Fan Stories Turn into a Book and Land in Damian Lewis’ Hands

It all started with a random conversation on the subway.

I am a part-time New Yorker. Lady Trader, on the other hand, is a true New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, now living on Long Island. The two of us try to meet almost every time I am in the city over some yummy dessert and tea at Veniero’s and chat for a few hours. Then we take the subway together: Lady Trader gets off at Penn Station to take the LIRR home and I continue uptown.

On one of my spring visits in 2016, on a subway ride home, I asked Lady Trader how she “discovered” Damian. When she told me her story, and it was hilarious, I told her she should really write a blog post about it. And as soon as she drafted her story, a NEW idea was born! Wouldn’t it be FUN if we invited all fans to write their own stories about how they became Damian Lewis fans?

We kicked off our Fan Stories campaign with these words:

“Hi everyone!

We are launching a brand new project on Fan Fun with Damian Lewis and we would LOVE you to be a part of it!

How did you become a Damian Lewis fan? THAT IS the question 🙂

We believe each fan has a special and personal story of how she or he found out about Damian and ultimately became afan. For early fans, it was about Damian’s fantastic portrayal of Dick Winters. For some of us, it was Brody, and for others, it was Charlie Crews or Soames Forsyte or another character Damian brought to life on screen or on stage. It may well be that you have a story that we cannot even imagine!”

We did not know what to expect since it is not easy, in general, to get people voluntarily sit down and do homework. But guess what! We have got an amazing response to our call and published each and every one of the stories we received over the course of a year. We were right that while some “discovered” Damian in the usual suspects like Band of Brothers and Homeland, some others “discovered” him in less likely places – a play on Broadway, a news quiz show on TV, an interview in the Daily Mail or thanks to his better half. And  what all stories had it common was that they were all written from the heart and extremely personal. They demonstrated how Damian’s art inspired us, moved us, and even sometimes helped us cope with what we call life.

When I saw Damian at stage door after his brilliant performance in The Goat last May, I told him about our “Fan Stories” project and gave him one story as an example. This was Agnes’ story because first, the story is beautiful, second, Agnes planned to travel to London see The Goat but had to cancel due to illness and so I wanted to have her and Damian “meet” in a different way. And, more importantly, Lewisto added, the story attested to how Damian’s art touches other people’s lives. Well, I will NEVER forget Damian’s reaction. He did not say much more than he was humbled every time he heard something like this but you know you sometimes do not need words to understand. His eyes told it all.

source: Damianista

And another NEW idea was born at that very moment. Wouldn’t it be FUN if we collected all fan stories in a book and surprised Damian with it when the opportunity arose?

I was lucky to find a wonderful “blog to book” service that I did not even know existed: Blookup. The company basically pulls the posts you want to have in the book from your website and publishes a personalized book for you. You also get to title the book and design the book cover. I highly recommend them for any “blog to book” project you may have. Their customer service is exemplary.

Say hi to the outcome of our collective effort. We created this book together: It is 265 pages and every fan story we published on the blog is in it!

source: Damianista

I was thrilled to have the book in my hands in a few weeks. The new challenge was to track down Damian before he was done with Billions shoot in New York and left for London. I was sort of hoping for a Billions event in  the city exactly like the one at Paley Center last year to present the gift in person. Alas, it did not happen. And as much as I admit that tracking down Damian is one of my specialties, even I cannot get much done if there exists no event scheduled with our favorite guy. And because this project has been such a wonderful and a personal journey for many of us it was important for me to present it in person and say a few words about how I felt about it.

Now, all credits go to Gingersnap for giving me the idea! When we found out that Damian would appear on Today Show, Gingersnap asked if the show was live or pre-recorded. I did not think about it much at that very moment, but then I revisited her question: “Wait! What if the show is live?” And it turned out that it was live! And while I never get to watch morning shows live because they are really early in the morning, even I know about the Today Show studio at the Rockefeller Center! And this short You Tube video from nine years ago helped me to locate the door visitors get in.

