Thursday, February 23, 2017

kc dyer's love letter to Scotland & the elusive Jamie Fraser

HALLIE EPHRON: Today I’m delighted to welcome (back) kc dyer, whose bestselling book FINDING FRASER is a complete delight. Think OUTLANDER meets BRIDGET JONES DIARY.

Her protagonist (Emma Sheridan) has fallen hopelessly in love with Diana Gabaldon’s fictional (we think) creation, Jamie Fraser, and goes off to Scotland in search of the next best thing.


It’s a lovely homage to Gabaldon, who generously and enthusiastically cheered kc’s efforts. And for kc, it’s part love story, part coming of age, and it made me completely believe that the real kc had fallen in love with the real (fictional) Jamie Fraser.

kc?


kc dyer: But of course! Who could read the Outlander books and not fall for Jamie Fraser? Tall, noble, willing to do anything for the woman he loves? A heroic figure for sure. And that Scottish accent does NOT hurt.

HALLIE:  Not to get too personal, but were you actually looking for Fraser at the time when you conceptualized and wrote the book? And how has that worked out for you?

kc: Hahaha! You are not alone in that thought, Hallie! I've had a LOT of fan-mail from people convinced I wrote a secret sort of roman á clef, after having combed the auld sod for my own true love.

The sorry truth is that this story is entirely fiction
, apart from the fact I see it as a bit of a love-letter to Scotland itself. I have been to all the places Emma visited, it's true, but not in search of my own Fraser.


Would I mind if one had actually shown up? NOT AT ALL. But so far, no luck on that front!

HALLIE: The setting for the book is spectacular Scotland. Is that a place that holds a special significance for you?

kc: Absolutely. My family originally hailed from Scotland, both Edinburgh and Inverness. My very first book, SEEDS OF TIME, was set in the West Highlands at the time of the Black Plague. I love it there and go as often as I can. And I clearly took my children with me on research trips once too often, as my daughter now lives in Edinburgh. Yet another reason for me to visit!

HALLIE: Were you worried how Diana Gabaldon would respond to you, ahem, appropriating her character? How has she reacted?

kc: Oh my gosh. I was SO worried. When I first had the idea for the book, I told my writing partner and she laughed. So, essentially I wrote the story just for the pure fun of it. I told myself that Diana [who is a long-time friend] would never see it, and went ahead and wrote it. But, just by coincidence, I finished the first draft at about 3 in the morning on the night before Valentine's Day.

You know that post-draft feeling of euphoria that happens in the middle of the night? Well, that's what happened. I was feeling all giddy and happy to be finished, but the story actually opens on Valentine's Day, which is the main character's birthday. I decided to spill the beans to Diana.

I knew I would have to admit that not only does my Emma love the Outlander books, but that I had written Diana herself into the story, too. So I sent her a long letter explaining that if she didn't like the story or felt it impugned the marvelous world she had created, I would put it into a box under my bed.

I felt it was important she knew that Finding Fraser was a story about a fan of Outlander, but it was in no way fan-fiction. Luckily for me, she appreciated that distinction and has been wonderfully supportive ever since.


HALLIE: Have you had a great time watching this book do so well? And do men show up to your readings in kilts?

kc: Watching this book do well has been the most fun EVER. It's now an international best-seller. My first book was published in 2002, and Finding Fraser is my 7th book, but it's my first for grown-ups, and my first best-seller. And yes, I've had many men in kilts come to my signings. It's like a little Scottish miracle. Maybe I'll find that Fraser yet!

HALLIE: I completely loved this book and hope many of our friends out there will have as much fun with it as I did. Anyone who's been to the Surrey International Writers Conference will recognize the inimitable Jack Whyte (author of the Guardians of Scotland series and a true character in his own right) who shows up from time to time to drink with Emma offer his sage advice.

Today's question: What hunks from literature would you be willing to travel across the ocean to meet? Mr. Darcy? Robb Stark? Ross Poldark?

56 comments:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed . . . almost as much as the book itself . . . the story behind the writing of “Finding Fraser.”

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    1. So delighted to hear that, Joan. It was so much fun to write!

