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Lawrence Block interviews Jill Emerson

Published on 6 July, 2011

Authored by Titan Books

Lawrence Block:  Well, where to begin?  Let me say I understand you have a book coming out in September, and—

Jill Emerson:  We.

LB:  I beg your pardon?

JE:  We have a book coming out in September.  Getting Off, published by Hard Case Crime.  By Lawrence Block writing as Jill Emerson.  That’s what it says, right there on the cover.

LB:  Yes, of course. 

JE:  Your name’s bigger.

LB:  Uh. . .

JE:  Lot’s bigger.  My name’s in small type, the same size as the subtitle.  You remember the subtitle?

LB:  I believe it’s “A Novel of Sex & Violence.”

JE:  There you go.  Lawrence Block, big as a house, and then Jill Emerson and Sex and Violence, all in teensy weensy letters. 

LB:  You seem the slightest bit resentful.

JE:  Oh, does it show?

LB:  It was the publisher’s idea.  In fact I had to fight to get your name on the cover at all.

JE:  What’s the problem?  Your publisher doesn’t like girls?

LB:  Look, it’s a purely commercial consideration.  I wasn’t going to bring this up, but you haven’t been very active lately.

JE:  I’ve published seven novels.  I started in 1965 with Warm & Willing  and Enough of Sorrow, two sensitive fictional treatments of the lesbian experience.  Then came Thirty and Threesome and A Madwoman’s Diary, three works of literary experimentation in the field of innovative erotica.  Next I wrote The Trouble With Eden—

LB:  A road-company Peyton Place set in Bucks County.

JE:  It had its moments.  And I followed it with A Week as Andrea Benstock, a literary mainstream novel that got serialized in Redbook.  Not bad, huh?

LB:  That was in 1975.  What have you done since then?

JE:  Okay, I’ve kept a low profile.  But whose fault is that?  “Lawrence Block writing as Jill Emerson.”  But after 1975, you never put my name on anything.  I mean, this interview is cute and all, but when you come right down to it, what am I?

LB:  You tell me.

JE:  An aspect of self, wouldn’t you say? 

LB:  You think?

JE:  What else?

LB: (musing)  An aspect of myself.  My inner lesbian.

JE:  Bi.

LB: Bye?  What’s that about?  Where are you going?  Was it something I said?

JE:  Bi, you idiot.  As in sexual.

LB:  What, suddenly you’re into guys?

JE:  Sometimes. (beat)  Well, one guy. And no, I’m not telling.

LB: I bet I can guess.

JE:  Can’t you just pulleeze leave it alone?

LB:  John Warren Wells.

JE: You think you’re smart, don’t you?  So fucking smart.

LB: If you wanted to keep it a secret why did you dedicate a book to him?  A Madwoman’s Diary.  “To John Warren Wells, a Jack of all trades and master of me.”

JE: Why do you have to be so cruel?

LB: It’s a guy thing, you wouldn’t understand.

To read the rest of this interview, head over to Alison Kent's Blah Blog here.