Voila!

Now massive thanks go to Lewisto for the logistics! What man would get up at 5am only to go and wait in front of Today Show studios entrance for an hour or more at freezing temperatures? No man but my man!  We were the first people to be positioned at the door and it was sort of refreshing to see big crowds lined up to be a part of the Today Show. You know, when you are waiting in the dark at 32F feeling like 22F, it feels good to know you are not the only odd one out there 😀

Damian’s publicist Stephanie arrived a bit later and I cannot thank her enough for her warm welcome. She ROCKS! Stephanie went in but then came out and we chatted a bit while we waited for Damian to arrive. And it was lovely to say “good morning!” to Damian who got out of a car in a big black coat! It was a cold morning, I am telling you! And I think this is the coat Damian wears between takes on Billions set when it is freezing cold.

I knew Damian had to go in and prepare for his segment on the show, so even though I REALLY wanted to see him open the package, I did not think we would have time for that. I would just give him the gift at the door, explain what it was, and we would leave.

I was WRONG! Damian invited us inside! So here we were in Rockefeller Center and I was able to remind him of our Fan Stories project and tell him how he inspired me to turn them into a book for him. Here is the part of the conversation that has stayed with me after Damian opened the package and thanked me. He was touched.

source: Damianista

Damianista: “There are 55 stories from 21 countries. It means this fandom has no borders. We may be from different generations, geographies, cultures and languages, but we all speak the same language when it comes to you.”

Damian: “You are very sweet.”

Damianista: (extremely humble) “I am.” 😀 😀 😀

Damian: “We have to take a picture of this. Damianista (he says my real first name here) here you are again wearing your purple coat.”

Damianista: “I have other coats but this is my lucky coat. And I like my 6 year old look.”

Damian turns to Lewisto: “Buy her a new coat. I’m worried about her.”

We are still laughing about this. I mean, can anyone get more hilarious than that?

There is an on-going joke among us, Fan Fun girls, that if we found ourselves in Damian’s walk-in closet, we would feel very much at home since we probably know all his shirts, jackets and coats (it may sound scary, I know!) But I had no idea Damian was paying attention to mine! 😀 Well, message received, Damian! As much as I adore my 6 year old look, I will wear one of my stylish coats next time! Still, I do not look so bad for someone who got up at 5am, do I?

source: Damianista

Damian had to go to make up so he would not miss his slot in the show. As we said our goodbyes, he thanked again for the book, and told me he was checking the website and reading the blog and that they were great. Maybe he reads more now BECAUSE Damian is now following Fan Fun on Twitter!

source: Damianista

And the two of us were home in 15 minutes, ready to turn on the TV to see Damian bring down the house live on the Today Show from “Who knew Bobby Axelrod had anger issues?” to his incredible Michael Caine impression! In case you missed it, or want to see it again, Damian’s segment is here.

THANK YOU, Damian, for your kindness and generosity. Thank you for your trust in us, and above all, thank you for the constant inspiration that keeps us get going! We are proud to be Team Damian!

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

58 thoughts on “Fan Stories Turn into a Book and Land in Damian Lewis’ Hands”

  1. Great entry Damianista! I’m grateful we had a heads up for DL’s Today appearance. I never would have known, but I set 3 (yes 3,) alarms for 6:45 this morning so I would be up and have time for a cup of coffee by the time Today started. Not being a morning person, and having retired almost 15 years ago, I wasn’t at all sure the world even existed at that hour anymore! He was terrific in that interview of course, but you know one of the things I liked the best? That huge pompadour was gone! Perhaps there is a reason for it in Billions, but I don’t have to like it do I? It ages him, and why is anyone in a hurry for that? Anyway, March 25th. can’t come soon enough for me and I do have my fingers crossed season 3 doesn’t find Axe spending any time behind bars. After Life, Colditz, The Escapist and Homeland, Damian has had more than enough roles in a cell.

