Diana Gabaldon’s First Line in Outlander

“It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.” – first line in Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.

Outlander: A Novel, by Diana Gabaldon

What place?

What is this place? Where is it? What kinds of disappearances? Are the disappearances only in the past or is there one in the offing? If so, who is going to disappear, and where are they going? At second glance, does it become obvious that it’s a “likely place for disappearances?”

The hook

That one 12-word sentence brings up many questions. In so doing, it accomplishes what a novel’s first sentence is supposed to do. The reader is compelled to keep reading in order to find the answers to those questions. It “hooks” the reader.

The tip of the iceberg

When Diana Gabaldon penned the opening sentence in Outlander, I wonder if she had a clue what an adventure she was embarking on as a writer or what an adventure she was inviting readers to take. It turned out to be the first step we took on a journey that continues today.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, time travel, or Scotland and have not read Outlander or the other books in Ms. Gabaldon’s Outlander Series, it’s not too late to start. I got sidetracked after reading Fiery Cross, so I have some catching up to do!

This is a series that you definitely should read in order because one book builds on the previous one. I have enjoyed the “Outlander” series on TV. It is excellently done; however, it doesn’t take the place of reading the novels.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. (I’m reading A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.) If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.


An excuse to eat mince & tatties

No excuse is too small for me to eat one of my favorite Scottish dishes: mince & tatties with green peas. Yesterday was Diana Gabaldon’s birthday. She, of course, wrote the Outlander series which is set in Scotland and North Carolina. Sounds like a good enough reason to have mince and tatties for supper!

When Marie and I ate mince and tatties with green peas in 1993 for our first pub lunch on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. It was love at first bite. Aside from salmon, it became our favorite Scottish dish. Haggis came in a distant third, and black pudding didn’t even make the list. I can eat haggis as long as I don’t think about the ingredients. Black pudding wasn’t appealing at all — and that was before I found out its ingredients.

Scotland is not known for its cuisine, which is unfortunate. Perhaps that is why the Scots have a quaint way of naming foods — an art we lost over the generations here in America. Mince and tatties, cock-a-leekie soup, baps, and inky pinky are just a few examples. Mince is ground beef. Tatties are potatoes. It is a very basic everyday comfort food, but it is delicious and always takes us back to Scotland when we have it for dinner.

Like mince & tatties, reading a Diana Gabaldon book transports me to Scotland, the land of most of my ancestors. Happy belated birthday, Ms. Gabaldon, and thank you for giving me hours of reading pleasure through your Outlander series of books.