As usual, she has the exact way of it. Writing fiction is an awful lot like mining. Salt, in particular.
First, there's the descent into the deep dark, tools at the ready. Everything from hand tools to heavy machinery is involved in getting the raw material loosed from the earth around it.
And what do you get? Those fine crystals that add spice and flavour to narrative. The gifts of an unseen primordial sea of the imagination.
It's hard work. Every day you must turn your back on daylight.There's the heft of tools, the muscle-popping business of digging. Creating your own space to work, chipping away until there is enough space to swing your pick. It's a daily grind to free the salt from the earth. Then there's the tough job of getting it up to the surface. To say nothing of the packaging.
Worth it, too.
Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone (7th in the Outlander series) is slated for release September 22, 2009.