When speaking to The Guardian, the best-selling author revealed she took inspiration for the series in an unlikely place – a Doctor Who episode.
Diana has now released her ninth book in the Outlander series, Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone.
Arizona-based Gabaldon, 69, wrote her novels in secret while her husband slept, working between midnight and 4am before waking up and juggling two jobs alongside being a parent.
The series follows Jamie and Claire Fraser (Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe) as one of television’s most iconic couples.
Caitriona Balfe plays Claire a Second World War nurse who is transported in time back to 18th century Scotland – meeting outlaw Jamie.
Diana always knew she wanted to focus on history, but after taking inspiration from an unlikely source she settled on Scotland.
“I was just casting around mentally for a time and place to set this novel – Roman times, the American civil war, Venice under the Borgias. And in this malleable frame of mind, I happen to see a really old Doctor Who episode,” she revealed.
The Doctor Who episode in question featured the fictional character Jamie McCrimmon who was an 18th-century Highland Scot companion of the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton.
“It’s the Jacobite risings,” she told The Guardian. “That sounded cool, and it’s this doomed cause that’d have a lot of openings. So I said OK, we’ll do that.”
She continued: “It looked to me, at this point, not knowing the subtleties, that it was essentially the Scots, the Jacobites, versus the British army.
“I had to have a lot of Scotsmen because of the kilt factor, but I thought it would be good if I had an English female to play off these guys. We’d have sexual tension, that’s conflict, and maybe they’d fight over her or want to kill her or whatever.”
Outlander Season 6 is set to air on March 6 2022 on Starz.