Diana J. Gabaldon, Ph.D (b. January 11, 1952 in Arizona) is an American author of Mexican-American and English ancestry. Gabaldon is the author of the best-selling Outlander series. Her books are difficult to classify by genre, since they contain elements of romantic fiction, historical fiction and science fiction (in the form of time travel). Her book have so far been sold in 23 countries and translated into 19 languages.
Diana J. Gabaldon, Ph.D was born on January 11, 1952 in Arizona (U.S.A.). Her father, Tony Gabaldon (1931-1998) was an Arizona state senator from Flagstaff. He moved to Flagstaff from New Mexico at the age of thirteen. Her mother's family is originally from Yorkshire (England); her great-grandfather immigrated to Arizona from England in the 1860s.
Gabaldon grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has received three degrees from two different institutions: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Zoology from Northern Biology from the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1973-1975; and a Ph.D in Ecology from Northern Arizona University, 1975-1978. Her Masters of Science research topic was "Agonistic Interactions of Hermit Crabs." Her Ph.D dissertation title is "Nest Site Selection in Pinyon Jays, Gymnorhynchus cysnocephalus). Dr. Gabaldon received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.) degree from Northern Arizona University in 2007.
In March 1988, Gabaldon decided to "write a novel for practice in order to learn how." She didn't intend to share it with anyone at the time or to try and get it published. While "casting about for an appealing time and place" for the novel she happened to see an old Dr. Who rerun on PBS, titled "War Games." One of the Doctor's companions was a young Scot from around 1745, a young man about 17 years old named Jamie MacCrimmon, who provided the initial inspiration for her main male character, James Fraser and the mid-18th century time period. She used the name "Jamie" from the Dr. Who character, though she stated, "I'm afraid Jamie Fraser has nothing else in common with Jamie MacCrimmon save the kilt."
The use of time travel came when Gabaldon decided it would be interesting to have "an Englishwoman to play off all these kilted Scotsmen", but her female character "refused to shut up and talk like an 18th century person." This idea gave rise to Claire, the beautiful and stubborn English nurse "who took over the story and began to tell it from her viewpoint."
Later in 1988, Gabaldon publicly posted a short excerpt of her novel on the CompuServe Literary Forum, also called the "Lit.Forum," a hangout for people who like books (the forum is still extant, but is now called The Compuserve Books and Writers Community). She was an active member of this book-discussion community and had posted several pages of her unfinished novel to strengthen her points in an argument with a male forum member regarding what it feels like to be pregnant. Within days, a science fiction and fantasy agent read her short post and offered to represent . Her first book deal was for a trilogy, the first novel, tentatively titled Cross Stitch plus two future sequels. The title of the first book was changed from Cross Stitch to Outlander in the United States before release, but it bears the original title in the U.K. About this name change, Gabaldon says that Cross Stitch was "a play on "stitch in time" and that the British publishers liked it. The American publisher, though said that it "sounded too much like embroidery" and wanted a more adventurous title. Dr. Gabaldon resigned from her faculty position at ASU after the first book deal was finalized and became a full-time fiction author. Gabaldon currently lives in the Phoenix, Arizona area with her husband, Doug Watkins; they have three adult children.
Gerri Russell interviewed Diana Gabaldon surrounding the release of An Echo in the Bone for the November 2009 issue of RT Book Reviews Magazine. In the article, Gabaldon revealed she creates individual scenes out of sequence and brings them together to create her completed work. She also advised aspiring authors to "...read anything and everything. Write. That is, unfortunately, the only way of learning how. And don't stop."
- Red Ant's Head, a contemporary mystery set in Phoenix, Arizona, United States, featuring private investigator Thomas Kolodzi. It is unpublished and still a work-in-progress. (Information from her official web page, posted in October 2010.)
Short Stories and Novellas
- "Humane Killer," a short story written with new author Samuel Sykes in The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. This anthology has dragon stories from a wide variety of notable authors such as Jane Yolen, Jonathan Stroud, Tanith Lee, Harry Turtledove, Tad Williams and Cecilia Holland. Released in hardcover by Ace Books in the U.S.A. on November 3, 2009.
- Phoenix Noir (2009) a short story collection with fifteen other authors.
- Naked Came the Phoenix (2001) a collaboration with twelve other authors
- July, 1992 Diana Gabaldon received the RITA Award given by the Romance Writers of American in the category Best Book of 1991 for the novel Outlander.
- September 24, 2006 Diana Gabaldon received the International Corine Book Award in the category Weltbild Readers Award, which was determined by a public vote on the web page of the German publisher.
- On October 10, 2006 Diana Gabaldon received the Quill Book Award in the category Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, which was determined by a public vote on the Internet. To receive the nomination, the author was required to meet one of several possible criteria, such as appearance on the best seller list of Borders Group Inc,. or a starred review in Publishers Weekly.