Time Travel… Scottish Style!

Soz Frank, this really hot guy in a skirt needs me ūüôā

I am literally beside myself. ¬†Literally. ¬†I am sitting beside myself, looking at my…. other self, going, “Can you believe this???!” ¬†And I literally can’t believe it. ¬†Now anyone who knows me at all knows that I am of reasonably sound mind and body, a fairly calm, rational and dare I say, sensible woman. ¬†But when it comes to Outlander, I am literally NUTS! ¬†I am such a huge fan of Outlander’s author, Diana Gabaldon and I’m practically fanatical about her leading couple, Claire & Jamie. ¬†It was already a minor addiction reading the books, but Lord help me when the TV show starts on Irish television tomorrow evening! ¬†When the advert announcing the new series played on RTE 2, my entire demeanor was like that of a hunting lioness; my entire body froze, my ears twitched and my gaze hardened. ¬†“Don’t mess with me Irish TV”, I threatened, hardly daring to believe my eyes. ¬†But yes, the series is starting tomorrow night and like I said – beside myself! ¬†For anyone who doesn’t have the first iota of what I am talking about, here’s the blurb:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

It’s kind of embarrassing that I’m such a fan-girl for this story, but it’s a testament to Gabaldon’s writing. ¬†Her research, the depths of her characterisation and her ‘leave them wanting more’ pacing, means she’s something of a genius when it comes to writing a time-travel series. ¬†I just hope that this will translate to TV. ¬†For years there had been talk of turning the much-loved books into movies, but for one reason or another, it never worked out. ¬†Personally, I think a TV series is much more adaptable to cover the breadth of the Outlander series, which is ridiculously broad.

I’ve never been a fan of these types of series in the past. ¬†I mean, why limit yourself to one author telling one story over a series of books? ¬†But I just sort of fell into Outlander and then discovered there were a whole load of books about Claire & Jamie’s adventure-filled romance. ¬†Admittedly, I had to stop after book three because it started to affect my daily life. ¬†I found myself speaking in a Scottish accent more and more, which was verra, verra off-putting for friends and family, and the kilt didn’t go down too well either! ¬†Ah what the hell, we all have our guilty pleasures and mine is certainly Outlander, so I can’t wait to see it’s small screen debut.

From the short clip I’ve seen, the actress who plays Clae cire seems perfect for the role – strong, feisty and intelligent, and guess what, she’s from Monaghan! ¬†You can check out the Irish Examiner’s interview with Irish actress Catriona Balfe¬†here. ¬†But I’ll have to reserve judgement on Jamie until I’ve seen the show. ¬†Hopefully he’ll be more than just a bit of eye candy for the ladies (although, sometimes you have to make those tough calls….) ¬†I don’t know how they’re going to handle those, how shall I put it, ‘uninhibited’ sex scenes, but I sure look forward to seeing what happens ūüôā

UPDATE: ¬†Just watched the show last night and I have to say, even though it was kind of surreal watching the book come to life on the small screen, I loved it ūüôā ¬†The casting is spot on and I can see Tuesday fast becoming my favourite day of the week! ¬†Let me know what you thought… have you read the books, or are you an Outlander virgin? ¬†I’d love to know how people who haven’t read the books are reacting to the show.

In the meantime, to celebrate Outlander’s debut on Irish TV, I’m offering my novel, The Cross Of Santiago for the special discounted price of ¬£1.99 for a limited time only. ¬†I know it’s cliche to say this, but chances are that if you enjoy Outlander, you’ll enjoy this book (hey I just calls ’em as I see ’em!). ¬†Get your copy at any of these online retailers now, or download a free sample if you’re a cautious Nelly like me. ¬†Enjoy ūüôā

The Cross of Santiago-Amazon - CopyAmazon US   Amazon UK   iTunes  Smashwords

A borrower or a lender… be!

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The one thing you can’t beat about¬†good old-fashioned paperback books, is when a friend lends you their copy with the words, “You’ll love this”. ¬†It was actually a neighbour of my sister’s who, having read my debut novel, suggested I read her copy of Ferney by James Long. ¬†A beautifully crafted novel about the everlasting and enduring love of two people who have met before, many times, and attempt to steer their different lives onto the same path. ¬†It’s one of those books that really transports you – Long describes the English countryside with such care, that you almost feel as though you have visited the village of Penselwood. ¬†It’s a slow burner, but all the more charming for that. ¬†And while it’s not strictly time slip, there is enough history in there to please lovers of historical fiction. ¬†It’s a story with a gentle pace that draws you in, however I felt something lacking in the characters. ¬†I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I suppose some novels are less character driven than others.

I love stumbling across books like Ferney, especially when it has been recommended by someone. ¬†So many good books get lost in the crowd, whether it be bad timing or poor marketing. ¬†I find the publishing scene is all about the new release now, with massive campaigns creating hype around certain titles. ¬†It’s a lot like the music industry – people don’t seem to be encouraged to look through the back catalogues or to search for cult classics, quietly biding their time on a dusty library shelf. ¬†That’s why sharing books and sharing recommendations means so much more than being told what to read by the publishing company.

So, being a time slip author myself (my first novel, The Cross Of Santiago is a classic of the genre) I thought I’d create a short-list of my favourite time slip novels, so far…

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

1.  OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon

Obvs! ¬†Gabaldon is the queen of time slip and if you haven’t read this novel yet – oh how I envy ¬†you! ¬†You will be whisked away to the Scottish highlands and introduced to the two steamiest (yep, steamy!) characters in historical fiction, Claire & Jamie.

 

The Gargoyle

2.  GARGOYLE by Andrew Davidson

This book isn’t really tagged as a time slip novel, but for me it is. ¬†This book be slippin’ all over the place! ¬†It’s a crazy ride, but well worth the adventure.

 

Labyrinth (Languedoc, #1)

3.  LABYRINTH by Kate Mosse

Labyrinth was one of the first time slip novels I ever read and I was instantly hooked.  Mosse is obsessed (as am I) with France, so if you enjoy French history, this one is for you.

 

The House at Riverton

4. THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON by Kate Morton

Morton’s debut novel, this book is a must if you are a fan of Downton Abbey.

 

 

The Thirteenth Tale

5. THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield

A wonderfully gothic tale that explores the life of a famous writer and her dark and secret past.  You might want to leave the light on when you go to bed!

 

Hey I said it was short! ¬†Do you have any favourites you’d like to add to the list? ¬†It’s hard to find a good time slip novel (that’s why I had to write one!). ¬†There is something about the parallel storylines that really intrigue me, both as a reader and a writer and gives time slip an added spark of imagination that, for me, trumps time travel or historical fiction. ¬†Book swapping is a lovely way to discover new genres and writers. ¬†As a borrower, you feel as though you’ve been let in on a secret and as a lender, you feel a sense of ownership over the author and the work and enjoy the pleasure of sharing a new book with your friends. ¬†So I hope my suggestions will whet your appetite for life in the slip lane!