Why KC Dyer is Mad for Plaid

Many of us here are Outlander fans — really, what’s not to love? The intense romance, the amazing dresses — and one of the best heroes ever, Jamie Fraser. Pardon us while we swoon. KC Dyer’s heroine takes her Jamie-itis to a whole new level in the author’s latest book, Finding Fraser. We asked KC to tell us more …

What is the madness that drives readers when it comes to men in kilts?

It’s not that hard to pin down.

In my novel Finding Fraser, an avid reader named Emma Sheridan has always had a hankering for kilted guys. She was a teenager when she started reading the Outlander books, and a certain character by the name of Jamie Fraser stole her heart clean away. Fast forward ten years to a time when things are definitely not looking so rosy. After a Very Bad Birthday, having lost her job and her marriage, the only thing that is still the same is her love of reading. So more as an act of desperation than anything else, Emma does something many Outlander fans only dream of. She vows to retrace the journey of one Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser through the wilds of Scotland. And she decides to see if she can find her very own real-life Highland warrior along the way.

Of course, when Emma follows through on her crazy plans; when she sells everything she owns, and when she heads off to Scotland to seek her fortune – she finds nothing turns out quite the way she expects.

Emma’s madness for the plaid echoes that of readers everywhere. But just what is the attraction? In Finding Fraser, the romance of Scotland definitely piques Emma’s interest, and she does her best to trace Claire’s somewhat convoluted journey through the Highlands. She travels from Edinburgh to Inverness, and her visit to the Culloden battlefields turns out to be the genesis of one of Emma’s own biggest conflicts. But as her adventures in Scotland unfold, something unexpected happens: the country itself begins to take a hold on her heart. Perhaps there is enchantment in the place after all?

But as an Outlander reader, of course, it is to Claire and Jamie that Emma is ultimately drawn. Jamie is not only a 17th-century Highland warrior, but he is a thinking man – one who uses both his physicality and his rationality to great effect. In Claire, he finds a love that he is willing to do anything for; a life-partner across time and space. This is what Emma is really missing in her own life. And so, it was this spirit [and perhaps – just maybe – the sight of his legs in a kilt!] that inspired me to use Jamie as Emma’s aspirational hero in Finding Fraser.

Emma’s love for Jamie and Claire drives her to seek her own adventure. She throws caution to the winds, puts on her crazy-pants and dives into an experience that will change her life forever. And at the end of her tartan travels, to her surprise, what she finds is not at all what she expected when she began.

We readers – Emma included! — are mad for men in kilts simply because there is nothing else like them. There’s nothing wrong with that. Best just to accept it. After all, don’t we all deserve a kilty pleasure or two?

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