Producer, Writer, Husband and all ’round delightful human, Barry Waldo joins The LOVELANDER Project!

Many Outlander fans were introduced to Barry Waldo as the proud (yes, handsome) husband of Jon Gary Steele,(referred to as Gary) brilliant production designer of Outlander from seasons 1-5 (amongst many other productions). Barry is an accomplished producer and writer in his own right. Once I found him on social media, I was immediately attracted to his wit, compassion and talent.

Yes, he shared BTS photos and rarely seen JGS sightings in the wild but it was Barry himself and his warmth that kept me and others engaged.

I was quite beside myself that Barry was so receptive to The LOVELANDER Project. I am grateful people can’t see me doing the happy little dance wiggle when people reply positively to my queries. The fact that we he was also massively open and honest with all I asked was a thrill. It is time to grab a lil somethin’ somethin’ and settle in for the Barry -n- Sherry show.

Thank you so much for agreeing to be a part of The LOVELANDER Project. Your twitter and IG presence developed your own fan base in the Outlander world, did you expect that to happen 😊? What a very nice thing to say—no, I didn’t expect it at all. It’s quite hilarious actually. Gary and Terry (Dresbach – Outlander’s former Costume Designer) gave me endless grief for being on social media years before Outlander began— “it’s an invasion of privacy” and “whatever you do, don’t post that photo!” (self-admittedly, I’m a bit of a shutterbug). It’s funny how it all evolved, and although neither of them would admit it, I think they eventually enjoyed it… eventually 😉 It was only in the last year Gary stopped calling it “Tweeter!”

I’ve always been curious about the world, discovering what people are up to, taking travels of the mind, learning about other cultures and traditions. Everything shifted a bit when we moved to Scotland. When you work in entertainment and live in Los Angeles, you feel like you’re in the heart of it all—you hear the gossip, you hear about projects being pitched about town and then one day, boom, you’re in faraway Scotland looking at gorgeous lochs and mountains, trying to figure out exactly what haggis is, trying to hide your LA wardrobe under a foreign object called a raincoat, and concentrating really hard to translate Scottish into English. At the same time, everyone back in the States was asking where we had disappeared to, so I figured why not share it?

I am sure your friends back home were happy you did, I know all of your new friend’s aka, me, were! You grew up in Arkansas, can you tell me a little about your childhood? Wow! This is better than therapy! How much time do you have? Others have accused me of deep diving into their brains before. so you aren’t far off base. I have allll day.

It’s a fish out of water story, really. It’s the complete opposite of my twenty years in Los Angeles. I grew up in the country, riding bikes then motorcycles on dirt roads, camping, hunting and fishing… I must have built a fort in the woods every single week. We ate Mom’s fried chicken and Dad hosted the neighborhood fish fry with hushpuppies and fried okra every weekend. Friday night high school football games, getting bullied in school, ‘goin’ Jeepin’—I mean it’s almost a cliché, right? My first real job was at Showbiz Pizza (now Chuck E. Cheese) during high school and afterwards I went to The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, the exact same college that Gary attended although we never met or knew each other. To this day, I’m still a massive country music fan. I am forever grateful for the freedom of a small town, southern childhood, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. But I always knew, from the youngest age, I wanted to see more of the world.

It is very apparent that you are a storyteller and a damn good one. What do you think sparked that light in you? When you grow up in a small town in the southern US, it’s just built into you. My parents were big on the philosophy children are to be seen but not heard. If we wanted to hang out with the adults—which we always did— you had to be quiet. My dad is the best storyteller I know. Even when he re-tells a story, there is always a new twist, a detail he simply omitted from the first time. I would listen to all the stories and take it all in. Then we would get bored and go play. The mindset of kids is amazing! We were fearless in designing our own plays, dance routines and poems and couldn’t wait to perform them. How could anyone not love our creations! I think the first story I ever wrote was about a hot dog with a cape that wanted to save the world. As a maturing adult, I forgot that lesson—to be fearless. Things happen, life happens, and I had to focus on responsible things. It never occurred to me that people could make a living telling stories. It was only when I started working at Disney that I realized you could, well not anyone, but if you worked in a certain division, you could. Years later, I went to work for Mattel where there were fewer rules, and I had more freedom.  One day a peer who oversaw research walked into my office, showed be a really rough sketch of monster dolls and asked me if I thought I could see, then create, a story from it. That became a world called Monster High. Once the book was released and the very first Nickelodeon special (New Ghoul at School) was aired, I wanted to do more and I haven’t been able to quit doing it since.

I’m not sure if you know but Diana Gabaldon, also had a turn at writing comics for Disney in the 70’s, so there is a connection that you and she share. I am an Eeyore lover, he and I connected in Disneyland 13 years ago 😉. I hear that you and Winnie the Pooh have a special relationship, can you share? Diana has my complete sympathy! Disney is a tough customer when it comes to working with outside creators. I really enjoyed my time there. Yes, I am unapologetically a major Winnie-the-Pooh fan. It was one of the brand portfolios I managed across the globe during my time there. I learned so much from studying A.A. Milne’s journey. I love the entire ensemble of characters—and used to travel and give presentations with my very own Happy Ears Eeyore and Tumble Time Tigger; I championed The Heffalump Movie—it was so exciting to bring the franchise back to the big screen. I own a Happy Ears Eeyore…LOVE him. I might love all 50 of my Eeyore’s. Oh to see one of those presentations!

Years later, it was quite a twist of fate to be back on the lot as a creator pitching Star Darlings, a world that was created with my partners Shana and Ahmet Zappa. Disney eventually acquired it from us. I still love those characters and that world!

