Dear Outlander fans, this post chronicles the fantastic events of Sunday, October 7th, at 2018 NYCC!
By 8:30am, my companions from the big island of Oahu were headed for Shop Studios near the Jacob Javits Center in NYC awaiting a panel discussion entitled “Pages to Pictures.” Jo, Jeri and I were so excited, as we were first in line (rarely happens).
The panel included Diana Gabaldon (whose works need no introduction), Justin Cronin author of The Passage and Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy! Diana was the first panelist to enter the room, looking beautifully casual in hot pink sweater, bellbottom jeans and her luxurious black hair!
The next hour zipped by as each panelist was given moments to tell us about getting started in writing, how their work was selected for films and advice to those who want to write.
Diana explained how she chose science following her father’s admonition to pursue a profession whereby she could make a living. She earned a BS in zoology, MS in marine biology and PhD in behavioral ecology, eventually becoming a research professor. Early on, she wrote software reviews and technical articles for computer publications, as well as popular-science articles and comic books for the Walt Disney Company.
Diana decided to write a novel for practice with no intention to show it to anyone (<G>). She settled on a historical novel because as a research professor, it would be easiest to research and write. It was a serendipitous moment when she happened to see a rerun episode of the Doctor Who science fiction TV series wherein his companion was a Scot named Jamie McCrimmon from 1745. This episode provided the inspiration for her main male character, James Fraser, and the setting for mid-18th century Scotland.
She categorized her characters into three different types: onions with many layers that peel away with time (J & C); nuts which belong in the story but are more challenging develop (e.g. Bree); and mushrooms, that just popup (LJG)! Culinary delights, for sure.
All three panelists advised that if one wants to write, don’t wait for a convenient time because that doesn’t exist. They all advised nascent novelists to just start and then try to write something everyday. Splendid hour, well spent!
We immediately hoofed it to the Javit’s Center for author signing. Diana was already ain her chair with a very long line down the wall and around the corner!
We were delighted to spy “Claire” in line for an autograph. 😉 This fan had made her own version of the Dior-inspired bar suit designed by Terry Dresbach. Started with a muslin version followed by the final. Pleats were a challenge. She did a splendid job!
When my turn came, Diana greeted me warmly.
And, I snagged her autograph on the title page of Seven Stones to Stand or Fall!
We set aside the afternoon to spend together after her two hour autograph session. Her first choice was to visit the Starz Outlander booth. Off we go!
The right half of the booth was devoted to Fraser’s Ridge, the left to American Gods!
She received a mini-tour including a short spiel from the Caswell-Massey rep about their history and fragrances designed for fans at the Outlander booth.
The following clip shows what she heard although from a different rep on a different day.
We saw two hundred year-old chests used to store fragrances in the early days.
Interior of the chest!
Hanging on the wall was a map of River Run plantation.
And, a facsimile of Fraser’s Ridge land grant from governor William Tryon. This was too cool.
As swag, Diana snagged an Outlander “Brave the New World” tote.
She also received a personalized leather luggage tag (this one is mine), initials in gold leaf and samples of all three fragrances.
This little video shows the interior of Fraser’s Ridge booth.
At the booth, Diana graciously met fans, signed autographs and posed for selfies even though she had just met and signed autographs for hundreds of fans. Clearly, her generosity is just one reason she is so beloved by her fandom.
I always enjoy seeing which color she chose for her splendid nails. This time, a beautiful electric violet that nicely complimented her outfit!
Finished at the booth, we decided to grab food at Chelsea Market. The traffic was ghastly, but her driver quickly and safely delivered us to our destination.
The next three hours literally flew by as we discussed anatomy, pathology, book characters, show characters, character development, wound-healing, scars, wonders of Manuka honey, and her son’s (Sam Sykes) writing career. I saw an updated photo of her toddler grandson. He is a sturdy, charismatic little guy who clearly loves life, much like his grandmum!
At 5:45, we parted company, her to her hotel and me to my Lyft! I had a long trip back to my home base at Columbia University. A day well spent, for which I am deeply grateful!
A deeply grateful,
Photo creds: Outlander Anatomy, Diane Blake, Jody K. Chang, Jeri Sato, www.UrbanMatter.com