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Outlander Author Diana Gabaldon Is a Force of Nature Who Gives Us All #lifegoals


Malcolm Venable

George R.R. Martin, who recently let it be known that the sixth book in the Songs of Fire and Ice series, which inspired HBO's Game of Thrones, won't be done before Games' sixth season premieres. Missing deadlines might work for him, but it's not an option for Diana Gabaldon, writer of the Outlander books that inspired the hit Starz show.

"Unlike George," she said, unintentionally throwing a little bit of writer shade, "I write no matter where I am or what I'm doing." She writes in any spare minute she has, she said -- whether traveling, or on set. She also wrote one of the scripts for the new season -- an experience she calls deeply enlightening and entertaining. But make no mistake, she is about getting the job done, and always has been.

Check out new Outlander winter photos

"When I started writing, I had two full-time jobs and three children under the age of 6. Time expands to accommodate the workload." She didn't give a date on when the next book is due, only teasing that it'll be published about six weeks after she's finished writing it. There's a perpetual dance between her and her publisher, who'll announced a date publicly that she then has to hustle to make. "They'll put a publishing date on Amazon, and I'll call and say, 'Well, you can explain to all the people why it's not coming out." Typically, they meet in the middle; the last two times, they made the date in time.

As for the next season, in which Claire and Jamie travel to Paris to infiltrate the Jacobite rebellion, we'll see the characters evolve in new ways.

"For Claire, [Season 1] was a reactionary season," said Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire. "She was in survivor mode. She was reacting from one thing to the next." This season, "things are sitting with her a lot more; she has time to consider her place and how she feels. It's been an amazing discovery. We have a long journey with these characters. I'm looking forward to the next one." As fans of the books know, Claire and Jamie's daughter Brianna arrives soon.

On the set in Scotland: behind the scenes of our trip to Starz' Outlander

Jamie, meanwhile, is still haunted by the trauma of events past, but "I think time is a great healer," Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, said. "Ultimately he puts his whole body and soul into this mission about changing history." A big event alters things. "There's a great revelation that cures him -- brings him out of himself. It brings back the old Jamie."

The new season, Heughan said, forces Jamie to learn things about himself, especially that he could learn to be deceitful. "There's a side to him I didn't know. There's a dark side to him I didn't know existed," he said. Still, Jamie retains a sense of humor and buoyancy and ability to keep going no matter what happens. "His dedication to Claire is inspiring."

Outlander returns to Starz in April.