      ~kc

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  2. Oh, I'll have to dip into Finding Fraser! What a fun idea. As for me, I had a deep crush on Dr. Peter Blood, of Raphael Sabatini's "Captain Blood," back when I was in high school. He had intelligence, humor, resilience, a deep, true love for his Arabella, and those blue, blue eyes. Plus, y'know, pirates, strategic genius, and exciting battles at sea. The Errol Flynn movie is fun, but nothing beats Sabatini's novel. Treat yourself!

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    1. Well, now you've got me intrigued, Gigi. I think I WILL treat myself!
      ~kc

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  3. This book sounds like great fun, kc! I was an early fan of Outlander, and was like an Outlander evangelist for years, getting friends hooked on it. One such friend, who began as an online pal with whom I've now been close since 1988, actually resembles Diana Gabaldon. She lives in the Chicago area, and saved her episodes of the TV show to watch with me when I came to visit. We're both happily married, but a little fantasy of finding our own Frasier in kilts won't go amiss!

    A Scottish miracle, indeed! Well done.

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    1. I love that your friend lives in Chicago, Karen, which is where Emma begins her journey to find her Fraser. Hope it will bring you a little touch of verisimilitude when you read the story!

      ~kc

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  4. Karen: I would give me eye teeth to have someone said "she looks like Diana Gabaldon." She is incredible looking, with a killer bod, and on top of that she's one of the nicest, funniest people you'll ever meet. I might have to settle for buying myself a purple cape.

    Gigi: I never read anything by Sabatini and I think we have something somewhere in the house... going to look

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    1. Everyone should have a purple cape! As for Sabatini, he was a wonderful storyteller. Barnes and Noble has been keeping some of his best stuff in print, including Captain Blood.

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  5. This sounds like a blast! I may be the only reader in America who hasn't gotten to Outlander. Though it is sitting on John's nightstand where I see it every day...Congrats KC! I can't help wondering what it's like to be friends with such a household name? (though of course, we have big names in the Reds too LOL!)

    and Hallie, you'd look great in a purple cape...

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    1. Lucy, you don't need to have read the Outlander books to read Finding Fraser. Every reader knows what it is to fall in love with a character from a book, and in this case, Emma decides to do what many of us only dream of.
      As for the friendships -- I have been very lucky to get to know some amazing writers in my life.
      Diana is a wonderful person -- extraordinarily generous of spirit to other writers and to her fans. I've known Hallie almost as long, and our friendship is precious to me, too. Writers make the most wonderful friends, I must say!

      ~kc

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  6. Oh my goodness, this is completely fabulous! I am so devoted to outlander, and so in awe of the amazing Diana. And what a great idea! What a completely wonderful adorable idea…

    What would I look for? Oh, you know me. Morse. Inspector Rutledge. Lord Peter Wimsey.

    I would not look for Jon Snow. :-)

    And I can't get over what a sweet wonderful idea you had, kc! Congratulations on your mad success… And what do you see in your future? I know :-) more men in kilts!

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    1. Hahahaha! Yes, I have to confess to a deep fondness for men in kilts, Hank. And we may have to arm-wrestle over Inspector Morse, I fear! [Personally, I'd go for Tyrion over Jon Snow. I do admire an intellect...]

      ~kc

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    2. I adore Lord Peter Wimsey, Hank.

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  7. Guy I'd look for: Gilbert Blythe (from the book, not the movie(s))
    And Morse.

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    1. Gilbert Blythe was my first love, Hallie! In fact, I blame my whole career on Lucy Maud. [My mum is from PEI, so you can imagine that Anne has had a wee influence on my writing career...]

      ~kc

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  8. I haven't read "Highlander." Do I need to it before reading "Finding Fraser" KC?

    Fictional men I wouldn't mind meeting: James Bond (the Daniel Craig version), Inspector Hathaway from "Lewis," and Lynley from the Elizabeth George series.

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    1. I've always meant to read the Inspector Lynley books, Ingrid. You've inspired me!

      And no,you don't need to read the Outlander books first. If you've ever fallen for a character in a book, you'll relate to Emma on her somewhat crazy journey to find a real-life version of her hero!

      ~kc

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  9. I've been a fan of the Outlander series since the moment I stumbled upon the third book at publication date and made myself go back to the beginning before reading it. You never forget your first time reading Outlander.

