The thief's name was Joanne Clancy, a former Kindle All Star, and the book that she called Tear Drop was No 1 in the Irish crime fiction charts at the time. Not only that, but she had a second book scheduled for release in a few weeks time, and that one turned out to be a carbon copy of Ingrid Black's second book about the same character, The Dark Eye. The Real Book Thief tells the story of how Ingrid Black discovered what had happened and how she went about trying to find out more about the mysterious woman who had stolen her work.
Anyway, I won't go into the details of their story, however I have to write about my experience with this fake author. 'Joanne Clancy' has not only stolen Ingrid Black's work, she has used and betrayed countless readers, reviewers and bloggers like myself.
I was first contacted by this Joanne Clancy in June 2014 to read and review her book 'Traceless', which I read, enjoyed and reviewed. From then on, seeing that I liked her work, she kept contacting me to read, review and blog about her books. In August 2015 while on holiday in Italy where I had limited Wi-Fi, I received an email from her asking me to copy and paste my reviews of a couple of her books to a combined box set which she had just issued on Amazon, to counteract a 1-star review she had just received on it. I'm always ready to go the extra mile in order to help self-published authors and authors in general to have their work publicised, so even though I had crappy, slow internet connection there I did as she said from my hotel room through my cheap smartphone.
In October 2015, after having agreed with her, I laid out an author interview so that we could post it on the launch day of her second Elizabeth Ireland book 'Insincere'. She was happy to go ahead and do it and even offered giveaway copies for the occasion. However, when I sent it to her, I immediately got a reply saying that she's awfully sorry and she won't be able to fill up this interview as she's very worried about her sister which has just been diagnosed with cancer. I was of course shocked by her reply, to which I replied by saying of course I don't mind, this interview can wait, the sister's health takes precedence. After a few days I realised that all her books have disappeared from Amazon. I messaged her to see if she's okay and she said that she wishes to take a step back at the moment as she has to deal with her sister's illness which has deeply affected her. Last Christmas I've even messaged her with my best wishes and told her that when she decides to come back to the scene I would be happy to keep on supporting her.
Of course, to say that I was shocked when this whole story came out is an understatement. Ingrid Black contacted me on twitter with a link to their story. Now I'm glad that the thief was uncovered and stopped from doing further damage. However I feel hurt and insecure because I had supported this author in any way possible and now I know that anyone can repeat what this person did. The sad reality is that I can never be absolutely sure whether an author approaching me to read and review their books is sending me their own or someone else's stolen work.
This shocking story has deeply affected me and is a bitter experience that will be difficult to forget.