My next interview in the “Outlander- the fans who make it” series is with Tracy, who runs a blog called Outcandour, which I enjoy reading for it’s clear, concise and intelligent dialogue on the books and the show. I love the way Tracy writes and I hope you will enjoy this interview.
- Please tell us about yourself
Hello and thank you for this opportunity! My name is Tracy. I’m 36 years old, and live in Northern California with my family. I have two young sons, ages 5 and 2. In my real life I’m a veterinarian, although I haven’t practiced for the past few years since my younger son was born; I hope to go back to veterinary medicine in the next few years. Most of my hobbies these days include my kids and my blog! But when I get some time to myself, I love to run or just spend time outdoors. My husband and I both love to backpack, and we are just now getting the kids into the fun of backcountry camping.
- How did you discover the Outlander books and show?
I discovered the show first and fell in love with it immediately. I turned my sister on to the show and then she started reading the books. She convinced me to begin reading the novels and I was hooked! I devoured them and then devoured them again. I think I’ve read each one at least three times at this point. It’s such an amazing world in which to escape.
- How long have you been doing your blog for Outlander? Is this the only show you blog for, or do you also do this for other shows?
I started blogging last fall, when I decided to begin recapping Season 3. I had been following Tom and Lorenzo’s recaps, but they decided to stop writing about the show during Season 2. I had so many thoughts, and I wanted to connect with other fans, so I just decided to start blogging about it myself! I don’t blog about any other shows yet- Outlander is so rich in story and characters, that it keeps me busy enough, for now.
- How much time do you spend every day on Outlander?
Haha- does everyone say “way too much?” Probably about one or two hours total per day. I help moderate some fan groups (the I Love Outlander and Fraser’s Ridge Facebook groups), and I work on the blog after the kids have gone to sleep at night. Some pieces I can write fairly quickly; topic articles about which I’m really passionate (namely, feminism) seem to write themselves. The recaps take forever— I’m watching and re-watching, pulling screencaps, and trying to look for larger themes. Sometimes I get to the end of what I’m writing, and it turns out I’ve wanted to say something different all along— the writing took me in a different direction and I have to start all over again.
- What do you like most about the Outlander books and show? What do you like the least?
I really appreciate the novels and the television adaptation as separate entities; I think they are both phenomenal. Diana Gabaldon created such a complex world of believable characters, and I never tire of re-reading the books. Most nights I will read a few chapters to help get me in what I call my “Outlander Zone.”
The show has brought to life that amazing world, and it has done it with such talent and beauty. I love the novels, but I don’t view them as any sort of religious text that must be strictly followed. I’ve seen adaptations that were really faithful to the original art- almost verbatim- and they’ve ended up being really predictable and boring to watch. I appreciate when the show is able to surprise us a little.
My attention will wander a bit whenever the story strays too far from the main relationships; I found the second half of Season 2 a bit slow at times for that reason. There are very small things here or there in the books that I take issue with- Claire telling Brianna not to get fat, for example. But, overall, there is very little I dislike about either the novels or show.
- Which character in Outlander is your favourite? Please explain why.
I love Claire. The chapters in the novel that are in her first-person narration are my favorite. Diana gave her such a clear, strong voice, and Caitriona Balfe plays her so exquisitely. As someone in a medical field, I can both relate to the science, and empathize with some of the sexism she encounters.
- How has Outlander affected your life and/or lifestyle?
Hmmm…mostly I get less sleep! My sister lives in Japan, and she also loves Outlander, so we’ve had many a late night (early morning for her) discussion session over the novels or show. It’s been nice to have that bond with her. I also love being able to connect with other fans through my blog and social media. I had a very nice man from Texas email me when I first started blogging, telling me how much he and his wife loved my writing and Outlander. It was such a personal, lovely connection that I never would have made otherwise.
- Is this the first fandom you are a member of? What made you decide to join this fandom, rather than any other one? What do you like and dislike about this fandom?
The first real fandom I ever immersed myself in, was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I really loved that show, but it was much harder to be a fan back then. The internet was still fairly new, and there was no real social media, just chat rooms (which could be really sketchy places for a teenage girl). So, really, what we had back then, was just local connections of people who also loved that show. But maybe, in a way, that was better. Some of my college suite-mates and I would gather in the common room every Tuesday night (no on-demand stuff!) to watch Buffy, then stay up late talking about the episodes.
Later, I really fell in love with Mad Men. By then, there was more of an online community for fandoms. But, what I’ve realized in typing this, is that all three shows have really strong messages about women and female characters. Buffy is a classic hero. Mad Men seems like a very masculine show, but it makes poignant commentary about feminism, by having its male characters behave so badly. And, of course, Claire and the other female characters on Outlander are such models of strength.
I will admit that sometimes it is hard to be immersed in this fandom. The novels have been around for over twenty years, so we have different generations of fans approaching the work from different subjective experiences. People want complete ownership of their passion, and sometimes we aren’t as patient with each other as we could be. That being said, I have loved meeting and discussing Outlander with people from around the globe. No one understands an Outlander fan quite like we understand each other— it’s a particular kind of crazy.
- Have you met any of the actors or Diana? If so, which personality did you enjoy meeting the most? If not, who would you like to meet the most?
I haven’t met anyone but it’s definitely on my bucket list! I would love to meet Caitriona Balfe and Sophie Skelton. And Richard Rankin seems like he’s really fun and interactive with his fans.
- What keeps you connected to the Outlander fandom?
Mostly Facebook and Twitter. I wasn’t on Twitter until recently, but I have loved the engagement and connection that platform allows. I’m also in a handful of Facebook fan groups. Each group is a little different, and it’s fun to see everyone’s different passions for the various actors.
- What do you have coming up next?
I’ve been working my way through Season 1, trying to write some retrospective recaps. I’m also working on some pieces about Laoghaire, and the importance of cultural identity. And, of course, I’m patiently waiting like everyone else for Season 4!
Follow Tracy’s blog: https://outcandour.com/
Follow Tracy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/outcandour/