I thought my career as a SamFanFollow Interviewer was over, but karenjeanne @ purpleiris13 begged me to do an interview with her. I flew to Oregon and stayed at the “Old Log Inn”. Several bearded Lumberjacks followed me there after I asked. “How far is the Old Log Inn?” I had to buy them a few beers before Karen showed up. She was very cold so I ordered her a Hot Toddy and started the interview after beating off the persistent loggers.
Norma D: So what was your first thought when you found out you were SamFanFollow for the week?
Karen: There was a lot of shock, so I don’t remember my first thought. I believe my exact words on my response tweet were “whatwhatwhatwhatwhat?” It was Valentine’s evening, and my husband and I had plans. I turned my phone off and left it at home – Date Night protocol. I was definitely not expecting to win, so when we got home and I turned on my phone it was pretty hilarious. I think I literally yelled “OMG!” Then I threw the phone at the couch! (ND: Why do you hate your couch so much? Never mind!)
Norma D: That kind of took the glow out of Date Night, I’m sure!
Norma D: I know it’s supposed to be secret, but what was your first DM from Sam about and how did you respond?
Karen: Well it may come as no surprise that I sent the first DM. I asked him if he’d brought wine. That joke was lame, (Do you think? ND) so then I asked him if it was ok if I asked questions, as long as they were not too personal or stupid. He said “Haha, of course! As long as I can too…?”
Norma D: I like the way you set the tone for future convos, Booze and flirting! Sounds very Sam-like.
Norma D: So, after a week, is there anything you didn’t ask Sam that you wished you had?
Karen: Well of course I would have loved another week or two, because I was having lots of fun and I am sure he was too.
Nothing in particular, though. I was supposed to ask him for tips about acting in Romeo and Juliet on behalf of my daughter’s students, but did not get around to that. So now a bunch of 7th graders in Atlanta, Georgia, are all depressed and disappointed.
Norma D: So Karen, what kinds of things was Sam doing during your week with him?
Karen: It was an eventful week; I’m pretty surprised I got DMed at all. He was in rehearsals, and then we had the Oscars. The next day he started filming Starlight, so his work schedule got crazy. He ran, rehearsed, worked on the film, watched the Oscars on TV, ate food, had a few drinks (I initiated the drunk tweeting—I take the blame there)…usual stuff. And in spite of his busy life he was kind enough to connect with me a couple of times a day.
Norma D: Alcohol seems to be a common thread for both of you. Did anyone suggest you both seek help? Never mind!
Norma D: So do you have any plans to memorialize your week?
Karen: The memers were AMAZING! I’ve got every meme saved on my phone. I have screenshots of texts and tweets. I need to do some kind of e-scrapbook but I need to figure out how to do that. Steep learning curve. (Let’s remember that I needed to be taught how to screencap, crop out phone number, basic stuff like that.) Norma D: I’m sure it will be scintillating!
Karen: I do not keep track of how many followers I have, so all I really knew was that before this started I had more than 100 but not anywhere near close to 1000. Then someone suggested I watch, so I did, and numbers did go up, then down a little just before Sam dumped me, then up again as I got a big sympathy wave. I am happy to have all my followers. I don’t care why they started following me….as long as they are amusing and respectful I hope they all stay!
Norma D: Don’t you just love her? So, how did this impact your relationships with your family?
My daughter (an Outlander book and TV fan) was very impressed, mostly because she knows who Sam is. She was also impressed that I knew how to tweet. I did not bother to tell my son because he’s clueless about anything Outlander. My husband deserves an award. He was not on board that first night (Jamie was intruding on our
Date Night!!), but I explained that this was like winning Outlander $50 Million Lottery and that it was only for a week. He knows that I’m in love with Jamie but that I am not lusting after Sam. I can separate the two. DH would come home every day and ask “Did you hear from Sam?” I let him read all the DMs. (I think he also follows me now on Twitter, but I have not looked for that….probably don’t want to know)
Norma D: How many times did he ask, “Did the $50 Million arrive?” Never mind!
Norma D: Did you ever send Sam a real photo?:
Norma D: She must already have an agent telling her how to respond in interviews. My shortest response ever!
Norma D: Were you as excited at end of week as at the beginning?
Karen: Yes, it was fun all the way to the end, and even the end was nice. Who’s counting, but: I got 3 hugs and 4 “haha”s . I got very funny banter. I got a list of places to go in Glasgow (I’m going there in September). I got to get a little nerdy with another actor. I got an inside look at the life of a kind and interesting man, who is way more normal than you think. It was fun.
Norma D: How touching! So what were his parting words to you?
Karen: “You too!!!XX”
Norma D: Let’s have a contest about what SHE said to him. Here’s my entry: “Sam, I love you and I want to marry you because you are such a hunk and so rich now.” To which he replied. “You too!!! XX Get in line!”
Norma D: (Spoiler Alert: here’s a question I never should have asked) Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Karen: There’s really nothing that you can do to prepare yourself for a week of being followed by Sam Heughan. Turns out, for example, chickie banter is really more fun than cheeky banter. Fans are genuinely helpful; the Outlander fanbase will leap to your assistance whenever you need it, offering technical assistance, creating memes and gifs, posting hilarious tweets, suggesting songs for the breakup playlist, and on and on. Previous SFFs give guidance and advice. No one was ever mean or unkind. I’m sure that for every fifty friendly voices I heard there were a few who did not like something I said, but they did what you do in such cases: unfollow and move on.
And then there’s Sam.
We spend a lot of time in the fandom obsessing over his face and body when what we ought to obsess over is his heart and his character. Here’s the thing: no one, from any source, has a bad word to say about Sam. He has performed a miracle: he brought to life a character many of us have adored for decades, and he’s BECOME Jamie for us. We’re all more than satisfied. Do you know how rare that is? He’s humble, genuine, and lacking in “star” ego. In every interview (and I’ve watched all of them!) he consistently turns aside comments about his looks or his acting to compliment the rest of the cast, mention the crew, praise the writing, geek out over the richness of the character he gets to play, extol the joys of working in Scotland. He is loyal, kind, honest, and very, very funny. In spite of high media visibility and constant fan attention, he remains astonishingly normal. He works very hard; acting IS hard work. He goes home at the end of the day. He watched the Oscars on TV, just like the rest of us. His daily planner is full, and he’s writing in the margins. Still he finds ways, like the Fan Follow, to give time to the fans. The FF has Sam’s attention for maybe 60 seconds per day. DMs are brief and can come at any time of the day or night. But it’s clear that he brings his real self to those seconds. He answers questions, asks one or two of his own, makes a connection. He’s got a sense of compassion. He cares about the world beyond himself, using his position to call attention to important issues like cancer research, fitness, and youth theatre. He is a serious actor who prefers stage to TV or film work, and he acts because he loves to act, not because he loves being a celebrity. He sacrifices a lot to serve the needs of the work he does, and I’d be willing to guess that there are many times when he’d really rather be back hiking the hills of Scotland, enjoying a little anonymity.
He’s the guy we should all wish our sons will grow up to be. Thanks for a great week, Sam! (wee sob)
Norma D: Sounds a lot like love to me! Oh , you’re not through?
Karen: To the fans: Please be kind to each other. There is room in our “fanmily” for differing opinions and dissenting views, but there should always be kindness and respect among us.
Norma D: With ALL OF THAT being said, I want to thank Karen for the fine job she did on her interview responses. Anyone still awake out there?