It was an incredible story culture, and I can’t say enough about the talented artist and illustrators that I’ve worked with there over the years. I think anyone who has worked for Disney would tell you not to over glamorize it; it is still hard work and has typical corporate politics—don’t expect blue birds to bring you lunch.

Your career was certainly on an uptick when your spouse had this job opportunity that happened to be in Scotland. As a former military spouse, I know that “Let’s do this and support them feeling.” What was like for you? Wow, this really is the best therapy session EVER! And you nailed the feeling which is hard to really understand unless you’ve been through it which you have. Fair to say, I underestimated it.

When Gary, Terry and Ron started working on the pitch lookbook for Outlander, I was working for Coca-Cola on a celebrity partnership and then became the Chief Marketing Officer for will.i.am’s (Black Eyed Peas) company.  At first, we didn’t think too much about it—Terry and Gary had a history of crazy shenanigans that, well, over time, I had learned not to ask. One day, he said he was going out to T’s to start thinking about a conceptual lookbook for a possible new series, then poof! Next thing I know, he and Ron were in Scotland doing location scouts!

What most fans don’t realize is how developing a series is like walking on a frozen lake—at any minute it could crack and fall through, the pilot could get green lit or cancelled, or it could be one [season] and done.

So at first we didn’t overthink it—and chalked it up to a great adventure for Gary. He packed a suitcase and went off to Scotland while I continued to work and take care of things at home in Los Angeles. Because will.i.am spends a lot of time in the UK (he is one of the original judges on The Voice UK), I was able to visit the UK frequently. At some point, about midyear 2016, Sony greenlit two additional seasons at once (S3 and S4). At that point, I had been commuting from Los Angeles to Scotland for several years, and I had taken eleven international flights in twelve months so it just wasn’t good for my health—you’re always jet lagged, the weather was often terrible, flights delayed and so on. Don’t forget, the first season was a whopping 16 episodes—a massive number and very unusual‑ so Gary couldn’t really come home or take any time off so it was all up to me to get to him. Not to mention his intense workload, hours and pressure to get that first season perfect; it was all-consuming so we were barely able to fight, er, I mean talk, on the phone once a day 😉 When I would see him, I would be so jet lagged and he would be so exhausted, we would just sleep through the weekend and then I’d have to leave again. It took a heavy toll on us and we had to make a decision: his job or mine. I think I’m oversharing – am I oversharing now? Sorry. Perhaps I should just say “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” *laughs*

These things are never easy...what tipped you toward Scotland? It wasn’t a black or white decision—financially it made sense for us to do one thing, emotionally his passion for the project and his recognition with the Emmy nomination pointed a different direction. We were loving our time and friends in Scotland, and ultimately decided on adventure over practical matters. Now, all I had to do was reinvent myself.  

That is something the ‘spouse that goes’ has to do, reorganize and resettle. It’s tough. marriage is hard work!

Which by the way, congratulations on celebrating 21 years together! The photos of you and JGS really are too much handsome in one place it’s pretty distracting. That is incredibly nice of you to say to two country boys from Arkansas so I will simply say “thank you” and please don’t look too close at those photos.

I’ve zoomed in, I have no idea what you are talking about. Now, you are handsome in 10X zoom but o.k. *smile*

As someone who has been with her partner a long time too, I am curious what you believe are the most important qualities in a partner? This is such an individual thing, but there is one universal truth: saying “I’m sorry” (whether I am or not, and many times I am NOT, but yes, I am very, very sorry!) If you can’t ever admit you’re wrong, or very importantly for us, when you are supposed to be wrong – hint: I am always wrong after his 16 hour workday arm wrestling for every color or construction detail for a set, and he is always wrong after my fifteen hours and two layovers of flying. If you ever hear someone scream “I AM SORRY!” really, really loud at the airport or train station, it’s just us.

That visual, is hilarious. Thank you for sharing it.

Still, you are your husband’s biggest fan, it is not hard to see that the feeling is mutual, of course. I’m going to get nosey and ask how you met.

We met in Los Angeles through a mutual friend. It went something like this – Producer/Writer Friend:  “Seen any movies lately?” Me: Yes, I just saw this really disturbing film called American History X *shiver*” Producer/Writer Friend: *screaming across the yard* GARY! Get over here! He just saw your movie!”
Gary was the art director on the movie. I was working for Procter & Gamble and thought all Hollywood jobs were fluff!

See? You can teach an old dog new tricks!

I love it! And you were not so old then, not that you are old now…o.k., changing the subject…

I have learned not to ask for one favourite so if you could give me your top 5 Outlander sets -what would they be, and why? Maybe it’s because we’ve been apart for 6 weeks, or that I’m on an airplane back to the UK right now to rejoin him, but this question has me sobbing (sorry lady sitting next to me‑I’m really going to be OK; thankfully crying is not a symptom of COVID or people would be parachuting out the windows).

You know what? I am his biggest fan—yes as a professional designer but even more so as a human being.

OK! OK! Enough with all that! I’m not crying, you’re crying! On with the show: My Top 5 Outlander sets—wait, only five? I know! I’m horrible!

The Star Chamber: not only is it amazing, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen JGS so excited as when he was building it. God help the man that got in the way of JGS and his Star Chamber!

