Outlander author Diana Gabaldon spilled a few beans recently for the Herald Scotland and what beans they were! Book nine won’t be the last Outlander book! The series will likely end at book 10! She’s going to write a prequel about Jamie’s parents, Brian and Ellen. And, yes, it’s “likely” season three of the show is coming. All of which means we need to put Gabaldon in bubblewrap at least until she’s done with book 10. No, I’m not kidding.
As I type this it’s been 656 days (or 1.8 years) since book eight in the Outlander series, Written in my Own Heart’s Blood aka MOBY, was released in the U.S. and Canada. The book was barely off the press when Outlander fanatics everywhere began counting the minutes until book nine in the epic series would be available. We’ve been harassing asking Gabaldon about it ever since.
In this latest interview, Gabaldon does not reveal when book nine will actually be released. What she does say is that it likely won’t be the last book. Instead the Outlander series will end with book 10. And that means, given her own admission that it takes 2-3 years to research and write each book and assuming book nine makes it into print in 2017 — please god! — that book ten won’t likely come out until maybe 2020 — and that’s if Gabaldon basically doesn’t write a single other thing (no touching that prequel, Missy!) or attend many publicity-related functions, or, you know, have a life. In other words, we’re likely talking longer. Sigh.
“I think it will be ten,” Gabaldon told the Herald Scotland, “but I don’t plan it out, although I have a rough notion — I think there will probably be a book ten.”
Now I don’t know how you’re feeling about that timeline, but as a woman who is only a few years younger than Ms. Gabaldon, all this talk of YEARS in between books makes me just a titch nervous. I consider myself one of the lucky readers. I discovered the series after all eight books were finished. I don’t know how you readers who found Outlander in 1991, or the decades in between, did it. I mean there’s only so much re-reading a person can do (a limit I’m still exploring, trust me) and not all of the books end calmly. I literally had to have the next book in my hand so I could move right to it without hyperventilating. The only good part about the ending of book eight was that, if book nine never happened, readers could likely live with that ending. I will say no more for those who haven’t gotten there yet.
The news about the prequel makes me nervous too. By her own admission, Gabaldon writes all over the place, creating scenes and pieces as they come to her and then putting them together. She is not a linear writer. What if she decides to go down that prequel rabbit hole FIRST before finishing book ten???
I admit the prequel sounds interesting. It will be about the rising of 1715, according to the Herald Scotland story. In addition to telling the story of Brian and Ellen, it will include information about Dougal MacKenzie and Jamie’s godfather, Murtagh.
But as much as I would love to know more about these people, I want to hear about them LATER. AFTER OUTLANDER IS FINISHED.
So, Diana, consider this my letter on behalf of all Obsessenachs out there. Please, please, please stay focused on the task at hand — finishing Outlander in its entirety. Also please stay healthy. Take your vitamins. Floss. Get plenty of sleep and exercise. And, you know, if staying in your house until you’re finished could happen, that would be nice too. First, the likelihood of something terrible happening is lower, and staying home also lessens all those distractions that keep you away from that computer and all your lovely storytelling.
So how eager are you for book nine? How many times have you read the series so far? When did you read Outlander for the first time?