BTS of #OutlanderBehindTheScenes w/Courtney Williams

It was a no brainer for me to ask Courtney to be my next guest with The LOVELANDER Project. I have a crush on her. She’s smart, she’s got dimples for days and her blue eyes…you can swim in ’em ! Holding a conversation with her is easy and exciting. She is the one who is used to doing the interviewing, so I knew she was going to be hard to pin down, she was but I got her! Here she is, Courtney Williams from Outlander BTS.

Thank you, Courtney for giving me your time and being a part of this passion project of mine. Sher, I think you do great interviews, and I love the spirit of your LOVELANDER Project. As you know, I’m usually the one asking the questions, so it took me a bit to get in the right headspace to be the interviewee. Thank you for inviting me.

You are literally the “Behind The Scenes” of Outlander for thousands. They rarely get a true look at you. Tell me what makes Courtney – Courtney. Alrighty, I’m mostly of Irish and Italian descent with some other stuff mixed in. I’m from Texas, the youngest of 3, two older brothers – all close in age. I was a tomboy, liked to be outside most of the time, (still do), and was a little toughie. I left home at 19, and the adventure began. I’ve lived all over the Washington DC area, Madrid, San Francisco, and the Denver area. Today, I’m a wife and mom, I love my family, being with my horse, beach time, reef swimming, and nature hikes/runs.

What do you think it was from your world that helped you become the producer of OutlanderBTS? The pieces of what it takes to produce my blog have always been in me. I’ve always been a writer. Journaling, writing down thoughts and observations. As a child, I kept diaries, and later, before iPhone (notes), it would be on napkins and receipts, ticket stubs, magazines, etc., whatever was around. I love to travel. When I was little, we would take family car trips, leaving before dawn; Dad says the boys would go right back to sleep in the back of our station wagon, but my little bobble head would be wide eyed, looking out the windows, pacifier plugged in. I traveled in Europe for two months in my 20’s, with a Eurail pass and a youth hostel card, and I was absolutely in my element. I became interested in photography and photojournalism as a kid. Dad had an old manual 35 mm camera that I taught myself how to use. I liked photographing nature and people – Candids. Faces. I would write stories about trips and experiences with photos I’d taken, and gift those to people. And doing interviews- ha, as a little kid, I used to interview my friends using my tape recorder with a little microphone!

I remember doing the same thing with my friends, as a military brat we moved around and I wish I could have held on to the tapes to have at hand now. The relationship with your Dad sounds so strong..and stands out to me. I still have some of those tapes, they are hilarious. Yes, I love my dad. I started running with Dad when I was 13 – he’d wake me up before the sun, and we’d go run under the stars. I loved the fresh morning air, the aliveness of my senses in the dark, the silent, one-on-one time with Dad. The only sound was our feet on the pavement; we were in a quiet, rhythmic bubble. At the finish, the sun would be coming up, we would speak, and the spell would be broken. We would laugh and joke around, and the day would’ve started – I felt strong and happy. He’s 88 now, and still a lot of fun. I get my irreverence from him..

The man that made the marvelous Courtney!

It truly is a extraordinary thing to have a close relationship with a father, you are blessed and the way you speak of him, I can see the influence on you and know it is appreciated by those in your world. Tell me more about what makes you tick. Hmm, well, I like to learn, I like to understand why, I like people watching, and I like making connections. I speak Spanish fluently – I graduated from the U. of Maryland, and lived in Spain 6 months, doing a semester at University of Madrid. I’ve worked since the age of 15 doing lots of different things, from waitress to corporate wellness manager, to software project manager, to guest ranch wrangler, and lots of other things. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and have done lots of fun, interesting entrepreneurial things over my lifetime, my blog being the latest. I’ve traveled a lot, to Canada, all over the US, Mexico (repeatedly), Europe (repeatedly), Australia, Japan, and Africa. I like long decadent meals with people I love, or at least interesting people *smile*. I love the beach, and I love water – oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, puddles – any water. And I like riding my electric bike around town.

All of us flying through this Outlander universe have a story of how we were pulled into it’s orbit. What is yours?I loved the books; my mom introduced them to me in 2006, just after my 2nd baby was born. In 2014, while checking out at my local grocery store, I noticed the TV Guide, with Sam and Cait in character as Jamie and Claire on the cover. I thought, “That’s gonna stink, I’m not watching it.” You know how the movie’s never as good as the book? Well, these are my favorite books, so I didn’t want to spoil them with a crappily done TV show.

