Jill is rather more than a pen name. An aspect of self, I suppose. (An earlier stage of the new covers read “Lawrence Block as Jill Emerson.” We thought about it, and changed as to is.) It’s hard to define what she is to me (or I to her) but I’ll say that it’s hugely satisfying to me to be bringing her work back into print. (Getting Off, of course, has never been out of print, and continues to be available as an ebook, a hardcover or paperback book, and an audiobook superbly voiced by Lily Bask.)
The others have been unavailable for a while, and I’ve thus far self-published the first four. The first three—Shadows, Warm and Willing, and Enough of Sorrow—are all sensitive explorations of the lesbian experience, more emotional than erotic in tone and content.
The way Jill Emerson came into being, and how she sold two books to Midwood via cold over-the-transom submission, makes a pretty good story—and I tell it in the book descriptions on the Amazon pages; even if you’re not interested in the books, you might want to click the links and check out the trip down Memory Lane.
Jill’s fourth book, Thirty, is a departure. Again, I tell its story on the Amazon page, but will say here that it’s a fiercely and frankly erotic novel in the form of a diary kept by a woman in her thirtieth year. I read it before republishing it, perhaps for the first time since I wrote it, and I’m forced to cast modesty to the winds and admit I liked it. Perhaps you will as well.
Next is Threesome, coming soon; it’s a tour de force, with three alternating narrators, and has long been a favorite of mine. A Madwoman’s Diary is more in the mode of Thirty—except of course that it’s a different diarist with a different story to tell, and a curious connection to another pen name…
After that, something entirely different for Jill: The Trouble With Eden, a big Bucks County novel that falls somewhere between Grace Metalious and John O’Hara. And after that, A Week as Andrea Benstock, a serious work of mainstream fiction serialized in Redbook.
Jill does run a gamut, doesn’t she?
I must admit she does. I’ll be delighted when all her works are published, and that may well happen by Labor Day. Note that the first three books are eVailable exclusively for Kindle, and can thus be read free by Kindle Unlimited subscribers. That’s not the case with Thirty; as an experiment, I’ve published this title on other platforms as well, and you can click here to scoop it up for Nook or Kobo or Apple.
And, as soon as all Jill’s books are eVailable, they’ll morph into paperback form. And won’t they look nice on a bookshelf or coffee table? All credit for the classy covers goes to my Goddess of Design and Production.
What about audio?
Remarkably enough, all but one of the books are already in audio. Emily Beresford’s had great notices for her work with Warm and Willing, Enough of Sorrow, and Thirty. And your ears will delight in Threesome (Julie Roundtree), A Madwoman’s Diary (Eva Wilhelm), The Trouble With Eden (Mark Delgado), and A Week as Andrea Benstock (Julie Roundtree).
What’s missing? Shadows—and an audio version is already in preparation, voiced by P J Morgan. From what I’ve heard so far, I think you’ll like it.
And there are some other audiobooks on the way. Theo Holland, who hit home runs with Resume Speed and Four Lives at the Crossroads, is set to do the same with The Adulterers. Mike Dennis, who shows what noir sounds like on Borderline and The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes, is wrapping up Sinner Man.
And may I take a moment to share a bit of Bill Ott’s Booklist review of Sinner Man, coming in a few months from Hard Case Crime? “It’s undiluted noir—even if, back in 1960, that term was still the property of the film crowd—and its narrator, a Manhattan insurance salesman turned killer, makes most antiheroes seem, well, a little genteel….Block’s signature style—careful plotting, sly wit, straight-ahead prose—is well in evidence here, even in its rough-edged infancy.”
Well, I’m still a little rough around the edges, but infancy is not even a memory. Nice review, huh? You might want to pre-order the book, which is being released simultaneously in hardcover, paperback, and ebook form in November. (And the audio should release around the same time.)
Could we change the subject? I keep seeing more of your work in different languages. What’s up?
An experiment. Can a writer successfully partner with translators to publish his own work in other languages? The results aren’t unequivocal, but I have to say things are looking good.
My newest partner, Luigi Garlaschelli, is at work translating the Matthew Scudder short stories into Italian; so far he’s worked his magic on “Out the Window” and “A Candle for the Bag Lady” (shown here), with more coming. You can pick up Giù dalla finestra and Una candela per la barbona at any Amazon site. (Here’s a link to the Italian page.)
The Carrington sisters, Ana and Enriqueta, are also making their way through the Scudder short stories, with five already up and running on Amazon: Salió por la ventana, Una vela para la vagabunda, A la luz de la madrugada, Los ayudantes de Batman, and El Misericordioso Ángel de la Muerte. Here they are on amazon.com and amazon.es, but you can find them on all other Amazon sites as well. Ana and Enriqueta also translated a title from the Classic Crime Library, Such Men Are Dangerous, reborn in Spanish as El hombre peligroso; it’s available as both an ebook and a paperback. They’re moving rapidly through the rest of the short stories, and a Scudder novel will be next on their agenda.
Meanwhile, Stefan Mommertz has been diligently—and artfully—rendering my work in German. We’ve brought out the first Scudder novel, Die Sünden der Väter, and the first two short stories, Aus dem Fenster and Eine Kerze für die Stadtstreicherin, as well as my novella Resume Speed, called Mit leichtem Gepäck.
Stefan’s completed his work on the second Scudder novel, Time to Murder and Create, and as soon as his proofreader wraps it up we’ll be publishing it as Drei am Haken. Like Die Sünden der Väter, we’ll offer it as a paperback as well as an ebook.
I spent the last two weeks of July in Philadelphia. I’d gone there with the intention of Writing Something, but that didn’t happen. Either the well had gone dry or my bucket had a hole in it, and it’s not as though I lacked for other things to do. I ate a lot of Chinese food, and now I’m home, and glad to be here, and ready to settle in for the Olympics.
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