Dear Readers, Writers, and Precious Patrons,
Today on All Authors Blog, we're pleased to have an interview with Jess, the main character in Emancipation by Jo Michaels.
Jess, thank you so much for stopping by. If you could please tell us about yourself.
I’d be happy to. Thank you for having me.
Let’s talk a little about Tobias, how did you meet him?
I met Toby, as I like to call him, through penpalaninmate dot com, but I sought him out specifically—I don’t typically browse for dates with guys in prison. Not my style. Anyway, when I was in law school, one of our professors had us hunt down past cases where the person was found guilty of a heinous crime and argue in their favor. See, I was studying to be a criminal defense attorney, and he figured the best way to force us to look at a case with an unbiased eye was to defend someone who appeared, and had already been proven, guilty.
I found Toby’s case and was fascinated. Do I need to tell you I won in the mock trial? Well, after that, I couldn’t get him out of my head. I knew he was innocent, and I saw the injustice of him being behind bars.
What is it that attracted you to Tobias?
Have you seen him? I mean, wow. On a serious note, he’s well spoken, well written, and charming. Maybe I’m just wired to look for the best in people. He’s been in prison ten years, and he hasn’t been in a lot of trouble, either. That tells me he’s a patient man.
What did people think when they heard you were helping Tobias?
People I grew up with were okay with it, but I sure had to defend myself a lot with folks that didn’t know me. I got to where I just shrugged and said, “Love conquers all. I love him, and I believe he’s innocent.” That usually did the trick.
You’ve faced many battles in the courtroom, how does Tobias’ case compare to the others?
It was too easy! I’d already had a dry run, and as luck would have it, with the same guy I was up against in law school acting as the DA. But Toby really was the one who made it easy. He was smooth on the stand, and seemed to know exactly what to say and when to say it.
At any point, did you question his innocence?
Never. After I looked into his case and saw all the manipulation of the previous DA, I knew Toby had to be innocent. While I did catch him lying to me once, I think it was more because he was ashamed of his own past and wanted to identify with me rather than a blatant attempt to deceive me.
Overall, are you happy with the way you were portrayed in Emancipation?
Oh, yes. I think Ms. Michaels did an excellent job of showing people what I’m capable of—what any woman is capable of, if she truly puts her mind to it. When you read Provocation, and you hear a little about my time with Doctor Ward, I think it’ll put a few things in perspective.
Last question, explain to readers why they should read your story?
If they’re people who enjoy watching two people with equal wit try to out-maneuver one another, then my story will be enjoyable. It’s thrilling, captivating, and gives most people that moment of pure satisfaction.
Tobias Butler has been sitting on death row since being sentenced for a gruesome murder in 2007. Bored out of his mind, he decided to apply to the online pen pal program in 2012. It's a pleasant distraction—nothing more, nothing less—for three years, until he's contacted by a beautiful, smart young lawyer named Jess. She's convinced he's innocent and wants to see him freed. As they organize their attack on the judicial system, he wonders how she plans to get his conviction overturned—because he's guilty, and he knows it. Jess is desperate to release him—and he's desperate to feel his hands squeeze the life out of her once she does.