Diana Gabaldon on the enduring appeal of men in kilts

Diana GabaldonSo there I was, at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. As I am every year on the rainiest weekend in October. It’s traditional, although it beats me how tradition always remembers the rain and forgets the “George Clooney deployed to raincoaster‘s table” thing that I’ve repeatedly requested.

So there I was, sitting mild-manneredly at my trade show table, ably representing the Shebeen Club in my civilian alter ego rather than my raincoaster Cthuloid altar ego, which is quite another thing, I’m sure you’ll agree. The only places in meatspace where I’m better known by my online names than my meatspace ones are the Editor’s Association of Canada (“Oh My GOD! You’re Evil Elf!”) and Restaurant Connor Butler (“Hey! raincoaster’s here!”) and sweetly those sounds do fall upon my ear, forsooth and for other reasons as well.

But there I was, being all polite-like and not even trying to pull anything for once, and I look up and I see that right there in front of me, tantalizingly close, yet oh, so far away, was the workshop of all workshops of all the weekend in which I wanted to be.

And I wasn’t.

And I joked with the moderator about just putting my ear to the door crack, or if I had anything with which to bribe her I’d have bribed away, but alas I do not, so I couldn’t. And she quite understood and offered me her chair instead, which she is not supposed to do because after all, I could be all weird and shit, although of course we all know I am considered to be perfectly normal.

On my home planet.

And so I got to sit in on a talk given jointly by the both hard-bitten and jocular thriller writer Michael Slade, and Diana Gabaldon, queen of the hot, brainy historical novel. And, verily, it was a treat.

Come to think of it, the last time Diana Gabaldon saw me I was on both my knees and my fifth glass of wine, so perhaps it’s best that my hair is a different colour now.

But that is neither here nor there. It’s entirely salon-related and thus has no place in this story.

This story. Right.

The story I’m telling you.

The story Diana Gabaldon told, about being interviewed by a German fellow when once she happened to be on a book tour through, you guessed it, Germany.

And he was saying you’re brilliant, your books are so popular, they’re so literate, what quality your writing has, no wonder everyone loves them

and she was thinking yes, yes, dooo go on

and then he asked a question. The Question. A question that, perhaps, could only occur to a straight, male German interviewer.

He asked:

And could you explain to me please the exact nature of the appeal of a man in a kilt?

And she paused for a microsecond, or maybe a nanosecond, possibly even a picosecond, and then she replied, in her dignified Julia Child as a Professor of English Literature voice:

Well, I suppose it’s just the idea that you could be up against a wall with him in under a minute.

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20 thoughts on “Diana Gabaldon on the enduring appeal of men in kilts

  1. I’ll make the money! Ahm acoming tae KanAda.



    p.s. An’ tae thae muppets above tha’ is no’ the pikture o’ the fine wee lassy, yingrates, ye!



  2. For no reason, apropos of FA, have you ever came across or even read ‘A Confederate General from Big Sur?


    p.s. Before the question the answer is why not?


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  4. That’s so fucking classic!

    I used to read her novels, but after the third in the series, I got a little tired of Jamie & Claire’s overactive libidoes…I know that may sound ridiculous, but it got quite tiresome. That’s also why I stopped reading that Auel series. I would not describe her novels as “literate” or as having a particularly high quality of writing, but maybe something changed in the translation into German…

  5. @WC:
    “Everything suffers when translated into a language that can make ‘good morning’ sound like a declaration of war.”

    Please don’t think I’m running down Germany–This remark originated from my 9th grade languages teacher, who was himself German.

    Finding oneself up against the wall with a man in a kilt can be avoided by carrying your change in a moneybelt and using secure traveller’s cheques when hanging about Aberdeen.

  6. Jean Auel’s novels I certainly wouldn’t describe as literate, that’s for sure. But Gabaldon has cred, in my opinion.

    Metro: methinks there’s something here you’re not getting. Ask your wife to clarify.

    STB: nope.

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  8. Oh wow. Until I read those words I don’t think I could put my finger on what exactly it is about a man in a kilt that’s so sexy… but yeah, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell!

    Slap a kilt on the boy and he can have me up against a wall any time he wants.

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