My kiddos were 8 and 11, and one day I was home alone with spare time (which didn’t happen much then). I plopped down on the couch and started flipping through channels, also rare, as I’m not a big TV watcher. I came across Episode 101, Sassenach, for free. So, I thought, what the hell. As I watched, I noticed how well done everything was -the casting, sets, costumes, Scotland, Jamie, the authenticity of it, the Gaelic, etc. I became really excited. I found Starz and watched Episode 102, Castle Leoch, soon after that. A defining moment for me with the show, was when Annette Badland walked out of Castle Leoch as Mrs. Fitz. I thought, damn, they’ve nailed it again. I was worried Mrs. Fitz would be played by Cameron Diaz in a cleavage dress (it is Hollywood, ya know). I knew that if they’d be willing to get Mrs. Fitz right, the rest of the show would be fantastic. I was sold, hook, line, and sinker.

I love that you got sucked in that way. I had no idea. Tell me more… I saw somewhere, maybe Facebook? That Sam and Cait would be doing a Twitter Q&A, so I joined Twitter, and followed Diana, Sam, Cait, Terry Dresbach (Seasons 1-4 Costume Designer, wife of Ron D. Moore), Gary ( Seasons 1-5 Production Designer), et al., and started meeting other fans from all over the world. I’d never been in a fandom before, so this was all new to me. I read and watched interviews and enjoyed discussing the show and books online. My husband was working internationally at the time, so I arranged to tag along on a trip to London, and then hopped over to Scotland by myself. That was November, 2014; no one in Scotland had even heard of Outlander, the show, only the books. Season 1, Part 2 wasn’t even out yet.

I have a friend in show biz, who got me tickets to the Paleyfest premiere of Ep 109, The Reckoning, in LA, in March of 2015, and then I went to a local event where Diana was speaking and met her for the first time in April of that year. This kind of thing continued, and I wanted a place to write about all the Outlander adventures I was having. I also found the mainstream media coverage at that time to be unfulfilling, and I knew from discussions that others felt the same way. I was in conversation on Twitter about that with several people, among them, Terry, and she said (or wrote) to me: “Do something better.” And, I thought, OK, yeah, why not?

That is as good a reason as any! My wee blog, Outlander Behind The Scenes, went live on April 6, 2016. Funny story, the night it went live, my little family was crowded around me in bed, watching Google Analytics for the site on my laptop (thrilling!). There were two people on the site, and one left, and my then 10-year-old said, “Don’t worry Mommy, Grammy probably just had to go to bed.”*laugh*

With the support of my husband, my web designer, my Patrons, and lots of other people, the blog has continued to grow ever since. It really has been a fabulous journey.

You are such a natural when working with cast in panels and interviews, there is an ease and intelligence that people are drawn to. Can you contribute this to something in particular? I prepare a lot for my interviews and panels, but in the moment, I let the conversation have space to go where it does, naturally. I’m genuinely interested in the people I’m interviewing and what they have to say (as a fan first). I’ve been around celebrities from a young age, enough to know they’re just people like the rest of us, and usually appreciate being treated that way. I also have some stage experience – I’ve acted and danced in a couple of theatrical dance companies. In one show, my character became tempted by and discovered drugs, partied her ass off, became addicted, overdosed and then died. Good thing it was all a dream….  I’ve also performed with an equestrian dance company, on horseback. So, maybe my (limited) performance experience helps me relate somewhat to those I’m interviewing.

Ok…add graceful AF to the list of “Reasons I love on Courtney”

My crush just keeps getting bigger n bigger. If I had more time I would start a Courtney fan club.Part of your work on BTS is breaking down the episodes. Can you give me a synopsis of how the show has done so far, for those who may not be 100% familiar with your thoughts. Season 1 exceeded my expectations, in all ways. Season 2 exceeded my expectations, in some ways. I absolutely love the first half of Season 3, and then… there was a phase I didn’t prefer between Episode 307 and Episode 501. *smile* No, there are some good episodes and moments in the second half of Season 3 and in Season 4, but I did feel things went off the rails a little during the transition from Ron D. Moore to Matt B. Roberts and Toni Graphia. To be fair, most of the original writing team left at that same time, and those are the two seasons they did back to back with no break in between (S3 and S4), so it was a tall order for first time showrunners. Maril Davis and Matt Roberts were at the helm for Season 5, Sam and Cait came on as producers, the writing team for that season was much stronger, and for me, that season put them right back in the flow. I enjoy creative adaptations, I do like the characters to stay in character, especially Jamie and Claire.

