour of questions and a fun “truth or dance” (everyone danced except Tobias, who told the truth). Cait did a soft shoe. Sophie and Jenna did an interpretive dance. Rick and Jenna waltzed. Sam grabbed Jenna for a rousing Scottish dance that covered the entire the stage. Jenna held on tight! Better watch out, Channing!
Unexpectedly, Graham popped in and dolled out kisses to the lasses. He was at SDCC for The Preacher – so he danced too! Dougal can swing it! Who knew?
Well, actually a lot of fans have seen Graham toss a kilt!
The panel concluded with Jenna inviting us to watch S.3 trailer once more. But, Ron spoke up and said he didn’t want to watch the trailer again, he wanted to see episode 3.1! As you might imagine, the fans erupted in roars of delight, claps, and shouts, followed by absolute silence as the trailer was shown followed by the episode.
I found episode 3.1 immensely satisfying!!! I happily report that despite some visual shortcuts, the episode was faithful to the spirit of Voyager. Yay!
Oh, and warnings appeared everywhere! Do not video any film footage shown at any of the panels. If an attendee is caught, out you go!!!!! Being a good girl, I didn’t try. Bad news: I have zip video of the episode. Good news: only 43 days until Sept. 10th!
Ok, returning to our convo: Diana explained that she, Ron, and Maril quietly joined the crowd as episode 3.1 began and were gratified, especially when folks laugh at the humor (directly from Voyager). Many fans teared through the entire episode. It was dramatic, poignant, tender, and jarring and I wish you all were there!
Diarrhea! Yep, we discussed it because it is a horrific symptom of typhoid fever and we were talking science. Also known simply as typhoid, it is spread by poor sanitation and killed 150,000 souls in 2015, so it is still around! Book readers will understand why we broached this topic. If you haven’t, it is time to read Voyager!
We talked about Diana’s writing style. She reminded me that she does not write a novel in a linear fashion. Instead, she writes vignettes or scenes as her imagination generates them. In the end, she assembles them into a book, something like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle!
She also writes what I call “teasers,” hints that foreshadow a story line to be resurrected later. She may write an entire scene and then split it in the same or later book. She sometimes writes a teaser in a book that will tie to a book she has yet to write (she thinks ahead). Or, she may write a scene and then decide a teaser needs to appear earlier in that saga. She clearly trusts her creative process as do her fans!
Diana’s speaks with expressive hands. They are often in motion, especially as she earnestly dissects (<G>) a concept. Another thing, indoors, her eyes may appear brown, but in sunlight, her eyes are definitely whisky-colored! At least they appear that way to my peepers (Anatomy Lessons #30 – #33)!
Fingernails! Diana’s nails are ever-splendid, this time, sporting a lovely shade of pale blue. I asked if she had a gel finish because the surface was perfect! Nope, regular nail polish applied at a home-town salon. And, she has hard nails, a genetic gift from poppa Gabaldon.
Her fav nail shade is pale green which I believe she wore to the 2016 Golden Globes. From time to time, she also wears a bright magenta (my personal favorite!). But, no matter the shade, her nails always looks fabulous! Mine, not so much, but in my defense, I did pick 300 lbs. of blueberries before flying to SDCC!
We talked about many other interesting things which are omitted either because they are too personal or because they make this post waaaay too long.
Those three hours flew! We barely touched on the many questions I have – some mundane and some provoking. We then said good night with a selfie as she had another obligation.
Thus ended my delightful three-hour convo with Herself. I hope you enjoyed it!
Herself and I,
We had a chat at SDCC
Fun and fab, I was so glad
She spent some time with me!
A deeply grateful,