:: K E R A B O L O N I K ::
Author of the official L Word guidebook
"Welcome to our Planet"
Kera is the author of the new L Word
guidebook "Welcome to our Planet" which is out
March 7th, 2006. We took some time asking her a few questions about it;
Tell us a little of your background. I am a freelance writer who got her start as a book editor. I am a book
critic and write about television when I can. I wrote a piece about The L
Word for New York magazine, which appeared on the cover a week or two before
the show debuted in the States, which is how I first got in touch with Ilene
Chaiken, and we've stayed in touch ever since.
How did the opportunity come along for you to write the book? I kept in touch with Ilene after publishing the New York magazine piece,
sending her a weekly, detailed post-mortem the Monday after the episodes
appeared, which seemed to amuse her. About a year ago, I mentioned to her
how much fun it would be to do a companion guide to the show, and six months
later, Showtime approached me about doing it, per Ilene's suggestion.
What were you told about what they wanted
from the book beforehand? Showtime and Simon and Schuster simply said they wanted a
behind-the-scenes guide to The L Word for the first two seasons, but gave me
creative carte blanche. So the editor and I punched out a detailed outline,
and I went from there.
How long did it take from start to finish? I was given three months to turn the entire project around.
Talk us through the steps involved in getting the book published. I went out to Vancouver in late July and early August to interview the
cast and crew, and some of the guest directors. I saw the sets, and got to
spend a bit of quality time with everyone. It was hard to talk in depth with
people while there because they were filming, so it was mostly on the fly,
but everyone was so wonderfully generous with their time and attention so my
trips out to Vancouver essentially gave me a handle on the place, and a way
to make contact, so that follow-up interviews felt less awkward. Once I
interviewed everyone, I had a lot of transcribing to do. I was
simultaneously re-screening all of the episodes dozens of times, and
transcribing many of those, so that I could do the episode guide and
documenting the best lines from those and fleshing out the character
profiles. Everything had to happen quickly but I wanted it to be as thorough
and well-written as possible. I'm a perfectionist, and hate seeing typos (I
can see all of them in the finished book) and grammatical errors, not to
mention factual ones, so I was agonizing over everything. There were a lot
of all-nighters -- okay, every night for nearly three months was an
all-nighter. I lived and breathed The L Word, and basically had to turn into
an obsessive freak. I was already halfway there anyway. Once all the text
was done, I then spent days at the Showtime offices picking photos and
seeking approvals to ensure they passed L Word cast muster. It was all very
intense, but ultimately very gratifying because I met great people along the
way, and everyone, especially the cast and crew and the Showtime staff, were
incredibly helpful and gracious. You visited the set while you were writing
this book, what was that like? What was the cast/crew like?
The set is in a big lofty garage-like space --
all indoors -- so that was pretty wild to see. Going into each of the
"houses" was like going on a real estate crawl. I loved Bette and Tina's
place. Why don't these places exist in NYC? Ricardo Spinace and Linda
Vipond, who are the art and production designers, are geniuses. I loved
seeing their work up closely, and more so, I loved hearing them talk about
it because they are so passionate about it. They are true artists. The crew
are among the most hard-working, coolest people I've had the pleasure to
meet. And the cast are so fantastic -- they're each so different, yet all so
smart and cultured and funny and just amazing women. They are so passionate
and knowledgeable about their individual characters but they also have so
many passions aside from drama -- Jennifer is an amazing photographer, Erin
loves architectural history and mid century modern design, Pam is a horse
rancher, Mia and Rachel are voracious readers -- actually all of them are
avid readers. Rachel and I share favorite tv programs -- The Office, The Ali
G Show, Extras, and I'm sure many others. I loved talking with each and
every one of them.
Who is your favourite character and why?
It's hard to say who is my favorite because they have each evolved so
much. I love Bette in all her alpha complexity, and because she challenges
me the most and because Jennifer brings so much to her. I relate most to
Alice and Dana and I have always loved them -- Erin and Leisha steal the
show every time. I am just blown away by how much Erin and Leisha have
brought to their characters and made them so real and funny, so that this
season, it is devastating and almost impossible to watch them. I love that
Helena has become lovable -- I didn't like not liking her. And Shane brings
so much soul to a wonderful character who is so lost -- Shane, the sage who
is also unmoored in many ways. And Mia has a very difficult job, and has to
take a lot of shit for Jenny, who is one of the most complicated characters,
not least of why, because she's not easy to watch. Mia is extremely
talented, and is willing to take those risks and I admire her deeply for it.
So, I guess I don't have a favorite and did a crappy job of answering your
question -- sorry.
Are there any plans for any future L books?
Don't know of any plans. I hope I get to update this edition by adding
the third and fourth seasons.
If a fan wanted to write their own
unofficial guide, what advice would you give them?
Anyone can write an unofficial guide. There is the issue of using
photos--Showtime may prove to be an obstacle in this respect. They own the
merchandising rights to The L Word, so navigating this one may prove to be a
beast. But this is just conjecture.
Are there any other book plans in the works for you?
I am in the beginning stages of a memoir-istic project about my neurotic
relationship with psychotherapy (nothing too earnest).
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