THE author of the hit book series Outlander has explained why she chose to set the story in Scotland.

Diana Gabaldon spoke to The Guardian as the release date for the show’s sixth season was confirmed and fans mark the release of her ninth book, titled Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.

Outlander lovers have had to wait some time for the new season, with nearly two years passing since the previous season ended.

Jamie and Claire Fraser (Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe) are set to return to screens on March 6, 2022, as it returns to the Starz channel. Outlander follows Claire, a Second World War nurse who is transported in time back to 18th century Scotland – meeting outlaw Jamie.

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Arizona-based Gabaldon, 69, wrote her best-selling books in secret while her husband slept, working between midnight and 4am before getting on with her hectic schedule, involving working two jobs and being a mum, during the day time.

As a professor, Gabaldon thought she could put her research skills to go use. She recalled she knew she wanted to focus on history, but was uncertain about when and where to base the story.

“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 explained.

The Doctor Who episode in question featured the fictional character Jamie McCrimmon – an 18th-century Highland Scot companion of the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton.

Gabaldon had never been to Scotland but was interested in finding conflict to provide a backdrop to her novel, and felt the nation may have the answers.

The National:

“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 went on: “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.”

Last week it emerged that Outlander’s well-known traineeship programme is back, with new starts needed for season seven.

Screen Scotland and ScreenSkills are seeking 32 trainees to work across various departments at the Lanarkshire-based production.