Diana Gabaldon at Surrey

If you are sensitive or politically correct, read no further.

I’m neither sensitive nor politically correct.

I have a horribly warped sense of humor. I’m not mean to people, but I do find the humor in most situations.

I alluded to this in the Elves Between My Knees story. There’s a reason Beth hauled me out the the deep end of the pool. “You’re a horrible person, Julie Weathers. I’m going to drown you now.”

This usually came after I returned from an appointment with my sports therapist doctor who was a very nice lady, but had a very bad speech impediment. Oddly enough, we carried on lengthy conversations about training dogs as she had two Irish Wolfhounds she was obedience training and I trained and showed Aussies obedience and working. Of course, the conversations might not have been so long had it not been for the pronounced stuttering.

Regardless, she was an extremely nice doctor and I enjoyed visiting with her.

Even so, the bad part of me came out after going to an appointment with her. Beth would make the mistake of asking me how my appointment went and I would repeat, verbatim, what went on, including the speech problems and her voice. I have an odd knack for being able to zone in on some voices and imitate them perfectly. This doctor was one of them.

Then, being a horrible person, (I already warned you about this.) I would launch into an ER scene with my doctor. I’m sorry, but my warped mind couldn’t help wondering about her internship.

“G-g-g-get, uh, uh, th-th-the pad–”

Beep as the patient’s heart stops and straight lines.

“Uh, n-n-n-n uh, nevermind.”

At this point, Beth would tow me to the deep end to drown me, because, you know, I’m a horrible person.

So, what has this got to do with Diana Gabaldon? Does she have a speech problem?

No, she has a quite distinctive and lovely voice. She reminds me of a young Kate Hepburn.

This is a Diana Gabaldon interview. Not sure what she sounds like here, because I have no sound, but I imagine she sounds the same at all times.

Also, please note Diana’s appearance. Beautiful woman with striking features. At the conference, I most often noticed her in some lovely and unique dresses with a certain artistic flair to them. The first time I met her in person, she was wearing a white, layered silk dress with a colorful shawl or scarf. Someone called me over and we shook hands.

She said, “Oh, my, your hands are so soft.”

This struck me as odd because I had been fretting and fussing about my ugly hands before I went up there and slathering them with lotions so I wouldn’t seem quite so manly. It was nice of her to notice.

Diana was always being summoned to one place or another and surrounded by people when she wasn’t being dragged off.

Remember I talked about the “I’m in your bathroom stalking your agent” tee shirt?

I was beginning to wonder if this was just an urban myth, but so many agents have recounted these stories it had to be true. I imagine successful authors suffer the same indignities.

“Excuse, me, Miss Gabaldon?”

A head pokes under the bathroom stall door and Diana peers down over her skirt, too surprised to speak.

“Can I have your autograph?”

So, I’m bopping through Surrey like a Christmas puppy someone just let out of the box and wondering if I am in some kind of alternate reality because everyone has been so nice. No stalkers. No agents dashing past in their running shoes, trying to escape a mob of crazed authors. Nothing really remarkable at all.

Well, just when you think everything is normal, something is going to happen to assure you life hasn’t changed. There are still unique characters in the world.

A man, not sure what his name was, but I’ll call him Tyrion for the sake of naming this character, is totally smitten with Diana. I’m not surprised at this, who wouldn’t be, but this is totally, completely smitten.

I’ve been in a few classes with him and my first impression isn’t good. Being from the south, I value good manners. That includes not interrupting people, cutting in line, being rude or obnoxious. Yes, you can be a horrible person and have good manners. So far, I’ve seen him interrupt teachers when they are talking to carry on with some nonsense, cut in line to speak to someone when others have been waiting patiently and cut other writers off when they are talking.

He had sort of strawberry blonde hair and lots of it. It’s full, slightly long and curly. Plus, he has a full beard so my immediate impression is, HOBBIT! Perhaps, gnome, but closer to hobbit. He was wearing shoes, so I didn’t really notice his feet.

Diana was talking to someone in the hallway when Tyrion appeared. I’m sure she didn’t notice, but she was like a hobbit magnet. Wherever she was, he soon popped up.

Nothing really unusual about that and, honestly, I admire him for getting out and pursuing his dream as opposed to wallowing in what ifs.

However, what tickled my warped sense of humor was the practiced nonchalance.

It didn’t really matter who she was talking to, he would worm his way into the conversation. On this particular occasion, he leaned against a table in the hallway, crossed his legs, looked up and batted his eyes at her. I almost expected him to pull out a pipe to complete his scholarly, very practiced, but nonchalant pose.

I confess. I laughed, not at him, but at the dramatic pose. Something horrible and dark in me made me want to strike a 1950’s female movie poster pose.

Oh, you know the one. The voluptuous, scantily clad cavewoman with the fur bikini stands with her feet apart, knees bent, one hand is on her hip with her fingers pointed to her nether regions (This way to the funhouse, boys.), her shoulders are drawn back, which thrusts her heaving bosoms out, her head is tilted slightly back, eyes almost closed and mouth open enticingly. It’s not an easy pose to strike and you have to do it just right or you’ll tip over. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my fur bikini with me.

So, sans a dramatic pose of my own, I contented myself with eavesdropping.

“So, Diana, tell me what your opinion of the publishing industry is,” said Tyrion.

Miss Diana, being the consummate professional, smiled at him to acknowledge him. The woman she was speaking to said goodbye and Diana turned to Tyrion, and discussed the current publishing trends.

She was very kind and generous with her time.

I’ve thought for a long time many authors secretly hate to be around people and only go out in public after copious threats from their publishers. You can usually tell the ones who hate being there. They have that frozen beauty queen smile, but their eyes aren’t engaged. Always look for smiling eyes. Diana has genuine, friendly, smiling eyes.

If you get a chance to attend an event with her, please do so. She is a fount of information, she’s very generous about answering questions. You don’t even have to strike a dramatic pose for her. She’s extremely knowledgeable about the craft and she’s a joy to listen to.

Diana is one of the shining stars of Surrey and I am really not much of a star gazer.


  1. For any of about a dozen reasons, Diana always seemed a wonder to me, too. So glad you liked her, Julie.

    For the record and for the information of other readers, I am not Tyrion [g].

  2. P.S. we carried on lengthy conversations about training dogs

    Er, not to state the obvious but: are you sure you BOTH were talking about that?

  3. Julie,


    I regret that I can’t picture the “Hobbit” in my mind. I must have missed him.

    Diana is incredible. My grandmother still tells everyone she meets that she talked on the phone with her.

    Is it bad that I’m counting the days for Surrey? (g)

  4. John, I expected to like her because we have been “friends” for years, but she really did amaze me. She really is the definition of grace.

    *narrows eyes*

    Are you sure you are Tyrion?

    “Er, not to state the obvious but: are you sure you BOTH were talking about that?”

    Hmmm, is it possible? Could I have been mistaken?

  5. Tara,

    “I regret that I can’t picture the “Hobbit” in my mind. I must have missed him.”

    No, you didn’t. That would be impossible.

    “Diana is incredible. My grandmother still tells everyone she meets that she talked on the phone with her.”

    I don’t doubt that, but it’s still funny.

    “Is it bad that I’m counting the days for Surrey? (g)”

    Nope. I know I am. Plus, this year we’re dragging more people with us. *Looks in John’s direction, then glances at Tony.*

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