With a new ''Outlander'' novel and a Starz series based on her books, Diana Gabaldon finds herself at just the right time

By Stephan Lee
Updated May 23, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

Time-travel stories can be notoriously hard to follow, let alone write. But Diana Gabaldon figured out the key to space-time-continuum storytelling some 20 years ago, and her century-hopping Outlander novels have been amassing millions of fans ever since. (The eighth volume, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, lands June 10.) Starz recognized the former research professor’s gift and will debut a series based on her stories Aug. 9. Gabaldon, 62, is a tough critic of the genre, though she didn’t read much of it while writing Outlander. ”Every writer who deals with time travel needs to figure out how it works, and I didn’t want to be affected by other people’s theories,” she says. In fact, she identifies plenty of bad examples out there. ”I didn’t like the latest version of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, nor Kate & Leopold — well, actually, Leopold was fine; I didn’t like Kate.” But she counts herself a fan of a series that’s very different from her own. ”Oh, I do love Doctor Who!”