20 Questions with Robert Rosen

1. So, what’s your book all about?

It’s an investigative memoir called Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, and it’s about what I witnessed over a 16-year period as an editor for such magazines as High Society, Swank, Stag, and D-Cup. I then combined these first-hand accounts with research and reporting to create a detailed insider’s portrait of a multi-billion-dollar industry in a state of traumatic upheaval. Michael Musto of the Village Voice called Beaver Street “entertaining, insightful, and hot.”

2. What inspired you to write this tale?

After working in porn for a couple of days, I realized was seeing things both shocking and absurd that had never been written about. I knew immediately that this was the basis for a book.

3. Do you have a favorite quote about creativity/inspiration etc…? What is it?

Yeah. Writing is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.

4. What things do you keep in your “writing space”? Do they inspire you? Confound you? Hold wires in place?

A lot of books and a computer. Great books inspire me.

5. What is your perfect “writing space”?

A room of my own with a lock on the door, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf.

6. If your car horn could play any song, which would it be? Can’t say Dixie.

I live in Manhattan. I don’t own a car and I hate the sound of car horns.

7. What would you name the first permanent settlement on mars?

Studio 54.

8. How tall is the perfect sidekick? Please explain why it even matters.

There is no perfect sidekick of any height. See question 11.

9. If you were to mess with the time stream, what would you change? Let’s assume a hundred other people already took care of Hitler so you don’t have to say, “Kill Hitler.”

In 1981, I was given John Lennon’s diaries and told to use them as the basis for an authorized Lennon biography. The diaries were stolen, but they still became the inspiration for my first book, Nowhere Man, an unauthorized Lennon bio. I’d have hidden a photocopy of the diaries.

10. Let’s say your character has a pet brown bear. What’s the bear’s name?

Fuzzy Wuzzy.

11. If you had to give an antagonist an annoying trait, what would it be?


12. What kind of car would your ultimate protagonist drive?

One powered by sunlight.

13. You’ve got a year to travel anywhere. Where?

Around the world to visit all the countries I haven’t been to yet.

14. You just bought a boat with your book fortune. What are you going to call it?

Beaver Street

15. What kind of music, if any, gets you typing the fastest?

The music in my head. I rarely listen to recorded music when I write. I find it distracting.

16. What’s the punch line to your favorite joke?

Cary Grant!

17. What lyric do you sing poorly, yet loudly?

Varies from day to day—Kinks, Beatles, Stones, and of course the songs my wife, Mary Lyn Maiscott, wrote, which you can hear on her CD, Blue Lights.

18. You find a portal to another world in your sink’s drain. What is this other world called? And what is the best way to clean the portal so it doesn’t smell like old food?

Nowhereland. I’m terrible at housecleaning, so I’d hire professionals.

19. Where can people learn more about you, your work or any pets you have?

On my website: www.robertrosennyc.com

20. What’s next?

I’m working on a novel called Bobby in Naziland. In part it’s about a child growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s and early ’60s where, to quote from the book, “World War II lingered like a mass hallucination on East 17th Street and large swaths of the surrounding borough.”

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