    1. Thank you, Connie! So glad you caught Damian on Today Show! Well, we also set up two different alarms so we could get up at 5am! I have never been a morning person myself, a true night owl, and I never teach before 10am. And I’m so glad we made home before Damian went live because we don’t have DVR — we watch everything on streaming services. Haha I understand about the hair. He was more Brody today, wasn’t he? Oh Axe will find THAT thread Chuck left, he will find it wherever it is, and we will have lots of fun watching him get himself out of this huge mess. Can’t wait!

  2. I meant to ask, did all the fan stories get included in that book you gave him? Well done lady! Oh and kudos to your hubby also. Cooperative fellow he is; guess he knows what a lucky man he is!

    1. Absolutely! All stories we published on the blog are in the book! That is why I had to do a bit of research to find a good “blog to book” service. Most American companies give you a page limit. The one I worked with (it’s in France) did not have any page limits. The book is 265 pages – Happy Reading, Damian! 🙂

      My husband is a good sport. Everyone likes him. The fun fact is Damian likes him, too. Anyone that sees Damian saying hi to my husband may think they are best friends! Our theory is that Damian feels for him because he bears with his crazy wife :))))

  3. Oh wow, that means he’ll know about my white bath thing from Band of Brothers… And my poor Dad in the rain… Hahaha that’s brilliant yet slightly embarrassing! Great idea though & glad you got to give it to him in person x

  4. I can never get enough of your the stories of your meeting with him! They are always funny, and he is always so warm and friendly. I’m so glad you got to see him while you were in NY on your break. And I know how cold it was yesterday!

    I hope he enjoys all the stories as much as we had writing and reading them.

  5. How hilarious was this exchange? “I have other coats but this is my lucky coat. And I like my 6 year old look.”

    Damian turns to Lewisto: “Buy her a new coat. I’m worried about her.”

    hahahahahaha simply love it!

    1. I know! He’s hilarious! And you should have seen his face as he said “I’m worried about her.” I know Lewisto and I will laugh about this for a long time!

      My lucky coat: I had that coat on the day we went to Billions pilot set three years ago to track down Damian and let him know about Fan Fun. I don’t think the coat did the magic and we were able to talk to Damian but it has been labeled as “the lucky coat” since then! 🙂

  6. No-one can say that you don’t go the extra mile for FFWDL ! I think you are awesome with the ideas you manage to come up with. Whatever have you got planned next – maybe you’d better not share that one. As always yours and everybody else’s posts bring a smile to my face. PS the coat suits you.

  7. I like your purple jacket, but I am also an almost 40 year old woman who carries a handbag in the shape of a cat….so maybe I am not the best for fashion advice 🙂

    Thank you so much for delivering our stories to the tall one. What a lovely gift!

    1. Thank you, Iza, for your ongoing support and for your lovely contribution to the book. I will not be humble about it: I agree it was a great idea, and I hope we collectively make Damian smile!

  8. Love it!! As I said earlier: such a vicarious thrill every time you get to see him and/or meet him (those two things happen together now, can you believe it?!) You sharing it so generously makes us all feel like we’re meeting him too, sidling up to that lovely side hug for a pic. And now you’ve shared every fan who wrote a story with him! What a thrill!!

    Next time you see him, you can tell Helen to buy him a new coat. The camel-colored leather one he’s been wearing for 10+ years is worrying you. 🙂 Hehehe. Love, love LOOOOVE this!

