Diana Gabaldon was born on January 11, 1952 in Arizona to Jacqueline Sykes and state senator Tony Gabaldon. She received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Northern Arizona University, a Master’s in Marine Biology from the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and a doctorate in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology also from Northern Arizona University. She also has an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Gabaldon spent twelve years as a university professor teaching environmental studies at Arizona State University, helping to create the field of scientific computation. She founded the scientific journal Science Software Quarterly while she taught and wrote comic books for Walt Disney. She has written several scientific articles and textbooks as well as being the contributing editor on the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Computers.
In 1991, Gabaldon decided to write a novel “for practice, just to learn how,” with the intention of never showing it to anyone. She wrote Outlander entirely through research she did through library books, without visiting Scotland first. She went on to write seven more novels in the series (and is working on the ninth installment), quitting teaching to write full-time.
Aside from the Outlander series, Gabaldon has written a “sub-series” to Outlander, featuring one of the minor characters and a graphic novel retelling events that take place in the books from different points of view. She has also co-produced the popular television series adapting her novels, having written the script for one of the episodes, and appearing as a cameo in another episode. There has also been some talk of an Outlander musical!
She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and three children. Her son is the fantasy writer, Sam Sykes.
Gabaldon’s novels merge multiple genres at a time, which make it difficult to discern where they “belong” in terms of one particular genre. But, the plus side of this is that they can appeal to everyone who likes historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure, science fiction, and fantasy!