NAU graduate and best-selling author Diana Gabaldon has another major award to put on her mantel.

Gabaldon’s A Breath of Snow and Ashes, the most recent time-traveling historical adventure in her Outlander series, won a Quill Award in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror category, beating out the likes of Stephen King’s Cell.

“A huge THANKS to all of you! You did it—we won the Quill Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, thus adding a new category to the things I’ve seen my books called,” Gabaldon said in an e-mail.

Gabaldon, with a 1973 NAU bachelor’s degree in biology and a 1978 NAU doctorate in zoology, was presented the award during ceremonies Oct. 10 in New York.

The Quill Awards celebrate the best books of the year in 19 categories, ranging from romance to biography to graphic novels. They are nominated by about 6,000 librarians and booksellers who are invited to be on a nominating board.

“I really didn’t think I’d win, being up against Stephen King and George R.R. Martin,” she said.

In fact, Gabaldon was so sure she wouldn’t win, she had taken off her “Very Stylish but Really High” stiletto-heeled boots. “I was thus obliged to accept the award in my sock-feet. ‘Well, now you know the terrible truth,’ I said to the crowd. ‘I’m short.’

“Keeping the acceptance speech short as well, I then listed all the categories in which I’ve seen my books classified and/or sold (so far). … ‘So I don’t know exactly what any of you may have liked in my books,’ I said, ‘but my thanks to all of you who liked something.'”

Gabaldon’s speech was not included in the NBC telecast on Oct. 28, though the network had shots of her sitting at the table with the publishing people. “Don’t know whether I was insufficiently photogenic, or whether it was just that my category was the last one, and they ran out of time,” she said.