    And KC, I enjoyed Finding Fraser as well. It was clear from the first page that this book was written as a fan of the series and not intended to tarnish that legacy in any way. Clearly, Diana felt the same way, as she has been very vocal about her feelings about fan-fiction. I'm glad that you took the chance and that she was able to see the distinction. She is a true gem in the literary world.

    As for those male characters we long to meet in real life: No one gets to the top of the list over Roarke from JD Robb's In Death series.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kristopher! And it's true -- and as a long-time friend of Diana, I was thrilled she liked the story. My goal was to write Emma as her greatest fan.

      As for Roarke, late last year I got to hear JD Robb herself talk about writing him. Fun!

      ~kc

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    2. I agree about Roarke! So jealous over hearing JD Robb speak (talk about a career!). I count Diana Gabaldon, kc dyer And JD Robb among my top ten favorite authors. :) My all-time fave (anti) hero tho, is Clayton Danvers (he gets there eventually), in Kelley Armstrong's Bitten book series.

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    3. kc, I live in Maryland, so I have had the pleasure of going to Nora Roberts' family bookstore in Boonsboro many times. They are always an event!

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    4. My agent has been to Nora's bookstore, Kristopher, and her description was AMAZING. One day!

      ~kc

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    5. Never knew that Nora Roberts' family has a bookstore. Where?

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  10. Men in kilts. Mmm.

    And that picture? Yeah, I'd go looking for him.

    To answer Hallie - yes. Although I'm not sure about Robb Stark; I'd have to look up a picture of him from the HBO series. When I read the first couple books, I'm not sure I thought of him as particularly good-looking. But maybe.

    Congrats on the book. Oh, and Ingrid? I haven't read OUTLANDER either. Just not enough time.

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  11. I would also have to say Jamie Fraser -- after meeting him in the first book, I couldn't understand how Clare even remembered Frank or missed him!

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  12. How wonderful! Writing for the pure joy of something is the best feeling - I am delighted that Finding Fraser has found a large audience. I am putting it on the top of my TBR pile. I read the first Outlander when it came out but haven't revisited the series even though I keep promising myself I will. Hallie, I love that you named Gilbert Blythe.
    And, Ingrid, Hathaway is the best. Currently, I am in deep infatuation with C.S. Harris's Sebastian St Cyr.
    Question for kc - What are you working on now?

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  13. Right now, Jenn, I'm working on a romantic comedy about superhero librarians. I broke my leg a few weeks ago, so I'm hoping to get it done by the time I'm mobile again. Hope you enjoy Finding Fraser when it makes it to the top of your TBR pile!

    ~kc

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    1. You just won my heart - former librarian here! - and I'm putting Finding Fraser next in the queue after I finish Chevy Stevens's Still Missing. Can't wait!

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  14. Broke your leg?? Oh, no....

    And agreed, Frank is creepy, anyway you look at it.

    I also had a huge crush on Henry V---I used to dream about him, how odd is that?

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    1. Hank, that sounds like the coolest dream EVAH. His portrait is so creepy [kinda like Frank]. =)

      ~kc

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  15. kc,how did I not know about this book??? Living under a rock again... Now I have to decide whether to get it on Kindle or wait until I get home (I'm on book tour) and buy the real book so that I can share with my daughter and my friend Gigi (see above.)

    We're kindred souls. I adore Scotland, have lived in Edinburgh, and have set a book in the Highlands. I love the first three books in the Outlander series and have read and reread them. I'm afraid I get bogged down after they come to America, however--I missed Scotland!!

    My first huge fictional crush was Lord Peter Wimsey, so I might have to start with him. Nothing wrong with a bit of time travel, right? And I do quite fancy Ian Rutledge....

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    1. We do sound kindred spirits, Deborah! I hope you enjoy your romp through Scotland with my Emma when you get the chance!

      ~kc

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  16. I've really enjoyed the Outlander books so Finding Fraser will have to go on the TBR list! Yes, I have book crushes too. Inspector Rutledge, Sebastian St Cyr, Ross Poldark (TV crush), Trey Seaver, Joe Sandilands, Richard Jury. There are others. Don't tell my husband.

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    1. Personally, I think husbands often reap the benefit of book-crushes, Pat! =)

      ~kc

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  17. Nope, never read Outlander. So many books, so little time!

