This post is written solely for the benefit of my friend Wendy. She’s the one who pushed me to read Outlander in the first place, so in a very real way, she’s directly responsible for all of the reading and writing madness that has ensued.
When I posted a picture of myself with Herself on Facebook, Wendy replied:
I need an extensive description of the entire evening, including smells, sounds, and if you get to lick the cardboard cut out of Sam.
Okay Wendy, you’ve got it.
First point: there was no cardboard cutout of Sam.
The talk was in the City Opera House in Traverse City, Michigan. The morning before, Diana tweeted that she was listening to seagulls on Lake Michigan, which was not strictly true. She was listening to seagulls on Grand Traverse Bay. But I digress…
The opera house is a historical theater with 700 fixed seats and about that many more chairs set up on the main floor. People were lined up to go in over an hour in advance; I assume most of those people were the ones who had purchased general admission rather than reserved seats. People who are affiliated with writers’ guilds got advance ticket sales, and they bought those tickets out completely. My mother forked over real cash for our reserved seats.
Inside the theater, the lobby was set up with a lot of tables selling signed and unsigned copies of the books, Starz miniseries broadsheets, and A. Malcolm Bookseller signs. There was also red and white wine, and very suspicious banana and peanut butter cookies that I didn’t try.
Two separate speakers introduced the talk, one of whom hadn’t read the books before Diana was signed to do the talk, and who admitted that the first one was published before she was born. She was booed. The long version of the American trailer for the Starz series was shown. Then Diana and the interviewer came out, to much applause, and the mayor gave Diana a key to Traverse City.
Then followed the interview. Lots of clapping and laughing. Diana is a witty person and has her repertoire of things to say down pat. Some of them I’d read on her Facebook page and elsewhere, some others were new. New tidbits include:
1. Her husband is the body model for Jamie. He grumbles that the whole world knows what he looks like naked.
2. Storytelling is the second oldest profession, and it holds a huge advantage over the first. Storytelling can be done to lots of people at once.
3. She supposes the appeal of a man in a kilt is that you could be against a wall with him in a second.
The program started at 7:00 and the interview ended at 8:30. There were fifteen minutes of questions. Three people with microphones roved the audience and tried to control who got to ask, but Diana began calling on people herself. Had she not done that, I would have gotten to ask her whether she finds it easier to write in the first person or the third… I actually had a microphone in my hand, but she called the last question-asker of the evening, and it wasn’t me. Alas.
After the program, people who didn’t want autographs left. That was about 2/3rds of the audience. I stayed and got in line; because I had reserved seating I got somewhere in the first half of the line, and stood in it for about 45 minutes before it was my turn.
She was on full-on robotic survival mode. I told her it was a pure pleasure to hear her speak and got a soft “mm hm,” then, tongue-tied, forgot that I’d wanted to say something about also being a biologist and Ph.D. who’d also written my first novel in my thirties but I finally got around to it because she’d provided exactly the mood/feel/genre/themes/zeitgeist I’d been looking for… but alas. I did bring myself around sufficiently to ask for a picture, got another soft “mm hm” and a smile, and that was that. End of game.
Oh, and her fingernails were metallic turquoise. But I told you that already.