The author of the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon, has admitted that she had never been to Scotland before she began writing her best-selling books.
Outlander, the fantasy TV series that follows nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall time-travelling exploits between World War II and 18th century Scotland, gives a detailed account of the Scottish landscape. However, Gabaldon said that she didn’t actually visit the country they were set in until after she was given a contract by her publishers.
She said: “The publishers fortunately gave me a three-book contract when they bought Outlander and I said to my husband ‘Well I really must go and see the place!’
“So we went to London, rented a car and drove up to the Highlands and spent several weeks roaming around and looking at things.”
She added that when she arrived she recognised Scotland instantly, saying:
“I remember standing on the Border at Carter Bar next to the big monolith that says Scotland on one side and England on the other. I looked out over Scotland and said, ‘yes, I recognise this place. It’s just as I had been imagining it.’”
The author explained that the setting of the show is not the only factor for its success and that Ronald D Moore, the award winning producer of the television adaptation, had a big part to play.
“I’ve seen over the years various attempts to make my work into a two-hour movie and I can tell you on the basis of what I’ve seen that it’s flatly impossible to do that. It was a great relief to me to get the opportunity to do a 16-episode television series. I was thinking, ‘at least there will be room.’ I knew Ron Moore had a great reputation as a storyteller and a film-maker and I told him, ‘this is the first script based on my work that I’ve seen that did not make me want to turn white or burst into flames!’”
Moore agreed that the show should be filmed in Scotland, which, she explains, was important to her, adding: “Ron said from the beginning when he realised that we could film in Scotland – which is what he and I both wanted – that it must be as much a character in the show as any of the actual cast members, and it certainly is. It’s just spectacular.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “We are seeing a real buzz around Outlander and the starring role Scotland plays in the new television series. I’m sure many fans who see Scotland at its dazzling best on the show will be encouraged to come here and see the country for themselves.”
The American author will be starring in a series of exclusive video’s for VisitScotland, the first of which goes live today.