January 11th – Diana Gabaldon

“When I decided to write a novel, I had two full time jobs and three children under the age of six, so I don’t want anyone telling me they don’t have time to write a book….Basically, the only bottom line is you just keep writing.”

Diana Gabaldon

American author Diana Gabaldon (pronounced GAB-uhl-dohn – rhymes with stone) was born on January 11th, 1952, in Scottsdale, Arizona, where her family had settled going back generations. She grew up in Flagstaff and pursued an undergraduate degree in zoology from Northern Arizona University. She went on to get a master’s in marine biology from Scripps Institute of Oceanography, then a Ph.D. in qualitative behavioral ecology from Northern Arizona University. Gabaldon credits her dissertation on bird nests (“Nest Site Selection of the Pinyon Jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus“) for teaching her to overcome writer’s block. After graduating with her doctorate in 1978, she worked as a professor at Arizona State for twelve years. She was a founding editor of a journal on scientific software and wrote scholarly articles for journals and textbooks, along with a few scripts for Disney comic books. 

Then, she decided to write fiction. She said, “I had always known I was supposed to be novelist, and when I was 36, I said, ‘Well, you better start writing a novel, then.’ she said. “Well, actually what I said was ‘Mozart was dead at 36. You better get started.’ So I did.”

 Read that again – she didn’t even start writing fiction until her mid-thirties. The first Outlander book was published in 1991, and the ninth installment of the series just came out in November 2021. The books have been a smashing success, as has the original television series based on the novels.

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