Lawrence Block interviews Jill Emerson
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.
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.