The Great Hall: No one ever talks about this set but it was magical. The Great Hall was the set playing on one of my first few trips to Scotland. I was allowed to hide up in the rafters, out of the camera’s sight. John Dahl was directing the scene with Jamie agreeing to take the punishment for Laoghaire. The set was full of extras (don’t get me started about Terry and the costume team’s brilliant work. The sheer volume of it! I just wanted to touch everyone—the details were amazing, the volume of work unfathomable). I remember watching the crew lower and then light every candle on all those chandeliers and sconces (those were 100% real candles y’all). It took over 30 minutes to light them all, then raise them on their chains back to ceiling level. I was so scared that if I moved, I would get in trouble so I couldn’t wait for the Director to yell “cut” so I could frantically try to wave the smoke away, and cough! Picturing you doing this makes me giggle and look for you struggling to breathe in the background scenes. Which I know I could never find because this production isn’t going to let that happen but it’s still fun to imagine.

Claire’s Kitchen in the Boston Apartment: The appliances, the colors, the checkered floors—all the details instantly made me what to grab an ice cream soda, play Elvis on the Jukebox, watch I Love Lucy and smoke a cigarette like I didn’t know it caused cancer. It’s times like this when the writer in you just flies out, Barry!

The Parisian Apartment—I would never leave…ever. Comprenez vous?
Totalement! Idem.

Master Raymond’s Apothecary — He had me at “hanging alligator.” Geillis’ attic was a close runner up.

Your work is so filled with cheeky humour, bright characters, and uplifting messages. This is also a large part of your presence on social media. It is a gift you bring to the world. How important is that to you? Life can be hard! On any given day, you can feel a moment of sadness or a tough time that someone in our social media fanmily is going through. I try to remember that lesson from childhood – listen before you talk. I read as many comments and DM’s as possible. Some days, I just want to brighten someone’s day. It means so much when someone actually messages me and says – your post made me smile or got me through a rough day. I try to keep that perspective—most of the time.

It is something more of us could practice. I love your way with words. Which is fantastic segue to mention your book, Anna and the Apocalypse, a great YA read, the concept was born on a train in the UK, is that something you can explain to me? When I first moved to the UK, I still had some work to finish that required me to live in London. I would commute every weekend to Glasgow via train. On one of those crowded train rides, I struck up a conversation with a young Scottish Producer and we chatted for the entire five hours. Toward the end, he mentioned he was producing an independent movie in Glasgow and asked if I would like to come by and meet some of the team. When I asked what it was about, he replied “it’s a high school zombie musical.” I thought this sounds like the worst idea I’d ever heard. He gave me his info and said please come by on Monday. I honestly thought I would never go, but on Monday, I input the address in google maps and, to my shock, their offices were literally twelve doors down from our flat. When I walked in, I saw Dave Frew, one of the post production editors on Outlander. It was an instant short-handed way to verify we were both legit; it reminded me of the benefits and familiarity of being in a smaller city. Then I met more of the team, listened to the rough tracks of the brilliant songs and just sort of fell in love with it, the team and their sincere passion for making the best story possible. It was an earnestness that you don’t see in the Hollywood community—the sheer joy absent all the politics—it was the way content creators were intended to create. Luckily, they invited me to join in.

Months later, we were on set shooting Hollywood Ending, a signature musical number for the film, and I kept thinking the song lyrics are absolutely brilliant story telling. I fell completely in love with the young cast and their characters—a testament to not only the talent but the creator, writers, producers and director. It was the kind of production that would have never happened in the US. It reminded me of being fearless. It was also the complete antithesis of Outlander. If Outlander was Champagne, Anna was that mysterious local homebrew created by the pub owner, and always on special for 99p—absolutely brilliant in its own right. I kept thinking how else can we tell this fun story? What other mediums can we tap into and share its current generational insights? Recall Monster High was introduced to the public by a YA book so I seem to be a magnet for this genre.  

I’m attracted to the things that bring me to a place I want to go back to, but to relive them my way. I’m not sure if that is the same for you but you really have that genre, nailed. Any hints on the next book? *innocent eye flutters* Sure – there are four projects I’m juggling at the moment. A terrible way to do it but the imagination wants to go where the imagination wants to go! The first is an adult fiction novel with a rather large ensemble group of characters – not the easiest one to take on when you’re still learning. I’m just about to finish the development edits on it.

The second project is a Children’s Picture Book series. It’s about a young bear that beats to his own drum and wants to discover friendly faces in faraway places—I am completely obsessed with it. It is, by far, my most challenging project.

Then there are two more YA fiction books. The first is still in early draft stage. It is about a protagonist with Asperger Syndrome that discovers an alien species. The second one is a female-empowerment fantasy story along the lines of Monster High and Star Darlings. I am co-writing it with a good friend who is a talented British author. 

These all sound intriguing and extremely exciting! I know everyone is going to be looking forward to these coming together. You are most assuredly doing some multitasking. Where do you find is the best place for you to write? What do you find are ideal surroundings for you? Anywhere where Gary is not!

Oh, I’m totally kidding… kind of *wink* I am more productive in the UK than the US, perhaps that is due to having more rainy days in the UK, fewer fires, earthquakes and hurricanes to dodge?

Honestly, I’m constantly on the move so it’s just about making it work. Those five-hour train rides between London and Glasgow were great for writing unless (1) there was a football match and the train was filled with inebriated kilts, or (2) you sit next to a pre-schooler who needs help with her Princess sticker book. Then they are great in an entirely different way. If you don’t make my heart melt with your pictures online, you go and make my heart melt with comments like that.

I love writing in the British Library when it’s not overly crowded. There’s something about sitting in the shadows of towers of books that makes me want to be a better writer. I like to write for a few hours, then relocate and write some more.

You are vocal about the world’s (and your own country’s) current state of affairs. Even when there is clap back that people believe celebrities should keep their opinions to themselves. I personally don’t think our professions in any way dictate our right to an opinion. I am however curious, how this affects you or those you know when you are faced with remarks like this. When you create stories, you think about who are the good women, and who are the bad guys all day long 😉 So is it really any surprise that, in the real world, the people we talk the most about are those that fit into those classifications? Do you really want to read posts about the most average person that did the most average thing?

