A modern writer that has inspired me over the years is Diana Gabaldon. A (very) abbreviated list of her works include: Outlander, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, and many, many others. Diana is an extremely talented (not to mention prolific!) writer whose stories have fascinated me for years. I have read all seven of her Outlander series and eagerly await the eighth’s publication this fall.
For those that aren’t familiar with Diana’s work, Diana’s main character Clare Beauchamp Randall is an English World War II nurse who travels through standing stones in Scotland to the 18th century, where she meets (and marries) Jamie Fraser. The Outlander series chronicles Clare’s adventures, both in the 18th and 20th centuries, over many decades and historical events.
One thing I like so much about Diana’s books is that they don’t fit neatly into any category, as she herself likes to mention. They are historical fiction, time travel, romance, societal commentary…all wrapped into one. She hops around centuries, continents, and historical events like they were natural progressions – it’s simply amazing how she connects the dots so seamlessly.
What fascinates me most about Diana is her ability to weave multiple story lines together. All I can think is that Diana must keep binders of character profiles because she has more characters appear in her stories (the one series alone has seven books, each at least 800 pages and the series continues, not to mention the short stories she’s written to fill in the “gaps” of the other, larger books) than I could even guess, and each person is somehow connected to so many of the others in countless ways revealed over the course of one…or many…books. I could only dream of developing such a complicated but complete jigsaw puzzle.
Finally, I find her inspiring because she too began her career as a scientist and ended up a fiction writer. We have similar educational backgrounds as well, so I guess she gives me hope that it’s possible for a scientist to become a published fiction writer. I have this recurring dream that one day I somehow get to have lunch with Diana and ask her how she thinks up these fantastic plots (especially after thousands of pages of text) and how she weaves them all together to make such engrossing stories. Having insight into her planning and thought process would be simply amazing.
If you could have lunch with any writer currently living, who would it be and why?