    1. Awwww. Thank you so much! What you have said is exactly what I was inspired to do: sharing every fan who wrote a story with him. A different but a wonderful way of Damian meeting some of his most devoted fans from all over the world. I cannot be happier that I was able to give the book to Damian in person and and tell him Damian Lewis fandom has no borders! And seeing that he is touched is the cherry on the pie <3

      What's more worrying than the mustard leather jacket is the one that started to look a size too small on him. You know the jacket I'm talking about, aren't you? 😀

        1. Yes, he should be bonded with the jacket. And the fact that it is from the days he was falling for Helen makes it even sweeter! <3

  9. I loved reading about your recent encounter with your old pal! Keep your bunny coat – it suits your childlike spirit.
    As for the book, what a charming idea! I just wish I had a more up to date story. Though I must say – loved the Brody hairstyle so maybe this what up to date looks like on me 🙂 Poor Damian, his face when Savannah asked him the Brody question. “Will this Brody thing never end?” Sorry, darling, but no.
    Damianista you’re the best!

    1. You know what NotLinda? As much as I know he is not my old pal, I LOVE IT when you call Damian my old pal! And what can I say? You know me well. I have a childlike spirit 🙂 Haha I know, poor Damian, he should have been surprised to hear about Brody when he is supposed to talk about Billions. It seems Savannah Guthrie has had a crush on our Nick, too! And you are right, Damian should live with the fact that Brody will always be there :)))

      Thanks so much for your kind words, and thanks so much for your support, friendship and your wonderful contribution to the book!

      1. Something makes me think there’s a consideration about Brody’s comeback. I know he was meant to be nothing more than a ‘cannon fodder’ like all those lost souls who throw their lives in someone else’s shady conflicts. Before this seemed to be unreal. I’ve never been rooting for Brody’s return to the show. It seemed too soapy and cheesy but now the time is somehow ripe… Homeland is a show…thriller after all. And as in any show, there are no impossible twists in the plot. It needs a rating, and the highest rating would be Brody’s return. I don’t think Savannah’s question was inadvertent. Who knows… maybe it is just my fiction, maybe not… The biggest challenge will be to keep this in secret. Can you imagine – the real spy games will be on the set 😀

        1. I don’t think Brody would return as part of the storyline just because he is now Bobby Axelrod and they would want him in two Showtime shows at the same time. That said, Brody’s return would sky rocket the ratings. That is absolutely right. But it could also be as cheesy as Bobby Ewing coming back from death in Dallas! So who knows? Hmmm… Who knows? Maybe in the final season? My ultra cheesy ending to the series is Brody showing up at the very last minute and saying “Hello, Carrie.” CUT! 😀

          1. There could be a return TO Brody without him returning. (See “Dear Dana” fanfic) Is that naked self promotion 🙂

  10. Amazing lady you are!!! Great idea the book 🙂
    It is such a creative and sweet gift…you made my day with this amazing blog!!! And Lewisto deserves the Oscar for all his support and good vibes!!!

    Take care!! Xoxo

    1. Thank you! I cannot stop smiling as I think we, the fans, are able to collectively make Damian smile with that book! It’s a page-turner, I think he’ll enjoy it. And it was a special moment to see him touched by it. Haha Lewisto definitely deserves all the awards for being the best partner in crime! Thank you for all the support and for your wonderful contribution to the book! Hope Denmark is treating you well, my friend, sending lots of love xoxo

  11. When I learned about the book this morning, the first thing I did was call Damianista and shout : A BOOK ????!!!!!…..The only idea that my words and my feelings can be read by him filled me by happiness. Really my friend, you made my day !!!! THANK YOU !!!! YOU ROCKS

    1. I cannot be happier we have been able to share all the heartfelt feelings written down for him wit hDamian! Thank you for your wonderful contribution to the book, my lovely friend, and in both English and Spanish!

  12. What a great idea Damianista! We are all so fortunate to have a leader who keeps all of us involved, however vicariously, in the life and art of a man we all admire. How fun for you and your trusty sidekick!!!