    Deb Romano

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  18. What a terrific idea and who wouldn't want to go looking for Fraser? I wrote my Darcy O'Mara hero as a homage to Mr. Darcy, specifically Colin Firth coming out of that lake!

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    1. Rhys, I have read ALL of your Lady Georgiana and Darcy O'Mara stories, and recognized the inspiration right away. [And, believe it or not, I can vouch for the charm of Colin Firth in person.] =)

      ~kc

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    2. Yep. Long story. [I'll tell you in October]! =)

      ~kc

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    3. Rhys, I have a crush on your Constable Evans.

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  19. Finding Frazier sounds wonderful. I just put in on my Nook Reader.
    Who would I cross the pond to search for. Harry Potter's Minerva McGonnagall has first place. not a hunk per se, but what a mind! Same with Laurie King's Mary Russel, time travel would be worth it to meet her. I guess you can see that I go for the mind more than the body. At 71 years old it only makes sense.

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    1. I go for the mind first, too, Coralee. Enjoy the trip to Scotland with Emma!

      ~kc

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  20. Finding Frazier sounds like a lot of fun. I must add it to my list. I have been to Scotland twice and really fell in love with it. As to fictional heroes- Lord Peter for sure. Poldark, both the original and the new one ( hmm, there is a definitely time/space confusing problem with that idea) Darcy. AND Darcy O'Mara too. In my youth, I had a big crush on the hero of Mary Stewart's This Rough Magic. Max. And the very intriguing hero of My Brother Michael, too. She could write them! Plus, Greece.

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    1. A friend sent me a copy of My Brother Michael awhile (looooong while) back... thx for the reminder, Triss -- going to read it now.

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    2. I re-read it for the first time in many decades on the way to Greece. I knew we would go to Delphi where it takes place. Just as good as I remembered! Then I made my husband read it.To his surprise, he liked it a lot too.

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    3. I've heard so much about Poldark, Triss. Do you prefer the literary or screen version?

      ~kc

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    4. I had seen parts of the original tv Poldark (long before even VCRs and I didn't have a tv when it was first on) It was deservedly hugely popular, one of the all time favorite Masterpiece dramas. This was before I even knew it was a book series. The books filled in the missing pieces, but honestly, they are the swashbuckling stories that made even better films. And in even in my advanced maturity, I am enjoying the new Poldark series too. Really fun and really absorbing. Good acting, too.

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  21. I'm coming in so late today, but I hope you read my comments, kc, as your writing has touched upon two of my favorite subjects, the plague and Jamie Fraser/Scotland/kilts. I don't know how I missed these two books, but I will be visiting Amazon right after I post here. I even have a pinterest board entitled Scottish fetish. Now to get my son to move to Scotland.

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    1. I'm on the west coast, Kathy, so it's not late here! I'm in the midst of writing another plague book right now. My first was set in the West Highlands, and this one? Iceland!

      ~kc

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  22. kc dyer, I thought that Finding Fraser was a romance novel. Though I am not a big fan of romance novels, I do like some romance in mystery novels. I love Scotland too! I have a strange story. Though I had known about the wars between England and Scotland centuries ago, I had forgotten about the Battle of Culloden. It was in April 1745. I happened to be visiting the Highlands more than 200 years later and I was there on the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden. I was not thinking about history that day. Suddenly, I felt very sad and I felt like crying. I had no idea why. It was a beautiful day and people in my tour group were wonderful. Looking at the date of my Scottish Highland travels, I realized that I was there on the anniversary of Battle of Culloden.

    Edinburgh is my favorite go to place in the UK. I like London okay but I liked Edinburgh better. My great grandfather was born in Lanarkshire.

    Who was my fictional crush? I seem to remember it was the Count of Monte Cristo. I also liked Gilbert Blythe, I have mixed feelings about Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice the book. He redeemed himself and I like that. Unfortunately, I have met real men like Mr. Darcy in his worst moments and they rarely redeem themselves. I liked Mr. Knightley in Emma better because he was a kind person. And he would not tolerate Emma's unkindness to other people, regardless of their social class.

    I adore Jaime Fraser. I remember Diana was watching Doctor Who when she was inspired to create Jaime Fraser and the Outlander series,

    Looking forward to reading Finding Fraser.

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