You not only attend Outlander events, you also moderate events with cast members. How did that come about for you? I started interviewing cast and crew members for my blog, and I chose to do video. Most of the Outlander folks are in the UK, so I started using Google Hangouts back in 2016. When I started my episode discussion group with the wonderful Karmen Schmidt, Antoinette Simmons, and Catherine Toomer, I got more into moderating – hahahahaha. Hosting a lively discussion between four women is different than a one-on-one interview(and harder to edit)! I was invited to be a panelist for Denver Comic Con in 2018 and 2019, by Desirre Andrews (A Dram of Outlander), so I had that experience. My first live interviews were with Sam and Caitriona for the Season 3 premiere on the red carpet in NYC in 2017. That came together at the last minute, and was a sink or swim moment. In 2019, I’d applied for The BTS Lasses to do a fan panel at Wizard World NOLA, and I was contacted by Wizard World to help design content for Sam’s panel, which I did. During those calls, they ended up asking me to host, which I did. That was live in front of 1,500+ people. After covid hit, in April of 2020, Wizard World approached me about moderating a live streamed Zoom panel with Season 1-3 cast, which was great fun. I think I just started doing the work, saying “yes,” even when I was thinking, “whaaaa?,” and doors would open. I’d say yes again, and gradually I built a body of work, which then helps you get more work.

With so many events and experiences you have been a part of, I am sure its hard to narrow it down to your favourites but do you want to give it a shot?

OK, let’s see. Meeting Diana for the first time. 

Meeting Diana for the first time. April 30, 2015

Watching Episode 109, The Reckoning, as it premiered in front of a live audience. Going to my first performance at the Royal Lyceum theater in Edinburgh, meeting Bill Paterson (Ned Gowan). 

Dinner with Graham McTacvish in Cologne, Germany. 

Fan dinner with Graham in Cologne, Germany, March 2016, The Gathering fan Convention

Seeing Terry’s Season 2 costumes live in the windows at Macy’s in NYC with my mom. 

Season 2 Premiere week, April, 2016, NYC, costume display at Saks 5th Avenue, with Terry Dresbach. Press line.

Photographing Cait and Sam for the first time at that same event (Cait is stunningly beautiful). 

Season 2 Premiere week, April, 2016, NYC, costume display at Saks 5th Avenue, with Caitriona Balfe

Meeting and getting my first hug from Gary Lewis, and meeting all the “guys” early on. 

The first Starfury Highlanders convention, London, August, 2016 “the guys”

Interviewing Sam and Cait, live, for the first time in NYC and then seeing Ep 301 on the big screen with a live audience

Season 3 Premiere in NYC, September 2017, Red carpet interview with Sam Heughan 

Meeting Gary Steele for the first time, in Glasgow. Seeing Laura Donnelly in The Ferryman with my mom in London. Gillebride MacMillan singing The Woman of Balnain to my mother, acapella, in a large empty room with amazing acoustics, in Linlithgow, Scotland. 

Sam’s first MPC Gala at the Kelvingrove in Glasgow with Mom.

Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, Glasgow, UK. First MPC Gala – September, 2017. Courtney and her mom. You can see where she gets her SHINE from.

Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, Glasgow, UK. First MPC Gala – September, 2017, Sam Heughan.

 A special night out with the BTS Lasses in NYC 

First weekend all 4 of us met live, NYC, Season 4 premiere, October, 2019 – Where’s Karmen?? 😂 I see her glassesish

All the people I’ve interviewed, but Gary Young (Mr. Willoughby), is a standout.

Standing backstage with Sam, as he watched King Fireman’s tribute to Jamie video for the first time, at Wizard World NOLA, and then interviewing him.

January, 2020, Wizard World NOLA, Sam Interview, Photo by Far, Far Away site

Doing our Wizard World NOLA BTS panel.


Wizard World NOLA, Jan 2020, OutlanderBTS Fan Panel

And, our fan gathering afterward – seems like a dream now! No masks! 

Fan get together after the day at NOLA, at the Omni Riverfront in NOLA. With Tammy.

It is lovely to know that it was the BTS chats and moderation with Antoinette, Catherine and Karmen that developed into this wonderful world for you. Those chats do have quite a following in the fandom, what is it, do you think, that draws people to your discussions? Thank you. Based on what people tell me – they like our familiarity with the material, our love for each other, our humor, our ability to discuss intelligently, and disagree civilly, our diversity, and the subject matter expertise of each person. And, we’re fun. We go deep, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

All of that is true. I like to add my favourite bits of the episode chats. From my perspective, I view Outlander in a really weird bubble, I always am disagreeing, agreeing, having wtf moments and laughing my face frozen. It’s the ability to know that you are all coming from a place of kindness, respect and love of the product that makes it a great place to hang out, virtually.

You have a great grasp on the content of the show, I am very curious as to what your vision is for the future of it?My hope for the TV show is that they’ll do all 10 seasons. As long as the audience is there, and I believe it’s still growing, and the core team is willing (Matt, Maril, Caitriona and Sam), I think they’ll continue.

