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:: 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).

The L Word Online has been designed by Oz and Slicey.  Unique images designed by Oz.  Site maintained by Oz & Slicey.  This website is intended to be fun and informative, and was created with respect to show appreciation for the women and men involved in the creation of TV's first real lesbian drama.  This site is not endorsed, sponsored, or affiliated with Showtime Networks Inc., the television series "The L Word," or any person involved in the making of the show.  No copyright infringement is intended.  Images and other borrowed content are copyright their respective owners.  Credit is given where due.  All original content is the sole property of  the creators of The L Word Online copyright October 2003.