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We therefore recommend you arrive in plenty of time to enable us to conduct bag checks.

We strongly advise that you do not bring large bags to the venue.

Adventures, Companions and Progeny, With Learned Commentary (and Many Footnotes) by Their Humble Creator just a bit like Katherine Hepburn -- deep and slightly raspy, cheerfully staccato, with phrases elegantly oiled together. In fact, I get a lot of fan mail from people in Scotland saying, "How long did you live in the Highlands before you moved to Arizona? So it wasn't wanting to write about Scotland that got you going. And I was thinking what would be the easiest possible kind of thing to write and I thought maybe a mystery, because I read more of those than anything. I'm not sure I can do that." And I thought perhaps that would be a historical novel because I was a research professor. And I happened to see a program on public television. The important thing is to pick a place and start in." So I said, "Scotland in the 18th century. And given that we're dealing with the Jacobite rising, perhaps I should make her an Englishwoman, that way we'll have lots of conflict built in." So I did, and I introduced her and the minute I put her in, she refused to talk like an 18th-century person. So it didn't matter what sort of thing I did, I could stick in anything I liked. The journalist, of course, is very much taken by the possibility of this very juicy story so he goes along with it.

But beyond the sound of the voice, Gabaldon is an interviewer's dream: the tiniest question brings a lengthy and enthusiastic response. " A lot of them come to the signings and say, "How did you get Scotland so right on? Was it the time travel that you wanted a venue for? Well, I was a scientist but I did know how to use the library and it's easier to look things up than to make them up entirely. She immediately started making smartass modern remarks and she also started telling the story herself. Consequently I ended up with a series of books that is absolutely uncategorifiable. The only rules I made for myself were, well, one; I would not stop. My father's family are from New Mexico, where they've been for the last 500 years or so. He begins to realize that the woman has a dual motive. And as I said, I hope to finish the mystery early next year.

A bestseller in romance is 500,000." And I said, "Well, you've got a point.

So it did come together gradually and since it worked that's the way I've always written. As part of that I wrote freelance for the computer press, for and as part of that had gotten a membership to Compu Serve to research bits of software that I was writing about.