Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#11) -- Gene Simmons

What has it been like to work with Gene Simmons
(have you met him, talked to him)? -- Kevin Williams

Working with Gene was actually a lot more fun that I had previously been led to believe by others who had either worked with him or known people who had worked with him. He was usually very quick to approve the stories I submitted to him, and typically only with minor changes. I think the only major change he made to a pitch I sent him for Dominatrix was to change the lead heroine's civilian name from Danika (my preference) to Dominique (the one in the books). Other than that, Gene's ideas for the book must have really meshed with mine. Either that or my editors had all the fun of butting heads.

I did get to meet him once during the book's run, and that was at San Diego Comic Con. I remember that moment because I learned something about him that I'll remember and try to emulate until the day I die -- that man really loves and appreciates his fans. Even when it made life hell for the people trying to organize the line around the various booths, and even when it ticked off the other booth owners (even the big two), Gene insisted that all the fans in line got to see him and that he only did his signing in an area where the fans could be easily accessed.

Also, he talked with them, and didn't just sign the book and call for the next in line. And he made eye contact with each one, not just the babes in skimpy outfits.

One moment in particular stood out for me. Although I wrote the book for him, he didn't know me or had ever seen me, and I could have been a real jerk and pulled him to the side to say hello and interrupt his line of fans, but instead, I took my copy of Dominatrix #1 and got in line like any other fan. When I reached the table, I handed him the book, and since he hadn't even seen a copy at that point, he asked me where I got it. I explained that I was the guy writing the book and that I got a copy from the editor that morning. Well, Gene grabbed my hand, shook it, and told me how much he dug the book. Then he called Nick over and introduced us. About that time, the security guys told him we needed to move the line along, and Gene stopped, gave them a glare like none I'd ever seen, then returned his attention to me. Then he talked with me about the book for another minute before I offered to join him behind the table afterward and talk more about then. Even though he got busy and "then" never came, I did join him behind the scenes behind the table, and watched as he gave that same kind of focused attention to just about every fan in line.

That's the thing I learned from Gene Simmons.