You may or may not know, but Linda and Jessica Hill don’t just run Bella Books. They are also both talented writers themselves, and embarking on Season Two of their passion project, Beacon Hill the Series. Beacon Hill first debuted in 2014, and tells the story of two powerful political families from Massachusetts. Katherine, a state senator, and Sara, the granddaughter of a political dynasty, were once in love but the machinations and pressure around them forced them apart. In Season One, the two women are reunited by fate. Fans have been eagerly awaiting Season Two, and I sat down with Jessica Hill to get the goods on what’s to come.
Bella Media Channel: It’s been four years since the first season of Beacon Hill and fans have been eagerly awaiting news of more. Why are you bringing the show back now?
Jessica Hill: We never stopped working on Season Two. We’ve learned so much more about the business since Season One and we’ve been working hard toward making it happen again. We knew we had left too many questions unanswered. And there’s that longest cliffhanger ever. I mean really—who isat the door? Through the years, that is the one question that fans kept asking us. And now we’re finally ready to tell that story.
BMC: Will we pick right back up or will time have passed for Kathrine, Sara and the rest of the Beacon crew?
JH: Because of the cliffhangers we are picking right up where we left them. So as Claire opens the door, we finally see who is on the other side…
BMC: Beacon Hill is very much rooted in politics. Katherine is a State Senator, Sara’s grandfather is a Senator. Has the recent political climate changed your thinking going into this next season? Things are very different now than they were in 2014.
JH: Like many, we were certainly discouraged by the election and we’re not immune to the exhaustion with our current political climate. But then we started thinking about what the show in its entirety is about. Politics are certainly the backdrop, but Beacon Hillis really about relationships—star-crossed lovers and dysfunctional families. It’s also about romance, ambition and how both can affect those relationships. The anchor story is and will always be about these two women (Katherine and Sara) who have loved and lost each other and the way they try and reconnect after years apart. We needed to come back for all of those reasons. We have a lot of stories to tell!
In this upcoming season we won’t shy away from the Washington dysfunction. But we also know that people want and need entertainment. They want an escape. They want to root for love. And I think we have enough intrigue, romance, unrequited passion, and drama to keep people entertained. And the journey that Katherine and Sara are on is intriguing for all of those reasons. Will they find their way back to each other? Or will they finally move on alone or with other partners?
You can expect a fun and amazing season. It will be filled with a lot of twists and turns. I can promise you romance, surprises and a great love story. Things will start to be clearer for all of our characters and the direction they need to go in. Ambition vs love is always good drama. And we promise all of that.
BMC: What have been some of the big challenges of doing a web series of this scale?
JH: Money is the biggest obstacle. I mean isn’t that everyone’s biggest obstacle to creating LGBTQ content? Look at the challenges that established shows like One Day at a Time and Wynonna Earp had in getting to a new season. Thank god they were able to. But shows featuring LGBTQ characters have a hard time finding a home on network television and even on streaming services. That lack of access means we have to do it ourselves. That’s why we focused on creating and doing our own shows. Because it’s important to us as gay women to tell the kind of stories we want to watch and that represent who we are.
It is our sincere hope that Beacon Hillwill be the launching pad for helping us bringing much more lgbtq content to fans and readers. Bella Books has a deep catalog of stories that we can see bringing to life on the screen. That’s the direction we’d like to go in next if the Beacon Hillmodel is successful.
But it all costs money. One of the big asks from the fans was longer episodes. But to do that we need a bigger budget. That is why this year we are doing a crowdsourcing campaign through Indiegogo to help bolster the budget. That Indiegogo campaign has just started.
So we are hoping to get help from our fans, our readers, and from people who are interested in positive representative storytelling and who want to see a new season of a good web drama featuring strong female leads. We are well aware that it’s a big ask. Everyone is asking for money these days. But I think we have something amazing to offer and hope that existing fans and new fans will want to come along for the ride!
BMC: Can you give us any teasers about the relationship between Katherine and Sara? When we last saw them, things were pulling them apart again.
JH: They will continue to struggle with who they were and who they are now. They’re different women than when they were first together out of college. They have to come to grips with that. They are now pulled by personal ambition, family issues and unresolved feelings for each other that they are hesitant to revisit. They also are in new relationships that compete with those unresolved feelings. Neither of them wants to give up who they are now. On top of that are trust issues that need to be dealt with before they can find their way back. Sara will continue to build her career as a reporter. And that means in trying to get the scoops that she need, that she may clash with her personal relationships. Katherine on the other hand is tempted about running for a higher office. She’s being wooed so who wouldn’t be tempted? But what happens if she does decide to run? Can a politician and a reporter trust each other enough to ignore the competing ambitions? Inevitably, those two paths will collide.
BMC: Crystal Chappell will also be back for Beacon Hill, and Jessica, you were recently announced as the head writer for Venice the Series Season Six. What’s it like working with Crystal?
JH: Amazing. Crystal has been a godsend. When we created Season One of Beacon Hill, we didn’t have a clue what we were in for in terms of filming something of this magnitude. Crystal had the experience with her successful show Venice and somehow we connected and we’ve had so much fun. She has taught us a lot about filming, how to assemble a cast, how to write a script while worrying about the budget. She has been very protective of what we were and are trying to do. She’s a huge advocate for the lgbtq community and takes her job as an executive producer of the show very seriously. She helped us achieve a show that we can all be proud of.
When she asked me to write season 6 of VeniceI was tremendously touched and honored that she would trust me with her baby. It felt huge that Crystal would put that kind of trust in me when it comes to a show that has lived and breathed for six seasons now. I was also terrified since it was the first time that I was writing for a show that already existed out there. And Venice Nation is very passionate about their show and I wanted to do justice to that passion and that love. We had so much fun coming up with a fresh new story for this upcoming season that is also a tip of the hat to the daytime drama Guiding Light. The show that started Otalia. It’s a fun season and I can’t wait to see it come to life this fall. I hope the fans will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
BMC: When can we expect to see Season 2? And in what format will it be available?
JH: The show is filming in late September in the Boston area and will be available sometime in the early part of next year after post production is completed. It will be available online on vimeo.com and through our website www.beaconhilltheseries.com
For anyone interested in supporting the making of Beacon Hill we say a huge thank you. They can find the crowdfunding campaign here.