Where do I even start? After two months of not being able to post anything (because I am so good at time management 😛 ) and planning on starting it for the past few days and actively procrastinating I am here because of the notifications I have been receiving.
A day earlier I got a tweet from the author Ingrid Black to check out her article about her work being stolen. As I had my exams on that day I put it off and then yesterday night my tablet starting buzzing with notifications from wordpress. considering I wasn’t active for so long these many notifications were unusual so I checked it out and all the comments wanted me to read Ingrid’s article. (It was 11 pm and I was just woken up by my mom to keep my books in place and sleep properly rather than curling up with my books. 😛 )
I curled up in bed after clearing out the mess and started with the article. I thought it to be a few paragraphs then I would’ve read it quickly and gone back to sleep but it went on and on.
After reading the article, I just kept staring in the darkness of my room… how? why? what’s going on?
Here’s the link to the article.
Ingrid claims that her work has been stolen and the person who did it is Joanne Clancy. Reading the name started a turmoil of emotions. I didn’t know how to react because she was the first author I interacted with and interviewed. She came out as a very sweet person in our email interactions and I grew fond of her. I loved her book “Tear Drop” which I received for reviewing. It was one of my first reviews too. I still remember my nervousness while posting that review.
She sent me a copy of the next book “Insincere” and showed genuine concern for me after having read my post about me needing some time off. That was really touching for me.
Before reading the article I thought maybe this was just some jealous woman conspiring against this sweet and intelligent lady but the article got me thinking. I remember feeling a bit weird when I realized she already had like 26 books out. That number isn’t small for a writer and I made sure to include a question related to that in my Interview with her.
The part of the article where Ingrid compared the texts from her book and Joanne’s book were another hit for me.
Tear Drop wasn’t simply similar to The Dead.
It was The Dead. Everything about it was the same, from the plot to the protagonist’s sarcastic manner of speaking, to the jokes, to the very structure of the sentences and paragraphs.
Saxon had been turned into Elizabeth Ireland, and the reporter she meets at the start, Nick Elliott, was now Brendan Mahon; the story, too, was told in the third person rather than the first; but these were mere details – window dressing to conceal what was little more than a straight-up theft.
Here is the original: “I glanced up as the door chimed and saw him coming in, looking round, shaking off the rain violently like a dog, as if offended by the very business of being wet. I quickly turned my gaze back to the coffee, a moment before his eyes would have found mine. I knew he was looking for me, because Nick Elliott wasn’t the sort of person who could feign an accidental meeting even if he wanted to – he didn’t have the subtlety or intelligence to carry it off – but I ignored him in the hope that he’d take a hint and leave me alone.”
This was Tear Drop’s version of the same scene: “She glanced up as the door chimed and watched the man violently shake off the rain. A moment before their eyes met, she averted her gaze, knowing he was looking for her; Brendan Mahon didn’t have the intelligence or subtlety to feign an accidental meeting. She ignored him, hoping that he’d take the hint and leave her in peace.”
I was so shocked that all my napping wish flew out of the window in the dark night and I kept reading.
Most gallingly of all, Grace Fitzgerald had unexpectedly turned into a man, Frank Murphy.
After reading this, I understood why I never felt any chemistry between Elizabeth And Frank in the “Tear Drop” because if the work was copied and a woman was turned into a male love interest then obviously it would have needed more work to develop that kind of relationship between the characters. I asked her a question related to this too in my interview, which was –
3. That felt like talking about a real person. 😛 Will we get a better picture on Elizabeth’s and Frank’s relationship in the further books? (I really confused him as her friend in the beginning)
Yes, there will be more on their relationship in future books, but even I’m not sure what’s in store for them…stay tuned…
The shocking of all was this part of the article that hooked me in.
We sent her a series of questions to try and tease out more information. Clancy didn’t reply for a few days and then said she would get back as soon as she could, but that she’d just found out that a family member was sick. That floored us, rather – natural sympathy kicked in – but was she even telling the truth?
When I sent her the interview questions, she took some days to reply and the reason being her mother’s sickness. Co-incidence? I guess not.
I was so perplexed with all this that I didn’t have an inkling how to react. Whether I reply to all the comments? Get in touch with Ingrid Black or Donna Patel who is the person to identify the similarity between Joanne Clancy’s and Ingrid Black’s work? Or do I just focus on my exams?
Sleep won. I decided to sleep on it. 😛
It’s 8 in the morning now and I still can’t stop thinking about it and have two exams today for which I have prepared nothing, so I thought it was better that I did something. I went over my email interactions with her and my interview with her. I checked all her contact links and found that her facebook and twitter were down. Her website and pinterest account are still up. Amazon has taken down her author page but her books still seem to be on sale.
I shot her an email and sat down to write this post. I really hope she comes up with an explanation.
Ingrid came across as a really genuine and caring person throughout her article and I hate to know that her work was copied and she was cheated.
But the silver lining to this is that Ingrid has re-published her books in ebook format and I finally am writing a blog post. There’s atleast one good thing in this for both of us. 😛
I will sign off with this little positivity in this mess and prepare for my exams which start at 1 pm. But first… tummy needs filling. 😛
I would love to know your thoughts on plagiarism and what this incident made you feel. As for me, till date, I was living in this bubble thinking that people related to the book world are all very genuine, honest, and loving people. I seem to have forgotten the basic rule of universe that where there is good there is bad too.
p.s. This is some detetctive thinking… 😛
Some of the details led us to believe that she was taking delight in her deception. In Tear Drop, the heroine is called Elizabeth, the anglicised form of my own name. Was that a coded reference, a knowing nod?
Elizabeth Ireland’s initials were EI – E for Eilis, I for Ian, perhaps? Tear Drop even had the same initials as The Dead.
Turning to Insincere, the cover was equally noteworthy. It showed a woman’s face, half in shadow, her right eye streaked with black lines, strongly suggesting the title of the book from which it was stolen, The Dark Eye. This didn’t seem like the work of a woman who was sorry for what she’d done, but one who was secretly laughing at us.
This article of Ingrid makes me want to read her books. That’s another good thing, I guess. Hello there, silver lining! 🙂 😀