Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander isn’t just a bestseller. The time-travelling fantasy about a World War II nurse and an 18th-century Highland warrior has become a cultural phenomenon, thanks to a sexy TV series, which started its second season in April.
And not only has it spawned spin-offs from Gabaldon, and plenty of sizzling fan fiction, it has now inspired a meta comic romance.
kc dyer’s Finding Fraser is the story of Emma Sheridan, an unemployed divorcee who is so obsessed with Gabaldon’s book that she runs off to Scotland in search of a real-life Highlander.
“It’s the story of a reader, in love with a character in a book,” dyer says in an e-mail conversation with New Times while researching her next novel in Iceland.
Dyer visits the Poisoned Pen on Thursday, May 5, for a special signing with Gabaldon. The event is part of the Poisoned Pen’s belated Independent Bookstore Day celebrations, according to owner Barbara Peters.
“Diana and The Poisoned Pen go all the way back to 1989, before she published Outlander, so anything we do to celebrate bookstores or our bookstore generally involves her,” Peters says.
Originally self-published in 2015, Finding Fraser was a surprise success for dyer, who had previously worked as a YA author.
“I was completely gobsmacked. The whole experience with this book has been a complete delight,” dyer says. “Something about this story touched the cultural zeitgeist, I think. Readers could relate to Emma and her quest.”
The book was so successful that it was snatched up by Berkley Publishing and re-released in February. And dyer is grateful she doesn’t have to concentrate on the minutiae of self-publishing anymore.
"Self-publishing is hard. Even with a book that ends up being quite successful, there is so much work involved that is not writing. For a self-published writer, penning the story is just the beginning,” she says. “I am really thrilled that Berkley have taken the book under their wing. The folks there are doing a marvelous job handling all the million details to bring Emma and her story to a wider audience.”
The signing is also a chance for dyer to renew her friendship with Gabaldon.
“We are both involved in the Surrey International Writers Conference (in British Columbia) and meet up there every October,” says dyer. “But because she's been so busy with the series and her new book, I haven't seen her in over a year, so I'm really looking forward to our event together!”
Her Valley visit will also give dyer a chance to catch up on Outlander’s second season.
“I've been in Iceland for the past month, so I haven't seen any episodes yet,” she says. (I) can't wait to (see) all that Claire and Jamie get up to in Paris — I've seen a few of the costumes online and they are, as always, brilliant!”
But while she loves Outlander, dyer admits her taste in fictional characters runs a bit older.
“I'd be desperate to meet Steerpike from the Ghormenghast books, and I've always had a thing for the Wart, in The Once And Future King. Of course, when I was small I would have done anything to have chased down Paddington Bear in Portobello Road!” she says.
“So many book boyfriends, so little time.”
Finding Fraser is available in trade paperback for $15. dyer will be signing at The Poisoned Pen on Thursday, May 5 with Diana Gabaldon. At the store's request, no outside books will be signed.