With some time to kill yesterday, I took a stroll through DragonCon‘s walk of fame, where celebrities have autograph and photo tables so the fans can meet them, gush awkwardly, etc. While there, I texted my wife Kate to say, “I’m standing 10 feet away from Tom Mison.”
Tom Mison plays Ichabod Crane on the FOX show Sleepy Hollow. Both Kate and I love how the show is unapologetically over-the-top and fun, and I knew that she also had a little thing for Mr. Mison. I mean, heck, objectively he’s a handsome fellow and has that British-actor accent that has been proven to cause swooning in certain folks.
She quickly texted back to say I needed to get his autograph for her. This text was followed by: “And tell him your wife finds him hot.” “And that your wife’s name is Katrina.” “And that he put up with too much in that TV marriage :)” (For those who don’t follow the show, Katrina was the name of Crane’s wife, a good witch who later went bad.)
I normally don’t do the fanboy thing, but for Kate, I got in line. It took about 20 minutes to get to the front of the table, where I picked out a suitably smoldering head-shot for Tom to sign. Then it was my turn. We shook hands, chatted briefly about the show, then he asked to whom he should autograph the picture.
Saving myself the awkwardness of repeating all of Kate’s texts, I simply handed him my phone with a screen shot of the relevant information above. The dude starts smiling and laughing, calls one of his handlers over to read it, and I swear he may have blushed slightly. Then he looks up at me with this grin on his face and says. “Oh, that’s lovely! Do you think we can call her?”
Why yes, Tom. Yes we can.
After waiting what seemed like forever for her to pick up — with me standing there thinking Pick up! Pick up! Pick up! — Kate answers and Tom says, “Katrina…I’ve commandeered your husband’s phone.”
They chatted for a few minutes, and Tom even mentioned what a wonderful husband I was while giving me a thumbs-up and nodding in that universal guy way that says, “I got your back.” And after the call, he signed the photo and I thanked him profusely for all the relationship points I just earned. I would’ve given him a copy of The Daedalus Incident, but they were all gone, so I had to settle for giving him a bookmark.
I’ve interacted with some famous folk through the years as an author and journalist, and Tom Mison is one of the most genuine I’ve seen. He didn’t need to call. He didn’t even need to read the texts on my phone. But he did, and in doing so, earned two fans that will follow his career well beyond Sleepy Hollow. He’s a stand-up guy.
Plus, the whole thing was a great lesson in how to interact with fans. Fans are awesome — I’m lucky enough to say that my books have a few. And this is exactly how I hope I treat my own fans: with grace, kindness and gratitude.
(segue) And speaking of fans, it’s still DragonCon, and I have stuff going on! (/segue)
- 2-4 p.m., Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America booth, Exhibit level, Hyatt. Sadly, I’m out of books — and in fact, I’m running out of bookmarks. But I’m still there, and happy to chat about my work, SFWA or anything, really. Plus, you can buy the SFWA 50th anniversary cookbook. Naturally, I have a beer essay in there.
- 7 p.m., World Building: The Multicultural Universe panel, Westin, Augusta 3. A panel on the Alternate History track talking about the wide world of history beyond our own and England’s.
I hope to see you there. I’ll even be happy to call your spouse, but only on request, because otherwise…awkward.