Celebrities have a whole different thing with which to deal—people want to believe they are actually their characters in real life. When you live in California, you don’t really pay attention to the celebrity thing—they are friends, family, friends of friends and people entitled to opinions just like us. They put their underwear on one leg at a time, they have feelings, they are not the characters you see on screen. I’m not one so you’d have to ask them—but IMO that pressure is a privilege and I think most of the talent I know personally accept it and handle it with great respect. They are human after all.

That same expectation has trickled over into social media. People want to think you are only what you post, and in many ways that’s understandable because it is more like a reality show. It is a privilege to have people follow you— even if there are only five of them and one is my mother, another is Gary and three others are someone’s pets.

Seriously, the world is a big, beautiful diverse place! That’s what I love about it! We are all not the same. So I have to expect, and respect, that my followers are going to be equally diverse. Social media is an amazing place to learn about new things. Gary must send me ten DM’s a day with dreamy cabins, sculptures and fantastic art. As a kid in rural Arkansas, I yearned to know so much more about the bigger, broader world beyond my small town. I see it was a wonderful gift to be able to communicate with so many people around the world with a few simple clicks. Amazing, right?  And what is also amazing is CHOICE. With a simple click, we all get to choose to follow or unfollow someone. That is a big truth, we do have the choice and Barry, you happen to be selling yourself short. You are pretty big deal in your own right. Though I sense that isn’t something you take seriously, which is also endearing. What do think is important when interacting with people in the social media age? Now let’s talk about respect. It is the linchpin of any relationship, be it social media or in person. If we can agree to disagree respectfully, we can still be friends. Deal? We don’t have to agree on everything to respect each other, even this poor country boy from rural Arkansas knows that! Even if I didn’t like a friend of my parents, a teacher or the neighbor next door, we still called them Ma’am, Sir, Mr. or Mrs. and we said please and thank you… it’s called respect and hiding behind a social media account doesn’t give you permission to throw it out the door, even if you happen to get elected as the leader of the free world. Which brings me to the ‘current state of affairs’ as you so gracefully called it.  

Anyone who ever went to grade school knows a bully when they see one. It’s why the school or office bully in one of the most effective characters and archetypes to include in any movie, series or book. We know them, we see them clearly and we oppose them. Period. Some people are more like the bully’s parent(s)—they are the only ones that seem unaware that the bully is a bully; they are the only ones that chose to not believe the facts that are available to them; they are the ones to explain away terrible acts, give truth to lies and back their bully all the way until that bully raises bullies of his own. I prefer redeemable bullies, ones that eventually learn then evolve and rise to a better humanity. I have little time for the one’s that stay the course their whole lives and then impose it on others.

I like to share my POV, particularly after a pot of good coffee in the morning but I try not to tell other people what to do or what to think. I want people to vote. I don’t need anyone telling me who to vote for, and I don’t expect to tell others. Sharing information is important. Educated voters are SO important. I’ve voted conservative. I’ve voted liberal. When you boil it all down, people vote on the most important issues to them. I vote on the issues that are most important to me. You know who is a good person. You know who is a bad person. Now go vote and own your legacy. But always be open to evolving.    

Let’s talk about something lighter now. The joy of…COOKING! (You aren’t the only cheeky one 😉) You and your husband seem to have not only a loving relationship but one that might be just a little competitive, in the kitchen.  Has that always been a thing?  Gary can cook?

It’s very polite of you to ask about our weight gain in such a nice manner.

Yep, it’s always been a thing. It is one of the main things I missed the most when we were apart in the first few seasons of Outlander. I would bake an entire batch of cookies and then just stare at them wondering how they use to disappear so much faster before he left. Then I would end up eating them all by myself. When I would arrive in Glasgow, he would slip in a comment like “oh, have you been baking cookies?” when what he wanted to tell me it was time to diet. “Oh, have you been drinking with the [fill in cast or crew name here] again?” I would reply. Then we would go home and see who could make the best bread! That’s where our hashtag #KitchenMesswithGaryandBarry started. We needed help judging who was better at what, and to showcase our holiday experiments and competitions and pretty soon everyone joined in.

What would you say your favourite dishes are to cook? I think it’s fair to say we love all food equally. Favorite recipes? Yes, all recipes that involve butter.

Here is a tricky one…who does it better? Gary is a better cook. I am a better baker. He likes to experiment with a smidge of this and “oh, what about some of that.” I like precision. Someone else made the recipe fifty times before publishing it and those measurements are in the recipe for a reason!

I have to admit defeat when his experiments turn out great, although some of the credit I have to give to Terry who told him to do it. I get to claim victory when he tries to experiment with baking as most bakers know, it often goes awry.

It all kind of went to hell when we started living in Europe since we soon exhausted of googling every measurement conversion and just decided to wing it together. I mean come on! What proper butter company does not put those little measurement markers on the wrapper! European butter companies, that’s who!

Oh, I could go on with your kitchen adventures all day but I want to talk about your time in Scotland. You went on many adventures, can you share some of the things that you loved the most about the UK? The great thing about being a newbie was our blissful ignorance to the local geographical politics. But now that I am wiser, I must caution everyone not to mix Scotland with the UK in the same sentence lol. It turns out that the Kingdom is about as “united” as the States these days. *Duly noted- all my friends across the pond please accept my apologies and poutine*

Canadians say sorry better than anyone else.