Of course, there is no show without Diana’s books…what is your expectation there? … gosh. I get teary just thinking about the story ending. I know it has to, at some point. We’ll get Bees very soon, and then there’s one more book. I don’t want to know the ending until I read it, at the end of that 10th book. I think I’ll have to have Outlander sitting next to me when I finish it, so I can start all over again and not be consumed by my grief! *wink*

So polish off that crystal ball a little more and tell me how you see Outlander playing out. Plot wise? Well, Sam just let us know that the Christies will be in Season 6, and I’m pretty psyched about that. I just finished re-reading ABOSAA – there is so much in that book. It’s the longest one of all (so far). If it’s well done, and I expect it will be, it’ll be great TV (as Antoinette would say) *smile*.

Let’s hope it is delish!

How about the books? Any wishes that way? And as for Bees, I don’t try to guess ahead. I’m a fan first, and I love just discovering everything as it happens. When Bees comes out, I expect I’ll drop everything and devour it, like everyone else, and I look forward to that. I hope Diana figures out an endless loop type situation for Jamie and Claire, so they’re always alive!

Me too…me too.

That is the dream! Funny, it is what I have been saying the same for years. Great and twisted minds…Speaking of that mind of yours, what are the things you do to relax and escape? I do most of my relaxing offline. I wasn’t able to read for leisure for 2+ years due to a vestibular injury, so I started using audible. I listen and read now, and love both. I take long walks and runs with our dog, Mocha, in nature. I take Epsom salt baths, I drink chamomile and green tea, and I take naps in a sunny window whenever possible. One of my favorite ways to relax, is hang time, hand grazing or grooming our horse.

I find so many of us in the Outlander Universe are like minded so getting referrals from one another is something I love encouraging. How about books, what are your shares? Funnily enough, I’m reading a book recommendation from Laura Donnelly right now – Shuggie Bain, and I’m loving it. I’m always re-reading an Outlander book – I just finished ABOSAA <sigh>. I recommend The Obesity Code, by Jason Fung. This one’s not an easy read, it’s almost written more for doctors, but it’s worthwhile. I gained a lot of weight between 2016 and 2020, due to illness and injury, and this book helped me understand how to lower my insulin levels. How about movies or binge-watchers? Movies I’ve enjoyed lately with my family are “Ocean’s 11,” “Ocean’s 12,” and “Casino Royale.” I’m not a very good binge watcher, but the closest I’ve come lately is “The Crown,” “What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali,” and re-watching all seasons of “Seinfeld,” over many weeks. *SMILE*

This is turning into an awfully long Droughtlander thanks to Covid-19, one I am ok dealing with if it keeps people safe. How are you holding up? Thanks for asking. This has been a challenging year for our family, but also one of tremendous growth and healing. And I agree with you, Sher. Safety, and getting through this as humanely as possible is what’s important.

What have you been doing to stay sane-ish? To stay sane, first, I acknowledge that we are in a unique time, and I try to cut myself and the people around me a break. I go back to the basics, as much as possible. I realize my energy is finite, so I nurture it, and use it for my priorities – my health, my family and loved ones, and my work. Those are my top 3. For me, my health starts with my thoughts. I try to focus on the outcomes I want vs my fears. When I have conflict with someone, I try to work through it consciously, and own my part. I try to practice compassion and forgiveness, and also gratitude. The key word is practice – I’m not always successful, but I don’t beat myself up about it. I get outside and move my body as often as possible. I limit my exposure to news and social media. I have a few reputable sources I go to for updates, and then I take breaks. I avoid going down my habitual mental rabbit holes whenever possible. I work on our home space, continually, because we are always here right now. I’m mindful about what we eat. We started using a local CSA (community supported agriculture), and I have a new love for fresh vegetables. I prioritize my sleep. I cultivate quality time with loved ones, in the house, and afar, and I balance that with alone time. And, I take one day at a time, and give myself permission to rest when I need to. Other than that, we wear masks in public, wash hands, and pretty much stay at home. As my very beloved sister-in-law used to say, “this too shall pass.” I think of those words often.

It is official, my crush has just leveled up. The words you have shared are truth. They are open and kind and I know will help many people find a balance where they may have been falling over. Thank you for them.

Time to give yourself a Tagline, Warning Label and a Theme Song.

OK this one was so hard for me!!!

Tagline: “Smart, fun, and gets it done.” This one was so hard for me! You would not believe how long it took me to come up with that, and it’s just OK.

Warning Label: Spicy when hot

Theme Song: What a Feeling, by Irene Cara

What a feeling is right. This fandom is much more than blogs, podcasts and fan groups. It can be a community of like minded people sharing things they love, bringing laughter, comfort during difficult times and being a family to one another where one may not exist. People like Courtney are at the gooey center of that community. Always a warm, welcoming presence and a place to get great Outlander content. If you didn’t know a lot about the person behind the scenes of Outlander BTS, I think you are the better for it now that you do.

