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 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?