We were typical tourist at first—we preferred scenic Edinburgh, we loved the Fringe Festival and pretty much any castle regardless of its condition. Glasgow, where we lived, took a little longer to figure out, and it is true: the people make Glasgow… we love our Weegies! But the north country! I mean wow! The drive to Skye is so beautiful, the Loch’s so majestic, the Fairy Pools, the Old Man of Storr! I mean if you have to be cold and wet, you better be looking at something spectacular! We did a Burn’s Night on the Isle of Lewis, hung out with native Islanders, and learned how to avoid stepping in sheep poop. Of course, we had to stop every few miles so I could talk to the Highland Coos. But most of all, when I think about all our years in Scotland, I think of being with our mini-melting pot of the most lovely and crazy friends—Irish, American, Scottish, Australian, English, South African—next to a fire, laughing, dancing and drinking.

It sounds like a remarkable time. All good things do come to an end, as we know. What are you looking forward to the most in the next chapter of your adventures? I can’t wait until we can travel again. I can’t wait until some of the most interesting places in the world are safe to visit—we have to get to Egypt.

I can’t wait to get these stories published; hearing from you all what you think about the books, talking about the things that aren’t on the page, doing some virtual book clubs while drinking a great vintage. It’s much harder, and much more work than I ever imagined and the idea that they might not make it out into the world, well, I just refuse to except that will happen so let’s leave it there!

I can’t wait to see Jon Gary Steele accept his Emmy and Oscar. That will be a very good day indeed. We are all with you on THAT one!

Going back to your stories, who would you say are your biggest influences when it came to inspiring you as a writer?  Hands down, Jon Gary Steele. Sometimes, when you least expect it, the person you least expect it from, can give you the biggest gift of all. I had a long track record of always taking the safest route, the one that provided the most security, the most peer recognition, the one that I thought other people expected me to take. Gary is the absolutely best at manifesting what he wants and going after it. When he graduated from college, he packed his car and drove to LA to pursue his dream to design. When I graduated from college, I passed the CPA exam, took the best paying job and planned my eventual MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School. No regrets but along the way and later in life, I needed to unlearn in order to learn anew. I needed to give myself permission to be creative. I needed to not be afraid to succeed or, very importantly, fail.

Remember your earlier question about what it was like to give up my career to move to Scotland? Well that was an important moment. Gary knew this desire was brewing and renewing inside of me so when he sensed my hesitation about giving up a more traditional career path, he said, “It’ll be an adventure. You can finally write and develop, and I get to design a historical period drama. We both get to chase our dreams!”  Wait… did I say he was the master of manifesting? I probably should have said master of negotiating.

Either way, it’s worked out beautifully for both of you. When we find the partner we want and they turn out to be the partner we needed too, it is a beautiful thing.

And now, more than ever I believe we need inspiration, who inspires you?

Three sources:

1. Brilliant Artist
Fearless and pure of talent, it’s always inspiring to see how they transform their thoughts into a physical manifestation of something that we can all touch and see. Some favorite examples: Javier Marin, an amazing Mexican sculptor; Eugenio Zanetti, a brilliant Argentine painter; Neil Gaiman, a fantastic English storyteller and wordsmith.

2. Teachers!
They opened my eyes to literature, art, stories, cultures, science, humanities and so much more from the very first days of preschool. I am in awe of the effort and knowledge they provide every single day. They taught this small-town boy how to travel in his mind, and pushed me to dream beyond my limited reality realm.
 

3. Dreamers
The best thing about social media? Discovering other dreamers! It doesn’t matter if you have two followers or two million. A Geocaching Adventurer, a golden-paper-pastel-wielding-portraits sketch artist, an Alpaca wool scarf-maker, a willow sculptor, a cross-stitching master or a fellow tennis fanatic that likes to do a little dance… just to name a few within the Outlander community. Gary and I talk about this often—we often wonder if they know how much they inspire us.

I don’t think many of us realize how we affect others; we are too busy thinking of how others affect us. It only makes sense that our lives touch others in the same ways. Mutual lovefest aside *smile* reading is obviously a passion for most writers and storytellers. What was the last book you read and loved? I’m currently deep in The Sandman novels. Before that, I read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book which I really loved.  

What would you say your top 5 reads of all time were? I’m exempting Outlander books as everyone here already is aware of Diana’s brilliance. I also have to exempt the Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie and Harry Potter —they are series that I would never dare just picking one.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Tie: The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Theodor Geisel and In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was my absolute favourite growing up and as I was reading about In the Night Kitchen…I know I have read that, but I was very little. Wow…great list.

I wonder, with your affinity for the YA genre of writing, if you could go back and give advice to your teenage self, what would it be?

Three things:

  1. Go! Don’t dream of going somewhere, don’t let money be the reason why you don’t see the world. Don’t have enough vacation time to travel abroad (hello my fellow Americans!)?—figure it out. Just go!
  2. Be willing to unlearn to learn. You have to unlearn some preconceived notions, prejudices and stereotypes that somehow got embedded in your brain in the earliest of years, and be willing to replace them with real, personal true experiences. Meet as many people as you can and listen to their stories.
  3. Companies are not people. Don’t expect them to be human. Respect the relationship, work hard but have outside interests that feed your soul. If you work for a company, expect to hear “our best asset is our people” over a hundred times but always remember you control your own destiny.

Not only good advice for a young Barry, but good advice for everyone. There has been such a shift in the world since Covid19, what things do you miss the most from our pre-covid days?  I’m a hugger. I like to embrace people I care about. This elbow thing is for the birds! I miss hugging so much (and smiles)!