Until next time, stay safe and much love, The Beav SHER

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 Edition 10 Barry Waldo/ Writer, Producer & husband of Jon Gary Steele Outlander Production Designer Cast Edition 10 Stephen Walters/Angus Mhor

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

Jane of the Outlander Jungle! #ABOotlanderLOVE

Here we go again, bringing you some of our favourite Outlander fans who bring joy, entertainment and a kind place to rest our weary heads upon.

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If you haven’t checked out our previous ABOotlanderLOVE spotlights, please do.  We talked with Beth Wesson, the heart felt blogger. Connie V , the hilarious creator of one of the most popular Recap Blogs. Our last ABOotlanderLOVE blog was dedicated to the one & only Outlander Anatomy creator Dr. Karmen.  

We encourage you to leave comments & let us know who you feel has worked to bring the Fandom together in a happy light.  I would like to add, this isn’t a popularity contest, the admin team I work with and I simply feel what we feel. Since we are the purveyors of #AlwaysAssumePositiveIntent we gravitate to those people we have connected to within the fandom.

 

This time we are Spotlighting – Lady Jane AKA Jane Sherwood. She is the lead admin for The Rank and File. If you are not a member of the Richard Rankin Fan Group , you are missing out on some fantastic banter, close friendships & seriously smart women.

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Lady Jane’s humour & authentic nature comes out in droves as she drives the ship that is this fan group.  It is worth noting that this fan group formed BEFORE Richard Rankin was cast as our beloved Roger Mac.  I am almost certain the collective universal force that is this fan group was instrumental in RR loading up as Rog.  When you have that many people throwing good vibes your way, you are bound to get caught up in it.

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Please get to know & love Lady Jane as I do.  

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We all start somewhere on this Outlander journey.  When did you first become interested in the world of Outlander?

About 18 years ago, I started reading, and rereading, the books. I’m afraid I actually don’t remember how I found them! (I blame a baby that didn’t sleep in the meantime and Mommy Brain.)

 

However I do remember precisely when I heard about the show. It was when Sam was cast, and I was at a family dinner. My sister, SIL, and I – all major book fans – squeed over his picture. Even though his hair was dark and short, we could see that he would be the perfect Jamie. And of course all the guys present rolled their eyes. The next day, I joined Outlander Facebook groups and the rest is history.

*Baby Brain…yes, the good ole days!  My son was 1.5 when I found the books, lets just say thats when he learned to entertain himself.*

What inspired you to start your fangroup?

I met the co-founder of The Rank and File in the Heughligans FB group in early 2014. She posted this video of Richard doing Shakespeare and it truly made me a fan for life! The Crimson Field aired shortly afterwards in the UK. I opened a Richard Rankin Fans Twitter account – which promptly got so much attention and swooning over the captivating Capt. Gillan, that we decided it would be best to also open a private FB group for moral support.

The name was a difficulty for a long time… after all how many positive things go with “Rank”?! We finally settled on The Rank and File for its military connotation, and the fact that we wanted to be RR’s army.  And so we are the VADs (Very Adorable Darlings) of RAF. It is pronounced “vads” like a word, and is from a joke, actually based on history, in The Crimson Field where the Voluntary Aid Detachment is referred to as such. Even today, not one single day goes by when someone somewhere doesn’t post how sad they are that it wasn’t renewed, but at least we got our Roger Mac.

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Jane has done a great job of forming a community in their fangroup.  Not an easy task. Curiosity bade me to ask HOW.

I have a professional background in web and graphic design, and video editing, so it naturally became a fun hobby for me to share professional quality media. However, what really built our group was its wonderful and intelligent members (the #BrainyFangirls!) and the great admin team I have:  Amanda, Michelle, and Stephanie. We all support each other 100%, with no competition between us, and are committed to running a kind and respectful group.

During the past over two years since the RAF began, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and people in general. We constantly get comments from our members that The RAF is a unique place to share opinions freely in a supportive environment, so that is what I think what truly makes us stand out.  We’ve all worked really hard at building that, and it has not been easy sometimes. None of us knew how to run a good fan group when we started, and sometimes how to best handle conflict. We were lucky we started very slow to be ready when the huge influx happened when he was cast as Roger!

We are somewhat different than other main OL fan groups as Richard already had a large and varied career before he was cast, which has since continued. He will be appearing in S2 of The Last Kingdom and a mini series called The Replacement for the BBC fairly soon. While OL may be our main topic lately, I don’t think the spirit of the group changed very much even though our membership numbers exploded.

I do want to give a special shout out to the admins of the Heughligans, Caitrionation, Tobias’s Tribe, and many, many other admins of Outlander fan groups that helped us when Richard wasn’t even part of the show! We are so proud to be in this incredible union of positive fans.

