Sunday, April 8, 2012

Creating your own pop culture

I recently discovered a seriously awesome blog inspired by Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series of novels- Outlander Kitchen, in which fan (and chef) Theresa creates dishes inspired by the books she loves.

I can't even tell you how many ways I love this idea. The Outlander novels are full of fascinating details of life across numerous countries in the 18th century (and the 20th, for that matter), including vivid descriptions of the foods of the time. What's particularly engaging is that (like every other detail in Diana's books) the food is always intimately linked to the characters and their situations. That's what makes it stick in your mind- and that's exactly what Outlander Kitchen harnesses.

Go have a look- the blogger starts each post with a snippet from the books where the food is mentioned, then follows it up with fascinating research, anecdotes about the background to the food or the hunt to perfect it, and ultimately something concrete- a recipe, and gorgeous pictures that bring to life the foods we readers have wondered about for years.

And you know, I think this is the way of things for the future- value-adding for novels. Every day I see more and more authors popping up on sites like Tumblr and Pinterest, where they can add a third dimension to the way they express their stories. Starting blogs that cover the mechanics of writing and the specifics of the story, but also spin fascinating tales about the stories behind the stories. Having linked Facebook pages to allow further interaction and even more different modes of expression.

I must say, I love it. I love what it brings to the experience of reading, to see the world of the stories through the author's eyes in a more visual way. And I think it does great things for an author's "brand" to be accessible in many different ways, and to show enthusiasm for the things about which they write. It strikes me as very savvy marketing to get into these platforms now that the internet is revolving around new ways in social media.

Several authors from this blog have additional places where you can experience more of their stories through their eyes, so for your interest, an incomplete list:

Kristen's website here contains plenty of fascinating detail about the gothic world of Firelight, Moonglow and Winterblaze, including an awesome webzine and romance trading cards.

Kristen is also pinning fabulous story details to Pinterest,

As is Rachel, here, sharing intriguing details of the 19th century Paris and Victorian London settings that are brought to life in Blood of the Heart.

And Susan, too, picking out the best of the Napa Valley, and the Vietnam era, from her novel Requiem for a Warrior.

I think I'll join Pinterest myself soon, but in the meantime I've been working on a new blog called The Road to War and Back to share the stories of WWI soldiers like Tom Lockyer and the Bleakley brothers, following real-life newspapers, records and photographs from the era of my novel Between the Lines to unravel the myriad experiences of Australians in the First World War. Stay tuned for new stories there in the next couple of weeks.

How about you? Are you using these new ways in social media to extend the way you share your story? And are you enjoying them as a reader? Any favourites you'd like to share?


  1. I definitely enjoy this stuff, as a reader (*after* I've finished a book or series) - anything that makes my favourite books feel more real is a bonus. I love the music aspect, too - when you find out what an author was listening to as they wrote the novel, or which songs remind them of their characters.

  2. I love food bloggers / blogging bakers and cooks. What a great idea for a food-themed blog.

    I also love the idea of sharing one's research via blogging. Why not? Then other writers working in the same realm can potentially benefit, and readers who want to explore the world of your book more can do so. Win/win/win.

    Elizabeth Twist

  3. My blog concentrates on the craft I'm learning along the way. You never know who else needs the info I've found. These extras just add to the world created by the authors and I love it!

  4. Thank you very much for the feature and I'm thrilled to hear you love Outlander Kitchen's concept and reality! Keep on writing...Theresa

    1. Great concept, Theresa! I think I may adapt it for my own writing, but instead of recipes, I think I'll post music that correlates with my story.

      Thanks for the awesome idea!

  5. I Toldly love the awesome pictures and reciepts . I have use many of the reciepts and fine them very good . Thank =you very much for The Outlander Kitchen information and great ideas in the kitchen for cooking . Take care and keep up the great job . A Loyal readier of the Outlanders books .

  6. This is a great idea! I have found that when I write, certain types of music help me to write in different emotions. I think I may take the idea you proposed in this post and adapt it for music. Maybe I can put up sections of my book and ask my readers to read it while listening to the same music I had listened to. What a great way to connect with my readers.


  7. GULP. Oh media. LOL. I'm horrible. I admit it. I keep meaning to do more, but slacker. :) Good point, though. I really do need to make an effort. :P