Message From The Author

Author's Message

Keeper Quest:


lthough she professes to give many of her books away to family members, public libraries and friends, bestselling author Diana Gabaldon still has quite a few keepers on the shelves of her Arizona homes.

"I have, at rough estimate, about 4,000 books in my house in Scottsdale, and another 2,000 in my place in Flagstaff," says the historical scribe, whose latest, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, is out this month from Delacorte. "Flagstaff is where I keep my mystery and science fiction/fantasy collections."

If that sounds like a lot of books (it is!), consider that many of the tomes Gabaldon keeps near her are for reference purposes, the better to write those incredibly popular Outlander novels. In the large, built-in shelf in her office, a birthday present from her husband, there are historical cookbooks, trivia tomes and general reference books, in addition to an extensive collection of guides on topics ranging from antiques to herbs to World War II. And that's just one bookshelf!

Gabaldon also keeps all of her own works on hand.

"I don't really re-read my own books -- I don't need to, as they're in my head -- but I do keep one copy of each U.S. format so I can look up specific references and page numbers," she says. The foreign editions of her novels she keeps in storage, the better to make room for her many Scottish reference books, atlases, dictionaries (the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations is where many of her chapter titles come from) and those three separate bookcases that focus on the American Revolution.

That's not to say that everything in her personal library is for research. There's also room for many of the books Gabaldon has enjoyed over the years.

"I've been reading novels for more than 50 years. I read all the time, and
I have literally hundreds of beloved authors and books," she says, explaining why she hasn't pared things down.

A few books she's enjoyed recently? Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin: "One of the best I've read in months." Nefertiti by Michelle Moran: "Terrific, classic historical fiction." And The Bloomsday Dead by Adrian McKinty: "Really a lovely, lovely writer (and he does sex well too)."

With all that reading and referencing, it's a wonder Gabaldon had time to finish her own work. Here's hoping her latest well-researched novel will end up on many of your own (admittedly smaller) keeper shelves! Says Gabaldon: "Many fans are kind enough to tell me that my books are on their keeper shelves, and I appreciate that very much." -- Elissa Petruzzi

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