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What was your most memorable fan encounter?

The Season 2 Premiere in New York City, and subsequent Tartan Parade that followed. Meeting the cast is exciting, but really what stands out is all the fans from all over the world that I was finally able to see in person. It’s such an amazing network of people you instantly feel at home with!

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Brunch with members of the Rank & File. Lady Jane is 2nd from the Left.

Your fangroup is well organized, enjoyable and incredibly positive. The banter you have with Richard Rankin is cheeky & fun. It takes time to develop… how is it that you have done so well?

Thank you so much for saying that! I’m not sure how to answer this – by being myself I guess. Richard is so cheeky and fun himself. One day, he will be boasting and warning us about the #OneScotRule (to admire only him), and the next day, he will be self deprecating. Rarely is RR not teasing on Twitter. Sometimes people have a hard time figuring out when he is serious – and I admit there was at least once when even I wasn’t sure. He’s so good to his fans and it inspires us, his army!

I would say that the RAF is equal parts serious and cheeky. We are super professional in promoting his career and all the shows he is involved in, but we also aren’t letting him get away with anything. Our followers seem to enjoy the mix. The RAF sees him as a real person – someone to admire, but also someone to treat with respect. I’m really proud of our group for that. Our primary goal is always to be a positive force, for him, and for the fans. I get the most pleasure out of this when someone tells me I brightened their day, or made them feel welcomed.

Please share a few of your favourite exchanges with Richard – I know mine.

Gosh, there are so many. Like when he would drop Outlander references during that long dark time before his casting on December 14, 2015. We were all on edge, praying he would be named as Roger, and then he would run away while everyone had a meltdown at the slightest mention. Or tweet that he’s naked in the gym, and disappear. I don’t think I’m biased when I say he’s one of the most entertaining actors to follow on Twitter.

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Many VADs will say that April Fool’s Day 2016 was one of the best days ever. I changed the profile pic of the RAF Twitter account to Loki. Less than an hour later, I was hilariously called out by RR. A day of teasing ensued.
https://twitter.com/RikRankin/status/715936029627256833

https://twitter.com/RRankinFans/status/716282105056071680

And when he complained about our Instagram, which has many more followers than he does (there are still only four photos on his).
https://twitter.com/RikRankin/status/741312895984750593
https://twitter.com/RRankinFans/status/741313458965188612
https://twitter.com/RikRankin/status/741320289397661700

Another one of my all time favorite Twitter threads was debating whether Bree was technically engaged to LJG. It went on for two days. Richard really likes to be right. Usually he is, and will defend it TO THE DEATH. Here’s a link to the Storify:
https://storify.com/RRankinFans/in-which-richard-rankin-defends-his-claim

Explain what your reaction was to seeing “Roger” appear on screen for the first time was like.

I was completely overwhelmed. Having watched The Crimson Field in 2014, it was a really long wait! We all knew then that Richard was the perfect Roger Mac.

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He’s such an emotionally powerful actor.  The role of Roger is extremely complex, and RR was born to play it, like all the other cast members who are so perfectly cast! It was meant to be. So basically, I cried along with him during that opening scene of 213…

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We all have our own visions of what Outlander of the future will look like – What do YOU see?

A ten season series with every single book represented. And multiple awards for all cast and crew, including Richard, who is going to slay season 4 … and 5! He and Sophie will be the second leads starting then, and their love story will be at the heart of the show as much as Jamie and Claire’s. Outlander will catapult Richard’s career to the next level, and give him the ability to make his dreams come true. It means that we will be guaranteed to get lots and lots of Rankin screen time to many years to come. The future is very bright indeed.

My husband has said Diana must have a man named “Roger” locked in her basement *smile*.  With all that is to come for his character – how will you prepare for his story line? 

Haha, that’s a great description. Yes, we use the tag #PoorRoger on Twitter. He’s such a lovely character and means well, but he’s just beaten down by life time and time again. Richard said in a recent interview that Roger has an inner strength, so that is what I think he will bring to the role. I’m just so excited to see it all, and have so much faith in Richard’s abilities. I’m thrilled that he will have a chance to stretch his skills and create some epic and emotional scenes that will really touch the viewers. It’s why we are his fans – his characters have such depth and are so full of feeling. It’s the role of a lifetime, and I couldn’t be happier for him.
The fandom’s acceptance of Richard has been incredible, unprecedented really. The huge celebration when he was cast was wrought from months, and years for some, of his fans rooting for him. We are just so grateful to join the Outlander family – so beat him, hang him, do what you will – we will pay the price gladly!  -Stocks up on tissues and whisky-.