    1. Thank you! Yes, relying only on the feedback we have got today, the book idea turns out to be even better than I thought it was 🙂 I feel so lucky to have met all the wonderful women who took the time to sit down and write their personal stories. And I cannot be happier we have been able to share them with Damian! My trusty sidekick loves the compliments he gets in the comments – he is happy as a clam 🙂

  13. I can understand that interviewer still being concerned with Brody. Heck, I have never forgiven NBC for cancelling Life. Every now and then I have to pop in a DVD and have a dose of Charlie Crews. He was a far more complex character than most would think, every bit as convoluted as Brody or Axe. Of course had Life gone on for several more seasons, we probably wouldn’t have had Brody! Oh, I obviously did tolerate NBC long enough to watch the Wednesday interview….but that is all. Again, great job with the book Damianista. It would be wonderful if somehow he could give you (and us) some feedback on what he thought of it.

    1. I believe Savannah Guthrie had as big a crush on Brody as I had! Haha, poor Damian, I don’t think he was expecting a question about Brody. He was there ready to talk about Bobby Axelrod’s new adventures, and, boom, what about Brody coming back to Homeland? Hilarious! I agree Charlie Crews was a more complicated character than many would think. But I admit I am okay with the Life’s cancellation only because if the show had been very successful and in that case there would have been no Brody. If there had been no Brody, I would not have known about Damian, and there would have been no blog…. I can’t imagine that! 🙂

      I don’t know if we would get any feedback but at least from what I have seen Wednesday morning, Damian is very touched and intrigued by the book 🙂

  14. This is such a nice gesture! Girl … you never stop surprising me with your great ideas, your enthusiasm, your perseverance, and your warmheartedness to both – to Damian and to the fans. <3 It's so sweet and it's FUN for sure! (The book I mean) 😀 I was looking to see you in the crowd through the studio glass when I was watching the show earlier. I did not know yet that you've been awake 'before the cocks' to give Damian the book with our stories! I don’t know what to say… I LOVE this place! You lent to our fandom new dimensions. I just can’t thank enough to you and to all the LOVELY girls here! I’m sorry for haven't been here much lately. I'm pretty busy with my everyday things and I’m totally out of date about Billions. As I see you have a great fan about that. Anyway, I’m still here, I still love you all and I still love Damian (how could not!?)

    PS I love your 6 years old look! I’m not surprised he noticed the coat. We all know those Laser-like eyes that catch everything in the room. This man is smart, watchful and attentive as we are 😀 Great sense of humor as always <3

    1. Thank you! <3

      Hahaha we have the same saying in Turkish: "waking up before the cocks" And you know I am not a morning person at all. AT ALL. Hilarious that you were looking to see me in the crowd through the studio glass 🙂 I was all done by then and at home watching the show exactly like you were! And then I slept for three hours. Hehe.

      Thank you for your constant support, for your love and friendship, and for your encouragement! Damian's trust absolutely means the world for us but if it was not for our lovely friends and readers like yourself here, none of this would have been possible! I really hope Damian reads the book, and I believe he will (I mean who would not be intrigued?) and see his fans do not only love him but also give a lot of love and support to us here!

      I'm a childlike spirit, so yes my 6 year old look suits me! I am pretty sure Damian has already seen, too, that I am child living in an adult's body 🙂 He was HILARIOUS!

      Billions Season 3 is arriving on March 25 in the US and only a couple of days later, on March 29, for your guys in the UK. I know you are not the biggest fan of the show but who knows maybe we all watch together!

  15. Tsvetanka! How nice to hear from you. Good to know you’re out there. Isn’t it great to have special access to Damian through Damianista? She takes us behind the scenes in ways we never could.

