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Outlander - Caitriona Balfe and Diana Gabaldonat
Outlander - Actress Caitriona Balfe and author Diana Gabaldonat pose for a photo before Starz TCA panel in Pasadena, Calif. on Friday, January 9, 2015 ©2015 Starz, photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Starz/AP Images

The wait is almost over for fans of Outlander, which returns to Starz on Saturday, April 4th. The first half of Season 1 averaged over 5 million viewers per episode, receiving widespread acclaim from critics and fans alike.

When we last saw Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan), they were newly married. Claire has yet again been captured by the Redcoats and was being savagely interrogated by ‘Black Jack’ Randall when Jamie appears in the nick of time.

Starz has greenlit book two of the series by Diana Gabaldon, which will begin filming in Scotland this Spring. She, along with Caitriona Balfe came to the TV Critics tour to talk about the second half of Season One.

Diana, are you happy with the casting of Caitriona and Sam?

Outlander - Caitriona Balfe, Ronald D Moore, Diana Gabaldon and Sam Heughan
Outlander – Caitriona Balfe, Ronald D. Moore, Diana Gabaldon, and Sam Heughan pose for a photo before Starz TCA panel in Pasadena, Calif. on Friday, January 9, 2015 ©2015 Starz, photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Starz/AP Images

Diana: They’ve done beautifully. They are much, much better than I ever thought they’d be. I was amazed when I saw their first audition tapes.

In fact, I wrote to (Executive Producer) Ron (Moore), and I said, “Oh my God. I didn’t believe this was actually possible. You found him.” It was just fantastic.

Is it distracting talking with the actors? Do you see them as Sam and Caitriona or Claire and Jamie sometimes?

Outlander - Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heugan
Outlander Season 1B – Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heugan) ©2015 Sony Pictures Television

Diana: Oh, well, Caitriona and Claire, I’ve always been able to keep fairly separate. Sam kind of flickers in and out for me.

I believe you’re continuing to write Claire and Jamie.

Diana: Yeah.

Is what you’re seeing in the show in any way influencing your writing of them, or by now are they so entrenched in your imagination that nothing is going to change your vision?

Diana: Well, nothing really would stir them. But they’re filming the first book which was written 25 years ago. I’m writing the ninth book now, and Claire and Jamie are in their early sixties.

I will be 63 on Sunday for anyone who is worried about them not being vital and interesting at such an advanced age.But, no, they don’t alter my view of Claire and Jamie at all.

What they’re doing now can’t possibly affect what’s going to happen 40 years on.

Caitriona, you’re filming in Scotland. It’s cold. It’s wet. You have to ride on horses. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Outlander - Caitriona Balfe and Duncan Lacroix
Outlander Season 1B – Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) and Murtagh Fitzgibbons (Duncan Lacroix) ©2014 Sony Pictures Television

Caitriona: That’s the fun part. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s so vital that we are there in Scotland. It informs everything that we do. The landscape is so beautiful.

The places that we go to shoot, the castles or the different locations, they add just so much texture to the show. And it’s cold, it’s rainy, but that’s the way it is there.

I think that that just adds a great realism to it, and I never complain.

How has playing Claire changed you? I cannot imagine inhabiting this character without it having a profound impact on a person personally.

Outlander - Caitriona Balfe
Outlander Season 1B – Redcoat and Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) ©2014 Sony Pictures Television

Caitriona: Well, I think just in terms of getting through this amazing undertaking of putting so much time into the show and every day showing up and playing this really strong, very resilient character, it showed me how much strength and resilience I have.

I think you don’t go through something like that without realizing that’s a big achievement and you grow from that.

So I think, if anything, Claire’s just either brought my inner strength out or sort of shown me that I’m maybe stronger than I thought I was previously.

Outlander – Soundbytes

Caitriona was asked about shooting the scene where Jamie spanks Claire. Click below to listen to her answer.
Diana was asked if the TV series has brought more readers to the novels?

Starz’s Outlander returns with Season One’s remaining eight episodes beginning on Saturday, April 4th 2015.

UPDATE: March 27th 2015. We have made a correction the Soundbytes Section to read ‘spanking’ rather than incorrect reference to ‘flogging’. Thanks to those who pointed it out.