Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has signalled that she may go beyond book 10 in the time-travelling saga.
The creator of the historical drama also admitted that she kept the first instalment a secret from her husband.
The penultimate season of the show is underway and 71-year-old Gabaldon has previously said the book series will last for 10 instalments. She is currently working on the ‘final’ one.
However, she has now revealed she could continue the series if she struggles to wrap up the story of Jamie and Claire.
Speaking to the National Trust for Scotland’s latest Love Scotland podcast, she said: “I’m 71 and I don’t know how long I will last so I have it in mind that book 10 should be the last to give me a good chance of actually finishing off the series in good order, but you never know.
“I wrote Outlander for practice — I was never going to show it to anyone – I just needed to learn what it took to write a novel but things happened and here we all are.
“So while I at the moment intend book 10 to finish things off it might not work out that way. I might get further into it and think I can’t do it and I can see much more stuff, there’s going to have to be eleven. If that happens we’ll just deal with things when we get there.
“I’ve written the final scene — which is not to say that I won’t rewrite it because I fiddle constantly with stuff. The language might get picked at but I know what happens. But that scene doesn’t necessarily affect what comes before that.”
The American author also admitted that she wrote the first novel in the fantasy series in secret – not even letting her husband discover what she was working on.
She was inspired to write the time travel romance Outlander, set in 18th century Scotland, after seeing a kilted Scot in a 1969 episode of Doctor Who.
The books have since gone on to sell over 50 million copies.
As she was interviewed by Trust president Jackie Bird, she said: “I had two full time jobs and three children under the age of three. I wasn’t even telling my husband that I was writing a novel on the side because he would have tried to stop me — not out of any objection to my writing a novel per se but out of fear that I would drop dead (from exhaustion).
“I knew that if I told him he would say ‘wait until the kids are in school’, ‘wait until my business is doing better and you can quit one of your jobs’ and all that. I knew if I didn’t do it then I might never do it and so I just didn’t tell him. I kept going along and when he finally found out it was much too late to stop me.”
Gabaldon – who worked as a research professor in Arizona – decided to begin working on Outlander to see if she could write a novel but was unable to visit Scotland at the time.
Instead of visiting Scotland, she researched the country’s history for accuracy and read everything she could find written by Scottish authors.
She left her university job while writing her second novel, after she was awarded a three-book contract by her publisher, and finally decided to visit the country.
When she eventually stood on the site of the Battle of Culloden, which features heavily in the storyline, she said she found it “extremely moving”.
She said: “I felt the way everyone feels on Culloden Moor, it’s an extremely moving place. The bottom line is the men who fought there are still there.” Gabaldon has developed a close connection to Scotland and received a special “International Contribution to Scottish Tourism” award from VisitScotland in 2019 after a surge in overseas visitors inspired by Outlander. The phenomenon has even been given a name, the “Outlander Effect”.
She told host Jackie Bird: “They gave me a thistle award for my services to Scottish tourism which, they were kind enough to say, had caused a 72 per cent increase in visits to Scotland from people who had been reading and watching Outlander, which is wonderful.”