    1. Thank you, Notlinda! <3 I will not move from here. Just my English is not so fluent so I can't chat with you as often as I wish. And YES, Damianista can do miracles! I never thought I'd have special access to Damian. Not that I think it's impossible… no, he's so down to earth. But can you imagine that she did so that Damian himself ( probably) knows about us in person (that's pretty awkward 😀 ) It is all about the child's spirit <3

  16. Liebe Damianista,

    das ich sprachlos bin, gibt es eigentlich nicht wirklich oft, aber Du schafft es immer wieder.
    Deine Aktion mit dem FAN-Geschichten-Buch für Damian ist einfach WELTKLASSE.
    Du bist einzigartig und ich kann mich einfach immer wieder nur wiederholen:
    Meine absolute Bewunderung dafür, dass Du Deine Begeisterung für Damian und seine Kunst so zelebrierst und auslebst.
    Dein Einfallsreichtum kennt keine Grenzen. Eigentlich könntest Du selber mal ein Drehbuch schreiben… „Der wahre Fan“… !!!
    Ich freue mich, wenn ich mir vorstelle, wie Helen und Damian gemeinsam mit ihren Kindern auf dem Sofa sitzen und dieses Buch durchstöbern. Ich bin mir auch ziemlich sicher, dass er dieses Geschenk absolut in Ehren halten wird.
    Drück bitte die Daumen, dass Sky die 3. Staffel auch ziemlich zeitgleich mit dem Start ausstrahlt und ich so endlich wieder in den Genuss von Damian`s schauspielerischem Talent komme.
    Also liebe Damianista, vielen, vielen lieben Dank für Deinen unermüdlichen Einsatz, eine dicke Umarmung aus der Ferne und ganz herzliche Grüße aus Deutschland !!

    Google-Translate:

    Dear Damianista,

    that I’m speechless, there is not really often, but you can do it again and again.
    Your action with the FAN story book for Damian is simply WORLD CLASS.
    You are unique and I can just keep repeating myself:
    My absolute admiration that you celebrate and live your enthusiasm for Damian and his art.
    Your ingenuity knows no boundaries. Actually, you could write a script yourself … “The true fan” … !!!
    I’m happy to see Helen and Damian sitting on the sofa with their kids and browsing this book. I am also pretty sure that he will absolutely cherish this gift.
    Please keep your fingers crossed that Sky is broadcasting the third season pretty much at the same time as the start so that I can finally enjoy Damian’s acting talent again.
    So dear Damianista, many, many thanks for your tireless efforts, a big hug from afar and very warm greetings from Germany !!

    1. My lovely Lucky Fellow!

      Thank you so much! I thought it was a good idea to turn the stories into a gift book for Damian but now that I have received so many sweet notes from so many of you that I am thinking it was a GREAT idea indeed. And it was special to be able to present it in person because this is such a personal gift. I am over the moon that my plan worked — I had no idea until the last minute that it would work! I know Damian will cherish the gift, he was genuinely moved by it. Massive thanks for your wonderful contribution to the book!

      All my fingers are crossed for you that you will have Billions in Germany very soon! Hope we can enjoy the new season together and continue the conversation here! BIG hugs to Germany!

  17. Hello All:
    I was SO EXCITED to hear about the book from all of our fan stories!! Damianista, do you know if that book is or will be available for purchase? I have read all of the stories as they came out but I love to have them all in a book version. Please let us know if we can purchase a copy. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Cindy! I am so happy you were so excited about the book! Damian was genuinely touched. But there is only one copy in the world and Damian has it 🙂

  18. What a lovely gift to be able to show Damien the joy he has brought to our lives. Great idea, great execution, plus having all the pieces fit so nicely for the final reveal. If I were there my heart would have stopped.

    You and Lewisto are a power couple for sure. And I can’t leave out the FanFun partners bringing all of us their talent.

    Switching to Season 3. I decided to watch seasons 1&2 again to get my Billions mojo back…. It’s back.

    I’ll chime in again soon. Have a nice weekend everyone.

    1. Thank you, Joyce, for all your support! I am so so so happy that I was able to give the gift book to Damian in person and say a few words about it because it is such a personal gift from all of us.

      We will look forward to having you in the conversation. Can’t believe Episode 2 is now just a few days away! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Caro, for your support and for your lovely contribution to the Fan Stories. I am so happy that I have been able to give the gift in person and say a few words about it because it is such a special gift from all of us!
      Big Hugs to germany!

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