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This is an ABOotlander must ask –  If you were to come to Alberta Canada and someone offered you a) Moose Droppings b) Beaver Tails c) Prairie Oysters d) Taber Corn…which would you choose & why?

I’m truly afraid to answer this question! And I hope I get points for not googling the 3 out 4 that I don’t know – I’ll pick the Taber Corn because it sounds the least problematic and reminds me of Graham McTavish’s corn jokes.

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If you want to join in The Rank and File fun, here is a list of all the ways to do it!

Thank you so much Lady Jane for being so open & sharing with the fandom.

 

SherryLynn

Founder of the ABOotlanders

*Stay tuned for the next #ABOotlanderLOVE feature…we dive into a new realm!

 

 

The Doctor is IN! Outlander Anatomy gets the LOVE.

We have featured Beth & Connie – we are at it again.

Next up in our #ABOotlanderLOVE spotlight —  You know her…you love her…you feel smarter after you read one of her blog posts, so you make sure to read more of them.  She is as warm as she is intelligent.  That is why we keep going back to OUTLANDER ANATOMY.

It was no surprise when I asked my fellow admins in the ABOotlander group who they wanted to see featured, her name was brought up loud and clear.  Again, when I tweeted to our followers who they thought was a positive influence in the fandom…dozens responded with OutlanderAnatomy.  I am going to call her Dr.Karmen for the remainder of the blog as to protect her brand and to keep my carpel tunnel from kicking in.

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I was so pleased that she accepted our invite to step into the spot light & share with us some behind the blog aspects of what makes her tick.

My introduction to the world of Outlander came via my daughter. She had read all the big books (in less than a summer) and invited me to join the party. I kept saying no, I didn’t have the time and, anyway, I wasn’t interested in time-travel novels. She kept at it for a year… “Mom, you must read these books!” Finally, in early 2014, I yielded. By the time I arrived at Jamie’s dislocated shoulder, I was in – hook, line, and sinker! Since then, I have read the eight big books, at 8-10 times each.  –  And the lesson is, it sure pays off to nag. Well done Rebecca- We salute you!

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Dr.Karmen’s blog is incredibly interesting and so unique – I wanted to know what inspired her to start it.

I began my blog in October 2014, after watching early episodes of Outlander S.1. About that time, my daughter said, “Mom, have you considered writing an anatomy blog that incorporates Outlander?” No, I hadn’t thought of that. So, my daughter is to blame for getting me reading and writing the language of Outlander.  –  This daughter, is a keeper. We owe her a huge debt of gratitude. CHEERS Rebecca!

Fan to fan, we wonder if Dr.Karmen had experienced one of those momentous occasions that makes your heart pound just a little extra- sure enough – she had.

My most memorable fan encounter was meeting Diana Gabaldon in October of 2014, at Fort Vancouver, WA. I was first in line for her autograph, handed her my book, and waited while she searched a bag. I asked her if she needed a pen and offered her mine.  She pulled out a rolled container, opened it, and presented an array of every type of pen needed for autographing different surfaces. Of course, I laughed at myself, Herself would come prepared!

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I find all Outlander Anatomy lessons fascinating.  They teach me things I had no bloody clue about, they give me insight & extra tidbits of info but I don’t feel stupid while I read them. Pretty incredible.  I wondered if Dr. Karmen had any personal favourites in her collection? (I double dog dare ya to guess mine, you cheeky buggers)

Thank you for the lovely compliment about my blog. Oh, dear, this is a hard one because I learn from every lesson. Perhaps my favorite is always the last lesson I write, not only because I must thoroughly review the anatomy but because I strive to present the topic in a way that is accessible to all. Although some of my readers have biology backgrounds, many do not, and I feel compelled to direct my lessons to folks who lack anatomic experience. My latest, is the first of a series about the gastrointestinal system: Anatomy Lesson #44, “Terrific Tunnel – GI System, Part 1.”

My first lesson, Anatomy Lesson #1, “Jamie’s Tush or Bottoms up!”, was posted just after the airing of Starz episode 107, The Wedding. To be perfectly honest, it was Jamie’s beautiful bottom that caused me to consider just how I might teach the anatomical “underpinnings” of such a splendid body part. He is a perfect male anatomical model and I hear he works quite diligently for those bonny buttocks!

I was also intrigued about writing a blog. Up to this point, I had been writing grants and medical and technical papers. As you can see from this first lesson to the most recent, it’s taken time to develop a voice, a format for my lessons, and understand this new medium. I also want to be respectful of the actor’s private lives so I only refer to their character’s names as they graciously provide anatomical examples. I wrote about this POV last year: Education & Privacy.

Diana’s books and the Outlander series are filled with anatomical goodies that demand attention. I also love the pathology (abnormal anatomy) which is abundantly sprinkled throughout the books and episodes: a veritable gold mine for an anatomist!