With that also comes a new normal, what have you embraced post covid?(as far as we have gotten, I mean) From what I see in the communities I’m in, I don’t think “post-covid” exists yet but I don’t see that mini-bottle of sanitizer in my pocket every going away for quite some time. It also causes you to have to think a bit deeper about your friends and family. I have to laugh when someone gets really vocal that we are all over-reacting to wearing a mask, and then a few months later wonder why no one is calling or seeing them. Hello! I love life! I like being healthy! You don’t value life as much as I do—no problem—I wish you all the best. 

We appreciate that! And same. Now for some LOVELANDER Project fun– I am going to ask you to give yourself a 1) Tagline 2) Warning label 3) Theme Song.

Tagline: Breathe. Believe. Release. Receive. 👏🎬

Warning Label: Comes with opinions, free-of-charge. Perfect!

Theme Song: What We Live For by American Authors I love this for you!

Now, Barry and I have come up for a little LOVELANDER Project treat for you! Here is a video clip of he and the love of his life, Jon Gary Steele answering a fan question! (stay tuned to my twitter feed for more over the month of November)

That pretty serious question will be answered in November – you won’t want to miss it!

I was so honoured to have Barry and Gary allow me/us into their home for a few questions. I know it took Barry some work to get JGS to participate as he isn’t one for the spotlight. I think what was obvious, Jon Gary Steele, loves his husband and will do anything for him, even if it is making that video for that thing he is doing.

I was right, you know. When I asked Barry to participate in the LOVELANDER Project, I did it because I related to him and thought he was such a delightful person. I didn’t tell him I had a crush on his husband (I even blogged about it in 2016) because that seemed weird. Still is but…I think he might be used to that bit of me now.

Do stay tuned to the ABOotlanders twitter feed for ‘Sherry queries with Barry ‘n Gary.! (Dare ya to say that 10 times fast!).

Stay well, laugh often and BOO!

Sher XO

Have you missed Previous editions of – The LOVELANDER Project – Edition 1 Vida/Blancklanderz  Edition 2 Erin/Three if By Space  CastEdition 3 Vincent/Supporting Artist  Edition 4 Tracy/Outcandour CastEdition 5 Nell Hudson/Laoghaire Cast Edition 6 A Quickie w Kikki Fleming/ Lesley Edition 7 Koko/Outlandish Vancouver Cast Edition 8 Paul Gorman/Josiah and Kezzie Beardsley Edition 9 Chas/ Outlandish Scotland

ABOotlander LOve – Previous Interviews –  Julia LeBlanc/VideoQueen  Summer & Ginger from Outlander Podcast  CastDr.Joe Abernathy/Wil Johnson  CastAdrienne-Marie/Suzette Beth Wesson/@PixieTwit  Connie Verzak@ConnieBV  Karmen @OutLandAnatomy  Jane @RRankinFans  CastSera-Lys McArthur /Johiehon CastCarmen Moore /Wahkatiiosta CastKikkiFleming/ Lesley

#TheLOVELANDERProject peeks behind the Outlandish Scotland book cover…

Fan accounts like Outlandish Scotland keep us going through Droughtlander with daily meme postings celebrating birthdays, characters, themes. This account also created the special brand of books to help Outlander fans tour Scotland in all its glory. It might be hard to believe that it isn’t a whole troop of people behind this account, it’s a person. The one responsible for this one is Chas. When I invited her to join the LOVELANDER project I had no idea what to expect. She surprised me.

Chas AKA Charly lives in Nebraskan farm country with her 4 cats (or as she likes Katz), a cottage built 130 yrs ago is their home. On the property she has created a space where her companions can enjoy outside without fear of the coyotes getting after them, with their own Kat Habitat. There is the ‘Big House’, about 100 yrs old, for guests to lay their weary heads. Thus, yes, you can rest assured, Chas’s humble abode is known as the “Little House”.

What a lovely place to call home. You can see the “Little House” peaking out on the left.

Chas’s 64 yrs have been full ones. From what she has shared with me, her life has been abundant with adventures of the stage, as an actress. The medical world, as an EMT and Emergency Medicine Consultation for trials. That in itself is exciting stuff. She has given back to those who need some love in their lives by bringing her cats to care homes. Chas has brought her love of fiction to become an author of travel guides based on well loved books. We of course, can not forget the Outlander giver she is today.

I didn’t know too much about Chas before I invited her to be a part of The LOVELANDER Project but like her tour books (which you will hear more about) there is lots to know, let’s get started shall we?

Us fans, all have what I refer to as, our ‘Outlander love story’, what is yours? I discovered the world of Outlander sometime in 1993, when the first 3 novels were available. Of course, I was hooked within a few chapters of the first book. The number of my favourite genres encompassed was a huge attraction for me: romance, science fiction/fantasy, adventure, and history. I think it was Diana Gabaldon’s writing style that most appealed to me. Her characters, situations, reactions and dialogue, were so realistic that it was easy to believe in time travel, easy to believe whatever she wrote. Plus, everything I read just stuck with me. I never tried to “memorize” the history, but I did.

For Instance, in 2003 I was on a bus & boat tour of Loch Ness. It was one of Tony Harmsworth’s original tours, before he founded Inverness Tours http://www.invernesstours.com, the company he sold to Hugh Allison in 2006 and our favourite Outlander tour company. About halfway through the bus bit, the driver/guide began quizzing folks about the Jacobite rebellion and Bonnie Prince Charlie. I’d wait for someone else to provide an answer, which they rarely did, then just before Allison resumed, I’d chime in with the answer. Later she pulled me aside and asked why I was so well-versed in the history of the ’45, and how I’d known that BPC was born (and died) in Rome. She’d never heard of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, but I think she might have investigated the novels after the tour. I hope Allison became an Outlanderite! *laugh*

How did you react when you heard Outlander was being made into a TV series? As for my personal reaction to learning about the STARZ TV project: SOOOOOOO happy! Especially when I learned that Ron Moore was at the helm. Having thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed his Battlestar Galactica series, I knew that Outlander was in extremely capable hands. When I learned that Diana Gabaldon would be respected by all involved, and encouraged to participate, I had no worries about the quality of the show.

