In news just to hand: A federal judge has temporarily blocked the U.S. distribution of an unauthorized sequel to Catcher in the Rye, as she contemplates the complicated issues in the case. Judge Deborah Batts is considering whether 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye transforms Salinger’s original creation enough that it is a “fair use” of a copyrighted work. A ruling was anticipated in the next 10 days. The book, by Swedish author Fredrik Colting, was scheduled for U.S. release on Sept. 15 but the court dispute was likely to delay that. (read more.)

People say JD Salinger is some kind of recluse, but I don’t know what they’re on about, because I managed to score an invite to his house in Cornish, New Hampshire, just by emailing him.

Crikey: Hello, Jerome — I can call you Jerome, right?

JD Salinger: No, you may not.

Crikey: But I feel weird calling you JD. That’s like the Zach Braff character from Scrubs. Or a delicious brand of Tennessee whiskey. Anyway, we’re here to talk about your lawsuit against the new book that’s billed as a sequel to The Catcher In The Rye. It features a 76-year-old man, “Mr C”, who escapes from his retirement home and wanders around New York.

JD Salinger: If you want to know the truth, it’s an outrage! I can’t believe people would try to tamper with perfection. Read the book again. It’s all there.

Crikey: Come on, JD, get off your high horse. People have grown up with Holden Caulfield. They consider him a friend, someone who understands what their lives are like. And they want to grow old with him, too.

JD Salinger: That’s baloney! The only person who’s allowed to grow old with Holden is me. Nobody else knows him like I do. Not Sammy Goldwyn, not Billy Wilder, not Spielberg, not Weinstein – nobody! I haven’t even let my publishers put illustrations of my characters on my book jackets, just in case the readers form their own opinions about how the characters look.

Crikey: There was some mystery surrounding the identity of “JD California”, the author of the unauthorised book, but your legal action has forced a Swedish writer, Fredrik Colting, to admit he wrote it.

JD Salinger: Yes, and do you want to know the worst part? He’s a lousy sell-out, a publisher of embarrassing gag books including The Macho Man’s (Bad) Joke Book. I saw a picture of him in a British newspaper and printed it out for my Enemies Wall, but then it turned out it wasn’t even him! It was another phony: an actor named Gustav Roth. You can imagine how annoyed I was! I had used super-glue to put his picture up. It just wouldn’t peel off.

Crikey: Who else is on your Enemies Wall? I really like that idea, by the way, it’s very Richard Nixon.

JD Salinger: That bastard stole it from me! It was my idea! He’s actually on my wall! As is the goddam prep-school movie man Wesley Anderson, who took my characters the Glass family and made a stupid film about them. He called them the Tannenbaums or some such, but come on! A Jewish-Irish family of preposterous angst and erudition? That idea was mine! That upstart actress, Zooey Deschanel — she’s on my Wall. I tried to sue her for an unauthorised impersonation of the title character from Franny and Zooey.

Crikey: Um, Zooey Glass is a man.

JD Salinger: That’s what my lawyers told me. But for Chrissake, haven’t you ever heard of drag? Anyway, I believe I have a much stronger case against that Japanese, Murakami. Not only did his book Norwegian Wood replicate Holden Caulfield’s speaking style, but I think he’s behind this latest piece of chicanery as well.

Crikey: How’s that?

JD Salinger: Didn’t you notice that the publishing company was called Windupbird Publishing? That’s named after another Murakami book that infringed my intellectual property!

Crikey: Pardon me for asking, JD, but for a 90-year-old shut-in you seem to be totally across contemporary culture. It must be exhausting keeping track of all the infringements of your copyright.

JD Salinger: To tell you the truth, this anger might be the only thing that’s keeping me alive.

Crikey: Don’t you think it would be easier just to publish something? Clearly people are still interested in your voice and your characters. Can’t you just publish “Hapworth 16, 1924” as a book, like you’ve been promising for the last 13 years? We were all psyched that it might come out on your birthday this year.

JD Salinger: You know what? I hate the way writers are made to publish all the time, like dancing monkeys. Even poor David Wallace — he killed himself and now they’re publishing his book for him. Not publishing anything is the writer’s ultimate trump card. Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen, then sue ’em for being keen. That’s my motto.

Crikey: Well, what would you say to people who reckon you’re an old has-been who only really had one great book in him?

JD Salinger: Ha ha ha, funnily enough a young whippersnapper who fancied himself as a journalist once asked me that very question as he fixed me with his crystal blue eyes …

Crikey: Yeah sorry, my eyes are more of a grey-blue …

JD Salinger: Anyway, I told him what I’m about to tell you: that my genius really lies in personifying human experience. I wrote the quintessential account of youthful alienation, I had the quintessential mid-life crisis and now I’m being the quintessential grumpy old bastard. And if anyone else tries to be a grumpier old bastard than me, I’ll sue the pants off ’em.