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Some people may lose their joy after working in a particular field over time.  Reading Dr. Karmen’s blog shows me, this has not happened to her. I was curious how she keeps her love of anatomy thriving. You know, besides Jamie’s cute tushie.

My passion for anatomy stays alive because I harbor a profound awe and respect for the human body, a sublime blend of form and function, which we often take for granted as it ferries us through a rather precarious world. It matters not how much I learn about the human body, there is always more, and the more is endlessly fascinating. Why wouldn’t it be? It is our vehicle, our home, our sanctuary….erm…as you see, I can easily wax poetic about the human body!

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We all have our own vision for what we believe Outlander will look like in the years to come. Dr. Karmen sees things a bit more intimately than others do, haven’t you noticed? I was anxious to hear what her brain thinks the world of Outlander will be like in the years to come.

The future of Outlander world… First, I hope all of Diana’s big books and the Lord John series are filmed. Then, I envision the largest global community of devoted fans, constantly networking to appreciate, support, create, praise, enjoy, and celebrate this amazing, shared adventure. Hurrah for Diana Gabaldon who, one day, decided to write a book for herself. Praises to her CompuServe pals who encouraged her to publish it. Kudos to her family who support her fathomless talents. Thanks to Ron D. Moore, Terry Dresbach, Maril Davis and to all the actors, writers, directors, staff, designers, composers, musicians, builders, trainers, linguists, herbalists, doctors, sempstresses, and detailers. Without them devoted fans would wander lost in a vast desert-scape, otherwise known as, Droughtlander!

I wanted to give all of you a chance to peek into the Outlander Anatomy waiting room.  Sit back a moment & spend some time peeking behind the curtain that is Dr. Karmens life.

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Well, I am now professor emerita (retired female professor) of human anatomy at my medical university. When I was actively teaching, my “waiting room” (dissection lab) was filled with medical students, graduate students, allied health students, surgical residents, surgeons, and donor bodies. I was director of the gross anatomy course for many years, ran the body donation program for my institution, and was demonstrator of anatomy for my state in the US. Over the course of my career, and before birth of the internet, I taught almost 10,000 medical students gross anatomy, histology, embryology, neuroanatomy, and cell biology. And now, that the internet (and Outlander) has such a long reach around the world, I am able to teach many more readers about the amazing human body.

I always am curious what others find most fascinating about Gabaldon‘s world of Outlander. It is one of the topics of conversation I can’t get enough of.

Wow, this is a hard one because I find Diana’s creations endlessly fascinating. If I had to choose one thing it would be her remarkable ability to divine a story from a single line, sometimes books apart. Here’s an example: in Outlander book, Jamie and Claire are eating dinner at Castle Leoch; the table convo centers on Sandringham and his personal preference for young lads. In a line or two, Rupert comments that Jamie should guard his wife because unlike the Duke, his man servant actively pursues women! This really didn’t grab my attention until my last read-through. Then, Bingo! In the next book, Dragonfly in Amber, the Duke’s valet reappears as a member of the foul gang that rapes Mary Hawkins! This type of thing happens many times throughout her books. How does Herself recall such wee things and then revisit them hundreds of thousands of words later?! I actually learned the answer this past week while attending SiWC2016 in Surrey, B.C. Diana said (and I’m paraphrasing), that she writes all sort of things that might be classified as debris, but which provide kernels for later works.  – It’s what I call Gabaldon word Tetris 

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In this photo, taken at 2016 SiWC, she honored me by donning a necklace I made for her: Mr. Willoughby, complete with acupuncture needles inside his hollow body!

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Diana Gabaldon with Dr. Karmen & DG wearing the super cool Mr. Willoughby necklace

This an ABOotlander must ask. We ask for shiggles – If you were to come to Alberta Canada and someone offered you a) Moose Droppings b) Beaver Tails c) Prairie Oysters d) Taber Corn…which would you choose & why?

My first choice would be Taber corn.  I have never tasted this variety but it sounds delish and I love corn and corn-grinding! <G> Second choice would be beaver tails, that is, if you mean the fried pastries –  they look yummy!  But, if I am wrong and you mean the rear appendage from a large, big-toothed rodent, then I will pass. I will also pass on the prairie oysters as I am not fond of raw eggs. Finally, I refuse to dine on moose poop because I am a picky eater (although, I suspect these are chocolate covered candies). Great question!  – I must say I am impressed, though not surprised at Dr.Karmen’s thorough answers. What an absolute delight she has been!

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Please feel free to share your comments with us about #ABOotlanderLOVE below. It takes no time to #BeKind & spread the LOVE.

 

Sher

ABOotlander Founder & Friend of the Fandom