You have written and published a book about traveling through Scotland and hitting all the Outlander sites. An interesting and entertaining read, btw! Can you share with us how this all came about for you? I came up with the idea of “A Novel Holiday” travel guidebooks sometime around 2008, when I completely retired from Emergency Medicine. I stopped working the streets in 1998, after 18 years as a paramedic, but continued EMS writing & teaching until 2008.

My idea was to create travel guidebooks based on places mentioned in people’s favourite novels and their associated film sites. The plan was for me to start the collection by writing travel guidebooks for MY favourite novels/films, and later encourage OTHERS to write travel guidebooks for THEIR favourite novels/films—also publishing those. http://anovelholiday.com/

As it happens, I wanted my first travel guidebook to be based on Diana Gabaldon’s Scotland! But, there was no movie being planned (only hopeful rumours) … and friends universally badgered me to start with a Harry Potter travel guidebook. So, I did.

After more than three years of research, we managed to find sixty-nine Harry Potter Places in the UK that are associated with the Harry Potter Universe (the Potterverse). Each Harry Potter Places (HPP) travel guidebook provides directions for finding the real-life locations described in JK Rowling’s books, the places where Harry Potter filming took place, and the sites that significantly influenced movie studio set design—real-life sites that look just like what we saw on screen.

The 5-book Harry Potter Places series was finished in August of 2012. Still no Diana Gabaldon movie on the horizon, so I started work on a series of four Tour The Twilight Saga travel guidebooks. Tour The Twilight Saga Book One was published in May of 2014—Book Two was published in July of 2015.

Oh, how I wanted to stop working on that first TTTS book the moment I learned about the STARZ TV Outlander series, and knew I’d finally be able to do my Outlandish Scotland Journey travel guidebook! But, I’d committed to doing the TTTS series and felt I had to see it through.

When sales of TTTS Book One were so very poor, however, I stopped the project after finishing Book Two and dove into Outlandish Scotland Journey!

I spent more than 3 ½ years researching the Outlandish Scottish locations associated with the first 3 novels, and first 4 seasons of the TV show. While doing so, I met loads and loads of lovely Scots. Although I visited many of the Outlander locations during my previous travels to Scotland, I hadn’t been researching Outlander when there, and didn’t have the money to visit again. Thus, I relied heavily on Internet research. When I couldn’t find the answers I needed on the Internet, I’d find someone associated with the location to contact and ask for help, via email and occasionally, phone calls. I cannot remember a single instance of a Scot refusing to assist me and my project. In fact, many went out of their way to provide me with information and photos.

That is a helluva lot of work that has went into these ventures for you. Being able to plan a trip so thoroughly and have it ready to go, I know I am anxiously waiting for my trip with my sister and our hubbies. Your book is going to help us immensely in our planning. It’s a shame we have so much time to plan *shaking my fist at the covid virus*…but I know it will be worth it!

Another thing you have become known for in the fandom is your injection of daily memes collected from around the fandom – generally with a theme for the day. How did you come up with this? It really must be time consuming. I am not Social Media savvy. I still don’t have a smart phone! I knew that I’d have to do Social Media to market my travel guidebooks, but didn’t have a clue what to tweet or post on Facebook. Then, a good friend gave me a 2012 Harry Potter Daily Calendar for Christmas. Bless her! I realized I could scan and post the Harry Potter Daily Calendar on my Harry Potter Places Twitter and Facebook accounts. The daily calendar scan and a few Harry Potter birthday memes are all I’ve ever posted on those accounts.

In January of 2016, when I set up the Outlandish Scotland Journey Twitter and FB accounts I had the Outlander Daily Calendar, but I wanted to offer more. I started collecting and rerunning Outlander memes created and posted by others.

Each day I rerun at least five memes based on the Daily Calendar’s pic or quote subject or, based on the day’s Outlander-related BIRTHDAY.

I have researched and created files/folders for many, many Outlander characters and the actors/actresses who played them on TV. Obviously, every season requires additional research and creation of additional files/folders. The biggest difficulty related to the birthday project: some actors don’t want to divulge their damn birth date, even when the year isn’t required! Hello, @GrantORourke!. At his request, I simply picked a Grant O’Rourke Appreciation Day: July 19th.

Even if I were half as clever and talented as Outlander meme artists such as @LaughOutLander, @Gracesmom48 , @OutmanderArtist, ‎@CatsAndKilts, @sniskybobfry, and oh, I dunno @ABOotlanders, I couldn’t possibly create five Outlander memes each day. That’s why I am so dependent on rerunning the work of other Outlanderite artists.

I have over 120 subject subfolders. They range from “Adso,” “Angus Rupert Ross Willie,” “Animals Frasers Ridge” to “William S3,” “William S4,” “Willoughby,” “Wool Waulking,” & “Young Ian.”

On days when there’s not a birthday, I determine the day’s rerun “theme” based on its Outlander Daily Calendar pic or quote. Then, I go to that subject’s subfolder to find 5 reruns to post. If there aren’t enough reruns available, or *GASP* there isn’t a subfolder for that subject, I make one or more new memes to post.

And, that’s about it! It’s a ton o’ work, but I enjoy doing it.

I’d say it is a tonne of work, that’s a lot of dedication to the fandom. I know that some of this is wanting to sell your guide books, of course. Let’s hope this exposure helps some. What other reasons do you put so much time and effort into your social media presence? Which I know are appreciated. Even though my travel guidebooks aren’t selling well, yet, I enjoy having a presence in Outlander’s Twitterverse and on Facebook. In my mind, I am offering Outlanderites at least six moments of entertainment each day. I think that is important, especially during the abominable Reign of tRUMP and the current pandemic! And, I will continue to do so until I am physically incapable of working at my computer.

I truly admire that, Chas. I am grateful for fans like you, as a fan. I always look forward to your posts. Plus, it is nice to recommend you to new peeps in the fandom. What advice to have for them? I still consider myself non-savvy when it comes to Social Media, so I don’t know how important my advice might be. But, here are the tips I live by.

Follow Outlanderites who post things that make you happy … things that pique your interest … things that warm your heart.

Participate! Post things on YOUR account that would make other Outlanderites happy … pique their interest … warm their hearts.

Happily, I’ve not been the target of Twitter Trolls. *Knocking on my forehead – aka on wood* But, I have a response plan: If some unknown person, for some unknown reason, criticises your contribution or says something unkind about you, BLOCK THAT PERSON’S ASS. Do not reply! Do not ENGAGE with the scumbag! And, no matter what, you must never, ever take ANY negative comments posted by some unknown scumbag seriously!

Lastly: In my opinion, there is no good reason to be critical of the Outlander STARZ TV series, especially when it comes to the TV show’s occasional deviation from the books. If they deviated, they had DG’s blessing to do so; just go with it. Actually, I enjoy the deviations! It would be extraordinarily boring to always know what was going to happen. ERMAHGERD! That episode 411 cold open with Roger in the shower?! What a gasp-worthy WTF moment, I loved it!

Oh, we remember…*wink*…

Bottom Line: The Outlanderverse is here to be ENJOYED! So, enjoy it, in all its glory!

That is one of my views as well. I do enjoy listening to others takes, however, my sanity demands I stay in this lane. *laugh* It’s something I enjoy about interviewing fan accounts, and for those reading, you can go back and read for yourselves. We all look at it differently and can respect those views. It’s the cool thing about being adulty(ish).

For us fans, we all have our hopes of where the show will head…what is yours? All I can say is that STARZ and Tall Ships Productions (et al) damn-well better keep it going until ALL the books have been brought to the screen. That includes Book 10, which has yet to be written.

Pretty please, with a cherry or shot of whisky…whatever you want, on top.

We know this is going to be one helluva long Droughtlander, what is your advice to survive, for all these wonderful people reading this?

Tip #1A: If you’ve never read the novels, READ THEM! They are extraordinary. Yes. The TV series has done a wonderful job of bringing the best bitz of Diana Gabaldon’s world to life. But, you are missing at least 75% of the Outlandish Wonders available in the novels.

Tip #1B: If you’ve read the novels but haven’t re-read them recently, you need to at least re-read #7 & #8 before #9 is released.

Tip #2: I’ve gotta say it—Read Outlandish Scotland Journey! Even if you don’t know when you’ll be able to visit Scotland, take this time to begin learning about the Outlandish places in Scotland, and to compile a list of places to see, things to do. You can start by taking a look at the FREE Book Samples available on the website. There also are several FREE “Outlandish Scotland Extras” available there. Go to our website and play before having to spend a cent. http://outlandishscotland.com/

You do a lot of giving back, it seems to be in your nature. Tell us about your Kat Pat parties that you do. My favourite hobby is taking the cats (2 at a time) to visit residents at a local nursing home, Lancaster Rehabilitation Center (LRC). These poor people are living my nightmare: being separated from my cats. I started taking cats to visit 2 or 3 times a month in 2003—17 years ago. In 2014 it became a weekly visit! Sadly, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we’ve not been allowed to visit since mid-February. I miss my Kat Pat Party Peeps!

This shows just how giving Chas is, no matter what community she becomes involved in. For all she has done in ours, and others. Giving her Outlandish Scotland twitter account a follow is worth your time, purchasing the Outlandish Scotland travel book is a fab gift for any Outlander fan. Christmas is only 10 weeks away…just saying!

Thank you Chas for letting us get to know you better. It is my wish that some fans out there that weren’t sure who was behind the account, feel they now do and maybe there are new connections made.

I hope you all are staying sane(ish) and well(ish) during this droughtlander and covid-19 world. I am trying to add my little bit of light with #TheLOVELANDERProject, if you haven’t read all the installments yet, you can find the links at the end of this post.

You can look forward to the next edition on Oct 31st. I’m not going to tell you who but I will give you a hint – nah – I can’t anything I say will give him away. *oops*

Sherry AKA Sher…AKA ‘The Beav’

Have you missed Previous editions of – The LOVELANDER Project – Edition 1 Vida/Blancklanderz  Edition 2 Erin/Three if By Space  CastEdition 3 Vincent/Supporting Artist  Edition 4 Tracy/Outcandour CastEdition 5 Nell Hudson/Laoghaire Cast Edition 6 A Quickie w Kikki Fleming/ Lesley Edition 7 Koko/Outlandish Vancouver Cast Edition 8 Paul Gorman/Josiah and Kezzie Beardsley

ABOotlander LOve – Previous Interviews –  Julia LeBlanc/VideoQueen  Summer & Ginger from Outlander Podcast  CastDr.Joe Abernathy/Wil Johnson  CastAdrienne-Marie/Suzette Beth Wesson/@PixieTwit  Connie Verzak@ConnieBV  Karmen @OutLandAnatomy  Jane @RRankinFans  CastSera-Lys McArthur /Johiehon CastCarmen Moore /Wahkatiiosta CastKikkiFleming/ Lesley